It has now become clear that President Bush lied to the American people in order to promote a war. That war continues and has already led to the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians, hundreds of U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqi soldiers. In truth, Bush’s lies are more than just lies. They are high crimes and the President should now be subject to impeachment.
There are those who say that the President’s current popularity or the Republican majority in the House and Senate preclude the possibility of his impeachment. Perhaps they are underestimating the moral integrity of our Republican congressmen. In fact, some of them have already publicly stated their opinions on this subject. They did so in February of 1999 when they served as Impeachment Trial Managers for the Senate Impeachment Trial of former President Clinton. Let’s look at what they had to say then:
Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois):
“There is a visibility factor in the president's public acts, and those which betray a trust or reveal contempt for the law are hard to sweep under the rug...They reverberate, they ricochet all over the land and provide the worst possible example for our young people.”
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin):
“The truth is still the truth, and a lie is still a lie, and the rule of law should apply to everyone, no matter what excuses are made by the president's defenders…We have done so because of our devotion to the rule of law and our fear that if the president does not suffer the legal and constitutional consequences of his actions, the impact of allowing the president to stand above the law will be felt for generations to come…laws not enforced are open invitations for more serious and more criminal behavior.”
Steve Chabot (R-Ohio):
“It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter.”
Steve Buyer (R- Indiana):
“I have also heard some senators from both sides of the aisle state publicly: I think these offenses rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, to state publicly that you believe that high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred but for some reason you have this desire not to remove the president -- that desire, though, does not square with the law, the Constitution, and the Senate's precedents for removing federal judges for similar offenses.”
Rep. Lindsey Graham (R - South Carolina, Now Senator):
“The president of the United States sets atop of the legal pyramid. If there's reasonable doubt about his ability to faithfully execute the laws of the land, our future would be better off if that individual is removed. And let me tell you where it all comes down to me. If you can go back and explain to your children and your constituents how you can be truthful and misleading at the same time, good luck.”
These, of course, are just a few examples. It is likely that most of those who voted to impeach Clinton are on record as to the high ethical standards they were following. Certainly, they must follow these same standards when considering Bush’s egregious lies and the consequences of those lies. It is time to draft the Articles of Impeachment and let those who oppose them state why this case deserves more leniency than was given to former President Clinton.
Steve Pitelli is a physician and peace activist living on the Central Coast of California. He can be reached at NoBushWar@aol.com