The Bush/Cheney Impeachment Papers

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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

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

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