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QotD: Impeach Bush

Question: Should Bush be impeached?

My Answer: Judi thinks so. With a little bit of persuasion, I might say yes, too. My hesitance to give an answer is only due to the fact that I've not followed politics much if at all since the last election.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

12 Responses to "QotD: Impeach Bush"

  1. I think extraordinary measures like this are best not used often. It was foolish of Clinton's enemies to have tried to bring him down. I think it would be bad for the US if this were to become a regular thing.

    I also think it would be a tactical blunder on the part of the Democratic Party if they allowed themselves to get railroaded into this: there really isn't much milage in the charges and it will do them little good.

    I came across an interesting quote recently: "The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans."

    I think that's largely true. This stuff is just not going to play with the average person. There were links between Saddam and international terrorism and it's going to get harder and harder to assert that there were not, as we find out more. Again, it seems safe to say, most Americans will have no problem with, for example, the idea of phone calls to US from suspected terrorists being monitored.

    The idea may please the base - or the wackier elements of it - but it's unlikely to impress the public at large, and it is their votes the parties must look to.

  2. I'm also undecided... after all he's only got two years left. The biggest thing that would make me say no is a simple thing: President Cheney. Phear.

  3. No way. Impeachment is for real violations of the law, not angry and jealous partisans. All the intelligence reports from Brittain, Russia, Egypt, and the United States said the same thing about pre-invasion Iraq: "There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." That is an undisputable fact. Democrats voted to head into Iraq with the same information guiding Bush.

    Bush went in there with the information he had and it turned out to be either a) misinformation or b) true, but Saddam moved the weapons into Iran before the USA came into town for a visit.

  4. Jeff, the calls for impeachment have nothing directly to do with the intelligence that led us into the Iraqi war. Rather, President Bush is accused of violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by authorizing the NSA to conduct wiretaps on American citizens without warrants.

    I haven't yet formed a complete opinion on the matter of impeachment. I think that impeachment is a drastic measure and would be harmful to the well-being of the country. However, we are clearly dealing with an administration that wishes to see how far it can push executive power. This attempt to strengthen the executive branch must be checked, but I'd like to think that there's a way to do it without impeachment hearings.

    Jeff, as for your statement that Democrats had the same Iraqi intelligence that guided Bush into war, there is evidence that the Bush administration hand-crafted the intelligence reports that were presented to congress in order to strip them of statements from both the state department and the intelligence agencies that strongly questioned the pro-war intelligence. The matter of Iraq really has nothing to do with the question that Erik put forward though, so we can save a debate on that for another day.

  5. If there's evidence that he has broken the law (FISA) then he ought to be impeached. Then Congress can do its job and determine whether or not the law has been broken. If he has broken the law, then he ought to be removed from office. That's for the Senate to decide.

  6. Jason,

    The president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force in matters related to national security. Bush has the authority to wiretap suspected terrorists. Many Americans have nothing to hide, but clearly some suspected terrorists do and thats why wiretapping is necessary.

    Bush hasn't authorized wiretapping of just any American... it is those who are likely to be involved in terrorist activities on American soil. I don't have a problem with that as the president has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force in matters related to national security.

    As for the topic we're saving for another day, I can't see how the seperate but unified opinion of several sovereign nations on the existance of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq can be misconstued.


  7. Wow Jeff, apparently you're not too familiar with the U.S. Constitution. Amendment IV states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." The President has a legal obligation to protect the citizens of the Unites States, but must do so within the framework of the constitution and the law. The Presidency has never been, and never should be, above the rule of law.

    Thankfully, there is a law that allows the President to authorize wiretaps on suspected terrorists: the FISA. The secret court created by the FISA has rarely turned presidential requests down. And, if the President needs to authorize a time-sensitive wiretap, he may do so as long as he applies for the warrant within 24 hours of initiating the wiretap. This seems like a pretty solid law, and I personally, as well as the majority of Americans, feel safer under it. The bottom line is that we have a President who broke the law, which is the very basis for an impeachment.

    As for your statement that the Bush administration "hasn't authorize wiretapping of just any American" but rather only "those who are likely involved in terrorist activities," I point you to this article in today's New York Times. In it, sources within the government state that evesdropping has been used so broadly that it has left the FBI with too much information to process. This hardly makes it sound like the NSA is only tapping those "likely to be involved in terrorist activities." From the article:

    More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, including some in the small circle who knew of the secret program and how it played out at the F.B.I., said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country they did not know of from other sources and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive."We'd chase a number, find it's a schoolteacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former F.B.I. official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."

    I have no problem with the President seeking to protect Americans, but he must do so within the framework of the laws that already exist. If he wishes to have more power, he must petition Congress to pass legislation granting that power. Our nation was built on a system of checks and balances for a reason. I would like to see them restored.

  8. Jeff,
    Bush hasn't authorized the wiretapping of any American *that we know of*. The issue at hand is that they are wiretapping people without getting a warrant. Wiretapping for purposes of national security is ok if you get a warrant and make yourself accountable. The problem is that they've scooted around the back of the legal process for this and as such have become completely inaccountable. This is brekaing the law and is a breech of the rights of American citizens.

    There's even a special court set up for these kinds of sensitive national security issues in which the proceedings can be kept under wraps so as to not compromise security.

  9. Actually, the administration has 72 hours after initiating a wiretap to tell the FISA court.

    Between 1979, when the FISA court was established, and 2002, the FISA court did not reject a single warrant application! In 2003, out of 1727 applications, the court rejected three and a half (the half was initially rejected and then approved in part and denied in part).

    Why did the Bush administration need to break the law? Why couldn't they get the law changed if they felt it needed to be? The administration says they were advised by congressional leaders after 9/11 that Congress would not pass their changes. What changes did they want to make that a Republican congress, following the largest attack on the American mainland in our history, wouldn't authorize?

    These are all troubling questions that need to be answered. At this point, Bush admits he broke the law and unless he can make the case that not only his intentions but his actions were necessary for purposes of national security, he should be impeached. However, given that what is likely the most favorable Congress in history to expanding the national security powers of the president balked at the changes the Bush administration wanted, I must believe there were some huge problems with those changes.

  10. I agree. If he knowingly broke the law, that's an impeachable offense.

    On the other hand, the Iraq intelligence seems like a case of drinking the Kool Aid. Not impeachable though.

  11. In response to the original question, I believe if there is evidence that the President broke the law, he should be impeached.

    Nathan, you may be interested in an article by former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle: Power We Didn't Grant.

    This is a much larger issue of principles. The President believes that the ends justify the means; however, I believe this country was founded on unalienable rights and government's purpose is to protect those rights, not to usurp.

  12. Jeff

    Many Americans have nothing to hide, but clearly some suspected terrorists do and thats why wiretapping is necessary.

    So you're essentially implying that anyone who opposes warrant-less fishing expedition wiretaps of citizens automatically has something to hide and therefore might even be a terrorist. I don't have any illegal activity to hide from anyone either, but at the same time I don't believe I - or any other citizen - should have to accept that I might become the subject of a tap without judicial review. If the administration can't articulate sufficient cause before FISA, then they have no business tapping anyone. Doing so without the court's approval is a breach of not only federal law but the U.S. Constitution. The President is not above the law. He is not an exception to the rule and is required to act within the boundaries of the law just like the rest of us lowly citizens. IMHO, if he decides to violate his oath and break the law, then he should have to face the consequences.