There have been calls for the impeachment of President Bush from certain left-wing groups for years. For the most part, those calls have been correctly ignored. Some of the "Impeach Bush" crowd are still stinging from Bill Clinton's impeachment and yearn to see a Republican president impeached. Others have major policy differences with the President, and some are still angry at the possibility that Bush was prematurely granted the presidency by the Supreme Court in that "photo-finish" race with Al Gore.
However, a sitting president must never be the target of impeachment proceedings because certain groups disagree with his policies. Neither can we allow impeachment to be used as a means to overturn an election. And by all means, we must never allow impeachment to be used for purposes of enacting political revenge. The U.S. Constitution rightly makes the impeachment process a difficult and arduous one reserved strictly for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." (Article. II. Section. 4.)
When considering impeachment, the American people, and their representatives in Congress, must answer one question: Does the conduct, or misconduct, of a sitting president meet constitutional criteria? Specifically, is President Bush guilty of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors? The guilty verdict of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby begs for answers to that question.
As most of us know, Libby was convicted on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. But as one juror put it, Libby was the White House's "fall guy."
Remember, Libby was the ultimate White House insider. He was the Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, assistant to the Vice President for national security affairs, and an assistant to President George W. Bush. Now it appears that Libby has taken the fall for his two bosses. But just what does that mean?
For one thing, it means that the jurors, while judging him guilty of the crimes with which he was charged, saw his higher-ups as equally or more culpable. One juror, Denis Collins, asked, "What is he [Libby] doing here? Where's [Karl] Rove? Where are these other guys?" Several jurors publicly questioned why Vice President Cheney or President Bush were not in the courtroom.
At issue is whether President Bush and Vice President Cheney deliberately manipulated evidence regarding Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and whether they deliberately lied to and deceived the American people and Congress in order to invade Iraq.
Of course, all this was brought to light when the White House made the decision to "out" CIA operative Valerie Plame after her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, publicly suggested that Bush and Cheney had lied and manipulated evidence in order to launch the Iraq invasion. To date, no one has been charged with leaking Plame's identity, but the Libby trial has clearly implicated Bush and Cheney in the whole affair. The jurors seemed convinced of that much, that is for sure.
It has been reported that George W. Bush began planning an invasion of Iraq almost immediately after being elected president in 2000, which was long before the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, President Bush has since acknowledged that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and that it had no WMD capable of threatening the United States. However, he has constantly blamed "bad intelligence" for the decision to launch the preemptive invasion of Iraq.
The American people and history may forgive a leader for an erroneous decision predicated upon bad intelligence. However, neither the American people nor history will forgive a leader for deliberately manipulating evidence and lying to Congress in order to satisfy a personal bloodlust.
Therefore, Congress should immediately commission an independent counsel to investigate whether President Bush and Vice President Cheney did indeed manipulate evidence and deliberately lie to the American people. If that investigation proves that President Bush acted in good faith and with no ulterior motives, his decision to invade Iraq will go down in history as a colossal lapse in judgment. If, on the other hand, the investigation proves that he manipulated evidence and lied to the American people, his actions most definitely rise to the constitutional standard for impeachment. We need a thorough investigation to find the truth.
© Chuck Baldwin
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