On impeachment

2006-11-05

in Law, Politics

In their leader on the midterm elections, The Economist says that: “talk of impeaching Mr Bush is dangerous” but offers no reasoning for the claim. While impeachment is obviously an extreme response, it is one that has been contemplated several times in the last century. It seems to me that a case can be made that wiretapping, torture, the denial of legal rights to American citizens, and the widespread rejection of international law create at least the possibility that this administration is as criminal as that of Richard Nixon. The list certainly makes Bill Clinton’s crime of lying under oath seem reasonably trivial.

Perhaps they mean that talk of impeachment is dangerous to the Democrats, because it risks turning a reversal of the Congressional majority into an opportunity to settle political scores. The Democrats obviously need to become a solid-seeming alternative before the 2008 elections, and too many inquiries and accusations could be a distraction. This is an argument with which I have some sympathy, but if the Democrats are likely to be elected more out of anger directed towards the Republicans than because of their own ideas – as seems to be the case – then it is perhaps exactly such inquiries that they are being elected to conduct.

Let’s just hope that a Democratic congress, if such a thing arises on Tuesday, will be able to generate some better policies, instead of just recriminations.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. November 5, 2006 at 4:43 pm

I’ll tell you why talk of impeaching Mr Bush is dangerous:

President Dick Cheney. Run for your lives!

Anon August 21, 2008 at 10:36 am

About Bush at the Olympics: “You know, he really is adorable. He shouldn’t be our President; he should be our mascot.”

Commenting on Bush’s observation that international conflicts can be solved by mediation: “That’s President bush winning a preliminary heat in the 200-meter lack of self-awareness dash.”

On his decision to pat American women’s beach volleyball player Misty Treanor on the small of the back for good luck, Stewart says: “Back of the hand, small of the back. Perhaps the wisest decision of his entire Presidency.”

And that’s the problem. Bush and most of his top officials have now reached the point, if they haven’t raced past it long ago, where nobody can afford to believe a single thing they say.

. September 1, 2008 at 3:17 am

Cheney’s Law

For three decades Vice President Dick Cheney conducted a secretive, behind-closed-doors campaign to give the president virtually unlimited wartime power. Finally, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Justice Department and the White House made a number of controversial legal decisions. Orchestrated by Cheney and his lawyer David Addington, the department interpreted executive power in an expansive and extraordinary way, granting President George W. Bush the power to detain, interrogate, torture, wiretap and spy — without congressional approval or judicial review.

. September 29, 2008 at 10:57 am

Still. Big props to McCain for stating that we “must never torture a prisoner ever again.” It shows that McCain—unlike Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Mukasey, Feith. et al—is sufficiently honest to admit that yes we have been torturing prisoners and yes it’s shocking. McCain has said this before although he also disappointed a lot of us when he declined to vote last winter to force the CIA to conform their interrogation techniques to the Army Field Manual (enabling the United States to officially ban torture while still retaining the ability to say, “I know a guy”). If both candidates for president can say aloud that the United States has permitted torture, and understand the significance of that for the rest of the world, it gives me some cause for hope. Not for war crimes prosecutions. I didn’t say I’m drunk here. But at least for some kind of moral reckoning when all this insanity comes to an end.

. October 17, 2008 at 11:13 am

The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush
by Congressman Dennis Kucinich

With Additional Material by David Swanson and Elizabeth de la Vega

. November 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm

George Bush’s torture admission is a dismal moment for democracy

When again will the US be able to direct others to meet their human rights standards?

Philippe Sands
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 9 November 2010 16.52 GMT

Although it comes as no surprise, George Bush’s straight admission that he personally authorised waterboarding – an act of torture and a crime under US and international law – marks a dismal moment for western democracies and the rule of law. When again will the US be able to direct others to meet their human rights standards? Certainly not before it takes steps to bring its own house in order.

Unlike the UK’s coalition government, which has announced a judicial inquiry on allegations of British involvement in torture, Barack Obama’s administration has apparently ended the practice – but has done nothing to investigate the circumstances in which it was used by the Bush administration.

Bush claims that the use of waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah “saved lives”, including British ones. There is not a shred of evidence to support that claim, one that falls into the same category as the bogus intelligence relied on to justify war in Iraq.

Indeed, waterboarding and Iraq appear to be interconnected, as torture-induced information was relied upon to justify the invasion. Torture may produce information, but it doesn’t produce reliable information, as every experienced interrogator I have spoken with repeatedly tells me – on both sides of the Atlantic. It produces the information that the subject believes the interrogator wants to hear.

. February 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Activists vowed on Monday that former U.S. President George W. Bush will face a torture case against him wherever he travels outside the United States.

Human rights groups had planned to lodge a Swiss criminal case against Bush on Monday, before his address to a Jewish charity in Geneva on Feb. 12. Organizers cancelled his speech last weekend, invoking security concerns.

But the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights issued what they called a preliminary “indictment””to prosecute Bush abroad for the alleged torture of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody.

“This document is not intended to serve as a comprehensive presentation of all evidence against Bush for torture; rather, it presents the fundamental aspects of the case against him, and a preliminary legal analysis of liability for torture, and a response to certain anticipated defenses,” it read.

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