It's time to use the "I" word
10-Nov-05. Bill Clinton got a blow job from a White House intern, and the Republican House decided to impeach him for "high crimes and misdemeanors." Using that standard, George W Bush and Dick Cheney should have been impeached long ago. We don't know about any interns, but we do know tantalizing bits about abuse of power and failure to uphold the Constitution to get started. I am not the first to have thought of this, of course: Googling the subject of impeachment for those two (see sidebar) yields millions of results. I say, do Cheney first.
There is a very good reason to not impeach Bush first— Cheney is next in line! The thought of Cheney as president sends me to a fetal position in pain and desperation.
In a recent speech and op-ed piece in the Los Angelese Times, Larry Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, charged that Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, led a "cabal" that hijacked the foreign policy of the United States (LA Times, 25-Oct-05).
Cheney has truly become the force of darkness in the Bush administration. He is obsessed with secrecy and remains out of public sight most of the time, lurking in his "undisclosed location," but he is without doubt the most powerful vice president in US history and has had a strong hand in shaping many decisions.
A few days after the attacks on 9/11/2001, Cheney said that the United States was going to have to work "sort of the dark side" and that "it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective." We've seen just what such an approach leads to: the abuses at Abu Ghraib; the detention of even US citizens at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without trial or due process; and the explosive revelation this past week of secret "black" CIA prisons scattered around the world.
John McCain (R-AZ) was successful in adding an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill providing that "no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment." The amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 90 to 9 (1 "not voting"). Cheney has been working tirelessly to have this language removed from the bill, and W has even threatened to use his first-ever veto if the language is not stripped from the bill before final passage.
Brent Scowcroft, who was National Security Advisor to Presidents Ford and Bush (41) said in a recent New Yorker Magazine interview, "I consider Cheney a good friend – I've known him for 30 years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."
In simple terms, Cheney has "gone off the deep end" and it's obvious that Bush cannot control him (nor can he fire him, although Bush seems incapable of firing anyone who remains loyal to him, anyway).
For the good of the nation, it is time to get rid of Cheney. Even if an impeachment were ultimately unsuccessful, it would keep Cheney so busy that he could do little more harm.
I've included a slideshow of editorial cartoons about Cheney (sidebar).