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Ellsberg Joins Call For Bush Impeachment

By James Donahue

Daniel Ellsberg has joined Florida Congressman Robert Wexler’s call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

Some readers may remember Ellsberg. He was a former American military analyst for the RAND Corporation who got his hands on controversial Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study of government decision-making about the Vietnam War, and released them to the New York Times.

The Pentagon Papers revealed that the government had knowledge early on that the war in Vietnam could not easily be won and that there would be many casualties.

In a statement issued late last week, Ellsberg noted that he and Anthony Russo, who participated in the release of those documents, risked their personal freedom to bring the truth of the Vietnam War to the American people.

He said they copied the papers and defied court injunctions when they gave copies to members of the Senate, the Times and 18 other newspapers. He noted that the act “changed the course of American politics – and the freedom that the media has to cover it.”

The Supreme Court voided the injunctions, but Tony and I were indicted on federal felony charges: three counts for Tony, twelve for me for a possible sentence of 115 years in prison. These were the first prosecutions in American history for a leak to the public,” Ellsberg wrote.

Just before the case went to the jury, however, “Oval Office crimes against me were revealed in our courtroom that led to dismissal of all charges . . . and . . . led to the convictions of a number of White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings that forced President Richard Nixon to resign from office.”

Ellsberg noted that “if Congressional leaders in 1973 had put impeachment off the table,” as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has done in the case of President Bush, “Nixon would have served out his term – despite demonstrably criminal behavior – and he would almost certainly have renewed the bombing of South and North Vietnam through 1976, to no effect other than countless additional deaths.”

He wrote: “Today, members of Congress have a similar moral challenge – as they weigh their duty to the Constitution against perceived political risk.”

Ellsberg noted that Congressman Wexler has been fighting an uphill battle now for months to get his fellow congressmen to join him in impeachment proceedings. “His dedication to the Constitution supersedes politics. He is living up to his oath of office – the same oath I took as a Marine officer and an official of the Defense and State Departments – which is not an oath to a President or a Commander-in-Chief, but, solely, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Ellsberg said the impeachment hearings are necessary to “bring genuine accountability to this corrupt White House for violations of domestic and international law and the Constitution that, I would say, go far beyond those which confronted Richard Nixon with impeachment and possible criminal prosecution.”

Now Wexler is fighting in his home district against a Republican contender and the local media for re-election to office in November. If the Florida Republican machine succeeds his efforts to put light on the Bush/Cheney shenanigans may cost him his job.

Why won’t the Democrats budge on this issue? Some have theorized that they knew too much and did nothing, and that impeachment/criminal hearings might expose themselves for wrongdoing.

Even if Wexler’s efforts fail there is still a shining light in the matter. If voters choose Senator Barack Obama to succeed Bush in office in November, Obama and Vice-Presidential contender Joe Biden have strongly suggested that a criminal investigation will be conducted of possible misconduct in the White House during the Bush years.