The Radford Files
Impeachment? What Impeachment?
Eric J. Garcia
You probably didn’t hear about it, but on June 11, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush in the House of Representatives. The charges include obstruction of justice in the Sept. 11, 2001 investigation, violating United Nations charters, misleading the public about Iraq and illegally spying on Americans (it’s actually interesting reading; you can find it at kucinich.house.gov).
Kucinich’s historic efforts have received little support and virtually no press, with a news blackout surrounding the issue. Did you read about it in the Albuquerque Journal? Nope. To the best of my knowledge, the Journal has not printed a single word about the current articles of impeachment against George W. Bush.
Doesn’t that seem strange? A member of the House of Representatives brings 35 separate articles upon which the sitting President of the United States can be removed from office, but the Albuquerque Journal doesn’t consider it newsworthy? Did the Journal spike the story for some reason? I seem to recall front-page Journal stories about the articles of impeachment for President Clinton ... . Perhaps it was an oversight and someone should tell the Journal their Washington bureau missed the story.
Whether or not you believe Bush should be impeached, the issue must be raised so the people can decide. If Kucinich and others (more than one million Americans have signed a petition at ImpeachBush.org) who want Bush removed from office are wrong, then so be it. But let the government’s checks and balances do their job.
It’s important to realize that a vote supporting the articles of impeachment is not necessarily a vote to impeach President Bush. It is simply a vote to bring the issue up, to officially declare that there is a legitimate question of whether or not Bush has committed high crimes and misdemeanors that, if true, would warrant his removal from office.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that impeachment is off the table, and most Democrats have followed the party line. As for Tom Udall, his office explained that since Bush has little time remaining in office, “attempting to bring impeachment charges against President Bush, or Vice-President Cheney, at this point, would prove counter-productive.” Basically, he’s saying we shouldn’t even try to find out if Bush is a criminal, because even if he is, he won’t be president for much longer. But former Attorney General Udall fails to understand the law. If a man is suspected of embezzling from a company, we don’t decide not to put him on trial just because he’s a year from retirement. If a suspected rapist is caught, we don’t let him go because he was planning to move to another state soon anyway. Elected officials must be held accountable for their actions.
While some elected officials joined Kucinich, most of them didn’t. They don’t want to find out—and perhaps more troubling, they don’t want you to find out—whether or not the current President of the United States is a criminal. Our politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, are exhibiting a callous and shocking indifference for the rule of law and should be ashamed they refused to stand up for the Constitution they swore to protect.
Our elected officials’ refusal to support Kucinich demonstrates not only political cowardice but also a violation of their Oath of Office. Tom Udall, Pete Domenici and others swore to defend the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic ... and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.” We are talking about clear allegations of a domestic threat to the United States Constitution, and by ignoring it, Udall, Domenici and others have violated their oath of office.
The articles of impeachment against George W. Bush should proceed; if he has committed no crimes or impeachable offenses, then Bush should leave office with America—and the world—knowing he has been vindicated. On the other hand, if the charges against Bush are proven true, it will serve as a precedent for future presidents that no one is above the law. If you commit a crime, then you are subject to impeachment, regardless of whether you have one year, one month or one minute remaining in office.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.