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Harvard Square Observer: Time to Speak the "I" Word

Ernest Cassara

In one of my more perverse moments the other day, I began musing about how high school history teachers, or, for that matter, university history professors, will deal with the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton (as the history books will refer to Bill).  Well, you may say, they will point out that he lied under oath.  About what?  Ah, yes!  Fellatio!  Obviously, students will come up with a term they are more familiar with!

And, reading in primary sources?  Ah, yes, the prime primary source will be the report of the special prosecutor Kenneth Star.  The most x-rated material ever published by our federal government.

This all came to mind, because I wonder what a president, whose party dominates both houses of Congress, has to do to get himself impeached?

How about a list of possible reasons why, were it not for the spineless Congress, George W. Bush might be impeached:

Iraq

One lie after another, starting with the charge that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and running to the latest that we are bringing democracy to Iraq and the Middle East.

Guantánamo

Human beings held for years without charges being brought against them, in a place where their families cannot visit or even write to them, and most have not been seen by an attorney.  Then, after three commit suicide, we are treated to the following inane statement:

On Saturday, the prison commander, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, characterized the suicides as a
manipulative act of warfare by fanatics. ``I believe this was not an act of desperation, but rather
was an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us," he said.

But lawyers for some detainees rejected that characterization, saying that the detainees are
sinking under a sense of despair and hopelessness as their imprisonment has dragged on for
years with no end in sight. - Boston Globe, 06.12.06.  (See the story for other reactions from
around the world.)

Abu Ghraib

Then, we have all seen the pictures of the torture of prisoners by Americans in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The List continues:

Secret Prisons

In undisclosed locations, in which some/many (?) are incarcerated, in some/many (?) cases having been kidnapped by CIA agents on the streets of foreign countries. (The Council of Europe, perturbed by reports that member states are cooperating in this crime, is looking into it.)

Unlawful NSA wiretapping, etc.

Signing Statements.

The president has added signing statements to hundreds of bills passed by Congress, which, in effect, state that he will obey the laws when he jolly well pleases.  Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution, however, stipulates: "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . . ."

Even in the case of the anti-torture legislation that was guided through Congress by Senator McCain, and which was, with great show, signed by President Bush. He has tacked on to it a "signing statement" that says, in effect, "get lost, McCain, I'll allow torture when I please."

For a now famous summary of Bush's signing statements, which appeared in the Boston Globe, see:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/04/30/bush_challenges_hundreds_of_laws?mode=PF

It was this article that led to the decision of the American Bar Association to undertake a study of the president's actions.

There is a possible explanation of why the president thinks he can get away with such illegitimate actions - aside from the fact that Mr. Cheney tells him he can - and that is the experience of Bill Clinton mentioned above. He probably senses that the country does not want to live through another traumatic experience.  And, the Congress, even if it were not made up of lackeys of the president, could not go through another such experience.



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