Cindy Sheehan: "Bush’s Presidency Is Illegitimate!"

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Washington, D.C. – Cindy Sheehan is back in town! I’m sure that big bully in the White House, President George W. Bush, will be shaking in his cowboy boots when he hears that news. When Sheehan, the popular anti-Iraq War activist, showed up at Crawford, Texas, last summer, Bush refused to meet with her. He seemed cowed by her mere presence at a vigil (a/k/a “Camp Casey”) so close to his once-secluded ranch. Sheehan was then demanding a face-to-face meeting with the Spymaster Bush, whose latest version of the USA Patriot Act, makes carrying “an unauthorized sign” at a national political convention a federal crime. She wanted the arrogant chief executive to come clean about the real reasons for the Iraqi war. “No more lies from the White House,” she told the media at “Camp Casey.” Her son, Army Specialist, Casey Sheehan, age 24, was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, in Baghdad’s Sadr City.

The latest occasion for Sheehan’s appearance in our nation’s capital was a public forum, which was held at the Bus Boys and Poets Bookstore, at 14th and V Streets, NW, on Monday, Jan. 30, 2006. The event sponsored by a number of local, and national, progressives groups, like “Democracy Rising,” “ImpeachPAC,” “Backbone Campaign,” and “Censure Bush,” dealt with the “I” word – the impeachment of Bush and his vice-president-in-mayhem, Dick Cheney, for committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” [1]

Sheehan was one of six panel members at the forum. She cut right to the chase in her opening remarks. Sheehan said, “George Bush’s presidency is illegitimate! He was elected by the Supreme Court [in 2000]. And, even if we believe he won in 2004, (laughter from the audience), there were many [incidents of] election irregularities, voter manipulation, voter fraud and voter suppression. I suggest changing the discourse [for today’s agenda] from impeachment to eviction. He’s a tenant destroying our house, a squatter. And number two,” Sheehan continued, “when Bush abrogated to himself the [war-making] powers of the U.S. Congress to invade Iraq, I believe that was unconstitutional. [2] We also shouldn’t support any member of the Congress, who let their [war-making] responsibilities be abrogated by Bush.”

Serving on the panel with the feisty Sheehan were: Kevin Zeese, activist and an Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate from the state of Maryland; ex-U.S. Attorney General, Ramsey Clark; journalist David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org; Ann Wright, an ex-U.S. diplomat; and Marcus Raskin, educator and longtime anti-war activist going back to the days of the Vietnam conflict. Zeese also served as the moderator for the event.

In his comments, Clark, who was the U.S. Attorney General in the administration of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, said that both Bush and Cheney needed to be impeached, particularly for their “war of aggression” against Iraq. He labeled them, “the greatest threat to peace, justice, the rule of law, the environment and to the U.S. Constitution, that the people face today. The survival of life on the planet is at risk.” Çlark added that the public needs to get involved now and that this process is the “most important obligation of a citizen of the U.S. at this moment.”

Wright who had the courage to resign her State Department diplomatic post, in March, 2003, rather than support the immoral and illegal war in Iraq, also champions the impeachment procedure. She said, “We the people need to take our country back. We need to demand accountability from this present administration and one of the ways to demand that accountability is this thing called – impeachment.”

In his remarks, Raskin traced the history of major U.S. conflicts going back to WWI. He said that after WWII, the U.S. led the fight for the creation of the UN and for the adoption of a Charter that prohibited “wars of aggression.” He said that the trials at Nuremberg, Germany, contributed to that movement for change. Raskin had to leave immediately after giving his remarks to teach a class at a local college, so the audience didn’t have a chance to quiz him on his feelings about the culpability of others in the Bush-Cheney Gang, like the ex-Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, a notorious Neocon, for the Iraqi War. The latter by common consent is considered the prime “architect” within the administration of that unjust and blood stained conflict. Wolfowitz is now, incredibly, the President of the World Bank, as a result of an appointment to that high paying and prestigious sinecure from Bush. [3] It would have been interesting to get Raskin’s opinion of Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld, too, on the public record.

Zeese, who is also a trial attorney and experienced in criminal law, suggested making Bush “radioactive” for all Americans, by pointing out the truth about how he has “broken the law over and over again. We need to make this an issue that Republicans care about, as well.” He said impeachment is an “American issue and that the Constitution isn’t red or blue. The Constitution stands for checks and balances and it’s time to bring that back into focus…The Republicans are changing their views on the war.” He underscored how Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), once a strong War Hawk, now opposes the Iraqi War “because he was lied to” by this administration. Zeese, along with others on the panel, condemned Bush for his spying, via the NSA, on Americans, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Bush was also ignoring the requirements of the FISA law to obtain an eavesdropping warrant from a federal judge. “Our Constitution is under attack,” Zeese said. “We need to create the vision of the country that we want and to work for that vision. Forget the party labels, individuals are what counts. We need to stand up for what we believe in and we will get there.”

Swanson, who serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, detailed the historical and documentary record that demonstrates beyond cavil that Bush had “intentionally lied” to the Congress about Iraq, and Saddam Hussein, before launching the invasion of that beleaguered country in March, 2003. He emphasized that the Bush-Cheney Gang’s taking the nation to war “based on lies is the highest crime possible.” [4] Swanson had just returned for today’s forum from Los Angeles where he, and Wright, too, spoke at an anti-Iraqi War function in the area.

In her final remarks, Sheehan summed up the proceedings at the Forum rather concisely. She said this: “We should also be talking about the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. We need to focus on that, too. We can’t wait until [the] 2006 [elections]. We have to go out and demand that Congress do its job…We’re using depleted uranium in Iraq…We’re torturing people. We’re flying them [around] in airplanes to torture them… We should be talking about morality. Killing to serve any purpose is barbaric. It’s wrong. It’s immoral. The invasion and occupation of Iraq doesn’t fit any standards of the just war theories…We’ve seen some good stuff happening [on Capitol Hill.] We’ve seen Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) turn around. But, the Congress isn’t going to change, unless we make them.” [5]

Notes:

[1]. Article II, Sec. IV of the U.S. Constitution.

[2]. Under the U.S. Constitution, only the Congress has the power to declare war, Article I, Sec. 8 (11).

[3]. http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/041101fa_fact

[4]. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/

[5]. Photos from the Impeachment Forum can be found at: http://homepage.mac.com/bhughes2/PhotoAlbum177.html

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