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Impeachment

I hear and see a lot more these days about the prospect of impeaching George W. Bush. At first, it just seemed like a concept that a few nuts on the far left were pushing. I decided to take a closer look at the impeachment process.

Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states the following:
"The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
I don't think the President has committed treason or bribery. He may, however, be guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors", mainly because those terms leave much room for interpretation. This interpretation is left to the House of Representatives, and the Senate1. Of course, a Republican's and a Democrat's interpretation of a high crime or misdemeanor may vary.

There are accusations that the president lied and fabricated intelligence to justify the cause for the Iraq war. If either or both of those accusations are true, I would argue for impeachment, and ultimately, removal from office. As a citizen without intimate knowledge of how the Bush Administration arrived at the conclusion that invading Iraq was necessary, I can only make the following observations:
  1. George Bush and other officials told us on a number of occasions that Iraq posed a grave threat to us, and was planning to acquire, or had already acquired WMD's. We have not uncovered any of these weapons to date. The inability to locate these weapons suggests a lie, or incompetence.2
  2. Saddam Hussein had a weak military which was no match for our forces. I suspect he knew and learned this shortly after his invasion of Kuwait in 1990. I also believe that he knew it was not in his best interest to attack the U.S., if he wished to remain in power. This does not sound like a country that posed a grave threat to us.
If we discover that the president lied to us, I believe that impeachment is necessary. I don't like George W. Bush's policies, and I believe he has failed monumentally as a President, but I can't cry "Impeachment" until I see documented proof that he was untruthful with the citizens who elected him. I believe he may have lied, but I have nothing beyond hearsay to substantiate that belief.

1 Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states the the House of Representatives has sole power of impeachment. Section 3 states that the Senate has sole power to try impeachments.

2 If George Mason, one of the founding fathers present at the Constitutional convention in 1787 had gotten his way, incompetence may have ended up being grounds for impeachment. He suggested the term "maladministration" be added, as he felt the initial words "Treason" and "Bribery" were too limiting. Ultimately, "high crimes and misdemeanors" was chosen over "maladministration". You can read more about this here, under the Impeachable Offenses section.

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