This week, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) took to the House floor to urge the House Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment hearings against U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for 'high crimes and misdemeanors.' Wexler has the signatures of nearly 190,000 citizens who agree. [To see a video of his presentation, click here.]
People have been calling for the impeachment, of both Cheney and Bush, for YEARS. The blogosphere is full of empassioned rhetoric and emotional diatribes, begging for some sort of action by those who can actually institute such a process. How come it never goes anywhere?
Now, before I'm accused of "Bush bashing" or harboring lefty-type sympathies (in lieu of examining the evidence, it's so much easier to hurl a label), I want to know myself: (1) if there actually is a legal case for impeachment, and (2) are there verifiable facts to back it up.
Okay, what are the alleged charges? "Warrantless surveillance, misleading Congress on the reasons for the Iraq war, violating laws against torture, and subverting the Constitution’s separation of powers"--let's start with those four. Can a legal case be made against either Bush or Cheney? Yes, according to Michael Ratner, Bill Goodman and other experts at the Center for Constitutional Rights. [See Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush]
Oops, sorry, folks, you gotta buy their report. But here're some freebies. These people did all the work of assembling the information and laying it out (and quite convincingly, I might add. You kind of can't really argue with facts or claim you didn't say something when proof exists that you did):
The Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq
The Case for Impeachment: A Bill of Particulars
Laws Violated by George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney--Impeachable Violations Documented
Synopsis of Articles of Impeachment Against Richard B. Cheney, H.R. 333, with supporting documents.
So I guess my question is--if it's true, if it really is true, that Bush and Cheney have indeed broken the law and committed what appears to be impeachable offenses under the U.S. Constitution--why are they being allowed to get away with it?
Notice I said "allowed." Sometimes people stay in abusive relationships and "allow" certain circumstances and situations to continue because they can't do anything about it, or because they fear retribution, or because they stand to lose everything (a job, their reputation, a way of life), or simply because they feel they have no other option. Granted, the downtrodden, the habitually marginalized, and those weak and physically or mentally abused, whether individually or as a group, may truly be incapable of affecting immediate or meaningful change but we're talking about a whole country here--the U.S.--that for whatever reason, is allowing its president and vice president to usurp the power and certain influential entities to dictate how things are going to be. The constitution begins with the words, "We the People." That's "We, the PEOPLE." Not, we, the Prez and VP. Not we, the corporations. Not we, the military-industrial complex. Not we, the pharmaceutical lobby. Not we, the "haves".
It's not that nobody cares. It's not that people don't try--to change things, to call for accountability. It's just that, for whatever reason, certain entities are being "allowed" to ransack the coffers and trash the laws and no one seems able to stop them. Individually, you can't diss the prez cuz that invites the basher label. If you group together publicly to profess concern, access to those who make the decisions is strictly controlled and you're likely to be rounded up and secured in specially designated "zones" (cowhands this way; cattle... to the pens). You can call for accountability but hey, good luck in getting anyone to listen or actually open hearings on it. And even if you do, a multitude of those opposed to upsetting the status quo will quickly quash your most earnest efforts.
So what's a person to do? Wait. Multiply that by 190,000 persons. No, wait, multiply that by several million more. Impeach the vipe? Impeach the prez? How DARE you! Not a chance. Won't happen. "They" won't let it.
(What if some of the theys are us?) And we allow this because ... because ....
If somebody figures out the answer to this, I'd like to know. While I may be the citizen of one country, living in another, this issue should be of concern to all citizens of the world, no matter where one is, because we civilized humans supposedly enact laws to protect and regulate ourselves, and governments should not be telling us: "Do as we say; never mind what we do."
Update - 1/18/2008: Bush Pardons Himself Against Potential War Crimes.
Update - 1/23/2008: Kucinich Plans to Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against Bush Jan. 28