Compelling arguments in this excerpt of a recent column by David Swanson of Afterdowningstreet.org
We want to restore the offices of the vice presidency and the presidency to the rule of law, to the state in which the next administration and future ones, including more dangerous ones than this one, will understand that they cannot get away with spying without warrants, detaining without charges, torturing, lying us into wars of aggression, committing countless war crimes, hiding our government behind a wall of secrecy, exacting retribution against whistleblowers, rewriting laws passed by Congress, and refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas.
Not to mention stealing elections, politicizing the Department of Justice, ignoring threats to cities like New York and New Orleans, misappropriating funds, manufacturing phony news reports, bribing journalists, bombing journalists, and generally behaving like the mafia with bigger weapons.
Impeachment is a forward-looking proposal. It’s purpose is to control future presidents. But it’s also a present-time proposal aimed at halting the ongoing death and destruction. The threat of impeachment put Nixon on the defensive and helped to end the Vietnam War, while Congress raised the minimum wage and created the Endangered Species Act. Avoiding impeachment, this Congress can only get war bills past the president. We’ve wasted more time in 2007 avoiding impeachment than any past impeachment effort has taken.
And this impeachment will be an especially fast one, because the evidence is already in front of us. The spying has been confessed to and ruled a felony, the torture has been argued for and witnessed and photographed, the signing statements have been posted online, the threats to Iran have been made on television, etc.
Which brings us to one of the other urgent reasons for impeachment now – averting an attack on Iran. In fact, a White House put on the defensive by an impeachment effort is less likely to commit new crimes or even to veto bills re-criminalizing current crimes, even if the impeachment is not successful.
There’s another reason to pursue impeachment, and it turns the thinking of Nancy Pelosi upside down. Pursuing impeachment would actually create a political force and a political party able to dominate Washington’s agenda and move it aggressively in a progressive direction. I’ll leave it to John Nichols [who spoke after this speech in Chicago] to tell you how impeachment has benefited the parties that have brought it forward. Suffice it to say that if a Democratic president had committed one one-hundredth of the crimes of Bush and Cheney, Republicans would have impeached them and prosecuted them in court a long time ago. And rightly so.