Nader for President
Based on Five Falsehoods: Congress Should Begin Impeachment
Thu Aug 19, 2004 03:45
Based on Five Falsehoods: Congress Should Begin Impeachment Inquiry of Bush and Cheney
"All public policy should revolve around the principle that individuals are responsible for what they say and do."
-- George W. Bush, 1994.
Washington, DC: Building on his call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, Independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader today is calling on Members of the House of Representatives to begin an impeachment inquiry to investigate two distinct impeachable offenses.
An Impeachment Inquiry is the first step toward considering Articles of Impeachment. During an Impeachment Inquiry the House would investigate whether there are potential impeachable offenses.
Impeachment Inquiry and the Process of Impeachment
While the Constitution is clear in granting the impeachment power to the House, it leaves the development of mechanisms for exercising the power to the House. As noted by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in "The Law of Presidential Impeachment By the Committee on Federal Legislation" (see: http://www.abcny.org/presimpt.htm):
"A variety of methods have been employed to institute impeachment proceedings: Charges may be made orally on the floor by a Member of the House; a Member may submit a written statement of charges; one or more Members of the House may offer a resolution and place it in the legislative hopper; a presidential message to the House may initiate proceedings. The House has also received charges from a state legislature, from a territory, and from a grand jury. Finally, there may be a report of a committee of the House which may submit facts or charges that will lead to impeachment. Under the rules governing the order of business in the House a direct proposition to impeach is a matter of highest privilege and supersedes other business. Similar privileged treatment is given to propositions relating to a pending impeachment."
The purpose of the Impeachment Inquiry is to have a Committee develop a report for the House which then can be considered for the purpose of determining whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings. The House determines whether to impeach based on a majority vote. It is important to remember that impeachment does not mean conviction - that is left to the Senate. Impeachment is the equivalent of an indictment, making formal charges, which the Senate then considers. Conviction requires two-thirds of the Members present in the Senate to vote for conviction.
Two Potential Articles of Impeachment that Should be Part of an Impeachment Inquiry
The Impeachment Inquiry should focus on two areas involving President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
1. The unconstitutional war in Iraq. "The Inquiry should examine whether President Bush and Vice President Cheney have gone beyond the bounds of the Constitution, defied the rule of law, and if so, whether impeachment is the appropriate constitutional punishment," said Nader. The United States Congress never voted for the Iraq war. Congress voted for a resolution in October 2002 which unlawfully transferred to the President the decision-making power of whether to launch a first-strike invasion of Iraq. The United States Constitution's War Powers Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11) vests the power of deciding whether to send the nation into war solely in the United States Congress. This can only be changed by a constitutional amendment.
"Our founders had seen what could occur when the power to declare war was vested in one person, a King or a Queen, so they took clear steps to ensure no one person could declare war for the United States. As James Madison wrote: "In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war and peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department," noted Nader.
2. Five Falsehoods that Led to the Iraq Quagmire: Making matters worse in this situation, the illegal first-strike invasion and occupation of Iraq was justified by five falsehoods. Nader calls for a second area for Impeachment Inquiry to examine: the "five falsehoods that led to war." In 1994 George W. Bush said: "All public policy should revolve around the principle that individuals are responsible for what they say and do." In 2000, he ran as the "responsibility " candidate. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, would be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution provides: "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Five Falsehoods That Led to the Iraq Quagmire
1. Weapons of Mass Destruction. The weapons have still not been found. Nader emphasized, "Until the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was our government's anti-communist ally in the Middle East. We also used him to keep Iran at bay. In so doing, in the 1980s under Reagan and the first Bush, corporations were licensed by the Department of Commerce to export the materials for chemical and biological weapons that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney later accused him of having." Those weapons were destroyed after the Gulf War. President Bush's favorite chief weapons inspector, David Kay, after returning from Iraq and leading a large team of inspectors and spending nearly half a billion dollars told the president :We were wrong." See: David Kay testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee, January 28, 2004.
2. Iraq Ties to Al Qaeda-9/11. The White House made this claim even though the CIA and FBI repeatedly told the Administration that there was no tie between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. They were mortal enemies - one secular, the other fundamentalist.
3. Saddam Hussein was a Threat to the United States. In fact, Saddam was a tottering dictator, with an antiquated, fractured army of low morale and with Kurdish enemies in Northern Iraq and Shiite adversaries in the South of Iraq. He did not even control the air space over most of Iraq.
4. Saddam Hussein was a Threat to his Neighbors: In fact, Iraq was surrounded by countries with far superior military forces. Turkey, Iran and Israel were all capable of obliterating any aggressive move by the Iraqi dictator.
5. The Liberation of the Iraqi People. There are brutal dictators throughout the world, many supported over the years by Washington, whose people need "liberation " from their leaders. This is not a persuasive argument since for Iraq, it's about oil. In fact, the occupation of Iraq by the United States is a magnet for increasing violence, anarchy and insurrection.
Nader urges the Congress to investigate the illegal nature of the war, and how the five falsehoods became part of the Bush Administration's drum beat for war, in a formal Inquiry of Impeachment.
For more on this issue see: John Bonifaz's book, Warrior King.
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