The case for impeachment: David Boies, you probably know, was counsel for Al Gore in the famous 2000 election debacle and case arising from that i.e. "Bush v. Gore". He is a prominent Washington attorney and was on MSNBC's Scarborough Country last evening. Curiously he along with Pat Buchanan were against impeachment. I was surprised at Boies's opinion. I wrote him a letter.
Dear Mr. Boies: I listened to the interesting interview and debate between Pat Buchanan, Elizabeth Holtzman and you conducted by Dan Abrams on Joe Scarborough Country last evening about the issue of presidential and vice presidential impeachment. It was an excellent debate moderated superbly by Dan Abrams. It is refreshing to listen to people who are experts and who were not screaming at each other. It was an intelligent discussion and that was unique.
I do, however, question your view. I believe Ms. Holtzman was eminently correct. You are right impeachment should not be used frivolously as it was, in my opinion, used in the case of President Clinton. His offense, while disturbing, I believe, did not rise to the level of "high crimes" as instructed in our Constitution.
That clause in our Constitution is, however, open to interpretation. That was, I believe, the genius of our Founders. The ambiguity they left made room for interpretive debate. In so far as one accepts that as true, presidential foreign policy decisions, while clearly left by our Founders to the Chief Executive to make, still require an honest justification ESPECIALLY if those decisions mean leading a population to war.
We are not talking about policy decisions which will be forgotten after a president leaves office or even before. We are talking about the actual invasion of a country which did not attack us, killing thousands of human beings, upending American families and uprooting millions of Iraqis. We are talking about monetary costs to our people in the trillions. Moreover, the long term regional effect in one of the most volatile parts of the world is immense. I believe we were deceived into a war which has had catastrophic implications.
I supported the decision to go to war initially only to be most chagrined and angered to see that all the justifications for war were not true and, in fact, were probable lies or at least cherry picked evidence to initiate a policy long desired by many in the Bush administration including the President and Vice-President. George Bush iterated those lies to Congress and to the American people which has resulted in extraordinary death, destruction, crushed bodies and spirits. I think that rises to EXACTLY what our Founding Fathers meant when they used the words "high crimes."
Simply because the president has the Constitutional authority to conduct foreign policy and wage war does NOT give him the entitlement to lie us into a preconceived war which has catastrophically affected this nation and albeit the world. It does not give him the license to make a huge foreign policy blunder based on lies resulting in the deaths of thousands. If the high crimes and misdemeanors impeachment clause in our Constitution is not for the many egregious illegalities conducted by this administration to take our country to war and even expose a CIA agent then that clause, it seems to me, should be written out of the Constitution because it has no meaning for our time and place.
Many within the Axis powers of the 20th century were found guilty by a Nuremberg court which said their policies were out of bounds and, indeed, immoral. Had those heads of state lived they would have been subject to the jurisdiction of a court and undoubtedly convicted and rightfully so. Even though they were chief executives they did NOT have the right nor the moral gravity to unilaterally assault so much of humanity unjustifiably. Some human behaviors by especially those in power cannot and should not stand. I believe the parallel is apt.
George Bush and Richard Cheney were at the eye of the storm conducting those policies which have caused so much death and destruction to not only the American public but, indeed, the world. The cost has been huge. Although, it is unlikely George Bush and Richard Cheney will have to answer for their decisions or their lies and deceptions, I support the impeachment and conviction of both.