Do You Get It NOW?
By Bernard Weiner,
The Crisis Papers
July 24, 2007
As Bush&Co. isolate themselves even further in the White House
Bunker with their lies, scandals, coverups and unending wars, they're
becoming even more reckless and dangerous to America and its citizens.
That behavior shouldn't be all that surprising: That's what happens when
vicious animals are cornered.
Domestically, they're no longer even trying to hide their aversion to
democracy and the Constitution. With his new Executive Order on
"executive privilege," for example, Bush openly proclaims that he is
untouchable by the rule of law; now there are only two branches of
government-- the Legislative Branch is ignored as irrelevant -- and
CheneyBush more or less control them both. More on this issue
Abroad, the CheneyBush Administration is preparing in the Fall to
escalate the Iraq War yet again, at the same time the propaganda
machine is being revved-up in preparation for a
coming attack on Iran. Both actions will help jihadi-recruiting
and thus put at risk even more U.S. troops abroad and citizens at
home. Plus, an attack on Iran will have far-reaching consequences
with regard to Russia, China, the availability of oil, the rise of the
Euro in international trade and the concomitant fall of the dollar, the
impact on the U.S. economy, etc. etc.; has Bush&Co.
given serious thought to any of these, and other, ramifications?
again, I pose the question to previous Bush voters, to centrists,
and independents, and
traditionally conservative Republicans: Do you finally get it? Do
you understand now why the HardRight CheneyBush Administration
has sunk so low in the polls and has little hope of ever getting out,
thus taking the Republican Party (and, if you're an elected official,
you) down the drain with them in 2008? Do you understand why,
since CheneyBush will not resign, impeachment is the only constitutional
way to pry their corrupt, itchy fingers from the levers of power?
Some examples here of why we're near the impeachment tipping-point, and
why more and true conservative Republicans (among them many elite movers
and shakers) are abandoning this sinking ship in record numbers and
coming to understand that it's too risky to permit Cheney and Bush to
stay in power through January 2009.
FOUNDING FATHERS & IMPEACHMENT
Though they tried for the longest time to hide it, the Bush
Administration is operating on the discredited claim that the President
is above the law -- nay, IS the law. (Nixon tried the same
assertion when he was President -- "If the President does it, it is not
illegal" -- and the Supreme Court shot him down quickly.) Cheney and
Alberto Gonzales devised a theory of governance that claims the
President can do whatever he wants, violate whatever laws he wants, when
he's acting as "Commander-in-Chief" during "wartime."
Since the self-proclaimed "war" is an open-ended, permanent "war on
terror," this theory effectively turns the presidency into a
17th-century monarchy. (Further evidence of how far into the cult
of personality we've come: According to former Surgeon General Richard
Carmona, his press releases
mention Bush "three times per page").
The Founding Fathers came to this country because they'd been maltreated
by despotic rulers and then, as colonists, fought a war to establish
their independence from a tyrannical king. There was no way to
legitimately overthrow a dictatorial monarch, but they noted six times
in the Constitution the one way it could be done in the new United
States of America: impeachment. If an elected leader went way
beyond the constitutional limits and thus was endangering the country --
in short, was involved in high crimes and misdemeanors -- he could be,
he should be, impeached before the House and tried in the Senate.
Impeachment of the president has happened only three times in our
nation's history, most recently when the Republicans went after Bill
Clinton for sexual behavior that most Americans agreed did not rise to
the level of a high crime affecting the state.
But the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors of Cheney and Bush are
directly tied to authoritarian behavior that led to, and continues to
result in, death and destruction of our soldiers abroad and the mangling
and shredding of our Constitutional protections and the rule of law.
EVIDENCE OF CRIMES IS SECRET
This week, pursuant to Congressional committee subpoenas for documents
with which to investigate various White House scandals, Bush upped the
Constitutional crisis. He is preparing to assert in an Executive
Order that the Legislative Branch could pass all the contempt citations
it wants, but U.S. Attorneys would be instructed not to pursue
these criminal charges when the President says that documents are
off-limits because of
"executive privilege." In short, the Legislative Branch
would be receiving no documents, nada, zilch.
Cheney, several weeks earlier, refused to produce documents demanded
under law by the National Archives since, he claimed, he was not part of
the Executive Branch. Former White House Counsel Harriet Miers
likewise refused for the second time to abide by a subpoena to appear
before a House investigatory panel examining the politicized firing of
U.S. Attorneys. Yep, "executive privilege" again.
What Bush and Cheney are saying, clearly and arrogantly, is: You'll
never get the evidentiary documents or testimony you're looking for.
If you want 'em, you'll have to take us to court, and we can stall and
appeal forever until one of our hand-picked courts backs our position.
Or you can put impeachment back "on the table" and try to get us in
front of your House panel, and that ain't gonna happen either.
Just lie back and enjoy it.
BUSH: "L'ETAT C'EST MOI"
In the CheneyBush Administration, there will be no oversight of the
Executive Branch. Ever. We are honest public servants in the
White House; you must trust us when we say that we are not engaged in
wrongdoing. L'Etat c'est moi.Just move along, nothing to
Since there is no way to vote this corrupted crew out of power until the
next general election 15 months from now, the only Constitutional method
for some restoration of our representative democracy is, indeed,
impeachment and removal upon conviction.
Only then might we return to the Founders' brilliant checks-and-balances
system, where no one branch of government would be able to exercise too
much power over the others.
SHUTTING DOWN DISSENT
Bush also issued two other ambiguous, problematic executive orders this
past week. Each seems to be one thing but the ramifications may
make them something else again.
The first executive order deals with cracking down on those
organizations and individuals that, in the Administration's eyes,
"threaten stabilization efforts in Iraq"; but
the wording is so vague as
to leave open the possibility that legitimate dissenters and peace
organizations might have their property seized and/or will be arrested
for opposing the war. In other words, this executive order gives
the Executive Branch yet another weapon with which to deal with its
political enemies, should it choose to do so. It already has the
power, approved by the Congress, to enter your computer and read your
mail and spy on your phone calls, and also the power to declare a
national emergency and rule by martial law. Can anyone spell the
The second executive order last week seemed to be bowing to public
pressure to end the Administration's fascination with torture and
humiliation of "unlawful combatants" in its care. But
reading of this ambiguous document reveals that it never really goes
into what forms of "enhanced interrogation techniques" are still
permitted. "Waterboarding" (nearly drowning a prisoner), for
example, may or may not be on the approved list. But without
Congress insisting on carrying out its mandated oversight
responsibilities, we may never find out.
ABUSING THE POWER TO MAKE WAR
Another compelling reason for moving quickly now to bring Cheney and
Bush before an impeachment panel of the House is their reckless,
dangerous behavior in having started one war and their movement towards
The first war, on Iraq, was based on lies and deceptions.
CheneyBush's continual escalation, and their current "do-over" war,
demonstrate that no amount of "surging" and draconian occupation can
bring peace to a land wracked by major civil/sectarian divisions.
The war they are planning, probably in coordination with Israel, is
aimed at destroying Iran's nuclear installations and scientific
infrastructure, thus setting back by at least a decade or two Iran's
military ambitions and growing political influence in the Middle East.
The Bush Administration's neo-conservatives -- of which Cheney is the
most ideological and bloodthirsty adherent -- are working like crazy to
foment that war against Iran.
IRAN WAR WOULD BE LUNATIC
These guys never learn. They gave up on the one war they might
possibly have won -- the one in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al-Qaida
-- and moved their troops precipitately to Iraq, which was no danger to
the U.S.; now the Afghanistan war has flared up again, with the Taliban
re-energized. Based on lies and deceits, the CheneyBush
Administration invaded and occupied Iraq with no real understanding of
that society and with no Plan B in case they ran into trouble; now
they're in deep, deep trouble and won't change course.
The CheneyBush desire to start a third war in Iran is absolutely nuts,
and will further damage America's military and political position in the
region and around the world, and will lead to even more terrorist
activity directed at the U.S.
This analysis does not even go into the likelihood that Turkey might
well invade Iraq to keep the Kurds from gaining enough military and
political strength to move on Kurdistan statehood. Or that the
U.S. might unilaterally attack the resurgent Al-Qaida forces in
the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan, or force the Musharaff
government to do so, in either instance leading to the fall of that
government to Islamist extremists who would then have their hands on
deliverable nuclear weaponry. Or that Russia, anxious to slow down
the further deterioration of its old empire and influence, including in
the Greater Middle East, is starting to take on Western Europe and the
CheneyBush policy is all of reckless piece. Stick an iron pipe
into the Greater Middle East bees' nest, move it around agitatingly, and
see if you can extract the honey. Little or no thought about what
horrific stinging and chaos might follow. Just keep sticking more
pipes into more bees' nests all around the region. Then, a year or
two later, wonder about how this mess happened and whom to scapegoat for
all the death and destruction.
Short summary: America, the world, can't take much more of the
CheneyBush Administration. It's long since time to rein in their
extreme assumption and exercise of power, and to bring them into
accountability for the high crimes and misdemeanors they've committed.
The only Constitutional way of doing that is to institute impeachment
hearings in the House. The sooner the better.
Pelosi and Conyers have given some indication they might be willing to
reconsider the "i" word, given the public acceptance of the idea, so one
can expect that the public pressure on this issue will continue.
As it should if we are to have any hope at all for America's future.
Copyright 2007, by Bernard Weiner
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught
government & international relations at universities in California and
Washington, worked as a writer/editor at the San Francisco Chronicle for two
decades, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org).
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