You are herecontent / Impeachment has to precede investigation
Impeachment has to precede investigation
By Carla Binion
Without impeachment there won't be serious investigation of Bush-Cheney's lawbreaking. Each day these two criminals remain in office, additional victims of their policies suffer and die.
The administration's war crimes and crimes against humanity -- their ongoing illegal war of aggression and torture policy -- can only be stopped with impeachment and the investigation that would follow.
The mainstream press fails to fully inform the American public. Folks who get their information via the Internet and other alternative sources are the only ones aware of the extent of the Bush-Cheney abuses and the need for impeachment.
The Bush administration's refusal to abide by the Geneva Conventions and comply with the International Criminal Court (ICC) set the stage for its war crimes and human rights violations. As independent journalist Dahr Jamail says in *Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney*:
"By refusing to join the ICC, the United States finds itself in the company of several other nonmember states with records of horrific human rights abuses such as Libya, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Sudan and Pakistan.
"As many as 192 states are signatories of the Geneva Conventions, including the U.S. -- although the U.S. is blatantly disregarding them with regards to Iraq."
According to the Geneva Conventions, civilian populations must be protected. However, Dahr Jamail and others have reported many attacks on Iraqi civilians. "In a home raid that produced no weapons," writes Jamail, "American soldiers detained fifty-seven-year-old Sadiq Zoman at his residence...More than a month later...U.S. soldiers dropped Zoman off, comatose, at a hospital in Tikrit...His body bore telltale signs of torture."
Those signs included electrical burns on the soles of his feet, whip marks and bruises across his back, point burns on his skin and more electrical burns on his genitalia. His wife said to Jamail, "Is it fair for any man's family to be made to suffer like this? Is it right that his daughters must see him like this? Our lives will never be the same again, no matter what happens."
Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention says, "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever."
Jamail recounts the story of Iraqi civilian Ali Abbas, who lived in Baghdad and was employed in civil administration. Friends asked Abbas to inquire at a nearby U.S. base about the inordinate number of their innocent neighbors being detained.
On Abbas' fourth visit to the base, he was also detained, and then sent to Abu Ghraib and held without charges for over three months. He was later released.
Abbas had a loaded gun held to his head "to prevent him from crying out in pain as his hand ties were tightened," according to Jamail. Abbas said, "My hands were enlarged because there was no blood because they cuffed them so tight. My head was covered with [a] sack, and they fastened my right hand to a pole with handcuffs. They made me stand on my toes to clip me to it."
He was beaten on his genitals and denied food and water. According to Jamail, a female soldier told Abbas, "Our aim is to put you in hell."
Jamail notes that an April 2005 Human Rights Watch report said: "Abu Ghraib was only the tip of the iceberg, it's now clear that abuse of detainees has happened all over -- from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay to a lot of third-country dungeons where the United States has sent prisoners. And probably quite a few places we don't even know about."
Former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, once in charge of Abu Ghraib, gave testimony in 2006, that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had issued a memo approving "harsher interrogation techniques" for use at Abu Ghraib. Karpinski said Rumsfeld handwrote in the memo's left margin: "Make sure this happens!"
Karpinski told the War Crimes Commission in 2006: "The Secretary of Defense would not have authorized [the harsh techniques] without the approval of the Vice President."
In another chapter of the above-referenced book, historian Jeremy Brecher; assistant dean at Yale College, Jill Cutler; and writer-attorney, Brendan Smith write that "war crimes are high crimes." They say Bush and Cheny should be investigated for "initiating a war of aggression, abusing noncombatants, and engaging in torture and prisoner abuse."
The president and vice president are required to obey the law, and, as these authors suggest, "The United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and other treaties ratified under the authority of the United States are the supreme law of the land."
Brecher, Cutler and Smith go on to say, "Today the Bush administration has subverted constitutional government from within. It has paralyzed the constraints that would limit executive authority...When asked at his Senate confirmation hearings whether he agreed that the President could simply refuse to obey a law he considered unconstitutional, President Bush's Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales assented."
Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh lamented that by that same logic, the President would also have "unfettered authority to license genocide." The Bush administration has granted itself the powers of a dictatorship -- a cruel, violent dictatorship, and Congress has sat back and allowed it to happen.
Every day Bush and Cheney remain in office, some new victim of their unlawful policies will face agony or death. There's a soldier or innocent civilian alive in Iraq today who will not be alive tomorrow, because of the Bush-Cheney policies. Whose son or daughter will this be? Whose father or mother?
When Congress fails to impeach, they implicitly give their blessing to this tragic situation. Impeachment has to precede genuine investigation. Ordinary citizens who care at all about the issue should keep up the effort to wake Congress as to the importance of such an investigation.