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Kucinich Has a Chance to Make a Historic Move and to Stand Out as a Presidential Hopeful

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If Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is looking for a way to distinguish himself from the pack of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president in the 2008 election, he need look no further than impeachment.

While Kucinich can justifiably and proudly claim ownership of the anti-war position, having been there from the get-go, everyone else in the field has piled on—even Hillary Clinton—at least to the point that the average voter would have a hard time distinguishing their positions regarding the war in Iraq.

But calling for impeachment of the president is something else.

So far impeachment is a verboten word among Democrats in Congress, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the party leadership have made it clear that anyone who steps out of line and submits a bill of impeachment will be punished. The leadership has even gone so far as to attempt—with considerable success—to crush grassroots efforts to introduce impeachment resolutions in state legislatures (such pressure on key Democrats killed such a measure in New Mexico, and derailed another in the state of Washington, and is being used now to attempt to block a third effort in Vermont).

Pelosi’s unconscionable strong-arm tactics to keep impeachment “off the table” in the 110th Congress have even cowed House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI), who in the 109th Congress had been leading calls for an investigation into impeachable crimes by the administration, and had submitted bills calling for formation of a special committee to investigate such crimes. Since Pelosi began her campaign to protect the president from impeachment, Conyers has been silent on the issue, though his discomfort has been obvious.

Enter Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich, on March 15, after watching Democratic efforts to block Bush from going to war against Iran without Congressional approval get unceremoniously scrapped, announced that it looks like “impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran.” Warning that “the administration has been preparing for an aggressive war against Iran,” despite “no solid, direct evidence that Iran has the intention of attacking the United States or its allies,” Kucinich noted that under international law and US law it is illegal to initiate a war of aggression, and that it is also illegal to threaten a war of aggression against another state that does not pose an immediate threat.

It is now widely rumored that Kucinich is planning to act on his belief that Bush has committed crimes and that he may soon file a bill of impeachment in the House--a move that would certainly seem to follow logically from his latest statement.

If he does so, here’s hoping he will not limit his bill to just the president’s Iran war threats. As serious as that charge is, it is important that Congress initiate impeachment hearings into the many other crimes and abuses of power that this administration has engaged in over the course of the last six years.

In particular, Kucinich should call for impeachment hearings into Bush’s authorization of torture, his willful felonious violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, his evident involvement in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson and the obstruction of justice in the investigation of that incident, his willful abuse of power in invalidating over 1200 acts or portions of acts passed by the Congress through the misuse of so-called “signing statements,” his and his subordinates’ lies to Congress and the 9-11 Commission, his criminal negligence in the Katrina disaster and in failing to provide adequate armor for troops in Iraq and to plan for the Iraq occupation that would follow toppling of the Saddam regime, his lies leading up to the Iraq invasion, and his administration’s corruption of the nation’s electoral system, most recently evidenced in some of the politically-motivated firings of federal prosecutors. Kucinich should also include a call for an impeachment hearing into claims, made by investigative reporter Sy Hersh, that the administration used some of the “missing” Iraq reconstruction money to fund Al-Qaeda-linked groups to have them secretly attack targets in Iran.

The mountain of evidence of this administration’s crimes against the Constitution, the Republic, and the People of the United States has been growing by the month, and Speaker Pelosi’s and the DNC’s position—that it is better to simply run out the clock to 2008 and let the administration continue to mess up—is looking increasingly craven, calculating and unconscionable.

Kucinich has long shown himself to be that rare thing—a politician of conscience.

He now has the chance to prove it, by standing up to Pelosi and the do-nothing Democratic leadership. As Kucinich said in his statement on the floor of Congress, “This House cannot avoid its constitutionally authorized responsibility to restrain the abuse of Executive power.”

If Kucinich acts on those words and puts impeachment back on the House table, he will deserve to move to the head of the table in the Democratic presidential race.
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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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