The Bush/Cheney Impeachment Papers

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The Articles of Impeachment: Article 1

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CREATING A SECRET PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO MANUFACTURE A FALSE CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAQ

Article I of Dennis Kucinich’s Articles for the Impeachment of President Bush concerns the work of the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, formed by Andy Card to sell the Iraq war to a reluctant US population.

The Department of Defense (DOD) has engaged in a years-long secret domestic propaganda campaign to promote the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This secret program was defended by the White House Press Secretary following its exposure. This program follows the pattern of crimes detailed in Article I, II, IV and VIII. The mission of this program placed it within the field controlled by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a White House task force formed in August 2002 to market an invasion of Iraq to the American people. The group included Karl Rove, I. Lewis Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Stephen Hadley, Nicholas E. Calio, and James R. Wilkinson.

The WHIG produced white papers detailing so-called intelligence of Iraq’s nuclear threat that later proved to be false. This supposed intelligence included the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger as well as the claim that the high strength aluminum tubes Iraq purchased from China were to be used for the sole purpose of building centrifuges to enrich uranium. Unlike the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, the WHIG’s white papers provided “gripping images and stories” and used “literary license” with intelligence. The WHIG’s white papers were written at the same time and by the same people as speeches and talking points prepared for President Bush and some of his top officials.

 

 The Co-Operative History Commons notes that WHIG was charged with “pushing the [marketing] envelope” from the very beginning.

 

August 2002: Top Bush Officials Form Group To Sell Iraq War to the Public, Congress, and Allies

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. forms the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, which aims to “educate the public” about the alleged threat from Iraq. A senior official involved with the group later describes it as “an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities.” Members of the group include Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, and policy advisers led by Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, and I. Lewis Libby. They meet weekly in the White House Situation Room. A “strategic communications” task force under the WHIG is charged with planning speeches and writing white papers. [Washington Post, 8/10/2003] According to an intelligence source interviewed by the New York Daily News in October 2005, the group, on “a number of occasions,” will attempt “to push the envelope on things,”—“The [CIA] would say, ‘We just don’t have the intelligence to substantiate that.’” [New York Daily News, 10/19/2005] An important part of the WHIG strategy is to feed their messages to friendly reporters such as New York Times reporter Judith Miller. James Bamford, in his book A Pretext for War, writes: “First OSP [Office of Special Plans] supplies false or exaggerated intelligence; then members of the WHIG leak it to friendly reporters, complete with prepackaged vivid imagery; finally, when the story breaks, senior officials point to it as proof and parrot the unnamed quotes they or their colleagues previously supplied.” [Bamford, 2004, pp. 325]

 

The process described by Bamford is at the heart of Article 1. Under orders from the president, WHIG deliberately used bogus information, much of it provided by Ahmad Chalabi, an ace Iraqi con artist wanted for bank fraud in Syria. When George Tenet’s CIA – whose statements, particularly concerning Chalabi, were a good deal stronger than “we can’t substantiate that” – told Cheney and WHIG that Chalabi couldn’t be trusted and that he was a liar and a thief whose “information” could never be confirmed, Cheney ordered Doug Feith at the Office of Special Plans (OSP) to tell Dave Wurmser at C-TEG (Counter-Terrorism Evaluation Group) to go through the CIA’s raw data (unconfirmed rumors, gossip, chatter on the part of friends and enemies) and come up with confirmation. Then Libby, a friend of ace conspiracy theorist Laurie Mylroie who was in turn a friend of ace con artist Chalabi, whipped up “Code Name Curveball”, a supposed Iraqi defector from Saddam’s Revolutionary Guard who has never been shown even to have existed, but if he does he was also handed to Libby (through Laurie) by Chalabi’s illusory Iraqi National Congress (INC), a supposed anti-Saddam guerrilla group whose members were all in their 50’s and 60’s, and none of whom had actually been in Iraq since late ’57.

If this is beginning to sound like a satirical film by Stanley Kubrick, you’re getting the idea. This is where the myth of Bush/Cheney incompetence started, but in fact, as we now know, the Administration was perfectly aware that everything Bush was saying – and WHIG was spreading – was a lie. They just didn’t care. The WaPo’s Walter Pincus first broke the story as early as Aug of ’03, giving specifics of a myriad of untruths.

The new information indicates a pattern in which President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their subordinates — in public and behind the scenes — made allegations depicting Iraq’s nuclear weapons program as more active, more certain and more imminent in its threat than the data they had would support. On occasion administration advocates withheld evidence that did not conform to their views. The White House seldom corrected misstatements or acknowledged loss of confidence in information upon which it had previously relied:

* Bush and others often alleged that President Hussein held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, but did not disclose that the known work of the scientists was largely benign. Iraq’s three top gas centrifuge experts, for example, ran a copper factory, an operation to extract graphite from oil and a mechanical engineering design center at Rashidiya.

* The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 2002 cited new construction at facilities once associated with Iraq’s nuclear program, but analysts had no reliable information at the time about what was happening under the roofs. By February, a month before the war, U.S. government specialists on the ground in Iraq had seen for themselves that there were no forbidden activities at the sites.

* Gas centrifuge experts consulted by the U.S. government said repeatedly for more than a year that the aluminum tubes were not suitable or intended for uranium enrichment. By December 2002, the experts said new evidence had further undermined the government’s assertion. The Bush administration portrayed the scientists as a minority and emphasized that the experts did not describe the centrifuge theory as impossible.

* In the weeks and months following Joe’s Vienna briefing, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and others continued to describe the use of such tubes for rockets as an implausible hypothesis, even after U.S. analysts collected and photographed in Iraq a virtually identical tube marked with the logo of the Medusa’s Italian manufacturer and the words, in English, “81mm rocket.”

* The escalation of nuclear rhetoric a year ago, including the introduction of the term “mushroom cloud” into the debate, coincided with the formation of a White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, a task force assigned to “educate the public” about the threat from Hussein, as a participant put it.

(emphasis added)

 

At this early stage, as you can see, Pincus was merely alleging that the evidence had been oversold, perhaps by accident. But now, after everything that’s been uncovered since, we know that Bush, Cheney and probably Rumsfeld knew that nearly all the so-called “evidence” they were ramping up to excuse a pre-emptive and almost certainly illegal invasion was either plain wrong or had been invented out of whole cloth. It didn’t matter. Cheney told WHIG to sell it and they sold it, the same way they would have sold a defective car seat or a poisonous tomato if they’d been working for corporations.

The WHIG also organized a media blitz in which, between September 7-8, 2002, President Bush and his top advisers appeared on numerous interviews and all provided similarly gripping images about the possibility of nuclear attack by Iraq. The timing was no coincidence, as Andrew Card explained in an interview regarding waiting until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

September 7-8, 2002:

NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Vice President Cheney accused Saddam of moving aggressively to develop nuclear weapons over the past 14 months to add to his stockpile of chemical and biological arms.

CNN: Then-National Security Adviser Rice said, regarding the likelihood of Iraq obtaining a nuclear weapon, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

CBS: President Bush declared that Saddam was “six months away from developing a weapon,” and cited satellite photos of construction in Iraq where weapons inspectors once visited as evidence that Saddam was trying to develop nuclear arms.

 

But the core of Article 1 may be the way the Administration involved the Pentagon in this selling spree. Not to put too fine a point on it, what Rumsfeld ordered the Pentagon to do was illegal.

The Pentagon military analyst propaganda program was revealed in an April 20, 2002, New York Times article. The program illegally involved “covert attempts to mold opinion through the undisclosed use of third parties.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recruited 75 retired military officers and gave them talking points to deliver on Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC, and according to the New York Times report, which has not been disputed by the Pentagon or the White House, “Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon.”

According to the Pentagon’s own internal documents, the military analysts were considered “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who would deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.” In fact, they did deliver the themes and the messages but did not reveal that the Pentagon had provided them with their talking points. Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and Fox News military analyst described this as follows: “It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.’”

Congress has restricted annual appropriations bills since 1951 with this language: “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.”

A March 21, 2005, report by the Congressional Research Service states that “publicity or propaganda” is defined by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to mean either (1) self-aggrandizement by public officials, (2) purely partisan activity, or (3) “covert propaganda.”

These concerns about “covert propaganda” were also the basis for the GAO’s standard for determining when government-funded video news releases are illegal:

“The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the viewing audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual — the essential fact of attribution is missing.”

 

 The only possible legal excuse for any of this – and it’s abhorrent to democracy – would be if the Addington/Yoo/Cheney doctrine of the “unitary executive” (a term Addington, who has been defending it and advocating for it for years, in an orgy of temporizing told Congress this week he wasn’t “familiar with”), a definition of presidential power in which there are no restrictions or limits, the constitution notwithstanding, was accepted as law.

It isn’t.

In fact, it is patently unConstitutional on its face. NO president can assume such powers under any conditions except internal anarchy or civil rebellion, and even then it would be subject to judicial and/or legislative review, both of which Addington/Yoo/Cheney rejects.

While this is not the strongest of the Articles, Kucinich is building a case and the illegal bare-faced lying as well as the illegal use of the Pentagon to spread those lies is a good, solid place to start.

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Gen Taguba Calls Bush a War Criminal

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I wonder if Alex Koppelman thinks this is “newsworthy”?

The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing “war crimes” and called for those responsible to be held to account.

The remarks by retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba came in a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices.

“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Taguba wrote. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Taguba, whose 2004 investigation documented chilling abuses at Abu Ghraib, is thought to be the most senior official to have accused the administration of war crimes.

“The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture,” he wrote.

Being accused by a general in your own army of committing war crimes, the same general who investigated the abuses to begin with? Is that news, Alex? Let’s see….

Nope. I guess it isn’t “new”. Since the accusations have been made for years, Alex can safely ignore it. As, in fact, he did.

Sometimes I think that if Bush/Cheney ever is impeached or goes on trial for what they’ve done, a good case could be made that the US press ought to be named accessories before, after, and during the fact. 

This report should be investigated by Congress, of course, and should lead to Bush’s impeachment if he’s found guilty. Neither will likely happen. Why not? Because politics trumps both justice and our national interest.

Written by Mick

June 19, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Salon Columnist Thinks Impeachment “Not Newsworthy”

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Last week Dennis Kucinich presented 35 articles of impeachment against Bush on the floorm ofm the House. They were carefully researched and fully sourced, yet the news media refused to cover the event, using the excuse that as there was nothing new there, in the phrase made infamous lately by Salon’s Alex Koppelman , “It isn’t newsworthy.” Apparently a small firestorm resulted and Koppelman attempted to clarify a few things a couple of days ago. From Koppelman’s original post (watch your gag reflex):

Some liberals in the blogosphere are complaining about the dearth of coverage of Kucinich’s resolution. I have to disagree — as I’ve pointed out before, when discussing complaints of liberal bias from the right, the media is in the business of covering news. This barely qualifies; if it deserves mention in the mainstream media at all, it certainly doesn’t deserve to be accorded the status of something big and breaking. I’m sorry, but the action of a lone congressman who’s widely considered something of a laughingstock, especially when it’s clear that action will never come to anything, just isn’t especially newsworthy.

Yup, that’s our vaunted national press. And this is in Salon, one nof the few outlets where progressives can expect to be able to read about things like this. But even Salon thinks “it’s not newsworthy” because Nancy Pelosi won’t allow the bill of impeachment to reach the floor of the House for purely political reasons. In any other country at any other time about any other president, the press would be all over this like a cheap suit whether Nancy agreed or not. Within moments of Koppelman’s posting of that first self-justification, his readers showed they understood more about what journalism is supposed to be about than Koppelman.

 

You’re right

The news here isn’t that Kucinich has formally accused Shrub of high crimes and misdemeanors but that Shrub has been committing high crimes and misdemeanors and everybody knows it and yet no one will call him to account for them.

A Right WIng Blog, hidden deep inside Salon, that’s NEWS!

The impeachment of President Clinton did the Republicans little good politically (They just won eight years in the White House with a subnormal candidate)

…and impeaching Bush now might very well diminish the substantial advantage Democrats currently have with voters.

(Don’t start counting that Democratic advantage too soon, there is a big split among women who think Hillary got the shaft)

Some liberals in the blogosphere are complaining about the dearth of coverage of Kucinich’s resolution.

I have to disagree — as I’ve pointed out before, when discussing complaints of liberal bias from the right, the media is in the business of covering news.

(I turned off NBC last night when they opened their program with weather,weather,weather. It’s summer time, and they don’t do substantive reporting during the summer, yada yada. Since when did the MSM ever do its job, since 2001?)

This barely qualifies; if it deserves mention in the mainstream media at all (judgemental, badly judgemental on your part)

but the action of a lone congressman who’s widely considered something of a laughingstock (He ran for President, and received consideration. Is Ron Paul a laughing stock, Ross Perot?? Prejudicial and judgemental.

Take a vacation Alex, you don’t do news during the summer. Everyone knows that.

you are probably right that it doesnt matter…

But the thing that seems so unfair is if there was a Democrat in the oval office, and a fringe far right republican was presenting articles of impeachment for even the most ridiculous reasons, it would be HUGE news!

 

 Alex felt somewhat…misunderstood, if not abused, thus the “clarification”. But watch out! It doesn’t help.

First of all, I didn’t take a position on whether Bush deserves to be impeached, and I’m not doing so now either. I just took a position on whether Kucinich’s introduction of articles of impeachment was newsworthy. Second, other than the specific action, there was nothing new in what Kucinich did. “I don’t think there’s anything in there that hasn’t been previously disclosed,” he happily admitted to me. In fact, all of the information in the 35 articles of impeachment offered by Kucinich (with the possible exception, Kucinich said, of some legal theories about the application of international law) had been previously disclosed and widely discussed; in some case, the public disclosure dated back years. 

Oh. So Koppelman didn’t cover the Clinton impeachment because it was all old news that had been around for years, is that right? 

Well, Koppelman wasn’t around then but one doubts he would be all that reluctant because, you know, an impeachment that might happen is news but an impeachment that won’t happen isn’t even worth discussing the merits of.

The transparency of this bullshit is startling. There are only two possible explanations:

  1. Either Koppelman is so lame he can’t think up anything better or, even scarier,
  2. Koppelman really believes what he’s saying, that in order for an impeachment to be news there has to be something in it that people (read: Beltway pundits) don’t already know and therefore haven’t yet dismissed as “kooky”.
That’s scary because it shows how deep into the muscle of the news media conservative attitudes have driven. Tim Russert, Liz Bumiller, Judith Miller, Charles Gibson, Michael Gordon, Brian Williams, and dozens of other reporters and news broadcasters have all been quoted as saying, in one form or another, that journalists aren’t there to investigate but only to report the news, which they interpret in their lazy way, as “Ask questions and copy down the answers”. Russert went so far as to suggest that if a reporter challenged the statement of a govt official, he was breaking a cardinal rule by making himself the story! Koppelman is, exactly as commenter Jeffrey Harrison said and in the Russert mode, deliberately missing the main story – two of them, actually. The first in the lack of a call for accountability despite Bush’s proven high crimes and misdemeanors, and second, why won’t there be an impeachment? But of course he’s already decided he knows the answer to the latter and his tone would suggest he agrees with it.
There’s basically no chance this will go anywhere. Kucinich offered a similar resolution against Vice President Cheney last year, and that is currently stuck in the House Judiciary Committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that impeachment is “off the table,” and with good reason. The impeachment of President Clinton did the Republicans little good politically, and impeaching Bush now might very well diminish the substantial advantage Democrats currently have with voters. Plus, Bush has little more than half a year remaining in his term.
 

Written by Mick

June 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Tell Conyers to Do His Job, Start the Impeachment Hearings!

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We’re not the only ones urging you to call/write/badger Conyers.


 
(From Representative Press via uggabugga commenter Tom)

Written by Mick

June 17, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Posted in John Conyers

Gore Vidal On the Articles of Impeachment

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There is probably no blunter critic of the American Right, neoconservatives, and, of course, George W Bush than Gore Vidal. For 50 years he has been skewering their lies, pretensions, cruelties, greed, and crass manipulations, as well as attempting to document their attacks on the constitution and everything America used to mean. In his 80’s, he’s still doing it.

On the Articles:

As I listened to Rep. Kucinich invoke the great engine of impeachment—he listed some 35 crimes by these two faithless officials—we heard, like great bells tolling, the voice of the Constitution itself speak out ringingly against those who had tried to destroy it.

Although this is the most important motion made in Congress in the 21st century, it was also the most significant plea for a restoration of the republic, which had been swept to one side by the mad antics of a president bent on great crime.

On the US media’s lack of interest in Kucinich’s bill:

as I listened with awe to Kucinich, I realized that no newspaper in the U.S., no broadcast or cable network, would pay much notice to the fact that a highly respected member of Congress was asking for the president and vice president to be tried for crimes which were carefully listed by Kucinich in his articles requesting impeachment.

But then I have known for a long time that the media of the U.S. and too many of its elected officials give not a flying fuck for the welfare of this republic, and so I turned, as I often do, to the foreign press for a clear report of what has been going on in Congress.

On Cheney and the Second Gulf War:

Naturally, I do not want to sound hard, but let me point out that even a banana Republican would be distressed to discover how much of our nation’s treasury has been siphoned off by our vice president in the interest of his Cosa Nostra company, Halliburton, the lawless gang of mercenaries set loose by this administration in the Middle East.

He’s barely scratching the surface.

(Via Avedon Carol)

Written by Mick

June 14, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Posted in The Kucinich Bill

An Open Letter to John Conyers

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An Open Letter to Rep John Conyers, Chair, House Judiciary Committee

2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
p/202-225-3951

Dear John,

You must be more aware than most what a long, sad time the Bush Era represents. Lord knows you’ve investigated enough of it. It should be clear to you after reading Mr Kucinich’s articles of impeachment against President Bush that there have been serious breaches of ethical and lawful conduct by his administration and at his order throughout both his terms that certainly deserve consideration as “high crimes and misdemeanors”. In fact, no president we have ever had has so often and with such contempt violated the Contitution as has President Bush.

I realize that there are political risks involved, that the right wing will scream “Witch Hunt!” and accuse you of playing politics, that the Blue Dog conservatives in your own party will claim that it’s all a waste of time when Bush is leaving office soon anyway. What you need to understand is that impeachment isn’t even about Bush. It’s about the future of the country, the future of our democracy, the rule of law.

We have recent history to guide us in this matter. There was the pardoning of Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford which was supposed to “heal the wounds of the nation” so we could all “get past the unpleasantness”. There was the lack of any accountability in the Iran/Contra affair because Reagan was “too popular” and anyway it was over, the country needed to “heal” after the unpleasantness of the trials of the more minor figures like Ollie North. What did these two incidents teach us?

That the effort to slide past accountability for major transgressions against the Constitution didn’t “heal” anything or anybody. Instead they kept the wounds open, festering. Nixon and Reagan, Poindexter, et al almost literally got away with murder. The pardons left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, as if a bite of fish had begun to rot the moment it touched your tongue. Good people in both parties may have breathed a sigh of relief that the immediate wound was bandaged but they gradually became aware that beneath the bandage pus continued to ooze, the infection continued to poison us.

And look at the result. The same people involved in Iran/Contra, free of punishment or banishment, were invited back into the government by President Bush and promptly returned to the same lying, the same trickery and deceit, the same anti-Constitutional, anti-democratic actions that resulted in Iran/Contra 25 years ago.

A refusal to punish criminal acts is tantamount to an invitation to perpetrate them again. And again. And again. The nation will not survive another Bush. I’m not sure it’s going to survive this one.

You must be aware of how little regard anyone has in the Bush Administration of what Congress does or wants. If this were Russia, Bush would have dissolved both houses of the legislature long ago. They have contempt for you and everything you represent. You no doubt think you’re “rising above” petty political considerations by refusing to debate the articles of impeachment, not lowering yourself to their level. But in fact you are kowtowing to them, doing just what they want you to do.

Because without impeachment, without accountability, they know they can return in the next Republican administration and screw us – and our democracy – yet again.

The crimes of the Bush/Cheney Administration are so serious and so numerous that it is folly to let them slide. If the Constitution isn’t worth protecting, isn’t worth a little political risk-taking when it has been under such an assault for so long, then what is? The Constitution is America. If it can be treated as a disposable dishrag by a would-be tinpot dictator without any consequences accruing to the perp, then it is what Bush/Cheney have been treating it as if it is: a worthless piece of paper that can be ignored by the powerful any time it gets in their way.

That is not the America I grew up in, not the America most of us believe in. I don’t want my grandchildren to have to suffer through and perhaps even run from an America with laws no one thinks are worth protecting and defending when they’re attacked, overthrown. Most important, it is not the America the nation as a whole wants you to leave us with. If the risk is name-calling, what of it if the stakes are the Constitution itself, the very meaning and purpose of America?

You have nothing to fear and everything to gain by opening debate on Kucinich’s articles of impeachment. The country needs to “heal” but the only thing that will heal us is the sense that justice has been done. If you continue to stonewall even the possibility of impeaching the one president in our history who has richly deserved it, who has put us in the most deadly danger to serve his own selfish ends, who will then have escaped the justice only you can offer, then you are the one who will be responsible for infecting the wound. The sense that the Democrats have let the country down – again – will be pervasive, inescapable, if you want only to think about the politics of it, and you will have alienated the base that has kept you afloat up til now.

Is it worth it? Is silence worth it? Inaction when action is called for, cowardice when courage is needed? I know you have the courage, you’ve demonstrated it before. Please demonstrate it again.

Don’t let the Constitution down.

 

With great respect and some hope,

Mick Arran

Written by Mick

June 11, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Why Won’t Pelosi Impeach Bush?

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It may be serendipity that Mark’s finished piece arrived today for last night Dennis Kucinich stood on the House floor and read 35 articles of impeachment against George W Bush.

“Resolved,” Kucinich then began, “that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate. …

“In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power…”

The first article Kucinich presented, and many that followed, regarded the war in Iraq: “Article 1 – Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq.”

The question, bluntly, isn’t “Will this effort go anywhere?” It won’t (Mark’s right about that) and everybody knows it. The question is, “Why won’t it go anywhere?” and that’s a much harder question to answer.

As you know by now, I don’t buy the standard progressive excuse that “the Democrats are cowards”. Their actions and statements betray far too much calculation for that. That doesn’t stop libs from continuing to comfort themselves with the theory (it’s way too uncomfortable to consider the alternative that it might be deliberate and the result of an inherent agreement by the Dem leadership with GOP goals and agendas). Just today, Glenn Greenwald, in characterizing the Dems’ behavior around the FISA debate, wrote:

[T]he hallmark of the Democratic Party leadership: they are afraid of looking weak, and the way they try to solve that problem is by being guided by their fears and allowing themselves to be bullied into complying with the President’s instructions. They actually still think that being bullied and always being afraid to take a stand will make them look strong. They have yet to figure out that it is that craven behavior which makes them look weak, and appropriately so, since it is weak.

But even Glenn may be beginning to get it at last; earlier he said this:

The reason the President, the GOP and the Rockefeller-led Senate Democrats won’t do that is because they don’t want to fix the problem of the expiring PAA orders. If they did want to, they could fix that problem in one day by extending their deadline. They want those PAA orders to expire so that they can exploit their looming expiration to scare the country — and, most of all, bully Congressional Democrats — into passing the Rockefeller/Cheney Senate FISA bill.

(emphasis in the original)

Which means that he has at least accepted the idea that the conservative Blue Dogs and corporate-owned stooges like Jay Rockefeller are selling us down the river on purpose. That’s something, anyway. What he – and most of the rest of the progressive blogosphere – have yet to come to terms with is that the sell-out is located primarily at the leadership level of the party. BD’s and CS’s couldn’t wield the influence they do as easily as they do if the leadership didn’t want them to or at the very least allow them to because there would be some benefit to them.

Which brings us back to impeachment. The benefit to the country of allowing the serious crimes of the Bush/Cheney cabal to go unlabeled let alone unpunished is nil. In fact, as I wrote this past Sunday (and have written a number of times before), the dangers are severe. If the Democrats were scared, they would still be talking about impeachment even if they didn’t do it (they loove to talk about doing things they have no intention of doing – it makes the base feel good and requires no sacrifice from them). Yet they aren’t talking about it. In fact they’re denigrating anybody who does. Kucinich, for example, is considered a kook. Why this silence? Why this fear, if that’s what it is?

If the fear is political – which is what everyone seems to believe despite all evidence to the contrary – it doesn’t make much sense. The benefits could have been enormous. A lame president withntghe lowest approval ratings in history being proven on the floor of the Congress to be a liar, manipulator and disrespector of the Constitution he swore to uphold and protect? Where’s the downside? In an election year impeachment proceedings might be a distraction to the Democratic campaign but would be devastating to the Republican, especially since McCain is running as George W Bush Jr.

Then there’s the disgust factor. The GOP is currently on the edge of becoming the most hated political party ever. Why hesitate to push them over that edge, send them careening down that cliff? Where’s the downside, Nancy?
Why won’t you do it? Are you afraid of blowback? Are you afraid a country in the dark, a country under ominous clouds, a country of people soaked with scandals, dripping with them, hopelessly tired of them, wouldn’t countenance yet another series, only this time not of corruption but of anti-democratic autocracy, the attempt to create a dictatorship?

Is that what you call an excuse for letting high crimes and misdemeanors pass without a murmur of protest from the so-called “opposition party”? How do you think that’s going to look to history? Or don’t you care? How are you going to feel when a resusitated GOP comes flying back for more? Or don’t you care?

What’s with you, Pelosi? Are you trying to prove that Rush is right when he calls the Democrats opportunistic cowards who don’t care about the good of the nation? If so, you’re going about it the right way.

Written by Mick

June 10, 2008 at 10:47 pm

Posted in Democrats, Nancy Pelosi