Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bush and Cheney Must Face Justice After 2008 Election

We now know for sure that our President and Vice President have violated federal laws, our Constitution, the Geneva Convention and international law. The only question remains is when and how will they be brought to justice. Here’s one of the scenarios that asserts that Bush is likely guilty of war crimes. We know a lot more.

We also know our own Democratic Congressional leaders did not have the courage of their convictions, but thanks to a Michigan journalist who sidled up to a bar with one of the most powerful men in Washington, we now understand a bit more of the reasoning that went into the decision not to pursue impeachment after the 2006 election.

What could be worse than not righting the wrongs of the worst administration in American history? Apparently, another four or eight more years of Republicans in the White House was the main concern.

Jack Lessenberry’s interview of Rep. John Conyers at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency in early December amplifies what Conyers has already said, but goes a bit further. It’s not just that the votes aren’t there to impeach and convict. An unsuccessful impeachment could set up a scenario that could lead to a Democrat losing to a Republican in 2008. Under one scenario, where Cheney is impeached GW could appoint perhaps Giuliani the veep leading to an eventual 2008 Republican win. Stealing elections is only possible when they are close, or seem to be. And Conyers who has already played a major role in two impeachments knows better than most what the stakes are.

Conyers has been a hero to most progressives who saw his voice as the only one willing to pursue hearings on election stealing, torture and the cover-ups of Bush administration abuses of the Constitution. When others were silent, he was vocal. Now he is one of the most powerful and most frustrated members of Congress. He seems most frustrated by us, his friends, because he has no answers for us that we want to hear. He seems to think there isn’t much he can do at this time because the numbers aren’t on our side.

But is it wrong for Congressional Democrats to think there is nothing they can do? Continuing to shed light on Bush administration misdeeds and the blatant support of Republican rubber stamps for those abuses is important. Evidence gathering is an important first step and whether it comes in a US or international courtroom, justice must be done in the future.

Of course, we need to redouble our efforts in 2008 to restore our democracy and our respect in the world by electing a president and Congress that truly reflect our values of respect for every individual and fair treatment for all. Peace and prosperity with integrity is what we all want.

An end of the year New York Times editorial takes a hard look at where we are today, but doesn’t go quite far enough. The new president will have his or her hands full dealing with the fallout of the worst administration in our history.

But for the long term interests of our democracy we must pursue justice, not revenge. We must bring the Bush administration evil doers to face their accusers in order to assure that it does not happen again. Reagan escaped his abuses of power and we cannot let GW do the same. Letting go of the pursuit of justice in the name of “bringing the country together” after a Democratic victory will teach our country nothing.

In order to restore our democracy and our moral authority in the world, we owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to make Bush and Cheney defend themselves and their abominable record of abuses, lies and cover-ups. Surrendering them and their cohorts to an international tribunal would allow the next administration to focus on redeploying our armed forces and rebuilding America.

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