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Charles Cutter

Impeaching Bush in 2007
By Charles Cutter (
Mar 31, 2005 - 9:31:00 PM

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Richard Nixon, facing impeachment, was forced to resign the presidency in August of 1974 - twenty-one months after a record-breaking victory. With nineteen months in which to work, and following a disputed razor-thin reelection, it’s time to focus on the elections of 2006 - and George W. Bush’s removal from office in 2007.

What are the odds of pulling it off? Historically, it’s a long-shot. Short of death, no American president has ever been removed from office. Andrew Johnson, in 1868, was impeached but acquitted; Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, acquitted in ‘99. Mr. Nixon simply saw the writing on the wall and made a quick exit.

The numbers, too, are daunting. Currently, there are 232 Republican members of the House of Representatives, to 202 Democrats (and one Socialist, Bernard Sanders of Vermont). In the Senate, the Republicans hold 55 seats to 44 for the Democrats (with one Democratic-leaning independent, James Jeffords - also of Vermont). The House requires a simple majority to pass an article of impeachment; the Senate requires a two-thirds majority for conviction.

So it might sound like wishful thinking, or perhaps outright fantasy. But keep in mind - America went from record budget surpluses to record deficits virtually overnight. In less than two years we witnessed what was generally a democracy embrace disturbing elements of fascism.

We are living in a tumultuous era of extreme action and extreme reaction.

How vulnerable is Mr. Bush? Just more than two months into his second term, Bush has put himself on the line twice - regarding Social Security privatization and federal intrusion into the Terri Schiavo case. In both instances - thus far - he seems to have miscalculated. There is a growing sense that second-term impotence may be setting in quicker than usual for Mr. Bush.

The challenge, then, is to galvanize Democrats with a singular sense of purpose. The anti-Bush forces need to coalesce around a powerful issue backed up with disturbing images. An issue that could put substantial Democratic majorities into both houses of Congress, that could incite impeachment charges against both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

With, of course, a well-chosen Speaker of the House waiting in the wings to assume presidential duties.

Waging an illegal war should have been a sufficient issue, but too many Americans have already shrugged off this particular atrocity - as John Kerry learned in 2004.

The issue that needs to be driven home to Americans - in a visual and visceral context - is Mr. Bush’s "culture of torture."

From the New York Times, 3/6/05: "The Bush administration’s secret program to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been carried out by the C.I.A. under broad authority that has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or the State or Justice Departments…In public, the Bush administration has refused to confirm that the rendition program exists…But former government officials say that since the Sept. 11 attacks, the C.I.A. has flown 100 to 150 suspected terrorists from one foreign country to another, including to Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan. Each of those countries has been identified by the State Department as habitually using torture in its prisons…[The practice has] faced sharp criticism, in part because of the accounts provided by former prisoners who say they were beaten, shackled, humiliated, subjected to electric shocks, and otherwise mistreated during their long detention…before being released without being charged."

Off the record, a "senior United States official" explained that the purpose of sending these prisoners to such countries is to avoid "the costly, manpower-intensive process of housing them in the United States." Is there one rational American who truly believes this spendthrift administration could not find the money for domestic incarceration of a couple hundred prisoners, if they so desired? The only purpose of foreign internment is to avoid due process of law - and to inflict torture.

Bob Herbert, columnist for the Times, has been a consistently strong voice opposing these actions by the Bush administration: "Any government that commits, condones, promotes or fosters torture is a malignant force in the world. And those who refuse to raise their voices against something as clearly evil as torture are enablers, if not collaborators."

If the American public can’t be educated and convinced that this ongoing process is both illegal and grossly immoral - if they don’t fundamentally agree that removing the Bush administration is essential to restoring honor and legality to America, both here and abroad - then, simply put, this country deserves the dark fate it is building.

Certainly this is a challenge of historic proportions; and certainly - as Mr. Bush has proved - it is easier to create bad history than good. But this scenario is not only a light at the end of the tunnel - the first step toward this country’s salvation - but it is also an opportunity for Americans to show the world that we are willing to correct our own mistakes.

© Copyright 2002-2013 by Magic City Morning Star

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