Twice Fooled – Shame on us: The case for Impeachment

George W. Bush stole the 2000 election and we let him get away with it. While the Democrats cried because Al Gore had won the vote, the Republicans counted their loot and planned the next heist. Crime does pay when the Justices of the Supreme Court are in on the caper, and they can’t be impeached if the crooks control the Congress.

At first, most of us (irrespective of politics) thought that, even though Bush was sort of a goofy guy, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other retainers from the reigns of Ronnie the Great and George I would be able to run things for four years. The world was at peace, the economy was good, and, much as he had done for the Rangers baseball team, Bush would play the part, lead the cheers and leave the big decisions to those better equipped to think deep thoughts. Sooner or later, the voters would catch on that they’d been had, and the doofus would be replaced with someone who could read, write and think for him(or her)self.

But, suddenly, on September 11, 2001, the game changed. At first, things appeared the same. While the president was flying around in circles, without a clue and out of touch, Cheney and the other grownups dealt with the emergency and scripted Bush’s response.

It has now been proven that Bush was repeatedly warned that Osama bin Laden was planning suicide attacks on the country with hijacked commercial jets; however, we will never know if he intentionally allowed it to happen or was just too dumb and distracted to care. We do know that by 9/11 the U.S. economy was in the toilet, the Bush administration was in trouble, and all of its policies and decisions were being driven by what was best for big business, the oil industry and the Saudi sheiks. The neocons in his administration probably didn’t plan the 9/11 attack; they may not have knowingly allowed it to take place, but it was certainly fortunate for their program. And, we quickly learned what that program was all about.

Within weeks, the Constitutional rights of the American people were abrogated by the USA PATRIOT Act, and extraordinary powers were seized by the President, the Departments of Justice and Defense, and the CIA.

Soon, video games no longer held Bush’s interest. He was given a new game and its name was war. The fight against terrorism was exciting, but, in Afghanistan, it was over all too quickly. It didn’t matter that Osama got away; the new game was far too much fun to stop, and he was eager to advance to the next level.

The next step was to conquer Iraq, governed by Saddam Hussein, the ruthless dictator installed by the CIA and maintained in power by Ronnie the Great and George I. Saddam had become an embarrassment to the Bush family, and he controlled something very valuable –” 112 billion barrels of oil. The oil industry had bought and paid for the presidency and it wanted a return on its investment. Saddam had to go.

The only problem was that, after years of sanctions and UN inspections, Iraq was essentially defenseless, and its citizens posed no threat to our national security. Although the New American Century neocons claimed the right and duty to rule the world, the rest of the American people required something more than corporate greed and access to oil to start killing people. There had to be some justification, otherwise an invasion of Iraq would violate international law and we would commit war crimes by killing its people. We had to be sold on the need to slaughter our fellow human beings.

In the summer of 2002, Bush’s chief of staff said, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” He went on to describe a “meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies, of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein.” Repeatedly, we were told that Saddam supported the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks and that he was going to supply them with the weapons of mass destruction he had hidden from the UN inspectors. The propaganda was successful; an overwhelming majority of us came to believe his lies, and Congress authorized Bush to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”

Ignoring the United Nations and the findings of its inspectors, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq because: “the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” and Iraq “has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.” Although he claimed to be defending “the world from grave danger” of “an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass destruction,” the rest of the world was of the opinion that it was the United States which posed the greatest danger to world peace. Time has shown that they were right and Bush was wrong. No weapons of mass destruction were ever located in Iraq, nor was any evidence ever discovered that Saddam had supported al Qaeda. But, who cares for the truth when there are games to be played and money to be made?

Iraq’s military forces collapsed almost as quickly as had the Taliban, and Bush got to dress up in a real pilot’s suit to proclaim “Mission Accomplished.” When the resistance continued to kill and maim American soldiers, Bush bragged “bring ’em on.” His war became a magnet attracting terrorists to “where we want to fight them … to prevent the American people from having to go through other attacks back in the United States.” The truth: we ended up fighting a losing battle against a primarily grassroots resistance to our illegal and immoral invasion and occupation. And, the resistance grows more powerful every day, as the legitimacy of Bush’s war is diminished by every new exposure of his lies.

We should have learned these truths by 2004 when the presidential elections rolled around again. But, the lies continued, largely unchallenged by our tradition of loyalty to our troops and their commander in chief and by our corporate media. Although we learned that Bush probably discussed the removal of Saddam during his very first National Security Council meeting and we suspected that Bush had shared his objective with Prime Minister Blair as early as September 20, 2001, there was no clear evidence that his decision to go to war was made before diplomacy was attempted or any ultimatums were issued.

Throughout the 2004 campaign, Bush claimed that war had been the last resort. In the presidential debate on September 30th, he stated, “I was hopeful diplomacy would work in Iraq. It was falling apart. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was hoping that the world would turn a blind eye. … So we use diplomacy every chance we get, believe me. And I would hope to never have to use force.” And, we believed him.

Once when Bush was trying to convince an audience in Tennessee that the United Nations needed to confront Saddam, he said, "We’re trying to figure out how best to make the world a peaceful place. There’s an old saying in Tennessee –” I know it’s in Texas, it’s probably in Tennessee –” that says, fool me once, shame on … shame on you. It fool me. We can’t get fooled again." He was probably trying to say: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," which is what we should have been saying during the 2004 election. However, he once again fooled enough of us to give him another four years to play his deadly game, and we continue to sacrifice our brave young women and men on the altar of political arrogance and corporate greed where he secretly worships.

The conspiracy of deception held for six months after the election, but on May 1, 2005 the Times of London published the classified minutes of a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 23, 2002, wherein it was revealed that Bush, irrespective of the lies he was telling us at the time, was already committed to going to war with Iraq. Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British intelligence agency, M16, briefed Blair on his recent visit to Washington D.C. saying, “There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the U.N. route … There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action”

During a joint news conference with Blair on June 8, 2005, Bush responded to a question about the memo by stating, “And somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam. There’s nothing farther from the truth.” “Both of us didn’t want to use our military…. It was our last option.” Bush then said that his justification for war against Iraq was regime change, “The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.”

A series of related documents bearing earlier dates have been released in the last six weeks since the Downing Street Memo was published, all of which conclusively establish, once again, that Bush has no regard for the truth. Excerpts from these documents are summarized below in sufficient detail to adequately provide context to and corroboration of the Downing Street Memorandum:

March 8, 2002 – A Secret UK Eyes Only “Iraq: Options Paper” summarizes that “The US administration has lost faith in containment and is now considering regime change.” The paper concludes that “A legal justification for invasion would be needed. Subject to Law Officers advice, none currently exists.” As a legal consideration, the paper concludes, “Of itself, REGIME CHANGE has no basis in international law.” The paper goes on to say, “there is no recent evidence of Iraq complicity with international terrorism. There is therefore no justification for action against Iraq based on action in self-defence.”

March 14, 2002 – A Secret – Strictly Personal Memorandum from foreign policy advisor David Manning to the Prime Minister regarding his visit with Condi Rice reported, “Condi’s enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed…. From what she said, Bush has yet to find the answers to the big questions: – how to persuade international opinion that military action against Iraq is necessary and justified;… – what happens on the morning after?” As a justification, Manning suggested that “The issue of the weapons inspectors must be handled in a way that would persuade European and wider opinion that the US was conscious of the international framework, and the insistence of many countries on the need for a legal basis. [Renewed refusal] by Saddam to accept unfettered inspections would be a powerful argument;” He concludes “I think there is a real risk that the Administration underestimates the difficulties. They may agree that failure isn’t an option, but this does not mean that they will avoid it.”

March 18, 2002 – A Confidential and Personal Memorandum from the U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Meyer reporting on a meeting he had with Paul Wolfowitz, then U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, in which he advised Wolfowitz of the “need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and The UN SCRs…” Meyer suggested “There might be doubt about the alleged meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker on 9/11, and Iraqi intelligence (did we, he asked, know anything more about this meeting?)”

March 22, 2002 – A Confidential and Personal Memorandum from P.F. Ricketts, Political Director, in which he offered advice to Prime Minister Blair to “Help Bush make good decisions by telling him things his own machine probably isn’t” Ricketts pointed out two problems, “First, the THREAT. The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein’s WMD programmes, but our tolerance of them post-11 September…. But even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW fronts: the programmes are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up.” Ricketts went on to say that the U.S. “scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al Aaida is so far frankly unconvincing.” The second problem “is the END STATE. Military operations need clear and compelling military objectives…. For Iraq, ‘regime change’ does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam. Much better, as you have suggested, to make the objective ending the treat to the international community from Iraqi WMD before Saddam uses it or gives it to terrorists.”

March 25, 2002 – A Secret and Personal Memorandum from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw questions, “If 11 September had not happened, it is doubtful that the US would now be considering military action against Iraq. In addition, there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with UBL [Osama bin Ladin] and Al Qaida. Objectively, the threat from Iraq has not worsened as a result of 11 September.” Straw sets forth two legal “elephant traps:” “(i) regime change per se is no justification for military action;” and (ii) … whether any military action would require a fresh UNSC [Security Council] mandate… The US are likely to oppose any idea of a fresh mandate. On the other side, the weight of legal advice here is that a fresh mandate may well be required.” Straw discusses the consequences, “A legal justification is a necessary but far from sufficient pre-condition for military action. We have also to answer the big question – what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than on anything. Most of the assessments from the US have assumed regime change as a means of eliminating Iraq’s WMD threat. But none has satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better.”

An undated Confidential – Iraq: Legal Background Memorandum concluded that it was up to the UN Security Council to “assess whether any such breach of such obligations [UN resolutions] has occurred. The US have a rather different view: they maintain that the assessment of breach is for individual member States. We are not aware of any other State which supports this view.” Regarding the use of force, the Legal Memorandum advises, “For the exercise of the right of self-defence there must be more than “a threat.” There has to be an armed attack actual or imminent. The development of possession of nuclear weapons does not in itself amount to an armed attack; what would be needed would be clear evidence of an imminent attack.”

July 21, 2002 – A Personal Secret UK Eyes Only briefing paper entitled “Iraq: Conditions for Military Action (A Note by Officials) was prepared two days before the Downing Street meeting. The introduction finds “The US Government’s military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.” It was deemed “important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support.”

As a goal, the briefing paper reports, “US military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime, followed by elimination of Iraqi WMD. It is however, by no means certain, in the view of UK officials, that one would necessarily follow from the other. Even if regime change is a necessary condition for controlling Iraqi WMD, it is certainly not a sufficient one.” To provide a legal excuse for invasion, “It is just possible than an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.)”

As a risk of taking action, the briefing paper stated, “A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point.”

Neither Bush nor Blair have challenged the authenticity of these documents which, taken as a whole, clearly establish that Bush committed far greater crimes than just stealing two of our presidential elections. To feed corporate greed and play out his fantasies of ruling a world empire, our “pro-life” president tricked the American people into an illegal and immoral war that has killed 1,909 soldiers of the “coalition of the willing,” including 1,722 American men and women under his “command,” seriously wounded 12,855 U.S. soldiers, and slaughtered more than 100,000 Iraqi men, women, children, and babies. If this is not an impeachable offense, what will ever be?

When Bush caused the United States to violate its duties under international law, he also subjected himself to impeachment. Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution makes international treaties such as the United Nations Charter, which was ratified by the Senate in 1945, the “supreme law of the land.”

Not only did Bush cause the United States to violate the Charter, but he also operated extralegally beyond the authority granted him by Congress in its resolution of October 10, 2002. He was not acting to enforce “all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq,” nor was he acting to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”

Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution provides, “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” By committing war crimes in violation of the supreme law of the land, Bush also committed a high crime or misdemeanor within the meaning of the Constitution.

Moreover, Bush is subject to impeachment for having lied to Congress, repeatedly; however, he made material misrepresentations during his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003, when he stated that the IAEA “confirmed in the 1990’s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program,” and again when he stated, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1001 prohibits anyone from “knowingly and willfully” making “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” in “any matter within the jurisdiction of the … legislative … branch of the Government.” The U.S. Supreme Court upheld felony prosecution under the statute in 1955, and a violation of the statute is a crime.

Bush also violated Section 1001 when he wrote to Congress on March 18, 2003, as required by the Congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq. In the letter, Bush made material misrepresentations by stating he had determined that: (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and (2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

The letter is completely false. Iraq never posed a threat to the United States, and further diplomatic and other peaceful means would have adequately protected our national security. The United States did not have to invade Iraq to enforce Security Council resolutions, as continued U.N. inspections would have likely succeeded. Most importantly, at the time Bush wrote the letter, he knew there was no evidence that Iraq had “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the 9/11 attack.”

With the overwhelming evidence we, the American people, now have before us proving beyond any reasonable doubt that our president has engaged us in an unlawful and immoral war, we cannot remain silent. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves and to our posterity to do all within our power to stop this immoral war and our illegal occupation of a country that poses no danger to our safety.

We cannot do nothing! Silence is complicity. We cannot allow Bush (or his co-conspirator Cheney) to remain in office. It is time to lock away the dangerous game of war that Bush has been playing and restore the United States to the path of peace. The soul of America is nourished by the good will of our neighbors, and the future of our children depends upon the harmony they will share with our common humanity.