By MARC McDONALD
Any clear-thinking, sane American these days knows that George W. Bush needs to be impeached before he causes more serious damage to our nation. Fortunately, there are good, patriotic citizens in Washington who're working hard to try to make this a reality. Case in point: ImpeachPAC--a political action committee that was launched in November by Washington activists David Swanson and Bob Fertik.
In the following interview with BeggarsCanBeChoosers.com, Swanson talks about ImpeachPAC and what his organization is up to these days:
What is ImpeachPAC.org?
ImpeachPAC is a political action committee that Bob Fertik and I set up in November in order to raise contributions for pro-impeachment candidates. Our criteria for endorsement include, for incumbents, introducing or signing onto articles of impeachment for Bush and Cheney, and for challengers, committing to make that their first act in office in 2007.
We've heard from lots of challengers but not any incumbents--though that may change. And we've endorsed one challenger already, Tony Trupiano, who's running in Michigan's 11th District. He's an outstanding candidate. We've given him $2,100, the maximum allowed for a new PAC, and bundled together for him another $7,000 in contributions. People seem to love the strong stance he's taken, but the media sure doesn't--though, again, that may change. Pundits came out swinging against him as soon as he said the "I" word, but that was before the NSA spying story made the "I" word printable by the corporate media.
Also, the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition, an alliance of over 100 grassroots organizations, has launched a new campaign called CensureBush.org in order to support new legislation introduced by congressman John Conyers that would censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney and create a select committee to investigate the administration's possible crimes and make recommendations regarding grounds for impeachment.
The House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff has just released an extensive report titled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War." It is available here.
When did this site launch? What initially gave you the idea to start this effort?
ImpeachPAC was launched the first week in November. We saw a president and vice president who need to be impeached, a public that agrees with that, and a Congress that lives in another world--and we wanted to change something to fix that discord. We decided it'd be easier to build a new Congress than to convince ourselves and the public that impeachment was not justified. (For public opinion polls see this site).
CensureBush.org was created this past Tuesday to support new bills introduced by Congressman Conyers.
In a nutshell, why should George W. Bush be impeached?
That's got to require at least a coconut shell. The list of crimes is quite long. See this list.
The reason that has finally gotten a bit of interest from the corporate media is that Bush broke the law to authorize warrantless spying, and basically admits as much but claims to be above the law.
The reason that led us to start AfterDowningStreet.org back in May is that Bush lied to Congress about the reasons we had to go to war (he said Iraq's weapons were threatening the US and that he needed to go after nations that were behind the 9-11 attacks). He knew both of those to be lies. Lying to Congress is a felony. And there can be no more serious crime. If you don't impeach now, you never can again--or only for sex. But, of course, much of Congress went along with the warmongering charade, so it may be easier for some Congress members to get outraged about the spying (which is inexcusable and quite dangerous, but which as far as we know hasn't killed 100,000 people and made the whole world more dangerous).
A growing number of Americans support the idea of impeachment, but they are doubtful that this could ever happen while the GOP controls Congress. What would you say to those who are pessimistic about the prospects for impeachment?
Democracy ain't a spectator sport. A good citizen is not an amateur pundit on Fox News, but an activist for what is decent and good. We have a duty to demand impeachment. The fact that we may fail has no bearing and stems from a very disempowering habit of viewing politics as if it were a sport on a field while we're in the stands. It's time to rush the fence and tear down the goal posts.
Democrats have whispered--and this may be changing--that they won't say out loud that they're for impeachment until after they have a majority. I say they won't have a majority if they don't first say out loud that they stand with the 73 percent of Democrats who, according to Ipsos, believe that "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."
"Eeek, but then we'd have President Cheney," (some people say). Oh, grow up. You can't investigate Bush without implicating Cheney. You can't investigate either of them on this without destroying the Republican party. Impeaching and removing from office are two different things, only one of which was done to Clinton, and the other of which has never been done in US history. And having criminal underlings cannot provide immunity.
If Bush has committed high crimes, he must be impeached. Same with Cheney. And the next administration that tries to start a war (based on lies, as all wars are) had better be scared of impeachment--and faster next time.
"OK, but don't censure them--they have to be impeached." They have to be both, and Congress members are too spineless to move to impeachment right away. Censure helps. And the bills that Conyers has introduced on censure are aimed at censuring Bush and Cheney, not for their obvious impeachable offenses, but for their refusal to turn over evidence that would make their impeachability even more obvious--if that's possible.
What can concerned citizens do to support your effort?
Give money--even the tiniest amount--to ImpeachPAC.org.
Sign up to attend a town hall forum. More info here:
Contact your member of Congress.