If Bush-Cheney Can’t Be Impeached, Nobody Can

If the Democrats don’t even make an effort to impeach George Bush or Dick Cheney before these criminals’ terms are up, then no president of the United States will ever face punishment for crimes against his own people or humanity at-large. So said David Swanson, of the Internet treasure trove of impeachment information, AfterDowningStreet.org.

Swanson was speaking at a discussion of impeachment at the Take Back America Conference, in Washington, earlier this week. Swanson presented an encyclopaedic list of 12 categories of impeachable crimes committed by the Bush regime – not 12 crimes, but 12 whole categories of crimes, each containing many separate instances and counts of crimes, any one of which is enough to send Bush and Cheney back where they came from before January, 2009. Taken together, the list shows there is no rule of law in the United States – that Bush has effectively destroyed the Constitution as a barrier to executive dictatorship. If laws can be broken at will, there is no law. Congress may as well stop enacting them, and go home, themselves.

That goes for the Congressional Black Caucus as an institution, as well. At least 40 of the 42 Black members of the House of Representatives should be co-sponsors of a measure to impeach Dick Cheney – but only four have signed on. What are they afraid of? Huge majorities of African Americans would have voted to impeach George Bush before he was even sworn in, in January, 2001, for having stolen the 2000 election. He did it again, in 2004, committing myriad crimes in the process. And he was still at it, this year, firing his own Republican U.S. attorneys for not being vigorous enough in systematically suppressing the voting rights of Blacks and Latinos – in preparation for Republican theft of the election in 2008. Yet only four Black congresspersons have signed on for impeachment.

They fear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi more than they respect the will of their own constituents, who would endorse impeachment in an instant. Pelosi says impeachment will remain “off the table” – meaning the rule of law is off the table. Pelosi’s defenders, including Black lawmakers, say there’s not enough time left in Bush’s and Cheney’s terms to bother with impeaching them. That’s a lie that flies in the face of history. Richard Nixon’s impeachment proceedings took only three months, after which he resigned in disgrace. It took only four months for Bill Clinton to go through the entire process, and be acquitted. The Democrats have been in the majority in the House and Senate for five months, and have not raised a finger to defend the rule of law.

Impeachment, like all criminal processes, is designed not just to punish current lawbreakers, but to prevent future criminality. George Bush and his gang have been running a massive criminal enterprise for more than six years, effectively nullifying the Constitution. The Constitution does not automatically come back to life after the two top criminals leave. It must be enforced, or it is just an old, moldy piece of paper. The question is not whether there is time to impeach Bush and Cheney, but whether there is time to rescue the rule of law – domestic and international.

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