Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sins of the President

Five years of occupation, five years of war crimes
A message from Ramsey Clark on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion

1. The April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair magazine contains an investigative report entitled “The Gaza Bombshell” supported by “confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials,” which shows that after the Bush Administration pushed for Palestinian elections in January 2006, then, having failed to anticipate a Hamas victory, urged President Abbas to remove the fairly elected Hamas officials. Thereafter, President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an “action plan” to provide the means to develop an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan “to crush the inevitable resistance,” which failed, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and the violent consequences since with Hamas rockets striking Israel and Israeli assaults killing hundreds of Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. Congress was told only non-lethal aid as required by law, was being supplied to Fatah, while Secretary of State Rice raised cash to buy weapons for Fatah from which “at least 20 million of such lethal assistance got through.” The entire enterprise involved a conspiracy to commit impeachable offenses.

Far more dangerous than the Iran-Contra escapade of the Reagan Administration, in which Elliot Abrams himself was convicted, the Bush Administration has destroyed any chance for a united Palestine in the near future and peace in the Middle East. For his legacy Bush now hopes to impose a peace agreement between Israel and a Palestinian government without Hamas, both parties still reeling from the consequences of Bush’s planned violence. But a divided and traumatized Palestine is not capable of achieving a peace agreement that can win the support of the Palestinian people and secure peace. The U.S. has never denied the factual accuracy of this devastating report. Its only response was a self-righteous reiteration of US opposition to terrorism without addressing the statements in the story.

2. President Bush has vetoed Congressional legislation prohibiting torture by the CIA. Congress failed to override the veto by the required 60% of the voting members in the House, all in March 2008. This tells US intelligence agencies and military forces as well as the world at large that the US will continue its criminal practice of torture in violation of international and US law, a continuing impeachable offense.

3. President Bush is pressing the Government of Iraq, that his policies created, for a binding bilateral treaty recognizing a permanent US military presence in Iraq and a major share of oil exploration, development, production, distribution and control rights in Iraq for US oil companies. The new $700 million US Embassy in the heart of Baghdad will be the center of power in Iraq. Both are continuing impeachable offenses.

4. President Bush continues to threaten, among others, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and most of all Iran with the use of force, a violation of the U.N. Charter equal to the actual use of force. The threats are impeachable offenses. Considering his history, it would be naive and negligent to fail to act to prevent President Bush from further military aggression. Impeachment is the only sure way.

5. On March 11, 2008, the early retirement, effective March 31, 2008, of Admiral William J. Fallon, the commander of all US forces in the Middle East, was announced. Admiral Fallon replaced General John P. Abizaid only last year, with great fanfare from the Bush Administration. Admiral Fallon failed to meet their expectations. He emphasized diplomacy over force in dealing with Iran, supported additional troop withdrawals from Iraq and expressed the view that the US had not given sufficient attention to Afghanistan. Thomas P.M. Garnett, a respected military analyst, wrote a profile of Admiral Fallon for Esquire magazine earlier this year entitled “The Man Between War and Peace,” in which he quoted the Admiral as saying the “constant drumbeat of conflict” from the Bush Administration directed at Iran was neither helpful nor useful. The removal of Admiral Fallon to facilitate further aggression in Iraq and threats or assaults against Iran is an impeachable offense.

All of these activities of the Bush administration involve new impeachable offenses committed within the last few months. How many more impeachable acts will occur if we fail to achieve impeachment now?

Speaking before the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tennessee on March 11, 2008—the first of three speeches President Bush has planned on the subject of his war and terrorism in advance of the testimony of General Petreaus and Ambassador Crocker before Congress next month—he insisted, “The decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision early in my presidency” to a standing ovation. “It is the right decision at this point in my presidency, and it will forever be the right decision.”

Will President Bush tell the world when the decision “early in his presidency” was made to remove Saddam Hussein? Was it before or after September 11, 2001? January 1, 2003? Why did he claim his “Shock and Awe” aggression was necessary because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and connections with Al Qaeda and not mention his purpose was to remove Saddam Hussein when he ordered that aggression? Does he believe as the “Decider” he had authority to remove Heads of Foreign Governments of his choice?

In the speech to Religious Broadcasters, President Bush frequently spoke of his desire to spread freedom and democracy, arguing, “The effects of a free Iraq and a free Afghanistan will reach beyond the borders of those two countries... It will show others what’s possible." Does President Bush believe Iraq and Afghanistan are free and democratic? Does he believe any country in the world would want to trade its condition for the present condition of Iraq or Afghanistan? Does he know of a village that wants to be destroyed so it can be saved?

“And we undertake this work because we believe every human being bears the image of our Maker. That’s why we’re doing this,” he told the Religious Broadcasters. If President Bush believes every human being bears the image of our Maker, why does he send young Americans and spend trillions of dollars to destroy the image of human beings across whole nations? Why do his policies seek always to empower the rich and impoverish the poor?

Do not the poor also bear the image of our Maker?

On March 14, 2008, three days after the federal reserve offered the biggest investment banks on Wall Street $200 billion in cash loans in exchange for hard to sell mortgages, backed securities as collateral, resulting in jubilant bankers and the greatest one day rise in the Dow Jones average in five years, President Bush appeared before grateful bankers on Wall Street to assure them there will be no recession, that his tax cuts for the rich early in his presidency were right and his economic policies will forever be right.

The probability that President Bush will strike Iran with missiles before the end of his presidency is a high risk. Perhaps he will act in the fall to make military concerns dominate the November elections. Then will he say “The decision to prevent a madman from possessing nuclear bombs was the right decision late in my Presidency...and it will forever be the right decision”?

(To learn more, visit http://www.impeachbush.org)

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