Impeach Cheney

By By Joseph Bateman

By Joseph Bateman

Last Tuesday, 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich stood with courage and leadership before the House of Representatives and entered impeachment charges against Vice President Dick Cheney. Ever since the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, talks of impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Cheney have been thrown around. These talks have been tabled under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Publicly, she declared impeachment off the table.

Kucinich issued true leadership when he defied the Democratic establishment and exercised his privileged resolution to force the House of Representatives to debate the issue. Although Kucinich stood alone before Congress, impeachment is an issue that finds majority support among American citizens, including 21 co-sponsors of House Representatives.

According to a poll by American Research Group, 54 percent of Americans want impeachment hearings to begin against Cheney. This 54 percent touches every aspect of the political spectrum — 76 percent of Democrats, 17 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of Independents. The support for impeachment is even higher in Vermont. A statewide poll conducted by WCAX/Research 2000 found that nearly two-thirds support impeachment before Cheney’s term ends. The Vermont’s Senate legislature even passed a resolution calling for impeachment. Here in Utah, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson traveled the nation, giving talks and drumming up support for impeachment proceedings.

Besides calling for Cheney’s removal from office, what are impeachment supporters seeking and under what grounds? Representative Kucinich lays out his reasoning, “The best option to prevent an unnecessary war with Iran is to impeach the vice president, the lead cheerleader of the war. The Constitution gave Congress the power to impeach. Congress must use its power to restrain the Administration and impeach the vice president before he prods the United States into another war.”

Preventing war with Iran isn’t the only thing the impeachment targets. Article I of the impeachment reads that Cheney “has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests.”

The supporting evidence is a number of speeches and interviews where Cheney asserts that Iraq has WMDs. The second article charges that Cheney has “purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida.” The second article goes on to list a similar set of supporting evidence.

In hindsight, it is easy to show how erroneous these claims that were used to justify a preemptive war in Iraq are. Unfortunately, this deception into war has cost more than $468 billion in tax-dollars, the lives of 3,860 soldiers, the wounding of tens of thousands of troops, at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians’ lives and the displacement of millions more and consequences that continue to rise each day.

With a war this deadly and costly, I’m astounded that no one has been held responsible — maybe this is why congressional approval ratings have sunk to historic lows. With any luck, Congress will be inspired by the leadership of Representative Kucinich and vote in favor of HR 333 and begin impeachment proceedings.

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