Helen Thomas: Democratic 'leaders' ENABLE Bush administration CRIMINAL ABUSES of US laws and international standards...
Robert Parry echoes that grim truth (bottom this post): "Bush SLAPS Democratic leaders in the face" yet again!
photo: Symbolic of Democratic cowardice, complicity, and corruption, to the immediate right of this photograph cowardly Democratic Senator John Kerry DOES NOTHING as campus police ARREST and haul off a student, for that student having the temerity to ask Senator Kerry why he NEVER STOOD UP FOR Black voters in 2004 DISENFRANCHISED by Republican criminal corruption in Ohio and other states (including Florida). (Note: in the video at the end of Kerry's droning 2 hour presentation to University of Florida students, the two campus police women start to ARREST UF STUDENT John Meyer at THIRTY FIVE SECONDS into his questions to Senator Kerry.... and Kerry does NOTHING as the police SWARM the student, haul him to the back of the classroom, handcuff him, and then TASER an American citizen for - ASKING A QUESTIONS about the massive, wholesale, ILLEGAL DISENFRANCHISEMENT TECHNIQUEST of at least four US national elections, from 2000 to 2006.
By TAKING IMPEACHMENT "off the table," Speaker NANCY PELOSI and her Democrats ENABLE BUSH administration LIES, CORRUPTION, CRIMINALITY.....
<< President Bush has NO BETTER FRIENDS than the SPINELESS Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy [and other administration gross abuses of power]. >>
The Democrats who enable Bush
By Helen Thomas
updated October 4, 2007
WASHINGTON -- President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.
Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.
Last week at a debate in Hanover, N.H., the leading Democratic presidential candidates sang from the same songbook: Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards refused to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013, at the end of the first term of their hypothetical presidencies. Can you believe it?
When the question was put to Clinton, she reverted to her usual cautious equivocation, saying: "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting."
Obama dodged, too: "I think it would be irresponsible" to say what he would do as president.
Edwards, on whom hopes were riding to show some independence, replied to the question: "I cannot make that commitment."
They have left the voters little choice with those answers.
Some supporters were outraged at the obfuscation by the Democratic front-runners.
On the other hand, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are more definitive in their calls for quick troop withdrawals.
But Biden wants to break up Iraq into three provinces along religious and ethnic lines. In other words, Balkanize Iraq.
To have major Democratic backing to stay the course in Iraq added up to good news for Bush.
Now comes a surprising Clinton fan.
President Bush told Bill Sammon -- Washington Examiner correspondent and author of a new book titled "The Evangelical President" -- that Clinton will beat Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination because she is a "formidable candidate" and better known.
Sammon says Bush revealed that he has been sending messages to Clinton to urge her to "maintain some political wiggle room in your campaign rhetoric about Iraq."
The author said Bush contends that whoever inherits the White House will be faced with a potential vacuum in Iraq and "will begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy."
Bush ought to know about campaign rhetoric. Remember how he ridiculed "nation building" in the 2000 presidential campaign? Now he claims he is trying to spread democracy throughout the Middle East.
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI IS ANOTEHR DEMOCRATIC LEADER who has EMPOWERED BSH's WAR.
Pelosi removed a provision from the most recent war-funding bill that would have required Bush to seek the permission of Congress before launching any attack on Iran. Her spokesman gave the lame excuse that she didn't like the wording of the provision. More likely, she bowed to political pressure [from the intensive AIPAC lobby].
Is it any wonder the Democrats are faring lower than the president in a Washington Post ABC approval poll? Bush came in at 33 percent and Congress at 29 percent.
Members of Congress seem to have forgotten their constitutional prerogative to declare war; World War II was the last time Congress formally declared war.
Presidents have found other ways to make end runs around the law, mainly by obtaining congressional authorization "to do whatever is necessary" in a crisis involving use of the military. That's the way we got into the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
So what are the leading Democratic White House hopefuls offering? It seems nothing but more war. So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraqi debacle?
Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2007 Hearst Newspapers. On Nov. 3 Thomas will be the guest speaker at the ACLU of Washington's Bill of Rights Celebration Dinner; for details, contact aclu-wa.org.
Why Not Impeachment?
By Robert Parry
October 5, 2007
The disclosure that the Bush administration secretly reestablished a policy of abusing “war on terror” detainees even as it assured Congress and the public that it had mended its ways again raises the question: Why are the Democrats keeping impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney “off the table”?
After the Democratic congressional victory last Nov. 7, Washington Democrats rejected calls for impeachment from rank-and-file Democrats and many other Americans, considering it an extreme step that would derail a bipartisan strategy of winning over Republicans to help bring the Iraq War to an end.
That thinking got a boost on Nov. 8, the day after the election, when President Bush announced the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the appointment of former CIA Director Robert Gates, who had been a member of the Iraq Study Group and was believed to represent the “realist” wing of the Republican Party.
One Democratic strategist called me that day with a celebratory assertion that “the neocons are dead” and rebuffed my warning that Gates had a troubling history of putting his career ahead of principle, that he was a classic apple-polisher to the powerful. [See the Consortiumnews.com’s Archive, “Who Is Bob Gates?”]
The Democrats also missed the fact that Rumsfeld submitted his resignation the day before the election – not the day after – along with a memo urging an “accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases” in Iraq from a high of 110, to 10 to 15 by April 2007, and to five by July 2007.
In other words, Rumsfeld’s ouster didn’t signal Bush’s new flexibility on ending the war, as the Democrats hoped, but a repudiation of Rumsfeld for going wobbly on Iraq.
Even when the Rumsfeld memo surfaced in early December, the Democrats ignored it, sticking to their wishful script that the Rumsfeld-Gates switch marked a recognition by Bush that it was time to begin extricating U.S. forces from Iraq.
Those rose-colored glasses got smudged badly when Bush instead announced in January that he was ordering an escalation, sending more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq.
But instead of responding with their own escalation – and putting impeachment back “on the table” – the Democrats opted for a strategy of wooing moderate Republicans to mild-mannered legislative protests.
As an opening shot in this Nerf-ball battle, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fired off a symbolic resolution to express disapproval of Bush’s “surge,” a meaningless gesture that Republicans kept bottled up for weeks making the Democrats look both feckless and inept.
The failed “anti-surge” resolution should have clued in the Democrats to what was in store. The congressional Republicans would keep dangling the prospect that a handful of moderate Republicans finally might abandon Bush’s war policy.
But, like the end of a rainbow that keeps receding as one pursues it, the promise of moderate Republicans switching sides could never be reached.
The final act of legislative disillusionment came on Sept. 19 when Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, reneged on a commitment to support a bill by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, to guarantee longer home leave for combat troops.
Warner said he reversed himself after he was lobbied by Defense Secretary Gates. “I endorsed it,” Warner said. “I intend now to cast a vote against it.”
With Warner’s help, Republicans blocked Webb’s amendment on a procedural vote that fell four votes short of the 60 needed.
Neoconservative pro-war Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, hailed the defeat of Webb’s proposal as proof “Congress will not intervene in the foreseeable future, … that Congress doesn’t have the votes to stop this [Bush] strategy of success from going forward.”
Soon, the Republicans were stampeding the Democrats into supporting condemnations of MoveOn.org for its “General Betray Us” ad and into urging Bush to adopt an even more belligerent posture against Iran by labeling its Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Hillary Prods Bush to Go After Iran.”]
Still, despite nearly a full year of futility in challenging Bush’s war – as public approval of the Democratic Congress sank to near record lows – the leadership kept the issue of impeachment off the table. It was as if national Democrats had concluded that the American people admired timidity and incompetence.
Now, President Bush has slapped the Democrats in the face again by misleading them on his continuing policy of allowing harsh interrogations (that many would call torture) of terror suspects. Bush apparently is confident that the Democrats will swallow whatever humiliation he serves up.
The New York Times revealed on Oct. 4 that the Bush administration only pretended to repudiate earlier legal opinions that Bush had the right to abuse and torture detainees. Secret memos from 2005, which reaffirmed that right, were kept from Congress.
“When the Justice Department publicly declared torture ‘abhorrent’ in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations,” the Times reported.
“But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.” [NYT, Oct. 4, 2007]
The Bush administration achieved its sleight of hand on torture policy by purging traditional conservative lawyers, such as former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith and former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who had resisted White House assertions of virtually unlimited powers for Bush as Commander in Chief.
In 2004, those lawyers – under Attorney General John Ashcroft – mounted a remarkable rebellion against the White House theories of an imperial presidency. Goldsmith and Comey objected to the legality of several anti-terror operations approved by Bush, including the memos permitting torture and warrantless wiretaps.
Their opposition to Bush’s program for warrantless spying on Americans led to a dramatic showdown when then-White House counsel Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card went to Ashcroft’s hospital room where he was recovering from surgery. They urged him to overrule Comey who had balked at reauthorizing the spying, but Ashcroft refused.
Soon, the dissident Justice Department lawyers were headed out the door. Ashcroft, Comey and Goldsmith all resigned and were replaced by more compliant lawyers, led by Bush’s longtime legal adviser Gonzales.
The Times reported that the memo reaffirming Bush’s broad authority over treatment of detainees was signed by Steven Bradbury, who followed Goldsmith as head of the elite Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office responsible for opinions relating to issues of presidential authority.
Unlike other lawyers in that sensitive job, Bradbury also has emerged as a vocal defender of Bush’s detention policies and wiretapping operations. In an interview with the Times, Bradbury said, “In my experience, the White House has not told me how an opinion should come out.”
However, the Times also reported that the White House kept Bradbury on a tight leash by delaying his formal appointment in hopes of avoiding another situation like the one with the independent-thinking Goldsmith.
Harriet Miers, who replaced Gonzales as White House counsel, “decided to watch Bradbury for a month or two. He was sort of on trial,” one Justice Department official told the Times.
After the Times’ article appeared, congressional Democrats – feeling misled again by the White House – demanded to see the confidential memos on interrogations. But Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri, ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the White House would resist turning over the memos.
At some point, the congressional Democrats may have to face up to the hard choice before them: either put impeachment of Bush and Cheney back “on the table” or accept that the United States has ceased being a constitutional Republic governed by the principle that no man is above the law.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
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