Warehouse F

High Crimes

The Unseen Enemy
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The Call For Bush Impeachment Grows Louder

By James Donahue

Newspapers and television news commentators all across the land are joining in a growing chorus calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. It is no longer a matter of dealing with war crimes and other misdeeds they are believed to have committed in office, but a need to stop them from causing any further damage on their way out of Washington.

The Detroit Free Press on Nov. 25 suggested in an editorial that “if Congress moves quickly and forces the president to focus on impeachment, then he won’t have so much time to push through last-minute regulatory changes that will continue to hurt our country and our ideals. He already has pushed deregulation that would allow employers to talk directly with employees’ doctors and allow power companies to build polluting facilities close to national parks.”

The Free Press warned that “Congress is running out of time to finally make the Bush administration own up to its actions for eight years. If Congress isn’t careful, the president who already has issued 171 pardons could also pardon every appointee and employee he has ever had – and their dogs. And then Americans will never find out what happened to our country over the past eight years.”

Karen Rubin, in a commentary published on the After Downing Street website, wrote that “even as a lame duck, Bush is still abusing his powers by signing regulations that will entangle the next Administration. These regulations, by presidential order, “continues the pattern of pro-corporation, anti-environment, anti-civil rights rule-making that the electorate effectively rejected in 2006 and 2008,” Rubin wrote.

And those, in a nutshell, are the key reasons for pressing for impeachment now, even though Bush has less than two months left to his disastrous final term. Bush is a lame duck that has fallen deep in disfavor of the general public, especially now that the economy has tanked, people are losing their homes in a badly operated mortgage scheme, and their jobs because companies are either closing down or moving to other countries.

Bush’s actions during these final days in office remind us of what went on in Germany during the days preceding the death of Adolph Hitler. As the Red Army approached Berlin from the east and the American Allied troops pressed from the west, Hitler ordered the destruction of what remained of German industry, communications and transport systems. He declared that if he did not survive, Germany must also be destroyed.

Is this the kind of thinking that is driving the actions of our outgoing president? We don’t think it is quite as bad as what happened in Germany, but the similarities are disturbing. Mr. Bush is clearly doing all in his power to erase all environmental controls on big industrial facilities, open cherished public lands for logging and oil and gas well drilling and pardoning a lot of prisoners from his home state of Texas. He and his staff also are digging as deep into the federal coffers as possible, forcing the national debt to record levels before President-Elect Barack Obama takes office in January.

Obama will be spending months if not the first years of his term just repairing all of the damage caused by Bush and his staff during these last weeks and months of his term. And with the world economy falling apart the way it is, and with Pakistan and India now looking down gun barrels at each other following the terrorist attacks at Mumbai, it appears that Obama will have his hands full from the moment he is sworn in. He should not have to spend his time dealing with last minute problems created by Bush on his way out the door.

All of this could have been avoided if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had taken action from the day she moved into her post as the third highest ranking public official in the land.

The Free Press editorial stated that “Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s ineffectiveness became clear the day she became Speaker of the House and immediately announced that there would be no impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

Guided by politics, she said leading investigations into just how much the Bush Administration did – and did wrong – would be divisive. What she didn’t express was her worry that too many Democrats faced elimination from the House if they took on the difficult task of proving who knew what, when.”

Indeed, Pelosi appears to be the only obstacle standing in the way of a Congress that is willing to take some kind of action. Legislation has already been introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich calling for hearings on the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney, and the House gave a first reading of one of these articles last January. Also Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and 38 other house members, sponsored HR 635 which would form a committee to decide grounds for impeachment. Thus the ground work is already done.

In an attempt to do an end-run around Pelosi, Rep. Jerrold Nadler has just submitted a bill demanding that Bush stop issuing “pre-emptive pardons of senior officials in his administration during the final 90 days of office.” There is, even now, a not legal debate going on as to whether Bush could set such a precedent and pardon himself and his cabinet for their crimes.

But David Swanson, in an opinion published by After Downing Street, said such an act by a president was never the intention of the pardon rule when it was added to the Constitution. “The idea that pardon power constitutionally includes such pardons ignores a thousand year tradition in which no man can sit in judgment of himself,” Swanson wrote.