Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive!
CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Missing Word at the Anti-War Demo

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

The largely unstated word at the massive anti-war demonstration and march in Washington on Saturday was “impeachment.” Not that it wasn’t on demonstrators’ lips and signs, but it wasn’t coming from the podium.

The march, organized by United for Peace and Justice, was instead deliberately focused narrowly on the issue of ending the war in Iraq and preventing an invasion of Iran. But clearly, behind that was the sense that the US government is in the hands of a cabal of warmongers and anti-democratic usurpers who are intent on broadening the war in the Middle East, not ending it , and that the Democrats in the 110th Congress haven’t got the spine to stop them (a group from Seattle actually addressed this with a giant white spine float emblazoned with the words “investigate, impeach, indict”).

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the new head of the House Judiciary Committee, was a late addition to the roster of speakers at the rally on the National Mall. He told the cheering throng that while Bush may have been “firing the generals who tell him that we’re losing the war in Iraq,” he “can’t fire you.” Then he added, in a none-too-veiled hint that impeachment may be coming, “But we can fire him!”

The crowd went wild, with chants of “Impeach him!”

The stage has been set.

Bush and Cheney have stated publicly that they will not be swayed by the November election, or by polls or demonstrations, all making it clear that the vast majority of Americans want the Iraq War ended quickly. They have thrown down the gauntlet saying that they will ignore any Congressional resolution condemning the escalation of American involvement in Iraq. They have made it clear by sending a Naval armada to the Persian Gulf and by their threatening statements, that they are getting ready to attack Iran despite universal international opposition and warnings from military experts that it would be a disaster.

There is really only one way to stop the madness: impeachment.

Investigations into administration wrongdoing won’t do it.

Demonstrations won’t do it.

Even cutting funding for the war–while it would be a more powerful statement of opposition from Congress–would not end the conflict or bring the troops home. Bush would simply move money around in the giant Pentagon budget and call it something else.

Critics of impeachment, especially among the Democratic leadership, say it is too soon. They say the first step should be investigations.

This is a misunderstanding, or a deliberate distortion, of what the impeachment process is.

The impeachment process itself begins with investigations. To argue that first a case for impeachment has to be proved before a bill of impeachment should be submitted in the House is akin to saying that a case of murder must be proved before an indictment can be brought.

In fact, the proper procedure, laid out by the Founding Fathers, is for a member of Congress to submit a bill of impeachment claiming that the president has violated his oath of office, or has engaged in actions that threaten the Constitution or the rule of law. That bill goes to the House Judiciary Committee which must decide whether the bill makes a serious enough charge to warrant going to the full House to request the establishment of an Impeachment Committee, armed with subpoena power, to investigate. (Alternatively, of course, a state’s legislature can submit a joint resolution calling for impeachment, which may happen soon.)

Should a majority of the House vote to impanel the Judiciary Committeee as an Impeachment Committee, that is when the investigation would begin in ernest-a process we saw in action twice in recent memory, first in the case of Richard Nixon, and second with Bill Clinton.

In Bush’s case, there is ample evidence already in the public record to justify multiple bills of impeachment. Just to name a few, we know:

* A federal judge has ruled, after hearing evidence from both sides, that President Bush violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a felony, and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by authorizing warrantless monitoring of the communications of American citizens.

* The president violated the US Criminal Code and the Geneva Conventions by both authorizing torture of prisoners in captivity, and by failing to act to prevent and to punish torture when it was brought to his attention.

* The president has abused his power by assuming legislative powers to invalidate duly passed acts of Congress through his issuance of so-called “signing statements”-a process not even mentioned by the Constitution, which assigns “all legislative authority” to the Congress. On these and a number of other issues, there is really no need for investigations at all. The crimes against the Constitution are obvious, blatant and self-evident. (And in the case of NSA spying, are actually laid out in a federal judge’s opinion.)

All that is lacking at this point, is a principled, courageous and patriotic House leadership to initiate the process.

To hear a presentation of the full case for impeachment against the president, and against some of the key members of the administration, including Cheney, Gonzales and Rice, check out the new release of a video, “The Case for Impeachment,” by Squeaky Wheel Productions,available at: http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=apfnorg (Be sure and pass this link on to everyone you know, and to your congressional representative!).

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail