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February 12, 2007

The Search of Other Avenues of Accountability

In reporting the movement to impeach the president, I interviewed lawyers who said that theoretically, George W. Bush could be vulnerable to a wide array of punishments and lawsuits if members of Congress, and the public at large, suspect him of breaking the law.

A German prosecutor is seeking a criminal investigation into former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other administration officials over abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. That prosecutor could also seek charges for Bush as commander in chief of the military.

On US soil, prosecutors could also pursue charges against Bush and other administration officials. John Bonifaz, co-founder of After Downing Street, said that as an example, a "courageous prosecutor" could gather military families as plaintiffs in a case over deception leading into the war in Iraq.

But those I interviewed admitted that lawsuits against Bush are not likely to withstand presidential immunity.

Congress members can also censure the president, a symbolic gesture that could show the president the level of disapproval directed at him.

Michael Seidman at the Georgetown Law Center said that using its power of the purse, Congress could even cut off funding for executive branch services such as Air Force One.

Comments...

eciaccio: OTHER AVENUES OF ACCOUNTABILITY

All members of the Bush administration who assisted in cherry-picking and distorting intelligence to mislead us into war on Iraq are guilty of the supreme international war crime (according to the Nuremberg Tribunals) of waging aggressive, preemptive war. In addition, their policies and practices of indiscriminate bombing of civilians; use of illegal weapons such as white phosphorous, Mark-77 firebombs (napalm), depleted uranium, and cluster bombs; extraordinary rendition of prisoners; and torture of prisoners; are ALL violations of domestic and international laws such as the U.N. Charter, the Hague Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity. These administration members, from Bush & Cheney through Rumsfeld and Gonzales and on down, are ALL accountable to the U.N and the World Court at the Hague, as well as the International Criminal Court.

PatK: Impeachment is defensive. . .

It's not really about "accountability" at all.

Impeachment not about justice or retribution. That is for the courts, not congress. Impeachment is a defensive act. When an official abuses power and violates our common contract (i.e., the Constitution), impeachment is the means by which we enforce the terms by removing the violator and renewing the terms with their successor.

Bush and Cheney are waging war on the Constitution in plain sight. They confess their willful intent to nullify the Constitution every time they publicly assert the fascist fantasy of a "unitary authoritarian executive" that can break the law at its whim. They are blatantly committing grave violations that not only demand impeachment, they have committed crimes that are subject to the penalty of death. Namely, war crimes under U.S. Code (Title 18 section 2441) and international law and the Anti-Terrorism Act (Title 18, Section 844 paragraph e. Bomb Threat -- "mushroom clouds in 45 min").

Countless citizens, experts, and organizations have publicly accused them of these and other crimes against our constitutional democracy. The key accusations are well-known to a vast majority of Americans.

Members of Congress are sworn to defend the Constitution. The power to impeach is the weapon we gave them to deal with such abuses. By refusing impeach, Members of Congress effectively exonerate Bush and Cheney. If that is their intent, they should do it honestly and publicly defend their fascist claims to unlimited unitary authoritarian powers.

Tragically, in the current crisis, Bush and Cheney have gone so far past the "impeachable" threshold that the refusal of the Congressional leadership to impeach is lunacy.

Justice demands that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Gonzales, and many others be prosecuted in court, both here and at the Hague, but the first priority is defense of the Constitution.

Impeachment is the ONLY avenue.

jnagarya: Inevitable

Impeachment is inevitable -- except to nay-sayers. The demand for it must come from We the People to the degree that Congress _must_ do it.

Only this time it must not only be impeachment -- indictment -- but also conviction in the Senate, and removal from office, even if the latter is done by armed law enforcement.

Stop the talk about "It can't happen" -- that was said about Nixon, and it was wrong. Start the talk about "It's inevitable!"


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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.