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Forget impeachment, think criminal prosecution instead

Thursday, January 10, 2008 | 1:12 p.m. CST; updated 10:47 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I subscribe to at least two dozen Internet sites dealing in politics from both sides of the aisle. In the last six months, I have received an inordinate number of e-mails imploring me to sign petitions seeking the impeachment of the entire executive branch of the American government. One site claims more than 100,000 signatures to its petition alone. Two years ago, I would have supported these calls to remove the executive branch. Today, I cannot.

These calls are becoming louder and stronger, carried on the airwaves, the Internet and the pages of the Fourth Estate. On Nov. 26, Bill Wickersham called for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. His arguments were clear and well documented. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, as Rep. Barbara Jordan, D-Texas, warned during the Nixon impeachment hearing in 1974, have indeed “swollen with power and grown tyrannical.” The American people need to preserve the Constitution and our great experiment of democratic and representative government. We know the charges and the indictments; we have read the articles and have listened to the reports.

Wickersham refers to the West Point Graduates Against the War, but they list only a small, but lengthy segment of the allegations leveled against Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush. It is apparent that the complainants could fill a small railcar with accusations and “proofs” to initiate the impeachment process. I, too, have a litany of condemnations that can be added to the growing list of possible “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

I have witnessed two attempts to remove the president from office through the process of impeachment. One was successful with the president’s removal, though never completed. The other was successfully completed but the president remained in office. The process is complicated, expensive and time consuming and Congress has more important things to deal with: health care, deficit spending, education, trade, the wars and so much more. There is another way.

As we learned from the Clinton impeachment and trial, beyond the dollar and time expenditures, the partisan bickering and the great divide, now an abyss, between the leadership of this nation and “the people” will only grow. An ill-timed attempt to remove the current administration through impeachment will only eradicate any attempt to bridge this political canyon. So let us use a bit of common sense.

The people, whose voices our political leaders fail to hear, are tired of the continuous and overt lies. The people are tired of wasteful spending and a lack of “family values” as demanded from this hawkish eddy of political fervor. “We must,” as President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his farewell address in 1961, “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Today, we can add the corporate influence of the energy, telecommunications and other industrial complexes to that dire warning. The people of this great nation reject the idea that the favoritism of a few is more important than the health, education and prosperity of American society as a whole.

The Bush administration will be in office for one more year. Natural and constitutional demands will remove the offending characters from their seats of power. Impeachment and the subsequent trial can only accomplish the same and will take much longer to realize. There is a better way.

Let’s use the system of law, allowing the process to take its course, not through impeachment but by protecting America’s security, using the one law the administration praises, supports and extols at every street corner. I believe that we should wait until Jan. 22, 2009, when Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are once again civilians, then file criminal charges against the former holders of the executive office for treason and high crimes against the people. Jail time sounds so much better. So, what say ye?

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.

 


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Comments

William D January 10, 2008 | 2:35 p.m.

You raise a good/interesting point. One problem; Few will care once the Bush admin is out of office. Nobody cares to remember Iran/Contra? Many consider Reagan our greatest president. Without impeachment hearings one day Bush will be remembered as a true patriot.
I say start impeachment hearings to remove executive privilege so we can get to the truth. I am sorry but healthcare is NOT more important than fixing what they have done to our constitution. Remember, the next admin will inherit the increased executive power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely!

(Report Comment)
Irv Thomas January 10, 2008 | 4:15 p.m.

Because of the nature of the problems of this administration, there seems to me no choice but to proceed with the process of hearings toward impeachment. Otherwise, we risk some pre-emptive activity, by those in power, to make necessary or permanent their continuance of authority.

Having seen the extent to which they claim and pursue power, we are simply not safe, with any assumption that things will not get more harrowing in the course of the year that remains to them. We have GOT TO get an impeachment underway, and thus establish the necessity for it.

(Report Comment)
Roger Shrubber January 11, 2008 | 12:10 p.m.

All of the impeachment talk is misguided...so many other issues facing the country and the world. Is Bush really so evil? We "risk some pre-emptive activity"? What would that be? Never give specifics...just hint at something. Get a life.

(Report Comment)

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