New Hampshire Rep Has Made Impeaching Bush, Cheney Her Mission

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The Nashua Telegraph (New Hampshire)

New Hampshire Rep Has Made Impeaching Bush, Cheney Her Mission

by
Paul Landau

CONCORD - Rep. Betty Hall, D-Brookline, had plenty of company Monday in urging the state legislature to impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.0415 01 1

There was Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers revealing the government's decision making behind the Vietnam War. He flew to New Hampshire at Hall's request to attend the impeachment rally in support of Hall's legislation.

"If they don't vote this bill in, they are not fulfilling the oaths they took as state representatives," Ellsberg said of the state's elected leaders.

"Impeachment is a tool that has not been used as often in our history as it should have been," remarked Ellsberg. "Congress is not going to do this on their own for whatever their reasons may be. This is a call to them to let them know people think an investigation should occur. There are things this administration needs to answer for."

Ellsberg was joined by left-wing activist and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark in urging New Hampshire lawmakers to hold the executive branch accountable for the war in Iraq among other things.

Along with those liberal heavy-hitters were John Nichols, Robert Bowman, Phil Burk, John Nirenberg, Jon Kaminski and Dan DeWalt, all backing Hall's House Resolution 24 that calls for Bush and Cheney's impeachment. The resolution, set to be vetted at the Statehouse on Wednesday, is based on rules outlined in the Jefferson Manual of Parliamentary Practice, which states that the legislature of a state may initiate impeachment proceedings.

Bowman, former director of advanced space programs development for the Air Force during the Ford and Carter administrations, argued for the need to impeach.

"Never in our history has there been such a strong case for impeachment. The number of crimes committed by Bush and Cheney is staggering," he said.

"Impeachment would send a message to the people of the world that the American people do not support the evil that has been done in our name."

For Hall, the 87-year-old Democratic representative from Brookline, this is a process that she takes very seriously.

"I had a chance to stand for something back in 1973 when Eugene Daniel pushed for the same thing in regards to the Nixon White House, and I did nothing. That experience has haunted me ever since. It's time for me to take my stand and start the discussion on this issue," she said Monday.

"A lot of Americans are skittish about the term impeachment, but it is an important tool our forefathers left for us," Hall said. "It is a means of cleansing, something that can be used to find out the truth.

Mary Ellen Martin, who served as Nashua's state representative for 16 years, also attended the rally to offer her support for the legislation.

"What people need to understand is this is just the first step in the process," Martin said. "We are simply hoping this will open some eyes to the need for this investigation to occur."

"This resolution is about the search for truth and the importance of accountability in our government. We can't allow a new administration to come in thinking that what this previous one did is acceptable."

With elections in November however, the question remains what kind of impact the resolution would have, even if it were sent to Congress.

For Hall, the answer is simple.

"We have to set a precedent for our nation that we will not stand for this kind of administration in the future. It has to start now. Open government depends on free discussion. People need to see that the right thing is being done, and I believe this is the right thing to do."

While many supporters came out to Concord on Monday, critics are skeptical that the resolution will garner enough votes on Wednesday.

"I don't know if we'll prevail, but you never know. Anything can happen," Hall said.

"I'm not entirely sure it will happen, but it's worth doing," Ellsberg said. "This is a chance for some hearings with some real teeth to them. It might be late to start this process, but it's important that it's started nonetheless."

Pass or fail Wednesday, Hall and her supporters see a silver lining in the process.

"It will be worthwhile if it wakes people up to what's going on," Martin said. "It's certainly not a victory for anyone if the resolution is voted down, but if this can raise people's awareness about the importance of free government, then that is certainly something to be proud of."

Hall is just glad to have a chance to revisit the mistakes of her past.

"I'm 87-years-old; I have that sense of history now. I feel like this is something that could be really significant. I've regretted not standing up and raising my voice back in 1973 ever since. To have a chance to sort of make amends almost 30 years later means a lot."

"Win or lose this could have an enormous impact on how our state legislature looks at things," she said.

"The important thing is that this is calling for an open debate, and as long as we continue to discuss significant issues like this, I think we'll find we do the right thing more often than not."

Paul Landau can be reached at plandau@nashuatelegraph.com.

© The Nashua Telegraph

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