Thursday, December 22, 2005

Impeach the Toad!

On February 12th 1999, The U.S. Senate voted on whether or not President Clinton should be impeached. The result of this vote is well known. What great 'crimes' was Clinton accused of? There were two Articles. Article One claimed that Clinton had "...willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury" and that he had made "...corrupt efforts to influence the testimony of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence". Article Two alleged that Clinton "...has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice".
(See
http://www.eagleton.rutgers.edu/e-gov/
e-politicalarchive-Clintonimpeach.htm
for details)

All this played out on T.V. and in the papers to the delight of the Republican party. It also produced some classic moments, such as when Clinton remarked that the term 'is' could be subject to different interpretations. Oh how this made the talk radio show hosts howl! However, to a philosopher, Clinton's remark about 'is' actually showed some sophistication (those who are interested in the details should consult U.T. Place's classic paper "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?"). The semantics of 'is' notwithstanding, it is worth remembering what Clinton was accused of, when considering the situation with our current President, George W. Bush.

The recent admission that Bush approved spying upon U.S. citizens clearly '
obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice'. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), establishes a special court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) which oversees all cases of domestic spying on U.S. citizens. By authorizing such spying without applying to the court, the administration is in clear violation of this Act. Claims that this mechanism is not rapid enough to track terrrorists is manifestly bogus. The court can give approval retrospectively for up to 72 hours. By failing to bring these cases to the FISC, the administration manifestly both 'obstructed impeded the administration of justice'. In fact, Bush has admitted as much himself. On April 20th, 2004, in a speach made in Buffalo, New YorkBush himself said, "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires - a wiretap requires a court order." So, had it been Bush on trial, back in 1999, rather than Clinton, he should have been found guilty under Article Two, apparently by his own admission. There should not be double standards. As such, Bush should be also be subject to impeachment proceedings now. Assuming that partizan politics, bribes and the other usual tricks of politics do not get in the way of justice, then Bush should also be found guilty! This is clear.

However, it turns out that Article One of the Clinton proceedings would also be problematic for Bush. All the pre-war talk about Weapons of Mass Destruction clearly mislead the Senate, Congress and the entire country. This is surely much more serious than merely misleading a grand jury. It does not take too much imagination to see that Bush should be at the very least subject to impeachment hearings for this too. Of course, given the huge numbers of casualties on both the U.S. and Iraqi sides, there may also be grounds for criminal trials for wreckless endangerment of human lives. Indeed, if people were to think seriously and sensibly about International law, the Geneva convention and the likes, it would be justice to see Bush, Cheney and their associated cronies prosecuted for war crimes (remember all that torture) and crimes against humanity. If we added in the criminal negligence shown by the administration in the face of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, they could keep the court systems busy for many years. This is perhaps too much. I would be happy just to see Bush impeached. It would be, at the minimum, a form of justice comparable to that meeted out on Clinton.

Of course, the Republican party believes that there is one law for them (whatever they can get away with) and another law for all others. However, maybe there are a few brave lawyers, judges and legislators who will call these crooks to account for at least part of their legal 'legacy'.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah!!!

11:24 PM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

Hey Combat Philosopher, you can see that I am not even the first person to leave a comment on your blog! You do need a new post, though, it's already February 19.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

I impersonated you in a survey today.
Update this, add an entry, anything ... I threaten to delete you on the Ides of March!

9:25 PM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

I forgot to put the date on my last comment. So now I will - this applies
to that one and this: march 2. 13 days and counting...

9:27 PM  

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