Yes, it really was about the oil. “Two years before the invasion of Iraq, oil executives and foreign policy advisers told the Bush administration that the United States would remain “a prisoner of its energy dilemma” as long as Saddam Hussein was in power.”….
From Elizabeth Holtzman on the Huffington Post:
Some will want to dismiss Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s introduction of articles of impeachment against President Bush as quixotic, but it’s not. Twenty House Republicans joined nearly all House Democrats in voting to send the articles to the Judiciary Committee. This comes on the heels of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 107-page report confirming, with the vote of two Republican Senators, that President Bush abused his office by deceiving Congress and the American people into the Iraq war. Although Kucinich’s articles included other impeachment grounds as well, deception about the war is arguably the most serious one.
We have long known that the reasons President Bush and his team gave for going to war in Iraq were false. Many have contended that the president deliberately misled the nation into war. Scott McClellan, for example, with his insider’s perspective, says in his new book that the president used exaggerations and misleading statements to win public and Congressional support for going to war in Iraq. Now we have important corroboration of such claims: the Senate Intelligence Report has made it official in a way that Congress will find hard to ignore.
The report describes a drum roll of groundless statements by the president, the vice president and other top officials. While it does not use the word “lie,” it offers plenty of evidence that we were “led to war based on false pretences,” to quote Committee chair Senator Rockefeller. The report shows there was no intelligence to back up the President’s contention that Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were in cahoots, or his claim that Saddam would give WMD to terrorists, much less the Vice President’s fantasy that American soldiers would be welcomed as liberators.
Now that these are official findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the question is, what do we do about it? Just wring our hands? Simply hope for change in the November elections? Or does the Constitution now require something more of us?
The Constitution’s framers envisioned the possibility that presidents and their minions might seriously abuse the power of their office, and “subvert the constitution.” Their remedy was impeachment: the removal of the offending official to protect our democracy. They understood that Executives historically wanted to take countries into unnecessary wars, so they empowered Congress act as a real check on unwarranted presidential warmaking. Since lying to Congress obstructs that function, it is a grave abuse of power that “subverts the Constitution” and meets the standard for impeachment.
The House should commence an impeachment inquiry forthwith. In fact, in a sense, it is already beginning. Rep. Kucinich introduced the articles, the House has referred them to the Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Report goes a long way toward furnishing the investigative work Congress needs to do in the course of impeachment, at least as regards the run-up to the war (Congress should also look at other serious abuses of power, including President Bush’s refusal to obey duly enacted laws, as evidenced by hundreds of signing statements, his violations of the laws on wiretapping and mistreatment of detainees).
The next step is to start asking, what did the president actually know and when did he know it? Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill has stated that President Bush seemed determined to overthrow Saddam Hussein at the beginning of his administration, well before 9/11. There was also the British “Downing Street” memo written in the summer of 2002 stating that President Bush was going to “fix” the intelligence to fit the policy of overthrow. It’s now incumbent on Congress to take these matters up in impeachment hearings.
Yes, even at the end of their terms, President Bush and Vice President Cheney can still be impeached and removed from office. There might just be sufficient time to finish impeachment before they leave office, and technically they could be impeached even after that. This administration can still be held accountable for the consequences of the unnecessary Iraq War and other grave abuses. The American people still have a chance to witness the Constitution in action as it appropriately limits the powers of this president, preventing further abuses by him (such as bombing Iran without approval of Congress) or by his successors.
This would be an important lesson in democracy. We last learned it 34 years ago during the Nixon impeachment process, which reminded Americans how the Constitution works. But our collective memory of those far-off events may have faded, especially after the past eight years of President Bush asserting extreme claims for presidential power, coupled with the failure of Congress to respond forcefully. As a result, as a nation we may have a diminished level of constitutional literacy compared to 1974. It’s time to reinvigorate that literacy. We need to understand once again that acquiescing in this president seriously deceiving us into war means ignoring what the Constitution says, and jeopardizing our democracy.
Now that Scott McClellan – a member of the Bush inner circle dating back to Texas days – has come out of the closet, it becomes increasingly unimaginable how any of the true-believers can continue to truly believe. But they do.
One wonders what it would take to dissuade these folks from their faith-based politics and the belief that the war in Iraq was justified. Will they need Laura Bush to actually turn on her husband? What if George’s pastor came out and divulged that the president had broken down and confessed all, begging the lord’s forgiveness?
It’s unlikely even those would be sufficient. And anyhow, the White House would go into its standard defensive posture that it employs whenever this happens, describing the truth-teller as “sad”, lamenting his obvious psychological pathology without of course coming out and saying quite that, wondering aloud why he’s never spoken out before. Indeed, it’s a wonder that McClellan wasn’t better prepared for this completely scripted response to his revelations, especially as he had used it himself against Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame.
Anyhow, all the true believers watching Fox will continue to truly believe. As the mayhem of the Bush years dwindles into numbed, robotic destruction and the tragedy of once noble national aspirations not only ruined but now also forgotten, it becomes ever more painfully obvious why these folks cannot let go, no matter how compelling nor how broad the growing mountain of evidence.
They are simply frightened to death. Frightened of bad people, frightened of brown people, frightened of terrorist threats blown ridiculously out of proportion, frightened of existential meaningless, frightened of cosmic insignificance. And now, to that weighty pile, must be added this: They are so frightened of their own complicity in bringing death, disaster, destruction and ungodly sorrow to Iraq that they can now only resort to astonishing levels of self-delusion to maintain their sanity. At this point, I almost don’t blame them anymore. They were so lazy, so stupid, so callow, so mean-spirited, so prejudiced that they bought into a crime of epic (and epochal) proportions and can no longer imaginably bear taking responsibility for the damage they’ve produced. And yet, people continue to suffer and die. Every day spent still supporting the war out of fear or laziness or stupidity or any of the rest is another day’s additional responsibility, another oil tanker of blood poured on hands long ago soaked to the bone.
And that responsibility is grave indeed. We don’t know (because the White House doesn’t want us to know) how many Iraqis have perished for Mr. Bush’s Folly, but the best estimates are over one million. We know that almost five million have been turned into refugees. Combined, that is over one-fifth of this country’s population. We know that over 4,000 Americans have been sacrificed, with tens of thousands gravely wounded and uncounted more tens of thousands psychologically traumatized. We know that our country’s reputation has been shattered, and that we’ve spent our children’s future livelihoods to pay for it by borrowing from them, without even asking for the money. That is a very large load to bear, so now people are compounding their original sin with additional ones, because they are so frightened of what they’ve caused that they’d rather continue causing more of the same than confront their responsibility, even when a Scott McClellan comes along and sticks it in their face.
The truth is, though, we never needed McClellan’s revelations to begin with. Just a bit of simple logic, combined with even a small, half-filled pail of basic factual information would have rendered the war rationale absurd from the beginning, well before an invasion morphed into an occupation, which morphed then into a debacle. Saddam’s Iraq was no threat to anybody in 2003. I mean, how threatening can a guy be who has already lost control of two-thirds of his own airspace, while his citizens are dying of malnutrition by the hundreds of thousands from internationally-imposed sanctions? How scary can a country be, when it has neither attacked yours, nor threatened to? Whatever happened to the logic of deterrence, a mechanism that prevented an infinitely more powerful Soviet Union from attacking the US through forty years of cold war? Why was Saddam bad when he attacked his neighbors in Kuwait, but not when he did the same thing to Iran, with American support and encouragement? Why was he considered evil for using chemical weapons when we wanted to go to war against him, but not when he actually was doing it, during which time the very same people in the US government protected him from international rebuke? If we knew where the WMD were, why didn’t we just tell the inspectors where to look? Why was Iraq such a threat that the inspectors couldn’t be allowed to finish their work, which would have required only a month or two more time? If Saddam was already so threatening, wouldn’t invading his country be just the thing to trigger an attack by him, using his WMD? Weren’t we supposed to be fighting the people who did 9/11, not a country that had nothing whatever to do with that? Why was Iraq all of a sudden such an immediate and urgent threat in March of 2003, when it hadn’t been less than a year earlier? Why did nearly the whole rest of the world condemn this war of choice?
This is an interview with David Swanson and Cindy Piester presented by Ventura County’s Citizens for Impeachment Patriot Series. Filmed in Ventura on April 23, 2008.
After viewing, consider, do we want to keep Elton Gallegly, our 24th District California House Representative in Congress after he has voted almost exclusively in favor of Bush/Cheney policies? Elton Gallegly sits in the House Judiciary Committee and has the power to vote for impeachment, and doesn’t. Torture is a war crime that is recognized internationally. Perhaps our officials will be held accountable for voting for it. Bush and Cheney may be accused by other countries when they travel. Hopefully so.
Remember that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off the debt amassed by this ruinous administration.
Listen, read carefully and vote wisely.
This blog supports Mary Pallant for Congress. The only 24th district candidate that openly supports impeachment. You’ll hear David Swanson’s support of Mary Pallant near the end of the video.
Filed under: 24th District CA, California, Dick Cheney, George Bush, impeach, Investigating The Candidates, Iraq War, Ventura County, CA | Tagged: 24th District California, Congress, David Swanson, Dick Cheney, Elton Gallegly, George Bush, impeach, impeachment, Iraq War, Mary Pallant, Ventura County | 2 Comments »
May 1st is shaping up to be quite a day of resistance, with strikes by the ILWU, the Teamsters, Postal Workers, plus immigrant rights rallies, and peace and impeachment activities. It’s Mission Accomplished Day (5 Years!) It’s Downing Street Minutes Day (3 Years!) It’s May Day, the original Labor Day (122 Years!) If you care about the future
In a nation opposed to the occupation of Iraq, the opposition party is preparing
to shell out another $102 billion of our grandchildren’s money to continue it.
Our nation has come so far in seven years that the president and vice president
openly admit to authorizing torture in blatant violation of the Eighth
Amendment, longstanding US laws and treaties, and new legislation signed into
law by the same president. Yet our representatives in Congress refuse to hold
impeachment hearings. The wealthiest nation on earth cannot provide health care
to its citizens. Where are our priorities?
All over the country, citizens are holding public town hall meetings to discuss
this question. You can find one near you or get involved in planning one at:
Here are two coming up Ventura and San Luis Obispo:
VENTURA / OJAI ON APRIL 22
The Ojai Peace Coalition has partnered with Citizens for Impeachment, Integrity
Now, VC Stop the War, and others to present “Are Peace and Impeachment Possible?
Strategies for Saving our Constitution, Economy, and Environment.”
WHEN: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 5:30pm
WHERE: Ojai Retreat, 160 Besant Road, Ojai, Calif.
WHO: David Swanson, co-founder of afterdowningstreet.org and a leading
Constitutional Advocate from Washington, D.C.; and Phil Cohen, local member of
Iraq Veterans Against the War. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors and
Ventura and Ojai City Council Members will be invited to attend.
WHAT: Reception begins at 5:30pm with food and drinks, followed by lecture
promptly at 7:00pm, and a town-hall open mike beginning at 8:00pm.
A $10. contribution is suggested for the entire event , but no one will be
SPONSORS: The event is being organized by Ventura County Citizens for
Impeachment and the Ojai Peace Coalition. Endorsements have been received from
Veterans for Peace; Ventura County Stop the War; The Peace Coalition of Greater
Ventura; Integrity Now, Ojai; the Center for Conscious Change and others.
CONTACT: Roslyn Sherman 805-218-1199, or John Azevedo 805-640-3650
SAN LUIS OBISPO ON APRIL 23
A town hall meeting on “Funding the Iraq War, Impeachment, Healthcare?”
WHEN: Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Ludwick Center, 864 Santa Rosa, SLO, Calif., (corner of Santa Rosa &
WHO: Guest speaker nationally recognized journalist and peace & justice
activist, David Swanson
WHAT: Let your voice be heard, leave with a plan and a group to work with.
suggested donation $10 /$5 students & seniors
SPONSORS: Sponsored by Information Press, Earth Day Alliance, CodePink
SLO, Progressive Democrats of San Luis Obispo County and Democrats.com.
CONTACT: For information call (805) 544-5135.
Filed under: 24th District CA, California, Dick Cheney, Elton Gallegly (24th District; CA), George Bush, impeach, Iraq War, Ventura County, CA | Tagged: Bush, Cheney, impeach, impeachment, Iraq, Iraq War, Ojai, Torture, Ventura | Leave a Comment »
Worth the Sacrifice?
Bush Blisters the Truth on Iraq
By RALPH NADER
On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Bush’s illegal war of aggression in Iraq, the Fabricator-in-Chief made a speech at the Pentagon, whose muzzled army chiefs had opposed his costly, ruinous adventure from the start for strategic, tactical and logistical reasons.
As benefits the dictatorial monarch of yesteryear, evicted by America’s first patriots, this modern-day King George blistered the truth, somersaulted the facts and declared that a “strategic victory” in Iraq is near. He called the war “a just and noble cause.” Sugarcoating the terrible, impoverished state of daily life in Iraq, he acknowledged “the high cost in lives and treasure,” but said the recent situation in Iraq made it all worthwhile. “Worth the sacrifice” is how he put it often in previous statements.
At the same time, his V.P. his Prince Regent, Dick Cheney was having this exchange with ABC’s Martha Raddatz:
Raddatz: “Two-thirds of Americans say it’s not worth fighting, and they’re looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.”
Cheney: “No,” who then inaccurately wrapped Abraham Lincoln’s stand during the Civil War around his relentless illegal warmongering in Iraq.
In an article called “Defining Victory Downward: No, the surge is not a success,” columnist Michael Kinsley exposed the fatuous standards of comparison used by Bush and took his readers to standards back in 2003. Kinsley observed how Bush spouts success against conflicts and conditions that never existed before March 2003. There were no Al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq, no large scale sectarian carnage. There were modicum rudimentary public facilities and necessities, notwithstanding severe Clinton-Bush propelled economic sanctions, under dictator Saddam Hussein, instead of a devastated, riven nation of 4 million refugees and violent street anarchy.
At the same time that the rancidly redundant fictionalizations of reality in Iraq by Bush and Cheney were once again receiving front page attention at the New York Times and the Washington Post, protests on the downtown streets of Washington, D.C. and in scores of cities and communities around the country received subdued short articles deep inside these newspapers. Both remarked on the smaller turnout of marchers compared to the large demonstrations in 2003.
This decline should not be surprising. Most people are trying to communicate their concerns, and their repeatedly accurate warnings about the impacts of this war of aggression to a wider audience. But the mainstream media, often hardly working on weekends, never gave these outpourings the attention they deserved (even though American public opinion was behind their call to end the war-occupation and said that the war was not worth the cost to America in lives and dollars).
Fortunately, along came a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, with a new detailed book titled “The Three Trillion Dollar War ,” (W.W. Norton) to inform the American people just how right they are about the long term cost of Bush’s messianic reckless pursuit launched on a platform of lies, distortions and cover-ups.
The twisted defiance of Bush, the cowardliness of the majority Democrats in Congress and the frustration and powerlessness felt by sensitive Americans who see no light at the end of the Iraq tunnel leaves little room for citizens to gain control of their runaway government.
There is a possible way to turn the tide in favor of ending this illusion of “victory” and the occupation that breeds its own opposition in Iraq.
Unlike before or during any other war in our nation’s history, hundreds of former high military, national security-intelligence and diplomatic officials have spoken, written, testified and some even marched against Bush’s tragic folly before and after the March 2003 invasion.
These retired public servants include generals and anti-terrorism specialists who worked inside the Bush Administration. Taken as a whole, were they to aggregate their standing and influence before the American people by banding together as a group, their cumulative impact on Congress, on galvanizing and focusing public opinion during this election year could well turn this deteriorating situation around.
These patriotic Americans, with their experience in battles, conflicts and geopolitical tensions, coupled with their desire to wage peace for a change in Washington’s policies, could be the catalyst that spells the difference. Compared with Bush and Cheney, successful draft-dodgers during their Pro-Vietnam war past, they make for quite a credible contrast.
Will they mobilize themselves for the common good and provide the new dynamic needed?
Time will tell.
This week marks the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War. To mark this anniversary, many thousands of End the War demonstrations are happening throughout the U.S.
Today, Mary Pallant, Democratic Candidate for Congress, is hosting a demonstration in Thousand Oaks from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the intersection of Moorpark Blvd. and Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Pallant is running against Elton Gallegly for his seat in Congress, representing the 24th District of California. Gallegly has spent the last 7 years voting for Bush policies that have led us into disasters of unnecessary war, failing economy, outrageous gas prices, loss of jobs for Americans, mounting health care costs, and complete loss of faith from the global community. With the blind following of the Bush administration’s path into crisis for this nation, it’s time Gallegly is replaced.
Attend this peaceful demonstration today to show your support for ending the Iraq war, and meet Mary Pallant.
Visit Mary Pallant’s website to donate to her campaign.
Filed under: Iraq War, Mary Pallant, News, Terrorist Rhetoric, Torture | Tagged: Iraq War, Mary Pallant, Moorpark Blvd, Out of Iraq, Peace Vigil, Thousand Oaks, Thousand Oaks Blvd, Ventura County | Leave a Comment »
In a MoveOn.org event in the Thousand Oaks area, Mary Pallant, Congressional candidate for the California 24th district, will host a peace vigil on the corner of Thousand Oaks and Moorpark Boulevards in Thousand Oaks, California.
The event will begin at 5:30 pm.
From the MoveOn.org site Mary Pallant writes:
“With thousands of anniversary actions scheduled around the country, we’re sending a strong message to the country and to Congress: it’s time to honor the troops by ending the war. Let’s remind our fellow citizens that there is still an occupation going on in Iraq. We should not have gone in, and hence, we should not have to suffer through the losses that another year would bring. No more loss of life! No more loss of limb! No more loss of funds! Out Now! Bring signs, banners, flags and candles. See you then!” Mary Pallant