in three dozen Vermont towns want Congress to begin an impeachment
probe of Pres. George W. Bush and Vice Pres. Dick Cheney.
towns, Clarendon and Dover, voted the measure down. Nearly a half dozen
towns agreed to not take up, or table, the resolution.
There are 251 towns in Vermont, but not all hold town meetings.
Horses feed outside their barn on a foggy day in Vermont, November 28, 2006. More than 20 Vermont towns passed resolutions on Tuesday seeking to impeach President Bush, while 13 towns in the tiny New England state called on Washington to bring U.S. troops back from Iraq. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
than a dozen towns passed measures calling for the immediate withdrawal
of troops from Iraq, and to care for them when they were back on U.S.
soil. Dover also rejected the troop measure.
The votes come
after a whirlwind, four-day tour of Vermont with antiwar icon Cindy
Sheehan and three Vermont Iraq War veterans, along with organizers of
the resolutions. Sheehan testified before a state Senate committee on
Friday, along with war supporters.
“I’m happy with it. I
think we’ve got a very good number of towns that have reported so far
and passing it, and it’s pretty overwhelming that didn’t pass. And,
just one that voted it down,” said Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington
lawyer who crafted the troop withdrawal resolution.
Selectman Dan DeWalt is the major organizer of the impeachment
resolutions. His effort has drawn global media attention and scorn.
Last year, six towns passed impeachment resolutions.
impeachment resolutions have passed so far in Bristol, Burke, Calais,
Craftsbury, Dummerston, East Montpelier, Greensboro, Guilford, Grafton,
Hartland, Jamaica, Jericho, Johnson, Marlboro, Middlebury, Montgomery,
Morristown, Newbury, Newfane, Peru, Plainfield, Putney, Richmond,
Rochester, Roxbury, St. Johnsbury, Springfield, Stannard, Sunderland,
Townshend, Tunbridge, Vershire, Warren, Westminster, Wilmington, and
Woodbury, according to organizers. Organizers based their information
on reports from people in each town.
DeWalt said organizers
will use these votes to urge state lawmakers to take up a measure in
the House calling for Bush's impeachment. The bill is currently in the
House Judiciary Committee.
"This is clearly not a cry of
protest, but the start of action — an impeachment insurrection that
will lead to the reclamation of our Constitution," said DeWalt.
"Vermonters are angry and energized. We are taking the power that is
sovreign in us and will use it to restore the Constitution. We will
show the world that America has not sunk to the depths of violent
madness that is the Bush administration."
Several towns voted to not take up the measure: Bakersfield, Londonderry, Dorset, Stamford, and Walden.
22 towns approved a measure calling for troops to be withdrawn from
Iraq: Bristol, Calais, Cornwall, East Montpelier, Greensboro, Guilford,
Hardwick, Jamaica, Jericho, Johnson, Marshfield, Middlebury, Newfane,
Peru, Plainfield, Plymouth, Rockingham, Roxbury, St. Johnsbury,
Townshend, Waldon, and Woodbury.
According to a Guardian
reader, in Pomfret the impeachment resolution was moved under “other
business,” but a voter countered with an amendment not to vote on the
resolution because many of the town's residents had already left the
meeting. Voters agreed and voted to table the resolution was 43 to 28.
In this context the troop resolution was not moved. Supporters of the
measure, however, will raise the issue again.
where Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, is the town moderator voters
approved both the impeachment and troop withdrawal measures. Douglas,
ironically, was the chairman of Bush’s 2000 election committee and 2004
reelection committee in Vermont.
Ellen McKay, a backer of the
impeachment measure, said some members of the Middlebury Selectboard
and Douglas tried to limit debate to one minute per person. Douglas
also questioned whether something that was not warned should warrant a
“But, there were a lot of people in Middlebury who
understood what other business was going to mean and this huge issue
for our community,” said McKay, who says the Iraq War, proportionally,
has cost Middlebury $8 million to fund the war.
In Dover, the impeachment topic sparked a heated debate.
do not want my senators or representatives for the next two years
trying to bring down this president. I want them to focus on bringing
the best possible outcome to the chaos that is now in Iraq," said Laura
Sabilia, a school board members and sister of four brothers currently
in the armed forces. Sabilia trembled as she spoke, and at times had
tears running down her face. "I do not believe that demanding that our
troops come home now will help and I will not debate this with anyone.”
A supporter countered that the impeachment resolution wasn't about the war, but the Constitution.
have to stand up and respect the constitution that our [founding
fathers] stand for. Our troops will not come home during their time in
office, and as far as impeachment goes, it only means they are
investigated and whatever happens of it will happen," said Sue Rand.
"It’s not about removing Bush and Cheney but investigating."
Gloria Levine, the person who brought up the resolutions up at town meeting, was dumfounded by the rejection.
not disappointed, I’m just absolutely dumbfounded at how the things
said today came in light of the facts that nine more military personnel
were killed in Iraq," said Levine.
In Jericho, home of
Democratic House Speaker Gaye Symington, who is not supportive of the
impeachment measure, voters approved the impeachment resolution 88-67,
as well as the troop withdrawal measure.
Leas, and other
backers, hope the impeachment and troop withdrawal measures will help
to focus Vermont’s congressional delegation on ending the war, and
investigating Bush and Cheney for what h they believe were deliberate
lies to get the nation into the war.
“This war is going to
continue for another year or two years if this funding request is
approved, and we don’t have confidence that they will vote to end the
war,” said Leas. “It’s time for the people to get involved and the
people have to push what may not be on their agenda — that’s our
The Vermont Legislature recently approved
measures in both the House and Senate calling for an immediate and
orderly withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
In Stamford, voters
tabled both articles. Helen Fields, a co-organizer of the Stamford
effort to get the resolutions on the warning, was disappointed, but
hopes to bring the issue up again in the near future.
have parents in our town with [sons in Baghdad] that are at risk, so
our town has a lot of people that very much want this war to be over
and don’t quite understand why their children’s lives are at stake,"
said Fields. "It’s hard for me to say that this vote was a vote for or
against the articles. I think this vote was for or against discussion
on a very debatable topic. People have very strong feelings whether or
not the president should be impeached and we have very strong feelings
about pulling out of a war that many soldiers and soldiers' families
have made the ultimate sacrifices for."
Here is the text of each of the two resolutions:
Whereas George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have:
1. deliberately misled the nation about the threat from Iraq in order to justify a war,
2. condoned the torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention and US law,
3. approved illegal electronic surveillance of American citizens without a warrant, and,
these actions have undermined our Constitutional system of government,
damaged the reputation of America, and threatened our national security,
the voters of the town of _____________________ call upon the U.S.
House of Representatives to investigate these charges, and if the
investigation supports the charges, vote to impeach George W. Bush and
Richard B. Cheney as provided in the Constitution of the United States
of America. This resolution shall be signed by the Town Clerk and
forwarded to both the Speaker and the Clerk of the US House of
Representatives, and Representative John Conyers of the House Judiciary
SOLDIERS HOME NOW RESOLUTION
"Shall the voters of the town of ____________________ advise the
President, Congress and Vermont’s state and federal office holders that
_____________________ and its citizens strongly support the men and
women serving in all branches of the United States Armed Forces in Iraq
and believe that the best way to support them is to bring each and
every one of them home now and take good care of them when they get
©2007 Vermont Guardian