Sunday, June 15, 2008

After Bush and Cheney & Co. Are Not Impeached

Everyone knows the anecdote that explains what chutzpah means, the one about the boy who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy before the court on the grounds that he’s an orphan. We can thank Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers and the rest of the Democratic leadership for a fresh variant: about the party that took impeachment “off the table” and then claimed, after Dennis Kucinich’s effort last week, that now it’s too late. A summary of Kucinich’s allegations against George Bush can be found at the end of this posting.

All is not lost, however. What conviction in the Senate on charges leveled by the House would have done, had Pelosi and the rest been up their responsibilities, was remove Bush from office. That will happen anyway – soon, but not soon enough. But removal from office is not nearly adequate punishment for a “commander-in-chief” who lied his country into war, with all the predictable murder and mayhem that followed. He and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the rest should be brought to justice.

It seems that, even without benefit of impeachment, once they are no longer government officials, that can happen. In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (Vanguard Press, 2008), Vincent Bugliosi, one of America’s foremost prosecutors, the prosecutor of Charles Manson, argues that Bush can be charged for murder by any domestic prosecutor who can legitimately claim standing (say, because Bush caused the death of someone in his or her jurisdiction). All it would take is the courage to go forward. I’d not gainsay his contention; I hope it’s true, and I hope some courageous prosecutor somewhere does too. Perhaps there are also ways, within the U.S. legal system, to charge not only Bush but also Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and their high-ranking co-conspirators with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace. People with appropriate legal expertise should work out the details; and the rest of us should start, here and now, to build a campaign to that end.

To that end, it’s time here and now to question Barack Obama whenever the occasion arises about whether, as President, his administration would block criminal proceedings against thier predecessors. There is much else to question Obama about too. Several clear examples that come to mind, thanks to recent events, are his abject groveling before Cuban-American quasi-fascists in Miami, and his self-abasement before the Apartheid advocates of AIPAC. In that regard, he should be asked especially and repeatedly about his assumption of the Hillary Clinton role in beating the war drums against Iran. He should also be asked about his plans for the many hundreds of bases the U.S. military now has in more than a hundred and twenty countries. But justice for Bush and Cheney and Company should head the list. Unless this country learns the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan better than it learned the lesson of Vietnam, the United States is doomed not only to wage more wars of aggression (with ever more tragic consequences), but also to pollute the ambient political culture indefinitely with characters like John McCain.

Will it embarrass Obama to pound him with questions like these? I certainly hope so. There’s no doubt that the Democrats under Obama are a lesser evil than the Republicans under McCain, and there’s no escaping lesser evilism. So, of course, we should do nothing to put the near certain prospect of a McCain defeat in jeopardy. That may mean that people who know better but who live in “battleground states” should vote for Obama. For that we have our very undemocratic electoral institutions to thank. However, those same institutions may also make it reasonable for those of us who live in “safe” states to vote Green or for Ralph Nader (who should be running as a Green), if it seems appropriate at the time, or not to vote at all. In other words, the electoral college system may mitigate the depths to which we lesser evilists must sink. In all cases, though, a guiding principle should be to do whatever seems best defensively – in order not to let the greater evil (in this case, the much greater evil) triumph. However, another guiding principle, running concurrently, should be to push ever leftward, by forcing the right choices on the lesser evil. To that end, there is every reason to ask Obama hard questions – or, rather, questions with obvious answers that are hard for Democrats in the thrall of corporate paymasters and “special interests,” to answer with due respect for the intelligence and decency of the American people.

* *

Following is a summary of the allegations against President Bush that are included in Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment:

Article I: Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq
Article II: Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression
Article III: Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War
Article IV: Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States
Article V: Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression
Article VI: Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114
Article VII: Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
Article VIII: Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter
Article IX: Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor
Article X: Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes
Article XI: Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq
Article XII: Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources
Article XIIII: Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries
Article XIV: Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency
Article XV: Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq
Article XVI: Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors
Article XVII: Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives
Article XVIII: Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy
Article XIX: Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to "Black Sites" Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture
Article XX: Imprisoning Children
Article XXI: Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government
Article XXII: Creating Secret Laws
Article XXIII: Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act
Article XXIV: Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment
Article XXV: Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens
Article XXVI: Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements
Article XXVII: Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply
Article XXVIII: Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice
Article XXIX: Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Article XXX: Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare
Article XXXI: Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency
Article XXXII: Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change
Article XXXIII: Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911
Article XXXIV: Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001
Article XXXV: Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders


Icarus said...

Good article.

Icarus said...

All patriotic Americans who have the courage to stand up for our country in the face of widespread public fear resulting from a massive propaganda campaign, need to spread the ideas and words of this article.