WASHINGTON - November 6 -Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) offered a privileged resolution on the House floor today, that brought a vote on articles of impeachment against the Vice President, Richard B. Cheney. Below is his statement, as prepared for the press.
When I introduced H Res. 333, I was challenged for being alone. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have since petitioned the House of Representatives to demand impeachment of the Vice President. And 22 members of Congress have cosponsored H. Res. 333, the Articles of Impeachment against the Vice President that I introduced on April 24, of this year.
Despite this groundswell of opposition, the Vice President continues to violate the U.S. Constitution by insisting the power of the executive branch is supreme. Congress has been unable to hold the Vice President accountable. The Vice President continues to use his office to advocate for a continued occupation of Iraq and prod our nation into a belligerent stance against Iran. If the Vice President is successful, his actions will ensure decades of disastrous consequences.
The Vice President continues to push the United States into a preemptive war against Iran, therefore we must impeach the Vice President before he prods America into a third war in the Middle East.
The Vice President continues to selectively pick intelligence and selectively use facts in a manner that does not portray the complete picture.
“… obviously the big issue is the fact that they are working aggressively to develop the capacity to enrich uranium, and the end of that process will be the development of nuclear weapons.” [Interview of Vice President Cheney. Larry Kudlow, Kudlow & Company. October 26, 2007.]
The Vice President is also actively threatening Iran.
“The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences. The United States joins other nations in sending a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” [Speech by Vice President Cheney. Washington Institute for Near East Studies, October 21, 2007]
“The President has made it clear that we have taken no options off the table. It's the only responsible position for him to take.” [Speech by Vice President Cheney. World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. November 2, 2007]
The Vice President’s deception and threats are effective and they need to be confronted. A recent Zogby poll shows 53% of likely voters believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election. [http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1379]
The evidence that the Administration appears to be preparing for an attack against Iranian nuclear sites continues to grow. The Pentagon recently requested an upgrade to the stealth B2 bomber to enable it to deliver a 30,000 lb bomb designed to penetrate hardened bunkers. [CQ Today. 10/23/07. Item in War Request Stokes Fears of Iran Strike. John M. Donnelly.] Combining a stealth bomber with a bunker busting bomb is not germane to current military operations. This is clearly related to Iran. I believe that dropping a 30,000 lb bomb on nuclear research laboratories could create significant humanitarian and ecological problems that could imperil countless innocents.
The best option to prevent an unnecessary war with Iran is to impeach the Vice President. The Constitution gave Congress the power to impeach. It is the responsibility of Congress to restrain the Administration’s abuse of the war powers and impeach the Vice President before he prods the United States into another war.
Former U.S. Senator George McGovern laid out a standard to judge the necessity of impeachment proceedings. He said “When people ask if the United States can afford to place on trial the president, if the system can stand impeachment, my answer is, “Can we stand anything else?”
The Vice President’s undemocratic and destabilizing actions easily meet the high crimes and misdemeanors standard.
The framers of the Constitution also suggested any effort by the President or Vice President to deceive the nation in matters of war would warrant impeachment. For example, during debate in North Carolina to ratify the Constitution, James Iredell (later a member of the first U.S. Supreme Court), asserted that the President would be impeached for concealing "important intelligence" from the Senate in matters of foreign affairs, or for giving "false information to the Senate," which would persuade it to ratify a treaty favored by the President.
It is indisputable that the Vice President knowingly gave false information to Congress and the American public to lead us into war, thus I am asking Members of the United States Congress to impeach the Vice President to show their support for the Constitution, the American citizenry, and basic democratic values.
Let me highlight the key passages of this resolution:
Article I of this resolution charges the Vice President with purposely manipulating the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests.
This resolution is unique in that it lists the charges and furnishes the evidence for the impeachment of the Vice President. The evidence for Article I is summarized as follows:
(1)Several public statements are documented that show the Vice President actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
(2)Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq the Vice President was fully informed that no legitimate evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Vice President pressured the intelligence community to change their findings to enable the deception of the citizens and Congress of the United States.
(3) The Vice President's actions corrupted or attempted to corrupt the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, an intelligence document issued on October 1, 2002 and considered by Congress prior to the October 10, 2002 vote to authorize the use of force. The Vice President's actions prevented the necessary reconciliation of facts for the National Intelligence Estimate which resulted in a high number of dissenting opinions from technical experts in two federal agencies.
Article II of this resolution charges the Vice President with purposely manipulating the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of the U.S Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests.
The evidence for Article II is summarized as follows:
(1) Several public statements are documented that show the Vice President actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.
(2) Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq the Vice President was fully informed that no credible evidence existed of a working relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, a fact articulated in several official documents.
The Vice President subverted the national security interests of the United States by setting the stage for the loss of more than 3,800 United States service members; the loss of more than 1 million innocent Iraqi citizens since the U.S. invasion; the loss of approximately $500 billion in war costs which has increased our federal debt; the loss of military readiness within the United States Armed Services due to overextension, lack of training and lack of equipment; the loss of United States credibility in world affairs; and the decades of likely blowback created by the invasion of Iraq.
Article III of this resolution charges the Vice President with openly threatening aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and with the United State’s proven capability to carry out such threats of aggression, thus undermining the national security of the United States.
The evidence for Article III is summarized as follows:
(1) Several public statements are documented that show that despite no evidence that Iran has the intention or the capability of attacking the U.S. and despite the turmoil created by U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Vice President has openly threatened aggression against Iran.
(2) The Vice President, who repeatedly and falsely claimed to have had specific, detailed knowledge of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction capabilities, is no doubt fully aware of evidence that demonstrates Iran poses no real threat to the United States.
(3) The Vice President is fully aware of the actions taken by the United States toward Iran that are further destabilizing the world.
(4) In the last three years the Vice President has repeatedly threatened Iran. However, the Vice President is legally bound by the U.S. Constitution's adherence to international law that prohibits threats of use of force. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states, " … all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land." Article II, Section 4 of the U.N. Charter states, "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” Article 51 lays out the only exception, “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations…” Iran has not attacked the United States; therefore any threat against Iran by the United States is illegal.
The Vice President's deception upon the citizens and Congress of the United States that enabled the failed U.S. invasion of Iraq forcibly altered the rules of diplomacy such that the Vice President's recent belligerent actions toward Iran are destabilizing and counterproductive to the national security of the United States.
These articles of impeachment are not brought forth lightly. I have carefully weighed the options available to Members of Congress, and found this path the best available. The justifications used to lead our nation to war have been unquestionably disproved. Brave soldiers and innocent civilians have lost their lives in a war that the United States never should have initiated. The weight of the lies used to lead us war has grown heavier with each death. Now is the time for this Congress to examine the actions that led us into this war, just as we must work to bring our troops home. This resolution is a very serious matter and I urge the Committee on Judiciary to investigate and carefully consider this resolution.