In Mansfield, CT, the town where I grew up, there were no police. Oh, there was a resident State Police officer with a big cruiser, but mainly, his job was patrolling the stretch of four-lane highway that ran north of us between Hartford and Boston. The University of Connecticut, a sprawling ag school at the time, had a few police, but their job was limited to patrolling the campus. If something happened, like a kid stealing candy from Phil’s, the local Five and Ten, or if there was some kind of domestic dispute, it fell to the local town constable-an elected position-to handle.
Up in the town of Marlboro, VT, population 1000, the town constable may have a new job. If President George W. Bush, or Vice President Dick Cheney should happen to stop by there, perhaps to pick up some freshly made maple syrup or maple sugar candy, he’d have to arrest them. Last night, the citizens of Marlboro voted in their annual town meeting to indict both men for war crimes, obstruction of justice and perjury. The vote was 43-25, with three abstentions.
Residents of nearby Brattleboro, population 12,000, did the same, voting 2012-1795.
It might be a challenge for the local constabulary, given the gaggle of stone-faced, ear-wired, Secret Service agents in their dark sunshades who encircle and protect the president and his regent whenever the two suspects travel out of the secure confines of the White House and Executive Office Building in Washington, but town constables are a dedicated lot, and I’m sure they’d do their best to get through and make the bust.
It’s a fair bet Bush and Cheney will keep Marlboro and Brattleboro off their travel itineraries, even after they’ve left office.
Harder, at least for the president, would be Kennebunkport, ME, where the Bush family summer compound is located. There, Laurie Dobson, Kennebunkport resident and an independent candidate for the Maine US Senate seat currently held by Republican Susan M. Collins, has filed a similar resolution, calling for Bush’s and Cheney’s arrests and extradition (or deportation) to a jurisdiction where they can be effectively prosecuted for war crimes and other criminal violations. If Dobson’s resolution were to pass, the president would be forced to fly to and from his compound by presidential helicopter, and would have to be afraid to open the front door, for fear it might be a Kennebunkport constable trying to do his duty.
Dobson last week presented her resolution to the town’s board of selectmen, who serve as a kind of executive for the day-to-day running of the affairs of the town under New England’s typical style of government. It reads: “Shall the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities, and shall it be the law of the Town of Kennebunkport that the Kennebunkport Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George W. Bush and Richard Cheney in Kennebunkport if they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them.”
Dobson has also asked the board of selectmen to consider establishing a municipal war crimes tribunal to investigate the administration’s crimes under international law.
The resolutions passed by the residents of Brattleboro and Marlboro similarly call on the local constabulary to arrest the nation’s two top executives (yes, Cheney is in the Executive branch), and to “extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them.”
David Swanson, of AfterDowningStreet.org, says the constables in Vermont may be quietly thrilled at the opportunity to make a presidential or vice presidential arrest.
As he puts it, “I know a lot of cops around the country who are going to be jealous of the Brattleboro police force. I’m thinking of all the police officers I’ve seen arrest activists in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, but accept impeachment T-shirts from them and hide them under their hats. Here is an opportunity for law-abiding and law-upholding working men and women to arrest the biggest criminals of our age, and the two men most responsible for the human and financial costs we and others have suffered these past seven years. Who wouldn’t want to be in on this?”
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, the “Live Free or Die” state sandwiched between Vermont and Maine, the state house or representatives is slated, later this week, to take up a resolution submitted by Rep. Betty Hall which, if passed, would call on the US House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president. A similar resolution was passed last year by the Vermont state senate. In hearings on her resolution earlier, a Republican member of that body gave what was the most passionate argument in support of the measure, suggesting that even Republicans of principle are recognizing a need to take a stand in defense of Constitution and the rule of law.
It may be that Bush and Cheney, the most impeachable duo to inhabit the White House in the nation’s history, may manage to slither through the remaining 10 months of their second term of office unimpeached and unprosecuted, thanks to the heroic efforts at delay and obstruction by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic Party congressional leadership. But clearly, they will be needing to steer clear of the northern tier of New England, which is ready to try and take them down.
Other communities that would like to make themselves Bush/Cheney Free Zones can go to http://afterdowningstreet.org/indictkit for a model ordinance.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net