FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Talkin’ About the "I"-Word

by RALPH NADER

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 United States.

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 war.

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. Constitutionan 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.

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail