Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Why Only Impeachment Will Do

I wrote here about the need to impeach Bush over his wiretapping. I mentioned that legislation was unlikely to curb him. Let me expand upon that.

When Bush wanted to torture people, there were several laws that should have stopped him. The Constitutional amendment about "cruel and unusual punishment." Two international treaties against torture (the Geneva Conventions and a treaty specifically against torture), to which the US is signatory and are therefore constitutionally considered to be "the supreme law of the land." US legislation against torture. And the Army Interrogation Manual which put limits upon interrogation techniques.

Did Bush let any of that stop him? Of course not. He had John Yoo write an opinion that the Geneva Conventions were "quaint" and outdated. He had John Yoo write another opinion that it wasn't torture unless it caused pain as intense as organ failure. He labelled people as "enemy combatants," a classification not in the Geneva Conventions, so they could be tortured. He shipped people to a naval base on Cuba at Guantanamo Bay and claimed US law didn't apply there since it was outside the US (under international law it would be classified as US soil, just as US embassies are). And, of course, he lied and said the US doesn't torture, it abides by the law (well, John Yoo's LSD-trip interpretations of the law).

And then came McCain's amendment to close all the loopholes and specifically limit interrogation of "terrists" to those techniques in the Army Interrogation Manual. Bush and Cheney pleaded and begged to continue to be allowed to torture people (while at the same time saying the US doesn't torture people) but McCain stood firm. The amendment passed. And immediately after the amendment passed, the Pentagon announced that it was revising the Army Interrogation Manual and that the new edition would contain eight pages that would be classified secret. You don't have to see those secret pages to know what they will contain.

This is just one example of Bush bending, twisting and ignoring the law so he can do whatever he damned well pleases. There are many others, though most are too complicated for hard-of-thinking Bush supporters to grasp.

Further legislation to prevent Bush wiretapping US citizens just won't work. FISA already prevented that, and the result was that Bush simply ignored FISA and went his own way. If Congress is foolish enough to try to curb Bush with further legislation, that too will be ignored. The only way to stop him is by impeachment (which will have to include Cheney because he's even worse than Dubya).

If Bush is not impeached then he will use his wiretap powers to eavesdrop upon representatives and senators in Congress. There will be enough of them with secrets (extra-marital affairs, sexual foibles, graft, corruption) that he will be able to blackmail a majority into voting his way upon every issue, even if they totally disagree with him. And then instead of Bush having to break or ignore laws to get his way he will be able to get laws passed that support his every whim.

What's worse is that he may be able to blackmail a supermajority of Congress and a majority of at least three-fourths of state legislatures. That gives him the power to amend the Constitution any way he wants. Like getting rid of that pesky XXIInd Amendment that limits him to two terms.

If you want to prevent this nightmare scenario, write your Congress critters and inform them where wiretapping will lead. Explain to them that a man who has repeatedly bent, broken, twisted and ignored laws will not be constrained by further legislation and that only impeachment will do. Explain to them that if they do not impeach Bush now they will never be able to in the future because a majority of both houses will be under Bush's thumb and unable to rebel. It's now or never.

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