There had been the sound of many feet on a Brooklyn street at the first funeral, of firefighter Joseph Graffa-gnino, and at the second funeral, of firefighter Robert Beddia, a fire engine sounded in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. In my office about an hour later, slips of paper came silently out of a machine, the slips coming from the Department of Defense and carrying the names and ages of the 14 soldiers who were killed in Iraq when their helicopter crashed. Four were under 21 and nine 25 or under. Of course the first thought was how the city at this time could handle such calamity if the 14 dead were New York firefighters or police officers. This gives a good view of the catastrophe that happens in Iraq, day after day.
But as the soldiers die at a time of national Alzheimer's, there was virtually no reaction to the 14.
When anybody you elect tries to end the war, Bush blocks all intentions with a veto or threats of a veto that prevent it. And his Supreme Court is ready to validate whatever he does, this court with its five Catholic justices, and a chief who falls on his face a couple of times that we know of.
Our politicians despair that there can be no way to override Bush and save our young and everybody of any age in Iraq.
Of course there is. By all the energy and dignified disgust of a nation that needs it to keep any semblance of greatness, there is an extraordinary need for an impeachment of this president and his vice president.
You start an impeachment with an investigator who starts to develop a case. That's what got Nixon out. He had the most expensive, elaborate defense in the world, and when they were pressed his assistants folded and Nixon quit. I wonder whether Bush and his people can do any better when pressed.
I have here in front of me a large number of pages that I keep for their significance. They are from a United States Senate hearing and are titled, "In Re Impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton."
He was only the 42nd person in our nation to make the commitment to "faithfully execute" the Office of the President and to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution."
He was being impeached over lying about girls.
Bush the President is our 43rd. He lied to the nation to get us into a war in Iraq that is without end. Every young person who has died leaves drops of blood on Bush's hands and those of everyone around him. He lied to the nation and daily he tries every greasy way to undermine the Constitution he is sworn to uphold. Thus making his oath false.
Clinton's charges seem frivolous. But Bush appears to have committed high crimes and misdemeanors and must be thrown out of office in the disgrace that he is.
Bush, reminiscing the other day over something that further scatters the mind, compared the end of Vietnam with the Iraq war that thrills him so much because it makes him a wartime commander.
I don't know why Vietnam is on his mind. He skipped the thing to have his teeth fixed in Texas. Showing such utter confusion causes questions of how much evil he carries in his mind and how much of stimulants.
He raises the end of Vietnam. If you want to know what that was like, Bernie Edelman, who went from Flatbush to Chu Lai, yesterday opened the book, "Dear America," that he compiled with the New York Vietnam Veterans. The pages consist of letters written by veterans of Vietnam.
One is by Air Force Lt. Richard Van de Geer, a helicopter pilot assigned to assist in the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. This letter is on 15 May 1975, the day he was killed.
"The aircraft that landed on the Midway - landed about 50 feet away from mine - and the man who got out of the aircraft had been quoted approximately a week earlier as saying that any South Vietnamese who had left the country was a coward and that everybody should stay in South Vietnam and fight to the bitter end. This very same man was the first man to arrive on the USS Midway and to my knowledge the first to be recovered by the 7th Fleet. The man was Gen. Nguyen Cao Ky, vice president of the Republic of South Vietnam. Now I really don't have any personal feelings about the war here. I really don't care one way or the other in regard to who is right and who is wrong because that is a waste of time, a waste of thinking. But I did find myself feeling that I wish he had been shot down."
Officially, Lt. Van de Geer was the last man to die in the Vietnam War. His name is listed as last on the memorial in Washington. If Bush wonders from his dentist's chair about the end of Vietnam, Van de Geer gives you a fair idea.
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