The impeachment of Bill Clinton showed clearly that to impeach a president all that counts is having the majority of votes in the House, however irrelevant the charges brought.
Unfortunately, at present the House majority is of the President’s own Republican party.
Yet the looming peril to our civil liberties (an impeccable reason for impeachment) cries out for immediate action.
We must have a representative in Congress with the courage to introduce a bill of impeachment charging George W. Bush with flagrant breach of his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” citing his executive order establishing drumhead military “justice” for his own selection of non-citizens - in contravention of Amendments Five and Six to the U.S. Constitution.
Amendment Five includes a provision stating that “No person (meaning no one within U.S. borders) shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces.” Amendment Six states that “In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury”. It further states that the accused has the right “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have assistance of counsel for his defense”.
Even if introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee, who alone had the ethical courage to refuse to vote carte blanche to Bush for his try to make two wrongs make a right, a bill to impeach our rogue “president” will probably fail. But, I hope she or some other House member will give it a try. For, by initiating a discussion on the floor of the house, a saving awakening may happen there. With the damning facts repeated before them, many more members of the President’s party might well join the company of Republican Senator Arlen Spector, who, writing in the New York Times, decried Bush’s flouting of the Constitution and traditional legalities - in a dictatorial usurpation of power encouraged by the blind approbation of a frightened vengeful public that childishly iterates “but we have to do something!” yet does not recall that the something done hastily in anger often causes greater pain and danger than what provoked it.
Judith Segard Hunt