- With the combination of the most somber and serious Congressional
hearings since Watergate, and the opening of the trial of Vice President
Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor, I. Lewis
"Scooter" Libby, for perjury and obstruction of justice, there
is a "window of opportunity" for impeachment of the Vice President-and
Cheney is jumping right through it.
- On Jan. 24, one day after Cheney was exposed by Special
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, as directing the campaign to discredit a
credible, eyewitness critic, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, by exposing
the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, who worked as a covert
agent of the CIA, Cheney went on national television to announce that the
White House will ignore any resolution from Congress that criticizes the
escalation of force in Iraq.
- In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, when asked about
the Senate resolution against the "surge," which had just been
passed by the Foreign Relations Committee, Cheney boasted, "That won't
stop us . . . we are moving forward . . . the President
has made his decision."
- In short, Cheney's own foul mouth, in bragging that the
White House will ignore the Senate resolution against Bush's surge, just
hours after the Senate committee passed the bipartisan Biden-Hagel-Levin
measure, creates the "perfect storm" that could finally sweep
Cheney out of the White House.
- The exposure of Cheney's role in the Scooter Libby case,
and his outrageous dismissal of the constitutional role of the Congress,
affords the Bush family-which enlisted Cheney to craft George W. Bush's
Presidential run in 2000-an opportunity now to take action to get him out.
- This is not a matter of partisan, or revenge politics,
but a matter of the national interest. Around the world, as a second carrier
group move towards the Persian Gulf, and White House threats against Iran
are repeated on a daily basis, it is recognized that the only certain path
to stopping the planned attack on Iran is the impeachment of Dick Cheney,
who today, just as in the case of the Iraq War, is running the "team"
and the policy for "regime change" in Iran.
- Now Is the Time
- Pundits-especially those favorable to Cheney's chickenhawk
policies-have said that impeachment is unlikely because the Vice President
is a "constitutionally elected official" who can only be removed
under charges of criminality, or by voluntarily resigning. But, with the
opening statement by Special Counsel Fitzgerald in the Libby trial, on
Jan. 23, in which he alleged that Cheney issued a hand-written memo to
Libby on discrediting Wilson, the situation changed. Not only did Fitzgerald
disclose the existence of the memo, but he charged that Libby had "wiped
out" that incriminating piece of evidence.
- However, reportedly through the combination of computer
memory recovery methods, and the testimony of witnesses who also knew about
Cheney's memo, Fitzgerald was able to introduce the matter in his opening
- Now, to all those who say "impeachment is off the
table," one must ask-what would the trial of Richard Nixon's aides
Haldeman, Ehrlichman, et al., have looked like, if a hand-written note
from Nixon, directing them to break into the offices of Democratic National
Committee in the Watergate Hotel, had been disclosed?
- Washington insiders report that the Bush family may be
the critical factor in getting rid of Cheney, a scenario which is being
mooted in the media.
- On Jan. 25, Keith Olbermann, the host of the popular
"Countdown" show on MSNBC, did a five-minute spot called, "Should
Cheney Go?" He pointed to longtime Bush family operative, James Baker
III, as the person who tried-and failed-to save G.W. Bush from the Cheney
- Olbermann opened his show saying, "Piece by piece
testimony at the Scooter Libby trial is dismantling the already tattered
reputation of the nation's Vice President, portraying him as consumed with
retaliating against a serious credible critic of his attempts to sell the
war. . . ."
- Later in the program, Olbermann said, "Another friend
of this show, Craig Crawford, reported today that Jim Baker not only led
the Iraq Study Group, he was also leading a kind of a private attempt to
wrench the President away from Mr. Cheney's influence and ideology, and
ultimately failed in that, judging from what the President is trying to
do in Iraq now, in light of the Baker Commission. . . ."
- The phrase being increasingly heard in the halls of Congress
and around Washington is, "the time is now." It is being used
in the appeals from Republicans to the Bush family to save the Party and
the Bush legacy-by getting Cheney out. And, it has been heard in open Congressional
hearings, such as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote of Jan. 24
on the Biden-Hagel-Levin resolution that condemned Bush's "surge"
in Iraq. Senators said "now is the time" that Congress must take
decisive action, such as capping the number of troops in Iraq, or cutting
off the funds for the war, using the "power of the purse."
- Impeach Cheney Now
- According to a well-informed Washington intelligence
source, the major question after day one of the Libby trial was, "Why
was the Vice President not indicted along with Libby?" Fitzgerald
apparently did not want to influence the outcome of the 2006 election by
issuing an indictment before the vote-but, there is no obstacle now. And,
a massive outpouring from the voters could actually bring it about.
- In three days of trial, evidence has been introduced
that it was Cheney who was obsessed with discrediting Wilson, and it was
Cheney who personally directed the anti-Wilson campaign, which included
the "outing" of Plame (who was, ironically, trying to track down
weapons of mass destruction in Iran!).
- Even Voice of America, a news service wholly owned by
the U.S. government, pointed to Cheney. On Jan. 26, an unusual article,
signed only as "By VOA News," said the following:
- "A former spokeswoman to Vice President Dick Cheney
says she informed Cheney and his former chief-of-staff, Lewis `Scooter'
Libby, about the identity of a CIA operative married to a Bush administration
- "[Cathie] Martin testified that she informed Cheney
and Libby of Plame's identity after learning it from a CIA official. She
also said Cheney personally directed efforts to discredit Wilson's allegations."
- Coming on the heels of Fitzgerald's disclosure of the
Cheney memo, written during a trip to Norfolk, Virginia, which included
Cathie Martin, Cheney, and Libby, there is growing pressure to prosecute
- Congress Takes Action
- Parallel to the political explosion in the Libby trial,
is a drive by members of the U.S. Congress to stop Bush's stubborn madness
in the Persian Gulf-both his escalation of troop deployments in Iraq, and
his refusal to diplomatically engage Iran and Syria to find a way to end
the Iraq conflict.
- On Jan. 24, the vote by the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee in favor of the Concurrent Resolution against the surge, was
evidence of what Lyndon LaRouche has dubbed the "New Politics,"
following the Nov. 7, 2006 election.
- By a 12-9 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
passed the Biden-Hagel-Levin resolution, which states, "it is not
in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement
in Iraq." Quite revealing was the fact that of the ten Republicans
on the committee, only one, Sen. David Vitter (La.), explicitly supported
the Bush surge as stated.
- But more compelling than the dry words of a consensus
resolution, was the three-hour debate, which every member of the 21-person
committee attended. In that debate, the central issue was the adoption
of the Baker-Hamilton/Iraq Study Group report, as the policy of the nation.
- Of great import is a second bipartisan Senate concurrent
resolution against the surge (see Documentation), this issue), introduced
by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, a former Secretary of the Navy, and one of the most senior Republicans
in the Congress. The Warner resolution is co-sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins
(R-Me.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).
- On Jan. 22, in announcing the resolution, Warner said
that he would not act on a vote until after the Biden-Hagel-Levin resolution
comes to the Senate floor-which is expected during the week of Jan. 29.
Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joe Biden (D-Del.) said that, in some
respects, the Warner resolution is tougher than theirs, and he would be
open to working out a common resolution with Warner. However, it appears,
for now, that Warner will keep the two separate.
- But these two bills are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are already four additional resolutions that have been introduced
to block a war on Iran:
- House Concurrent Resolution 43, introduced by Rep. Ron
Paul (R-Tex.), with ten co-sponsors, calls for implementation of the Baker-Hamilton
Commission's recommendation on diplomacy with Iran and Syria;
- Senate Resolution 39, introduced by Sen. Robert Byrd
(D-W.Va.), addresses the need for Congressional approval before the White
House can take offensive military action against any other nation;
- House Concurrent Resolution 33, introduced by Rep. Peter
DeFazio (D-Ore.), with 30 co-sponsors, says the President should not take
military action against Iran without Congressional authorization;
- House Joint Resolution 13, introduced by Rep. Walter
Jones (R-N.C.), with 18 co-sponsors, attempts to block offensive miltiary
action against Iran.
- However, there are serious concerns that these actions
do not go far enough, and are not fast enough. Many observers believe that
only immediate steps to remove the Vice President by impeachment could
protect the nation from the disaster of a war with Iran.
- With that mood in the country, it is not surprising that,
on Jan. 25, Congressional actions escalated:
- The Senate Judicary committee has scheduled a hearing
on Jan. 30, entitled "Congress's Power To End a War." Its chairman,
Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), said, "Congress holds the power of the purse,
and if the President continues to advance his failed Iraq policy, we have
the responsibility to use that power to safely redeploy our troops from
Iraq. This hearing will help inform my colleagues and the public about
Congress's power to end a war and how that power has been used in the past."
Among the scheduled witnesses is Prof. Walter Dellinger of Duke University
School of Law, a former U.S. Solicitor General, and an expert on impeachment.
- House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.)
announced that his committee will hold hearings, beginning Jan. 31, on
President Bush's rampant abuse of "signing statements" and Bush's
claim that these documents give him the power to ignore laws duly passed
by the Congress.
- Commentators immediately noted that, with these hearings,
impeachment is now "back on the table."
- Then, on Jan. 26, Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), chairman
of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, charged that Dick Cheney
had obstructed and delayed the Senate investigation of "Phase II"
of the committee's investigation of the misuse of Iraq War intelligence.
Observers say this charge, if proved, reaches the threshold of "high
crimes and misdemeanors," the Constitutional requirement for impeachment.
- A Fiery Debate
- When Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican
on the Foreign Relations Committee, presented a mealy-mouthed opposition
to the Biden-Hagel-Levin resolution, saying that it will "deepen the
divide" between the Legislature and the Executive on Iraq, his strongest
opponent was fellow-Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. Hagel, a Vietnam
War hero, pummelled the idea that any Senator can continue to remain silent
on Iraq. The nation has passed the point of a divide, Hagel said, and the
question is, should Congress ever get involved? He cited Senator Warner's
assertion that, "We're a co-equal branch . . . [based on]
Article I of the Constitution."
- Hagel continued, even more impassioned, demanding that
all 100 Senators step up to the plate on this tough decision, challenging
them: "You want a safe job? Go sell shoes."
- He charged that the impugning of the motives of the resolution
sponsors, and questioning their patriotism is "offensive and disgusting,"
and that the American people are far ahead of the Congress in recognizing
that the administration has failed in Iraq. He warned Congress not to send
any more American soldiers into "that grinder."
- Hagel said he wants "every Senator to look into
the camera" and tell the people back home what they think. "Don't
hide any more!" The President's plan would make the world far more
dangerous, and more dangerous for America, Hagel charged. "Read the
Baker-Hamilton report," he added, a comment which became standard
for almost every supporter of the resolution-and even some of the opponents.
- From Vietnam veterans John Kerry (D-Mass.), James Webb
(D-Va.), and Hagel, to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who silenced the
opposition when she revealed that her state has the highest number of deaths
of American soldiers in Iraq, the debate was a proud hour for American
- Senator Feingold wants the Congress to cut funding after
a certain point, and Kerry captured the sentiments of all in declaring,
"This is our moment, and our time."