President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 because he fired his own cabinet member, Secretary of War Edward M. Stanton. President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998-1999 because he lied under oath about an extramarital affair.
And yet today the conventional wisdom says that the fact that President George W. Bush, in a concerted effort with his top aides and government officials, including the Vice President, engaged in a conspiracy to deceive the American people in order to engender public support for going to war to remove Saddam Hussein from power does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
If a conspiracy to lie about the reasons for taking the country to war – at a cost of thousands of dead and wounded American military personnel and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi babies, children, grandmothers and grandfathers, fathers and mothers, not to mention hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars – is not a high crime or misdemeanor, then what is?
The other SCLM take on Bush’s campaign of lies in the run-up to war is that whatever he did in 2002 was nullified by the elections in November 2004. But Bill Clinton won re-election in 1996 in a landslide (49%-40%) compared with Bush’s 51%-48% margin over John Kerry. And Clinton’s re-election came after millions of dollars had spent investigating him and his associates. However, this virtual referendum of support Clinton received from 47 million voters did not stop the Republicans from proceeding to try to destroy his presidency over personal issues.
The Downing Street Memo offers a glimpse into the reality behind the Bush campaign to take the country to war under false pretenses. It says that the Bush Administration’s justification for war was “thin,” therefore ” the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” This may not be the smoking gun that proves Bush & Co lied about the war but it unquestionably emits the odor of a freshly fired bullet. And now no one can say that the evidence Bush lied simply doesn’t exist.
The fact is, the Republicans who control the Congress are just as corrupt as the ones who run the Administration. They have stood in the way of George Bush being held accountable for the blood on his hands – and will likely to continue to do so. But remember it was the Republicans in Congress who forced Republican president Richard Nixon to resign rather than face impeachment in 1974.
Every patriotic American ought to be outraged about the conspiracy by George W. Bush and his supporters to take this country to war under false pretenses. The rest of the world knows what the American rightwing and its supine media lackeys will not admit – Bush’s lies about Iraq have destroyed America’s credibility in the world.
History shows that military might alone is not sufficient to sustain an empire – or a superpower. Our strength comes from our integrity, and it is based on a moral view that dictates fairness and justice. Even if Iraq becomes a shining beacon of democracy in the Middle East – and that is a huge “if” – its path to freedom will be stained by these lies and this treason and by the lives of the brave and the innocent that were lost because a group in the White House decided that the political advantages of going to war outweighed the costs in blood and treasure to their own country.
This matter will not get a full airing unless the leaders of the House hear from you. Any member of the House can draft impeachment charges, so write your Representative and suggest that he or she do so. Otherwise there are two committees that principally deal with matters related to impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Government Reform Committtee. I’m writing letters to the chairmen and ranking members of both these committees to encourage them to look at this matter, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans.
House Judiciary Committee:
House Judiciary Committee Email Form
Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (Republican)
Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary
2449 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Honorable John Conyers, Jr. (Democrat)
Ranking Member, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
House Committee on Government Reform:
Committee on Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Tom Davis
Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform
2348 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4611
Phone: (202) 225-1492
Fax: (202) 225-3071
(Chairmain Davis does not accept email.)
Honorable Henry Waxman
Ranking Member, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-3976 (phone)
(202) 225-4099 (fax)
Form to Send Message to Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee
There is also a very good site up now about the memo – The Downing Street Memo – that also provides a resources page on taking action.