Impeachment Challenge From AlterNet and Readers Write
Dear AlterNet Reader,
Sent packing! That's right. American voters looked at the horrendous mess in Iraq, the crushing of civil liberties, the increasing wage gap, the overheating planet, and the mess in New Orleans, along with other issues, and voted many Republicans and conservatives out of office and out of power.
American voters said "enough."
But did they mean it? Or should the American public go further -- and hold Bush and Cheney responsible for war crimes, torture and illegal wiretapping?
Several things seem clear:
- The administration "fixed" intelligence to start a war unsanctioned under international law.
- The president violated the First Amendment by authorizing the NSA to engage in warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.
- The president authorized torture -- ignoring military law and the Geneva conventions -- which Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy considers "'war crimes' punishable as federal offenses."
Based upon these allegations and others, many AlterNet readers want to see impeachment proceedings initiated against Bush and Cheney. A grassroots campaign is already well under way.
Leaders of groups like Code Pink, Progressive Democrats, Veterans for Peace and others have already met in Philadelphia to plan a campaign. Books by Elizabeth Holtzman, John Nichols and others make a strong case for the viability of impeachment.
Of nearly 400,000 respondents to a recent MSNBC online poll, 87 percent supported impeachment. And a Newsweek poll found that a majority of Americans wanted to see Bush impeached if he lied about the war in Iraq.
AlterNet wants to provide strong coverage of the grassroots movement to impeach Bush and Cheney.
Will you make a contribution to help?
Now is the time when the real battle for progressive values begins in earnest. We need to keep the quality of our content high -- bringing you the best articles, essays and video available.
- Give you the pros (and the cons) of impeachment.
- Track the impeachment organizing effort as it gains momentum.
- Make an ongoing assessment of impeachment's political viability.
- Continue to provide you the best journalism on the topic, including excerpts from new books and new research on the justification for impeachment.
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What follows are some important reader responses from Tim Dickinson's recent article "So You Think You Want to Impeach?."
Many AlterNet readers wrote in response to Tim Dickinson's Nov. 15 article, So You Think You Want to Impeach?, about impeachment and the current crop of books on the topic. It seems pretty clear that the AlterNet readers who commented did not appreciate Dickinson's ultimate assessment that politically, impeachment wasn't practical. A slew of angry, idealistic, principled readers came down pretty heavily on the idea that impeachment should be off the table, and are raring to join a grassroots movement in support of impeaching both Bush and Cheney.
What follows represents the feelings and thoughts of some of these writers -- and many more.
Joyleaf wrote, "I think some action is in order, and I have this little feeling that weight's shifting in that kind of way that can signal changing tides. A little push from a lot of us could get the show on the road."
Keefus55: "If impeachment is not an option, then why did our founding fathers put that procedure in our Constitution in the first place? Clearly, this crowd has committed MORE than their fair share of "high crimes and misdemeanors."
"It seems to me that the unprovoked invasion of another sovereign state in a trumped up war, which has resulted in the needless killing thousands of our own sons and daughters (not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians) would CERTAINLY beat white stains on a blue dress hands down ..."
Earthie writes, "It bothers me not at all that many in positions of leadership now speak of impeachment as 'off the table.' This is, after all, government of, for and by 'the people,' which is us. Many seem to want to forget the 'by' part of this reality."
"We have a few months before the 110th Congress (which will be under a Democratic majority) is sworn in. This means that men of integrity such as Conyers and Waxman will chair key committees charged with oversight of the crimes that we have seen openly committed by Bush and Cheney. We (those of us who believe firmly that impeachment is both warranted and necessary) have those few months to muster and show support for this cause."
"Remember that Sen. Russ Feingold (my junior senator from Wisconsin, thank you) stood up and called for censure of Bush just a couple of months ago. He was met with resounding silence. The silence of cowardice and complicity rather than reasoned judgement, if you want my opinion, but silence nonetheless. Not very encouraging to those in Congress who might now consider the more severe measure of impeachment."
Earthie continues, "In short, impeachment is a remote likelihood without strong support from "we the people". And that support must be shown by means other than well-reasoned books by a few authors and unscientific polls by 'news' media. Certainly those have their place in the grand scheme of things, but they are mere prelude to the real work that must be done by US."
"Join a group, form a group, write letters, march, demonstrate and maintain the public dialog at a high level, it's the only way this will happen. And I'm convinced that for the sake of our country and the world, it must. We're doing it in my community, if you've not begun doing it in yours, please do so."
JeanBee asserts, "The pragmatic clincher for the anti-impeachment crowd seems to be the impossibility of getting 67 senators -- which would have to include at least 16 Republicans -- to vote for conviction."
"What these people ignore is the role of public opinion in the success or failure of impeachment proceedings. Low public approval for Nixon caused him to see the writing on the wall, and he resigned; high public approval for Clinton insulated him from the purely ideological drive against him by Republicans in Congress, and protected him from conviction in the Senate."
"IMO as Congressional investigations, fully reported in a press kept even minimally honest by bloggers, reveal the colossal crimes, bungling and plundering of the treasury committed by this administration, public disapproval of Bush/Cheney will plummet further and faster than anyone can imagine. As they approach 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in public approval, you can bet that plenty of Republican senators will be only too happy to vote to convict."
"The key, though, is to impeach both -- not just Bush. The American people already despise Cheney; Bush they just see as feckless, not the dangerous, self-serving tyrant he really is."
Reader Brad weighs in, "This article is really bad. It basically makes a case for impeachment and then says, nah, it would look bad. The only thing that would look bad is the Republican (and some Dems) corruption and collusion with corporations. If we don't impeach the next time they take power, and there will be a next time, they will only start from where this admin ended and go further. The only way to save democracy is to have rule of law and that means impeaching those who deserve it."
kgs1947 notes, "No, I do NOT prefer Bush to any other alternatives. We do have an obligation to stand up for the Constitution and for all those who have been tortured or died in defending it. That is the obligation of our elected officials. So, let's go for President Pelosi."
Symcokid writes, "I want GW Bush to be IMPEACHED and to be charged with WAR CRIMES in the International Criminal Court!!! The last I read, 87 percent of the American people want to see the Bush gone, he can hide out at his 98,000-acre farm in Paraguay if he goes into exile." to go after Nixon. Worked like a charm before.
While user Marianne weighs in on Pelosi: "Nancy Pelosi did the right thing -- any mention of impeachment would have mobilized Republicans and we wouldn't see the power shift that so many of us have waited for. I expect that Nancy Pelosi will become the most influential and effective speaker of the House this nation has seen."
And MonkeyBoy says, "We need to start the impeachment proceedings ASAP in 2007. There is ample justification for this, not the least of which is John Conyers' document from a year ago. I encourage everyone to read it."
Reader bswebs writes, "I don't think that impeachment would help. The grievous offenses of Bush and company should mean jail and treason."
Xenacat: "... This article is pure convoluted nonsense. We must hold these two criminals responsible for their numerous crimes against both American citizens and everyone else in the world. It is time to clean house -- literally. I can't think of any legitimate reason to delay impeachment proceedings since the magnitude of this administration's misdeeds are so great. If we don't move to impeach, than shame on us ..."
Jreinhart1 notes, "Republicans and Democrats worked together to move Johnson to not seek another term for his criminal behavior and got Nixon to resign. The criminal cabal in Washington with George W. Bush is far far worse, and his actions of creating a war of aggression, ignoring the Constitution, his use of torture, illegal weapons use, spying without FISA court, ignoring most of the Geneva conventions, ignoring American environmental law, nuclear proliferation of radioactive materials against the IAEA and nuclear information to India ..."
"If the Republicans and Democrats in office can't perform their oath of office as they did in 1967 and 1973, then they should be removed from office and new elections should be held immediately. The entire 2006 elections would have been a worthless and gratuitous entertainment event in the entire lot of criminals."
Tweedster: "This article seems to encapsule the simpering and timidity that has plagued the Democratic party for years. The inane overanalysis that suggests keeping the dogs at bay would be better than having Cheney as prez is just idiotic. Could Darth Vader gain that much more sway over the executive offices anyway, no matter what the title? Also, if things are to be handled properly, some process must be undergone to also remove Cheney anyhow!"
"But then again, politics has never been about doing the right thing -- a reality that this Dickinson character seems to flaunt."
"Disregarding the author's advice to ride out one of the worst presidencies in history, IF Speaker Pelosi were to assume control of the presidency and did not jump the gun on controversial issues that rally the Repub base, it could deflate her portrayal as a raving left-wing radical AND prove that we can have a woman leading this country..."
Chesapeake notes that "Cynicism is no basis for political decisions. A long time ago doing the right thing became a joke among the commentators. In America, "pragmatism" and the bottom line are the only measures of the worthiness of an idea."
"The failure to see the precedent set by allowing the executive branch to ignore the law and allowing gangsters to steal national elections is dangerous and certainly impractical. There will be many "experts" in the coming months whose job it will be to sap the strength of the popular movement (as there have always been). They will write about the "practical" benefits of doing nothing (as long as someone else is doing the dying). Ignore them. They are nothing more than hecklers. They add nothing to the equation."
Billyboy43: "So what happens if we don't impeach? This article focuses on the obvious -- both Cheney and Bush must go to stop this abusive, murderous, illegal administration, and then the speaker of the House ascends -- so it looks politically ambitious."
"But what happens if we don't impeach? (1) We stay in Iraq and lose even more American lives, and kill tens of thousands more Iraqi. (2) Abuse of power goes unchecked now and forever. (3) The Constitution does turn to 'just a g*d**n piece of paper.' This is not acceptable. They commited the 'high crimes,' so they must be impeached! IT IS OUR DUTY!"
Pball: "Amidst all this impeachment frenzy, nobody has yet come up with a concrete plan to get at least 16 Republican senators to commit the ultimate party treason at a time when party lines are more important than ever."
"Sure, there's been a lot of "once the trial begins and the TRUTH comes out, the people's EYES shall be OPENED, HALLELUJAH!"... bullshit. I'm sorry, but you've been living under a rock if you don't think, or at least have heard, something's rotten in Denmark. Sure, the exact sordid details aren't public yet, but even if every single iota of the corruption and sleaze were drawn out into the light of day, it still ain't gonna matter."
MAT: "I have a feeling Mr. Dickinson has just discredited himself in front of a large majority of the American population by accepting a conclusion based on the status quo, 'broken politic think' attitude that has gotten us into all these politically and morally abysmal quagmires we face today as a nation and a culture. Hollow punditry such as this will, thankfully, contribute to its own demise."
"My real world experience has taught me that when you make a mistake (which evidence justifiably bears out) you must be, in some way, responsible for the consequences. Whether those consequences should incur rebuke or punishment are dependent on the severity of the mistake and conditions under which has been committed."
Sasha40 writes, "Impeachment must (and can) be led by the people ... We should all just listen to Elizabeth Holtzman -- her very sensible advice was posted here a few days ago. There is no way, especially after the Clinton debacle, that Democrats in Congress will lead the way to impeachment. If you want impeachment (as a first step towards removal and prosecution, for those of who would like to see those outcomes) and a thorough, independent investigation of what has gone on in this administration these last six years, call your senator and representative, and tell them you want a through investigation and impeachment of the president and vice president, and charges brought against anyone in the administration who is found in an independent investigation to have broken the law. Call every week to remind them. Send emails. Encourage your friends and loved ones who agree with you to do the same. Start now, or in January, when the 110th Congress convenes."
Then Pelosi can say, "I always said impeachment was off the table. But the American people have left me no choice."