Impeach Cheney? What’s at stake if we don’t?

By Alan Kobrin

One thing everyone has to agree that this Administration certainly gets right: our national honor is at stake.

Our ability to to create and implement successful strategic policies that address urgent issues such as institutionalized violence and terror, nuclear proliferation, and global climate change is on the line. We are at risk of losing respect and goodwill. Much of this will be determined by how our nation deals with the difficult and dangerous situation in Iraq.

We will see the worst of this fallout, however, not because of seeking a rapid end to US troop involvement in Iraq. U.S. prestige, honor and credibility will be damaged for the foreseeable future if we do not hold accountable those people who used every artifice, true or not, legal or not, to get our nation into an unnecessary and illegal conflict no one wanted except a small circle of ideologues with illusions of grandeur and little concern for the lives of others.

At the center of this ideological operation sits Dick Cheney whose disdain for public participation in governance goes back decades when he and Donald Rumsfeld tried to deep-six the Freedom of Information Act during the Ford Administration. As he himself admits, he feels it is time to “work in the shadows.” His taste for an authoritarian “imperial presidency” that scuttles any real balance of powers dates from Nixon’s days.

When it is one day revealed through the use of that very Freedom of Information Act, it is likely we will see that he personally gathered such responsible and democratic stalwarts as Enron’s Ken Lay to lay out, in secret, what he euphemistically called a national energy policy–otherwise known as the War on Iraq.

Enough evidence already exists that at least some of those closed-door “energy policy sessions” had to do with maps of Iraqi oil fields and the doling out of oil concessions to various companies. Nice turn of American Ingenuity to resolve our problems without having to leave the lucrative hydrocarbon business behind. It just happened to involve someone else’s oil. No problem for Mr. Cheney.

Getting into the White House has its perks. Like moving with real soldiers around on a map, or writing no-bid contracts to friends.

Did we remind everyone yet of Cheney’s Halliburton background? Well, these things mentioned here alone should be enough to question not only Dick Cheney’s dedication to and passion for democracy, but also his, shall we say, cool and neutral examination of the circumstances in the Middle East that might require urgent military action because of perceived threats from the Saddam Hussein regime. I would say minimally that his judgment on the question at hand might have been clouded.

There is every reason to believe he was never straight forward with the American people about a real justification for war with Iraq. All announced threats were unproven innuendoes, pushed hard by the White House in spite of contrary information coming from onsite inspectors and our best intelligence. The climate of fear which resulted from 911 was steadily nourished by this Administration to get support for their planned invasion of Iraq. Rational thinking, any thorough investigation and openness were tossed into the trash heap.

Our nation’s security, contrary to Cheney’s assertions, has never been so compromised, as it is now, whether by creation of new enemies through preemptive use of force, the use of torture, the stretching thin of our military including the use of our National Guard abroad, or by the obscenely expensive and morally outrageous privatization of vital military services.

Yes, this nation faces a crisis of credibility and honor.

We will further erode an already badly battered image abroad, lose allies, escalate military confrontations, recruit anti-American forces, create a global distrust and distaste for American-styled “democracy”, and deal a terrible blow to the rule of law both here and abroad if we do NOT impeach Mr. Cheney for all that he has done to seriously and deeply damage this nation, its people and its Constitution because of his own hubris and narrow exploitative view of human life.

It is therefore in the highest interest of this nation to go forward with the articles of impeachment brought about by Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Impeach? Yes, of course. Anything less would make this Congress and the American people complicit in all that has gone on to damage the national fabric and our place in the world.

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