Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Proposal: Impeachment, G.W. Bush

As discussed elsewhere on this site (The Second Gulf War) it is my belief, backed up by facts, that a great disservice has been done to the U.S. by President G.W. Bush and the people in his administration. That truth has been hijacked to serve a megalomaniacal agenda. That whole nations are being trampled in a zeal for expressing political might. That the U.S. image in the world is being smeared by the very people who are leading this country. That their actions are unconstitutional, immoral, and criminal. In short, they deserve worse than being voted out of office, they deserve to be impeached and many ought to be in jail.

If lying about sex is impeachable, lying to create a war is 1000 times more impeachable.

On this page I'll go across bits of evidence and writings surrounding this view.

Justification for impeachment:

  • Several lies were told by the administration to justify the war:
    • Iraq was seeking Uranium - FALSE
    • Iraq was harboring al-Qaida members - FALSE, while an al Qaeda group had established itself in Northern Iraq, they were located in the "no-fly zone" area of Northern Iraq which the U.S. was patrolling and protecting, and in which the Iraqi government had little sway. Of course since the war al Qaeda may have sent many people there to take advantage of the chaos, but that's after the U.S. created that chaos under false pretenses.
    • Iraq had gassed its civilians and was an imminent threat to its neighbors - TRUE/FALSE, while the actions Iraq had taken in the past were true, it was not an imminent threat nor did its neighbors believe it to be an imminent threat
    • Iraq had extensive chemical and biological weapons programs in operation and being hidden from the eye of U.N. inspectors - FALSE
  • The launching of pre-emptive war is morally unjust, and completely unfit for a country such as the U.S.
  • Launching war in Iraq increased, rather than decreased, danger to the U.S. by splitting our forces from the active and present danger
  • Launching war in Iraq, while facing grave opposition by the world, greatly damages U.S. prestige and image around the world
  • Launching war in Iraq has only increased the anger in some quarters against the U.S., and that it was launched under false pretenses only plays into their hand.
  • Launching the war in Iraq distracted the U.S. from the real danger, al Qaeda, giving the al Qaeda operation time to reform itself. Further the war only served to justify the claims of al Qaeda and has served more as a recruitment boon for al Qaeda.
  • Making so many blatant lies has hurt U.S. credibility
  • Created the conditions at the Abu Ghraib (and other) prisons which led to massive abuses and torture of the prisoners. This torture is absolutely against the nature of America, and has done more than tarnish America's image around the world.
  • Politicized the intelligence gathering system, bypassing the professional intelligence organizations and substituting its own organization so that the administration could better fuel its political agenda.
  • Relied on information sources, such as Ahmed Chalabi, who are known thieves and liars, and whom the Administration has since had to cut off ties. The lies from these sources were used as the justification, now known to be false, for the war.

Since there is only a short time before the election, and the Congress is proving to be lax in standing up to the transgressions of President Bush, it is probably more effective to work for his defeat in this election.


Al Gore was a long-time Senator from Tennessee and one of the things he did as Senator I'm most happy for is pushing the legislation and funding that created a large expansion of the Internet (specifically, he pushed for NREN, the National Research and Education Network, in the mid-80's, which greatly expanded the Internet). He also served as Vice President under Bill Clinton, and due to a Supreme Court ruling was denied the Presidency. In late May 2004 he gave a speech blasting the Bush Administration for its ineptitude, mishandling of the war and terrorism situation, the politicization of the decision making machine, and moral degradation.

What we saw in Al Gore when the Supreme Court ruled in December 2000 was high moral behavior and adhering to the Rule of Law. What we see in this speech is the same measure of morality applied to the Bush administration, and as a result finding the Bush administration woefully lacking and behaving with outrageous amorality.

[May 26, 2004; Salon.COM; Al Gore;; also see]

George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest president since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

... The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States. Just yesterday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that the Iraq conflict "has arguably focused the energies and resources of al-Qaida and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition." The ISS said that in the wake of the war in Iraq al-Qaida now has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks.

The war plan was incompetent in its rejection of the advice from military professionals, and the analysis of the intelligence was incompetent in its conclusion that our soldiers would be welcomed with garlands of flowers and cheering crowds. Thus we would not need to respect the so-called Powell doctrine of overwhelming force.

There was also in Rumsfeld's planning a failure to provide security for nuclear materials, and to prevent widespread lawlessness and looting.

...Gen. Joseph Hoar, the former head of the Marine Corps, said, "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."

...Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, who headed Central Command before becoming President Bush's personal emissary to the Middle East, said recently that our nation's current course is "headed over Niagara Falls."

...Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." But because Rumsfeld and Bush did not want to hear disagreement with their view that Iraq could be invaded at a much lower cost, Shinseki was hushed and then forced out.

...It is now clear that their obscene abuses of the truth and their unforgivable abuse of the trust placed in them after 9/11 by the American people led directly to the abuses of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison and, we are now learning, in many other similar facilities constructed as part of Bush's Gulag, in which, according to the Red Cross, 70 to 90 percent of the victims are totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

Another speech by Al Gore, to the American Constitution Society at Georgetown University on June 24. In it he details the broad sweep of lies by the administration, that the administration knew very well they were lying, that the intelligence agencies had released report after report in 2001/2002 denying any connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, and that in general the administration is running roughshod over the American Constitution. The picture that Gore paints is nothing short of a constitutional crisis, that the administration in power is doing everything in its power to stay in power and exercise even more power, and that Congress is failing in its duty to stand up to the repeated abuses of power. Worse, Congress is cooperating with these repeated abuses of power, and the court system is more and more being politicized.

[June 24, 2004; Salon.COM; Al Gore;]

"Democracy itself is in grave danger"

... It is an extraordinary blessing to live in a nation so carefully designed to protect individual liberty and safeguard self-governance and free communication. But if George Washington could see the current state of his generation's handiwork and assess the quality of our generation's stewardship at the beginning of this 21st century, what do you suppose he would think about the proposition that our current president claims the unilateral right to arrest and imprison American citizens indefinitely without giving them the right to see a lawyer or inform their families of their whereabouts, and without the necessity of even charging them with any crime. All that is necessary, according to our new president is that he -- the president -- label any citizen an "unlawful enemy combatant," and that will be sufficient to justify taking away that citizen's liberty -- even for the rest of his life, if the president so chooses. And there is no appeal.

... Even though we are now attuned to orange alerts and the potential for terrorist attacks, our founders would almost certainly caution us that the biggest threat to the future of the America we love is still the endemic challenge that democracies have always faced whenever they have appeared in history -- a challenge rooted in the inherent difficulty of self-governance and the vulnerability to fear that is part of human nature. Again, specifically, the biggest threat to America is that we Americans will acquiesce in the slow and steady accumulation of too much power in the hands of one person.

... They were greatly influenced -- far more than we can imagine -- by a careful reading of the history and human dramas surrounding the democracies of ancient Greece and the Roman republic. They knew, for example, that democracy disappeared in Rome when Caesar crossed the Rubicon in violation of the Senate's long prohibition against a returning general entering the city while still in command of military forces. Though the Senate lingered in form and was humored for decades, when Caesar impoliticly combined his military commander role with his chief executive role, the Senate -- and with it the Republic -- withered away. And then for all intents and purposes, the great dream of democracy disappeared from the face of the Earth for 17 centuries, until its rebirth in our land.

... I am convinced that our founders would counsel us today that the greatest challenge facing our republic is not terrorism but how we react to terrorism, and not war, but how we manage our fears and achieve security without losing our freedom. I am also convinced that they would warn us that democracy itself is in grave danger if we allow any president to use his role as commander in chief to rupture the careful balance between the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches of government. Our current president has gone to war and has come back into "the city" and declared that our nation is now in a permanent state of war, which he says justifies his reinterpretation of the Constitution in ways that increase his personal power at the expense of Congress, the courts, and every individual citizen.

...Thus, for all these reasons, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have decided to fight to the rhetorical death over whether or not there's a meaningful connection between Iraq and al-Qaida. They think that if they lose that argument and people see the truth, then they'll not only lose support for the controversial decision to go to war, but also lose some of the new power they've picked up from the Congress and the courts, and face harsh political consequences at the hands of the American people. As a result, President Bush is now intentionally misleading the American people by continuing to aggressively and brazenly assert a linkage between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein.

Richard Clarke was a long time national security advisor, including working for both President Clinton and G.W.Bush on the National Security Council as the counter-terrorism czar. Over the past month he has single-handedly unleashed a firestorm against the Bush Presidency over the issues raised on this page. In his case he was actively warning of threats of terrorist attacks on the U.S., of the sort that happened, but the Bush administration ignored his warnings. A series of articles capture the thrust of this story.

[April 2, 2004; Salon.COM; Richard Clarke;]

Could we have stopped 9/11? [excerpting his book "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror" or Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror]

Al-Qaida planned attacks years in advance, inserted sleeper cells, did reconnaissance. They took the long view, believing that their struggle would take decades, perhaps generations. America worked on a four-year electoral cycle and at the end of 2000, a new cycle was beginning. In the presidential campaign, terrorism had not been discussed. George Bush and Dick Cheney had mentioned the Antiballistic Missile Treaty with Russia. They had also talked about Iraq.

I met Condi Rice wandering the halls of the Executive Office Building looking for my office. She said that she had fond memories of working in the old building on the White House grounds. I escorted her to my office and gave her the same briefing on al-Qaida that I had been using with the others. ... Now Condi Rice was in charge. She appeared to have a closer relationship with the second President Bush than any of her predecessors had with the presidents they reported to. That should have given her some maneuver room, some margin for shaping the agenda. ... As I briefed Rice on al-Qaida, her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before, so I added, "Most people think of it as Osama bin Laden's group, but it's much more than that. It's a network of affiliated terrorist organizations with cells in over 50 countries, including the U.S."

Rice looked skeptical. She focused on the fact that my office staff was large by NSC standards (12 people) and did operational things, including domestic security issues. She said, "The NSC looks just as it did when I worked here a few years ago, except for your operation. It's all new. It does domestic things and it is not just doing policy, it seems to be worrying about operational issues. I'm not sure we will want to keep all of this in the NSC."

Rice viewed the NSC as a "foreign policy" coordination mechanism and not some place where issues such as terrorism in the U.S., or domestic preparedness for weapons of mass destruction, or computer network security should be addressed. I realized that Rice, and her deputy, Steve Hadley, were still operating with the old Cold War paradigm from when they had worked on the NSC. ... Rice decided that the position of National Coordinator for Counterterrorism would also be downgraded. No longer would the Coordinator be a member of the Principals Committee. No longer would the CSG report to the Principals, but instead to a committee of Deputy Secretaries. ... Within a week of the inauguration I wrote to Rice and Hadley asking "urgently" for a Principals, or Cabinet-level, meeting to review the imminent al-Qaida threat. Rice told me that the Principals Committee, which had been the first venue for terrorism policy discussions in the Clinton administration, would not address the issue until it had been "framed" by the Deputies. I assumed that meant an opportunity for the Deputies to review the agenda. Instead, it meant months of delay.

[March 24, 2004;; Joe Conason;]

Richard Clarke terrorizes the White House

After more than 30 years of dedicated service, including stints as the National Security Council's counterterrorism chief under Presidents Clinton and Bush, Richard A. Clarke has delivered a scathing assessment of Bush administration policy and personnel in his new memoir, "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror." Clarke portrays the president and his top aides as arrogant, insular and uninformed about the changed world they faced when they entered the White House in January 2001. They did little about the growing peril from al-Qaida, despite urgent briefings from the outgoing Clinton national security team, and remained willfully ignorant despite repeated, even obsessive warnings from Clarke and CIA director George Tenet.

For almost nine months, according to Clarke, he sought approval from top Bush officials for an aggressive strategy against Osama bin Laden. Clarke writes that he could not convince National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to schedule meetings to advance an action plan against al-Qaida. Instead, George W. Bush and his most powerful officials -- Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz -- pursued an obsession with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. When the Sept. 11 attacks took place, their first instinct was to bomb Iraq -- even though Clarke and other experts had long assured them that there was no intelligence connecting Iraq to any recent acts of terrorism against the United States. On Sept. 12, Bush pulled Clarke aside to demand that he search for evidence of Saddam's involvement, which never existed.

John Dean was the White House counsel during the Nixon administration. You may have heard of him before, as the scandal that revolved around that administration was quite shocking. In the current environment we have John Dean warning in his new book, '"Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush," Dean warns the country that the Bush administration is even more secretive and authoritarian than Nixon's -- in fact, he writes, it's "the most secretive presidency of my lifetime."'.

[March 31, 2004;; David Talbot;]

Nixon became a secretive president, as his presidency proceeded, while Bush and Cheney were secretive from the outset. Nixon actually tried to reduce the excessive national security classification of documents (through a panel headed by the man who is now chief justice of the United States), while Bush and Cheney have tried to increase classification (and 9/11 does not hold up as the reason for much of it). Nixon only abused executive privilege (the power of a president to withhold information from his constitutional co-equals) after Watergate, while Bush and Cheney have sought to abuse the privilege from the outset. Nixon was never taken to court by the General Accounting Office for refusing to provide information about executive activities, while Bush and Cheney forced GAO to go to court (where GAO lost under a recently appointed Bush judge). Nixon believed presidential papers should be available for historians, but Bush has undermined the laws to make such records available to the public.

While Nixon's presidency gave currency to the term "stonewalling," Bush and Cheney have made stonewalling their standard procedure, far in excess of Nixon. In short, in every area one looks, Bush and Cheney are more secretive than Nixon ever imagined being. I have mentioned but a few.

Joe Wilson, is a former U.S. ambassador who was sent to Nigeria by the G.W. Bush administration to check stories that Iraq was trying to buy Uranium in order to make bombs. The story turned out to be false, which he told the administration. However the administration later used that same, now disproved, story as part of the justification for launching war against Iraq.

[March 16, 2004; Salon.COM; Joe Wilson;]

The Pinocchio presidency

... We have been in two wars over the past four years. One, against al-Qaida and the Taliban government of Afghanistan, was perfectly legitimate. It was supported by the overwhelming majority of the American people and our allies. The other, against Iraq, still provokes legitimate debate over war aims and goals, and the consequences to our national security of having opened an unnecessary second front in the war on terrorism. Our country remains under threat of terrorist attack, a threat that has likely increased as a consequence of the international anger at our attack and ongoing occupation of Iraq. Yet with the activation of our National Guardsmen and reserve forces for service overseas, many of our first responders are now over there instead of here protecting the homeland. In the meantime, the government's budget is hemorrhaging red ink with annual budget deficits in the $500 billion range, and we are piling on national debt less than a decade before the baby boomers retire and begin drawing Social Security. ...

Karen Kwiatkowski was a high ranking military officer with expertise with intelligence analysis in the field. Her last posting was in the Pentagon staffing the Office of Special Plans where much of the propoganda used to justify the war in Iraq was concocted. The mistruths she witnessed, as you will see from reading the article, made her sick and angry.

[March 10, 2004; Salon.COM; Karen Kwiatkowski;]

The new Pentagon Papers

In July of last year, after just over 20 years of service, I retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. I had served as a communications officer in the field and in acquisition programs, as a speechwriter for the National Security Agency director, and on the Headquarters Air Force and the office of the secretary of defense staffs covering African affairs. I had completed Air Command and Staff College and Navy War College seminar programs, two master's degrees, and everything but my Ph.D. dissertation in world politics at Catholic University. I regarded my military vocation as interesting, rewarding and apolitical. My career started in 1978 with the smooth seduction of a full four-year ROTC scholarship. It ended with 10 months of duty in a strange new country, observing up close and personal a process of decision making for war not sanctioned by the Constitution we had all sworn to uphold. Ben Franklin's comment that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia had delivered "a republic, madam, if you can keep it" would come to have special meaning.

... From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.

...Staff officers would always request OSP's most current Iraq, WMD and terrorism talking points. On occasion, these weren't available in an approved form and awaited Shulsky's approval. The talking points were a series of bulleted statements,... Saddam Hussein had gassed his neighbors, abused his people, and was continuing in that mode, becoming an imminently dangerous threat to his neighbors and to us -- except that none of his neighbors or Israel felt this was the case. Saddam Hussein had harbored al-Qaida operatives and offered and probably provided them with training facilities -- without mentioning that the suspected facilities were in the U.S./Kurdish-controlled part of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was pursuing and had WMD of the type that could be used by him, in conjunction with al-Qaida and other terrorists, to attack and damage American interests, Americans and America -- except the intelligence didn't really say that. Saddam Hussein had not been seriously weakened by war and sanctions and weekly bombings over the past 12 years, and in fact was plotting to hurt America and support anti-American activities, in part through his carrying on with terrorists -- although here the intelligence said the opposite. His support for the Palestinians and Arafat proved his terrorist connections, and basically, the time to act was now. This was the gist of the talking points, and it remained on message throughout the time I watched the points evolve.

... Will Americans hold U.S. policymakers accountable? Will we return to our roots as a republic, constrained and deliberate, respectful of others? My experience in the Pentagon leading up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq tells me, as Ben Franklin warned, we may have already failed. But if Americans at home are willing to fight -- tenaciously and courageously -- to preserve our republic, we might be able to keep it.