Richard Cohen, the finely-calibrated syndicated columnist for the
Washington Post, wrote a column on October 28, 2004 which commenced with
this straight talk: "I do not write the headlines for my columns.
Someone else does. But if I were to write the headline for one, it would
be 'Impeach George Bush'."
Cohen stated the obvious then. Bush and Cheney had plunged the nation
into war "under false pretenses." Exploiting the public trust in the
Presidency, Bush had persuaded, over the uncritical mass media, day
after day, before the war, a majority of the American people that Saddam
Hussein possessed chemical, biological weapons and nuclear weapons
programs, was connected to al-Qaeda and 9/11 and was a threat to the
These falsehoods, Cohen wrote, "are a direct consequence of the
administration's repeated lies - lies of commission, such as Cheney's
statements, and lies of omission."
Fourteen months later, no widely syndicated columnist or major newspaper
editorial has called for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick
Cheney. Not even Cohen again. Yet the case for impeachment is so strong
that, recently, hardly a day goes by without more disclosures which
strengthen any number of impeachable offenses that could form a
Congressional action under our Constitution. An illegal war, to begin
with, against our Constitution which says only Congress can declare war.
An illegal war under domestic laws, and international law, and conducted
illegally under international conventions to which the US belongs,
should cause an outcry against this small clique of outlaws committing
war crimes who have hijacked our national government.
An illegal, criminal war means that every related U.S. death and injury,
every related Iraqi civilian death and injury, every person tortured,
every home and building destroyed become war crimes as a result - under
established international law.
There are those on talk radio or cable shows who scoff at international
law. They rarely tell their audiences that the United States has played
a key role in establishing these treaties, like the Geneva Conventions,
and the United Nations Charter. When these treaties are agreed to by the
U.S. government, they become as binding as our federal laws.
By these legal standards and by the requirements of the U.S.
Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, the war-declaring authority), George
W. Bush and Dick Cheney are probably the most impeachable President and
Vice President in American history. An illegal war based on lies,
deceptions, cover-ups and their repetition even after being told by
officials in their own administration - not to mention critical retired
generals, diplomats and security specialists - of their falsity should
have prodded the House of Representatives into initiating impeachment
proceedings. But then, Bush did not lie under oath about sex.
A majority of the American people have turned against this war-quagmire,
against its intolerable human and economic costs, against the increased
danger this war is bringing to our nation's interests. They want the
soldiers to return safely home. In increasing numbers they sense what
Bush's own CIA Director, Porter Goss, told the U.S. Senate last
February. He noted, along with other officials since then, that U.S.
soldiers in Iraq are like a magnet attracting and training more
terrorists from more countries who will return to their nations and
cause trouble. Many national security experts have said, in effect, you
do not fight terrorists with policies that produce more terrorists.
Now comes the most recent, blatant impeachable offense - Bush ordering
the spying on Americans in our country by the National Security Agency.
This disclosure stunned many N.S.A. staff who themselves view domestic
surveillance as anathema, according to Matthew M. Aid, a current
historian of the agency.
Domestic eavesdropping on Americans by order of the President to the
National Security Agency violates the 27-year-old Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act unless they obtain a warrant from the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. This court meets in secret
and has rejected only four out of 19,000 applications.
So why did Bush violate this law and why does he defiantly say he will
continue to order domestic spying as he has since 2002? Not because the
FISA Court is slow. It acts in a matter of hours in the middle of the
night if need be. The law actually permits surveillance in emergencies
as long as warrants are requested within 72 hours or 15 days in times of
Bush violated the law because of the arrogance of power. Ostensibly, he
believes that a vague Congressional resolution after 9/11 to fight
al-Qaeda overrides this explicit federal law and the Fourth Amendment to
the Constitution. Bush even claims he can unilaterally decide to
domestically spy from the inherent powers of the Presidency to fight
wars. (To him Congressionally-undeclared wars are still wars).
Other than his legal flaks in the White House and Justice Department
making such transparently specious arguments as "good soldiers", the
overwhelming position of legal scholars is that Bush and Cheney have
violated grave laws protecting the liberties of the American people.
The crime, says Professor David Cole of Georgetown Law School, is
"punishable by five years in prison." Professor Jonathan Turley of
George Washington University Law School said that the President ordered
such a crime and ordered US officials to commit it..this is a serious
felony..what happened here is not just a violation of Federal law, it's
a violation of the U.S. Constitution.an impeachable offense."
It matters not that a Republican-dominated Congress has no present
interest in moving to impeach Bush-Cheney. What matters is that
impeachment in this case - based on the authority of Congress to charge
the President and Vice President with "high crimes and misdemeanors" -
is a patriotic cause rooted in the wisdom of our founding fathers who
did not want another King George III in the guise of a President.
As Senator Russell Feingold said a few days ago: The President is not a
King, he is a President subject to the laws and Constitution of the
land. Apparently, George W. Bush seems to believe and behave as if his
unlimited inherited powers flow from King George III, given the way he
has shoved aside both federal law and the nation's Constitution.
Both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should resign. They have disgraced
their office and bled the nation. They have shattered the public trust
in so many serious ways that will only become worse in the coming months.