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A Letter to A Congress Member
Dear Rep. Inslee,
I hosted a gathering in my home on Friday, June 8, 2007 concerning the impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. Approximately 20 persons attended including among them our Edmonds neighbors, local professionals and business owners, a scientist, a teacher, peace and justice activist leaders, a veteran, and a local high school student. Everyone in the room has supported your re-election and those of us who live in the 1st Congressional District voted for you in past elections. But the political tide in the room reflected a shift.
We watched an exceptionally well informed film of a lecture on impeachment by John Nichols, author of “The Genius of Impeachment.” After the talk, Linda Boyd, Director, Eastside Fellowship of Reconciliation and Director, Washington For Impeachment facilitated a circle discussion. We were very pleased that your aide, Patrick Hogan was able to screen the film with us, hear our deep concerns and convictions on this issue.
We discussed many of the impeachable offenses listed below committed by the President and Vice-President, any one of which could be grounds to impeach:
1. Launching an illegal war of aggression against Iraq in violation of the UN Charter. And, we are concerned that without Congressional limits the president threatens to do the same in Iran;
2. The president was declared a felon in federal court after Federal District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled last August that President Bush and the NSA were committing serial Class A felonies and violating both the First and Fourth Amendments by spying on Americans without first obtaining warrants;
3. Violation of U.S. and international law including the Geneva Conventions by authorizing the torture of captives;
4. There certainly is enough evidence to warrant impeachment proceedings against the Vice-President on grounds of treason for his highly suspect role in exposing the identity of a covert CIA operative;
5. Violating the U.S. Constitution by arbitrarily detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans without charge or access to counsel and corresponding due process;
6. The use of indiscriminate and especially injurious weapons (white phosphorus, MK-77 firebombs, depleted uranium, cluster munitions) in civilian populations violates international law including UN conventions on weapons used in war;
7. Through the use of signing statements the president has violated U.S. law by defying the intent of Congress and the will of the people.
8. We are most concerned overall that the president is subverting the Constitution and abusing executive power by asserting a “Unitary Executive Theory” giving exceptionally unlimited powers to the Executive Branch thereby obstructing efforts by Congress and the Courts to review and restrict Presidential actions.
It is the right and the responsibility of the people, through you our elected members of Congress, to hold the executive accountable. Many people in the room that night that felt that you would make yourself complicit in abetting the crimes outlined above by not signing on to impeachment legislation; that you would not even support initiation of open legal proceedings over executive control that clearly is eroding our democracy, if not the public confidence in our system of government. It is especially critical during times of war, of threats to national security, and when the electorate becomes disconnected from the election, that impeachment is necessary to restore the balance of power in government. If you wait until the next election we all agreed you would be abdicating your responsibilities to use the provision of impeachment for which it was provided and would further surrender our government to the hands of a criminal, incompetent and immoral elite that does not represent the will of the majority.
Newsweek magazine published a scientific poll last October showing that 51 percent of Americans favor impeachment (including 29 percent of Republicans!). The list of state Democratic Parties that have passed resolutions urging the impeachment of Bush and Cheney has recently grown to 15. Meanwhile, 11 state legislatures have introduced such resolutions, which have now been passed by at least 77 cities and towns and a growing list of labor unions and other organizations. And, soon we expect all of the LD’s in the 1st District will have voted to support impeachment.
At one point in our meeting, Patrick asked the group if the war was still our “Number 1” issue and the response from several in the room was a resounding “No!” For many of us, impeachment is now a first priority, in part as a means of terminating the war and occupation of Iraq which otherwise threatens to endure with no end in sight.
However, our call for impeachment is not about removing President Bush and Vice-President Cheney from office, but rather of preserving our Constitution, the balance of power in government, and ultimately the will of the people to govern protected by the rule of law. Throughout their correspondence and at the Constitutional Convention, our forefathers expressed deep concerns about corruption of elections and the elected. It was precisely for these times that they established the process of impeachment as essential for the rejuvenation of our democracy by removing a president or vice-president deemed incompetent or criminal.
While impeachment is most important to restore the confidence and balance of power in government for future administrations, Democrat or Republican, we also see it a necessary way to expose and check the abuse of power by this administration including the war of aggression and occupation that is killing Americans and other innocent people, as well as imprisoning and torturing people, endangering our economy and the environment, neglecting health, education and other needs at home and abroad, and eroding our civil liberties.
We concluded the evening by agreeing to ask you to cosponsor HR 333, Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. On June 13 I received a message from Linda Boyd indicating that Patrick told her you have concluded impeachment was “just not going to happen” because there would be "no positive effect" of initiating the process. We adamantly disagree. Just the process of open public debate through impeachment hearings will at least raise awareness in the body politic, and that is the only way we can attempt to rein in this executive abuse of power. What effect can your “do thing” approach gain?
On behalf of my guests who gathered in our home, we would like to confirm exactly what your position is on supporting HR 333. If Linda’s conversation was accurately portrayed, we are chagrined to hear that you would not take a position on such an important course of action to protect our democracy because you have concluded it is just not going to happen or that impeachment would have no positive effect even though our forefathers knew it was essential to the protection of our Republic in just this kind of abuse of power. You took an oath to defend our Constitution. You were elected by a devoted Democratic base to be our leader, not to act as a defeatist politician pandering to the powerful elite whose abuse of power needs to be in check.
Representative Inslee, do you believe that none of the violations and excesses by this President listed above is criminal or negligent that rises to the power of an impeachable offense? We would like your answer on this question.
While the group expressed appreciation for your position against funding the war, our cross-section of your democratic supporters voiced fervent support if you join Rep. Kucinich, Maxine Waters and your other congressional colleagues in co-sponsoring and actively supporting HR 333. Many of us felt that this would actually invigorate the majority of your base here in the 1st District.
On the other hand, the sentiment in the room by the end of the evening was that if Rep. Inslee does not step up to protect the Constitution and restore the checks and balances to our government against this tyrannical administration right now, then we would give our energy, our money, and our vote to other candidates in Washington’s 1st Congressional District.
Thank you in advance for your reply.
"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the
question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular?
But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time
when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor
popular- but one must take it simply because it is right." :
Martin Luther King Jr. 1929-1968
Kurt and Anne Kutay
(This letter was signed by others in the group. – LB)