In the March issue
of Harper's is a feature by outgoing editor Lewis H. Lapham called "The Case for Impeachment: Why We Can No Longer Afford George W. Bush." The Center for Constiutional Rights recently published a book, Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush
. Veterans for Peace
have constructed an official Case for Impreachment, and John Dean, former counsel to the President of the United States, wrote an essay
called "The Case for Impeachment" for AlterNet as long ago as 2003. There is a lot of buzz about the possibility of impeaching George W. Bush, and all this talk about making a case for impeachment is making me feel crazy in the way you feel when you realize most of the world is living in a parallel universe.
The only thing that should logically be going on at this point is the making of a case not to impeach Bush. The dissenters, the minority voices, should be the members of the extreme right, Bibles and flags in hand, standing up and screaming at the rest of the nation that we are hopeless sinners to even be thinking of impeaching Bush.
Actually, that scenario is weak, also, for impeachment should have taken place long ago. And in a sane country, even that scenario is weak, for at least one of the crooked elections would have been investigated, and Bush would not be in the White House. Of course, in an even saner country, Bush would never have been a candidate in the first place. As Molly Ivins continually begged the news media during the 2000 election—Check the record, but they never did.
It is probably reasonable to suggest that a president—or in this case, an ersatz president—who chronically lies about everything and whose employees distort official findings in every area of government, would not be impeached, but would certainly not be put in office a second time. Doctoring scientific reports and providing false information for dissemination in the schools is evil, but you have to do something a lot worse than that to be impeached (unless, of course, you are Bill Clinton, but that piece of insanity doesn't seem to count). Telling various groups, including veterans, that you support them and then systematically cutting their funding is dishonest and reprehensible, but probably not an impeachable offense.
But what about making up your mind, as you are unpacking to move into the White House, that you are going to invade a country that has done nothing aggressive toward your own country? And what about using a major tragedy in your nation to get people stirred into a frenzy over your determination to invade that nation? What about telling your citizens a series of lies about the country you intend to invade, knowing that a frightened and generally ignorant populace will buy? What about making sure that the corporate-controlled so-called news media will help you spread the lies, and also help you discredit anyone who sees through them?
When thousands of American soldiers are injured or killed, and when tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens are blown to bits over a series of whopping lies, isn't that a war crime, not to mention an impeachable offense? When an act of violent aggression stirs up hatred and fuels anti-American terrorism, doesn't that make the impeachable offense even worse?
The attempt to impeach Bill Clinton turns out to be yet another piece of good luck for this White House. There is little doubt in my mind that one of the reasons impeachment procedures have not been put forward is that it would look patently ridiculous to the rest of the world if Congress tried to impeach two presidents in a row. The other reason, of course—the big one—is that Republicans control Congress and are not willing to get rid of one of their own, no matter how dishonest, ignorant, and dangerous he is. Republicans were willing to get rid of Richard Nixon, whose crimes pale in comparison with those of Bush, but that was a different batch of Republicans. These Republicans have a two-pronged base—ultra-wealthy corporate interests and deeply reactionary religious zealots. Until the latter realize they are the victims of the former, the Repbublican Party will hold on to immense amounts of power.
Only today, I walked into a grocery store while wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt, and a man walking out pointed at it and yelled "Fire the liar!" A year ago, no one in my conservative community would have entertained such an idea, let alone express it in public. To anyone who pays attention, it was obvious from the get-go that Bush was both incompetent and dishonest. It has taken much of the rest of America five and a half years to get even a small clue about the treachery of this White House. In a country that worships Ronald Reagan, I keep my expectations about justice very low. Bush has already committed just about every presidential crime possible, and he is still in office.
Should Bush be impeached? Of course. Should we be having a national discussion about the merits of impeachment? No, because such a discussion requires that people present reasons for Bush to stay in the White House, and there are none. Such a conversation is crazy-making, and a clear symptom of the very dysfunctional organization America has become.