Assertion, unsupported by fact, is nugatory. Surmise and general abuse, in however elegant language, ought not to pass for truth. Junius

2006/11/13

Bush's Slow Road To Impeachment: A Reflection

It would seem that the world sighed in relief with the knowledge that the centre of power took two steps to the left last week. At the same President Bush, obviously shaken by the turn of events, seemed nervous throughout his various public utterances on the shift in American politics, repeating how he sees the need to get over partisan politics and even praised the Democratic win.

Just what is in the air? Is it that Rumsfeld has been shown the door? Does this mean that Bush is relieved that he (likely) won't be able to follow through with plans of world domination? Or is it that Bush is worried that an embittered Democratic Party will be seeking revenge for the last fifteen years of public humiliation and stolen elections?

Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the reigns, all hell could break loose. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in the Telegraph:
After snatching the House with the closest thing to a crushing mandate ever likely in a system biased in favour of the incumbents, the Democrats now have their hands on the investigative machinery of Capitol Hill. They can hire lawyers and detectives; they can subpoena documents and compel witnesses to testify under oath; they can mount show trials - or indeed real trials - subjecting their enemies to torment under the glaring klieg lights of the world media.

This is a powerful weapon, as Bill Clinton learned when Newt Gringrich stormed the House in 1994, breaking the half-century stranglehold of the Democrats. Newt’s Republicans did not rest until they had impeached the president for perjury and abuse of office in the Paula Jonnes/Lewinsky saga - even if the meaker Senate later opted for acquittal...

If the top echelons of the Bush administration have done anything wrong over the last six years in power, they can now expect to see every vile detail exposed in one of those menacing wood-panelled chambers on the Hill.

Already there are signs that crimal investigations into the Bush administration will be the faire du jour for the next 24 months. The Washignton Post has run an op-ed by Ahmed Rashid calling for the impeachment of Rumsfeld:
The first and most important act for a newly elected U.S. House and Senate is to impeach Donald Rumsfeld. The defense secretary waged incompetent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, undermined the U.S. military, introduced torture, destroyed U.S. credibility worldwide, lied to theAmerican people, caused the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, failed to catch the perpetrators of 9/11 despite access to unlimited funds and caused the U.S. to enter a long period of isolation from the world.

Once Rumsfeld is in the sights, there is no reason not to go after Bush himself. As Ed Koch, former mayor of New York predicted, there are many who are seeking to topple the president:

I expect that [Rep. John] Conyers as chairman [of the House Judiciary Committee], now with great freedom, will do anything he can to commence such impeachment or investigatory activity, and we'll see whether Pelosi will prevent it.
Pelosi has already signalled, strongly, that any talk of impeachment or prolonged investigation is off the table. But for those who've been on vacation, Bush is on the political agenda and in John Conyers' sights for several reasons: i) constitutional authority was exceeded when he falsified intelligence and lied to Congress and the American people in order to invade Iraq; ii) subverting democracy and the constitution through illegal surveillance of US citizens as well as violating international treaties through "extraordinary renditions", secret prisons and torture. All said, Conyers in his 350 page report The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance found that the Bush administration had violated 26 laws and regulations. And that doesn't even begin to touch topic such as Haliburton and corruption.

Whether a Democratic Congress --- its sights already trained on 2008 and the presidential election --- has the stomach, or the testicular fortitude to proceed with large-scale inquiries remains to be seen. All politics aside, if the U.S. is to regain any credibilty among its allies and well-wishers, if it is to restore a healthy, functioning democracy at home, housecleaning is in order. Two kinds of corruption afflict the American body politic today: the banal, everyday steal-from-the-public-purse kind exemplified by war contracts, and a deeper sort manifested by the wholesale abandonment of the founding ideals of liberty and justice in favour of darker principles of cynicism, public manipulation, and police-state tactics. It is the latter corruption that is worrisome. Having watched this corruption in the American republic metastasize for the past 6 years, a thorough purge would be welcome and necessary.

Whatever the outcome, with a large gobblet in hand, the Upper Canadian toasts those who are in a position to right wrongs and persecute the wicked. Let's hope they do so.

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