Two of my college classmates, Ralph Lopez and Mark Konick, have set up a new web site, Yalies for the Impeachment of George Bush and Richard Cheney.
The site proclaims,
With great privilege comes great responsibility
If not us, who? If not now, when?
And those are indeed good questions.
Their full manifesto is reproduced below.
A call for the impeachment of a president is not one to be taken lightly. But when the foundations of constitutional government are in mortal danger, it is time to raise our full voices. Politicians will always be politicians and thus prone to peccadillo, but George Bush and Dick Cheney have so grievously violated their oaths of office to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” that the only remedy is impeachment. With respect to the Fourth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment, the oath has been clearly broken. The First Amendment is under attack, as peaceful, protected speech is increasingly subject to arrest and harassment.
Yale president Kingman Brewster taught us that from whom much has been given, much is expected. We knew not what form of courage would be called from us in repayment of our debt, as no generation does. The courage to risk opprobrium and contempt is sometimes as important as the courage to raise arms in national defense. Brewster showed moral courage by making Yale a meritocracy, incurring wrath from many quarters.
By manipulation of fear, faulty but seductive logic, and outright lies, this administration has steered our republic toward unaccountable tyranny, which our nation overthrew at its founding. No man is above the law. It falls to those of us who by our education are trained in rational inquiry and critical thinking to strip the mask of patriotism and sole possession of the truth from George Bush, and to foment the debate that so far has been avoided by our nation. Of course, most important is the participation of those who disagree. We welcome open debate. It is the lifeblood of democracy.
If not us, who? If not now, when? Not only is it possible for impeachment to succeed; it is vital. If George Bush and Dick Cheney are simply allowed to leave office, our level of tolerance for lawbreaking among our highest officials will have expanded by breathtaking orders of magnitude, and will become a permanent part of our political culture. The Law of the Land will be the law of the land no more.
Although other resolutions and articles of impeachment have been put forward by the public, the essential case for the impeachment of first Dick Cheney, then George Bush are:
-Violation of the oath of office to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution, specifically the Sixth Amendment right of American citizens, in criminal matters, to be told of the charges against them, to counsel, and a to speedy and public trial by a jury of their peers. The rights of foreign nationals may be debated, but the rights of Americans are not open to debate. They are stated clearly in the Constitution, and “enemy combatant” precedents obviously cannot apply to a vaguely defined “war on terror” intended to have an infinite horizon. Jose Padilla was detained and tortured for 4 1/2 years in violation of his rights, and the administration to this day claims the authority to do so to any American it accuses of terrorism.
-A corollary charge, seeking to overturn the Bill of Rights of the Constitution by the transparent device of claiming wartime powers which would last forever.
-Violation of the oath of office to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment right to freedom from search without a warrant, in the NSA warrantless surveillance scandal. The media assists the administration in twisting the issue to be whether or not the government can spy, when in fact the government has always been authorized to spy on anyone as long as it does so within the law, with a warrant obtained before or even after the fact. Referring to this, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean says Bush is the only president in history who has openly admitted an “impeachable offense.”
-Lying to Congress and the American people to draw the country into the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
-Giving secrets to the enemy in wartime by ordering the public identification of American intelligence agent Valerie Plame, which constitutes treason, because Plame was engaged in tracing weapons of mass destruction before they reached American shores.
Please support our efforts to force Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Richard Cheney immediately. Add your name, Yale class, and your own views on this blog register and discussion. History will judge us for what we did or did not do at this fork in the road of our republic. Let history judge us favorably.