Friday, November 17, 2006

Democrats block Bush impeachment

The storm clouds are gathering around the Bush administration on both sides of the Atlantic following the Republican Party’s defeat in the mid-term Congressional elections. The election have given fresh impetus to the grassroots movement in the United States calling on Congress to impeach Bush and the rest of the White House. In Germany, constitutional campaigners have started moves to launch a prosecution of US officials for war crimes on behalf of 12 torture victims – 11 Iraqi citizens who were held at Abu Ghraib prison and one Guantánamo detainee. One US website has recorded votes of more than 800,000 Americans who want Bush removed from office because he acted illegally by fixing intelligence to start a war against international law, violated the constitution by authorising phone tapping without warrants and authorised torture by the CIA in a network of secret prisons. Of nearly 400,000 respondents to a recent online poll, 87% 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. Full page ads have appeared in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, USA Today and many other papers urging support for impeachment. Under the constitution, for a president to be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanours", formal charges are introduced in the House of Representatives. If any of the charges are approved, then the president is considered "impeached" and would then be tried by the Senate to determine his guilt or innocence. If a president is found guilty by the Senate on any charge, the constitution states that he must be removed from office. There have been nine formal attempts to impeach a United States President. In 1974, Richard Nixon resigned before a vote in the wake of the Watergate scandal where he authorised the burglary of the Democratic Party’s HQ.

The Bush regime is not the campaigners’ main problem, however. That just happens to be the leadership of the Democratic Party who are dead opposed to impeachment proceedings. Democrat Nancy Pelosi is the new Speaker of the House but even before the recent elections she told CBS television that "impeachment is off the table". When asked about this declaration, she went on to assure that "yes it is a pledge", and even called impeachment "a waste of time". This is only of a sample of the lame messages that the Democrats, who defeated Bush despite having no substantial differences with the White House, are sending out. Many Democrats are anti-abortion and take a right-wing line on immigration from Mexico. What the impeachment campaign shows is that the momentum of the movement against the Bush regime is taking it beyond the narrow confines of the Democratic Party. In Britain, the charges levelled against Bush equally stand up against the Blair government. The question for campaigners on both sides of the Atlantic is by what means can constitutional and democratic rights be defended when all the major parties and the political system are part of the problem.

Paul Feldman, communications editor


Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the Democrats do not want to impeach Bush for Iraq. Perhaps it needs to be something a little more serious, i.e. if he had had sex with a member of staff in the White House, then that might do it.
Do the Democrats have something to hide regarding Iraq?
I consider it a major failure of Parliment and this country that very few people have put any pressure on Blair to resign long ago and then face charges over Iraq - it shows the spinelessness of MP's. The public at large should hang their heads in shame at their apathy towards the thousands killed - and for what.

Anonymous said...

The reason that the Democrats do not want to impeaach Busch is that in their inherent support for the capitalist system with all of its growing social inequalities and social injustices, there is no differnce betweeen their political vision or endgame and the Republicans. This is why so few Americans actually vote for either. It is mirrored in this country by the inability to place a cigarette paper between the political ideologies followed by New labour or the Conservatives.

ginger said...

I actually agree with Pelosi when she says that it is "a waste of time" to impeach Bush, but possibly with a different interpretation. Instead of implying that an impeachment doesn't matter or isn't important, it is a waste of time as in literally - there isn't enough time. It would take a year and a half to two years for the impeachment and removal of the president, and he would be gone by then anyway. Also, one would have to PROVE that he lied. The evidence is hidden, as usual and in true political form, within blurry diction and blame shifting phrases such as "not to my knowledge" and "with the information I was given..." This impeachment, therefore, might only make a rhetorical difference.

We don't need to point out that Bush is an idiot, a poor representation of a human being, a lying sack of... The people are gradually being awakened to these facts. History will write itself there, so why waste the time? Will impeachment hold the president accountable for his action? Also, when there is dissent here in the US, supporters tend to rally behind the one who is attacked. Bad publicity is simply, and unfortunately more publicity. Plus, who wants Cheney at the helm (Dear God!).

If you want to try Bush for war crimes against humanity, fine; he should be held accountable. But shouldn't we focus our political will on issues that will make an immediate and palpable difference?

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about HR 333? I urge you and your readers to take a few minutes to look at:

It's a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. Comments can be sent to elected representatives and local newspapers at your option. The participation page is at:

Since this campaign began, some members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents. Has yours? Make your voice heard, and let others know!