The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. – - ARTICLE II, SECTION 4 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
There have been people calling for President Bush to be impeached since before he was ever even sworn in. There was a seeming upsurge around the start of the Iraq invasion. Of course, the minor foolishness of Scooter Libby has started another round of wishful thinking that way.
Such interest being at a high point, let’s take a little look at the ImpeachBush.org website, and have a quick review. The idea seems ludicrous, but perhaps I’ve missed something.
Conveniently, they’ve actually drawn up “Articles of Impeachment” against George W Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Alberto Gonzalez. CLICK HERE for their “Articles of Impeachment.”
They list a total of 18 items, which seem to pretty much broadly include all major disagreements with administration policy. Let’s look at a few of the particulars. Note that there are two article 4s, which dumb error speaks volumes on the real thoughtfulness and rigor of the content of their arguments.
Impeachment article 1: Seizing power to wage wars of aggression in defiance of the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Charter and the rule of law; carrying out a massive assault on and occupation of Iraq, a country that was not threatening the United States, resulting in the death and maiming of tens of thousands of Iraqis, and hundreds of U.S. G.I.s.
This is the main enchilada- and it’s total nonsense in about half a dozen directions. Seizing power to wage war in defiance of the US Constitution? In fact, they had a vote in the Congress in October 2002 authorizing the war. You may reasonably argue that it was not a good idea, but they did have a legitimate public vote. Further legitimizing it, Bush pushed for that vote right before the midterm election, maximizing the accountability of Congress critters voting either way.
It’s particularly telling – and damning of them- that these impeachment advocates cite (supposed) defiance of the UN as grounds for the impeachment of a US president. He does not work for the UN. They didn’t hire him. We did. Anyone not real clear on this point should not be taken very seriously in the court of public opinion.
All the rest of this article is just nonsense. It’s questionable how much threat Iraq was or wasn’t, but it’s not a constitutional issue nor grounds for impeachment either way. There’s nothing in the US Constitution that would make invasion of another country without “good” reason a “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” This applies to their articles 3, 4A, 6, and 17.
2) Lying to the people of the U.S., to Congress, and to the U.N., providing false and deceptive rationales for war.
All presidents tend to bend the truth, to spin, to not tell the whole truth. That’s not a crime nor grounds for impeachment, it’s merely politics. That would probably have to get to the point of commiting actual felonies to rise to such a level. That would likely involve outright deliberate factually false statements under oath. Most likely, lots of these same people were not impressed with the impeachment of Bill Clinton for absolutely factually lying under oath in front of a grand jury and witness tampering.
Bush simply hasn’t done anything like that. Indeed, I’ve not seen a significant direct factual lie from him ever. He didn’t want to volunteer his little DUI, and he wanted to act like he didn’t really know Ken Lay. Those just are not legal offenses.
But in truth, Bush seems to be about the most honest president in my lifetime. That’s setting the bar a bit low, granted. But it’s just NONSENSE to call Bush a “liar” over WMDs in Iraq.
Now, there are a few of these articles that I’m sympathetic to on policy grounds, stuff about violations of domestic civil liberties. Articles 7, 8, 9, and 11 – 14 all express legitimate concerns about Patriot Act and “enemy combatant” issues and so forth. The Bush administration do sometimes seem to be significantly pushing their proper constitutional boundaries.
But it is ridiculous to call most of that stuff anything LIKE an impeachable offense. The courts will trim their claws on some of this stuff- though not enough to suit me. Bush needs this Patriot Act stuck up directly in the center of his ass as far as I’m concerned. Personally, I’m much more bothered by the ridiculous campaign finance law he signed- though that truly and blatantly unconstitutional law does not ire these pro-impeachment folks.
Mostly, though, these “Articles of Impeachment” are better evidence of the fascism underlying Bush’s more radical opponents than they are of crimes by the Bush administration. At least 90% of their complaints are policy issues pure and simple, and not any kind of criminal activity. Their people have been beaten soundly and repeatedly at the ballot box, so they wish to concoct bogus legal charges to get their way no matter what the democratic process says. I’m sure the ends justify the means, though.
Addressing the most basic point of these charges, President Bush made a case for war. The Congress and the public agreed- rightly or wrongly. That’s democracy in action.