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Torture Is Over (if we want it)

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Chairman John Conyers' reasons not to impeach Bush or Cheney do not even include an assertion that they have not committed impeachable offenses or crimes.  How could they, when Conyers is selling a book listing many of Bush and Cheney's impeachable offenses and crimes?  Conyers' reasons do not include an assertion that he can end the ongoing crimes through some other approach.  And they do not include any claim that a successful impeachment wouldn't end the crimes effectively and deter their future commission.  Impeachment, in fact, could and would end, among much else, torture by U.S. public servants.

Conyers' reasons not to proceed are, in that context, laughable.  Here are the excuses he recently provided to Code Pink - New York activists:

"1. The majority does not want impeachment."  

This is nonsense.  Very few polls have been done, none of them recent.  Some of them have found a majority in favor.  That is unprecedented prior to impeachment proceedings even being initiated.  If they were initiated, a strong majority would back them.

"2. The corporate media."  

Anyone afraid of being called names by a**holes on television is not a serious statesman or even a strategic politician.  That Conyers so openly uses his fear of Fox News as an excuse to toss out our Constitution is outrageous.

"3. No time."

In fact, there are past impeachments that have taken literally one day.  And there is nothing else for Congress to do with the next several months anyway.

"4. No votes."

Nonsense.  Pelosi and gang have whipped the Democrats to vote as a block for things a majority of them claimed to oppose and will do so again next week for the war if we don't stop her.  And who's to say how many will dare oppose impeachment AFTER hearings are held on it?

"5. Election defeat."  

It is ludicrous to put a single election on the same level as preserving our democracy.  But once he's done so, Conyers gets it wrong on his own terms.  When he and others went after Nixon, they won big.  When they let Reagan go, with very similar excuses, they lost.  Forcing John McCain to discuss Bush and Cheney's impeachable offenses is the strongest move the Democrats could make.

Why bother?  Well, let me tell you.  Or, rather, let Congressman Dennis Kucinich tell you in the following three articles of impeachment, introduced along with 32 others on Monday evening:

Article XVII

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, violated United States and International Law and the US Constitution by illegally detaining indefinitely and without charge persons both US citizens and foreign captives.

In a statement on Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush declared that in the US fight against Al Qaeda, "none of the provisions of Geneva apply," thus rejecting the Geneva Conventions that protect captives in wars and other conflicts. By that time, the administration was already transporting captives from the war in Afghanistan, both alleged Al Qaeda members and supporters, and also Afghans accused of being fighters in the army of the Taliban government, to US-run prisons in Afghanistan and to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The round-up and detention without charge of Muslim non-citizens inside the US began almost immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with some being held as long as nine months. The US, on orders of the president, began  capturing and detaining without charge alleged terror suspects in other countries and detaining them abroad and at the US Naval base in Guantanamo.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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