Impeachment: It Still Matters

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The Brattleboro Reformer (Vermont)

Impeachment: It Still Matters

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Editorial

Last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, again introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush.

They were referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where no action is likely to be taken.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., strongly supported the impeachment of President Bush three years ago.

In an interview with Harpers magazine in 2005, Conyers was asked why impeachment was important.

"To take away the excuse that we didn't know," Conyers said at the time. "So that two or four or 10 years from now, if somebody should ask, 'Where were you, Conyers, and where was the United States Congress?' when the Bush administration declared the Constitution inoperative and revoked the license of parliamentary government, none of the company now present can plead ignorance or temporary insanity, can say that 'somehow it escaped our notice' that the President was setting himself up as a supreme leader exempt from the rule of law."

In 2005, when the Republican Party was crowing about a permanent shift in American politics that meant conservatives would control government for decades to come, Conyers was in the minority.

He couldn't get any one to pay attention to the offenses committed by the Bush administration.

But then came the Downing Street Memos, which revealed how the Iraq war was sold under false pretenses. And then came Hurricane Katrina, and the nation watched how the Bush administration left New Orleans to die. And the weight of the accumulated lies by the administration grew heavier and heavier.

Taken together, all this was how the Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 elections. Yet one of the first acts of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when she became Speaker of the House, was to declare that impeachment "was off the table."

The evidence continues to accumulate of the lies that were told to justify an invasion of Iraq, of the war crimes and constitutional abuses committed in the course of the so-called war on terror, of the subversion of the Constitution by the Bush administration in so many different ways.

Yet Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership in Congress want no part of impeachment. They still think impeachment is a distraction. They still think it is unnecessary, and could hurt the party's chances in November. They still think that it's better to run out the clock and let the Bush administration slink out of town.

We disagree. What Conyers said in 2005, when he was powerless to act upon his words, still holds true today, when he finally has the power to start the impeachment process.

This is about history, the historical record and ensuring the truth is known. This is about putting the blame of this nation's worst foreign policy disaster solely on the shoulders of the president who created it. This is about letting future presidents know that the rule of law still means something and that the Constitution applies to everyone.

This is not about vindictiveness and partisan politics. The acts committed by the Bush administration rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that our founders said justifies the impeachment of public officials. And if the Democrats refuse to act upon the articles of impeachment, they are no better than the administration in upholding their oaths of office. They are co-conspirators, and history will not judge them kindly for putting politics above the Constitution.

© 2008 The Reformer

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