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In an article in Counterpunch yesterday (Iraq War Becomes Suicidal), Saul Landau spoke of meeting a young man of 26, an Iraq veteran with shrapnel in his spine, in unceasing pain, penniless and homeless, now facing a lifetime of heroin addiction. Many of his buddies were worse off, the man said. some with brain injuries, others who had lost their eyes. Phil Donahue has produced a whole movie (Body of War) on the plight of just one American soldier, paralyzed in Iraq. There must be times when these youngsters envy comrades such as Casey Sheehan, who was spared such suffering, for he died in Iraq.
This is the true ‘legacy’ of George W. Bush’s presidency. And yes, the legacy of us all, his accomplices willing or unwilling but never unwitting, who allowed it to happen.
Sometimes it is not how many times something is said that counts, but when, where and how. Nearly four years after re-electing George W. Bush (knowing the WMD thing was a crock, knowing of Abu Ghraib, knowing of Blackwater, knowing of wa profiteering), the American people, now paying 4 dollars for a gallon of gas (under 2 dollars before a war one of whose ‘wink-wink’ aims was to insure cheap oil), a mortgage collapse and a general and pervasive angst (dare one call it ‘malaise’?).
The time was opportune. The place, one of the highest platforms in the land. On June 9, standing on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) read out the Articles of Impeachment which he was introducing against George W. Bush.
The country owes Rep. Dennis Kucinich a debt of gratitude.
Clear and concise, the list of thirty-five Articles of Impeachment should serve as thirty-five buckets of cold water poured upon a sleeping land in hopes of waking it up.
Kucinich’s work could almost be called, “A Brief History of the Bush Administration”. Nothing in it should be unfamiliar to long-standing readers of journals like Counterpunch. In only 65 pages, Kucinich has captured everything: the fearmongering about Iraq, the lying to Congress, the unauthorized wiretaps, the lawlessness of private contractors, the Valerie Plame affair, even the foreknowledge and neglect attending Katrina, and Cheney’s Energy Task Force (set up in January 2001) and Global Warming.
Each article of impeachment is supported by brief but credible bullet-points to suggest prima facie that an high crime has occurred.
Happening to catch Kucinich’s J’Accuse on C-SPAN, I thought it electrifying. A Baghdad-like power-cut was soon to follow, however, when I saw no mention of it on any of the newspapers or websites (The Huffington Post had it, but off to the side). Digging some more, common wisdom appeared to be that this was so much wasted breath, for the thing would go nowhere, not in an election year when the Democratic leadership had already declared impeachment off the table.
It was with some gratification, then, that I noted the following day a headline that the House had voted to pass the articles on to the Judiciary Committee. Things were finally moving, I thought. But we are told that the move was actually nothing more than a quick burial. That the Judiciary Committee, headed by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is unlikely to act on it, is the uniform sentiment in the press.
Herein lies a question. Before the elections of 2006 John Conyers, who had hitherto given the appearance of champing at the bit to consider impeachment, only being held back, he gave us to understand, by being in the minority (see The Action Thing). Upon this situation changing in November that year, everyone expected Conyers to get busy with impeachment. Nearly two years later, Conyers has been, to borrow a phrase from PG Wodehouse, vague and evasive. Having delayed it for the best part of two years, the argument now being made is that it is too late. Chutzpah is defined something like this, except here it is cowardice. What could be more urgent?
When thousands have died, Iraqis and Americans, there is no such thing as too late. A country which ignores crimes against its constitution has not long to live as a republic. What could be more urgent than bringing to book those who had diminished and defrauded the country?
If those sworn to defend the constitution will not do so (Impeach Pelosi Instead), the people must. Call your representative to sign on to Kucinich’s pledge to re-introduce his articles every 30 days until hearings are begun. Also call John Conyers (202-225-3951) or send him an email to tell him he faces the wrath of the people if he does not do everything in his power to bring these small men and women with grubby fingers and gory hands to justice.
NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN is a writer living on the West Coast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.