There's talk of impeachment making the rounds these days . . . and it's not just
partisan hyperbole. As Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky explain in their new
book, "The Case for Impeachment," the legal argument for removing George
W. Bush from office is clear, present, and urgent. However, for those seeking
peace and justice, there are two reasons why impeachment should only be judged
as a means to an end.
1. Impeachment is too good for him
Sure, the planet would breathe a sigh of relief should Dubya get the boot,
but why let him off the hook so easily? As Lindorff and Olshansky state: "The
evidence of . . . constitutional transgressions, violations of federal and international
law, abuse of power, and criminal negligence as chief executive . . . are so
blatant one might think conviction would be a foregone conclusion."
Well then, why stop there? "The call for impeachment trivializes
the crimes," declares journalist Rosemarie Jackowski. "Where is the
demand for war crimes trials?" Good question. Holding President
Bush accountable for his actions is crucial to the health of the state but to
stop at impeachment is to maintain the American tradition of Oval Office wrist
slapping. After all, Nixon was brought down for his role in the Watergate cover-up-not
for, say, his role in bombing Cambodia or overthrowing a democratically elected
leader in Chile. Then, of course, there was the case of Bill Clinton, which
brings us to reason number two.
2. Impeachment plays into the hands of the Democrats
"If a Democratic majority is elected to the House in November 2006,"
write Lindorff and Olshansky, "we are confident a bill of impeachment will
be introduced early in the next Congress." This, the authors say, is the
road to choose if we want to "take back our country, our government, and
our rights." I wonder, when exactly did we "own" our country,
our government, and our rights and why would anyone expect a Democrat to make
Bill Clinton may have faced impeachment for lying about his adulterous liaisons,
but his actions (both global and domestic) over the course of eight years could
easily fill a book or two. What does it mean to "take back our country"
if the next president will exploit the position of following Bush to write his
(or her) own book of impeachment? Those who chose the Anybody-but-Bush path
in 2004 appear lined up and ready to once again embrace the Democrats, i.e.,
the left wing of America's one corporate party. If so, the cycle continues unabated.
This is not to suggest George W. Bush shouldn't face impeachment and certainly
Lindorff and Olshansky have done their homework in explaining this to the 31
percent who still approve of the president's performance. However, for Bush's
impeachment to serve as more than a high-profile partisan lynching, it must
be seen as a baby step toward justice. The myriad problems we face today are
not of George W. Bush's making alone. He is but the current face on a system
that needs a complete overhaul. Giving the Democrats freedom to exploit Bush's
unpopularity to insure that the next face is not Republican is what Stephen
Colbert might call, "rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg."
Mickey Z. is the author of several books, most recently
"50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know" (Disinformation
Books). He can be found on the Web at www.mickeyz.net.