May 31, 2005

Should impeachment be considered?

On May 6 I wrote about a memo (now being called The Downing Street Memo) which surfaced during the recent UK elections. It indicated that the Bush Administration intended to invade Iraq as early as Spring 2002, even if the justification for that action included slanting and/or falsifying intelligence. Now a coalition has been created to collect further information and to persuade the House of Representatives to begin an inquiry into the allegations contained within that memo. What particular questions should be asked? Well:

The question must now be asked, with the release of the Downing Street Memo, whether the President has committed impeachable offenses. Is it a High Crime to engage in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for taking the nation into war? Is it a High Crime to manipulate intelligence so as to allege falsely a national security threat posed to the United States as a means of trying to justify a war against another nation based on "preemptive" purposes? Is it a High Crime to commit a felony via the submission of an official report to the United States Congress falsifying the reasons for launching military action?


If the evidence revealed by the Downing Street Memo is true, then the President’s submission of his March 18, 2003 letter and report to the United States Congress would violate federal criminal law, including: the federal anti-conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, which makes it a felony "to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose..."; and The False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which makes it a felony to issue knowingly and willfully false statements to the United States Congress.

Who are these guys? "is a coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war." Check it out. If you're interested, join the Big Brass Alliance and add your voice.

Posted by Linkmeister at May 31, 2005 12:01 AM

Reading your post, I am moved to recall the last attempt to impeach a President.

Ignoring the specific issues then, I feel that the episode contributed mightily to the poisoned and excessively partisan atmosphere that pervades our political establishment.

A similar attempt now would further polarize the country, at a time when we need more compromise and a more centrist politics that reflects the 50-50 split in the electorate.

Then, and now, it is the extremes of both political movements that drive the destructive cycle.

While I disliked many things about Bill Clinton, I have come to recognize his genius with governing from the middle and triangulating between the extremes.

It is what I would expect from Hillary as well, as is this excellent article.

Posted by: Pixelshim at May 31, 2005 05:12 AM

I'd argue that gerrymandering Congressional districts into "safe" seats has caused the polarization far more than impeachment did, but I can see your point.

Posted by: Linkmeister at May 31, 2005 09:26 AM

On Gerrymandering

Oh . . I certainly agree with your assessment.

I read somewhere that "... In other words, politicians are choosing voters, rather than voters choosing politicians. By reducing the number of truly competitive districts, gerrymandering also tends to disenfranchise independent voters and increase the power of the ideological extremes in both parties."

Posted by: Pixelshim at June 1, 2005 05:16 AM

Given the bogus data that caused the U.S. to enter the Spanish-American war, I'd say that's a big "no".

Posted by: Rob McMillin at June 2, 2005 05:17 PM