For What Should Bush Be Investigated?
As I sorted through my old podcasts for when I was in Asia, I got to one with Bill Maher wherein he discussed the book The War Profiteers with its author Robert Greenwald. I began to think about the crimes of the administration, the incoming Democratic Congress, and what the latter should do about the former.
As the restless hordes will, a number of liberals are calling for Bush's head. I think impeachment is a self-destructive act politically, and may actually defang the Congress's real ability: to investigate the actual crimes of the administration. In politics, impeachment is just the denoument. The coup de grace is the investigation. Nixon didn't have to get impeached. DeLay had only to be indicted. A little light is death to both politicians and the acts they conduct.
(Okay, not uniformly so, as Iran-Contra demonstrates. But in any case, the investigation should be the first step, not impeachment.)
However, I think it's important to distinguish between crimes and sliminess. My suspicion--documented here and in Notes on the Atrocities--is that the White House committed a number of felonies. In some cases, we have evidence and even admissions (wiretaps, for example). There is a whole seperate class of political crimes--Rove and Bush were famous for abusing their office without overtly committing crimes. Sticking to the actual crimes, rather than getting bogged down on the he-said, she-said battle over these political crimes (arranging to have journalists paid to promote stories, say), is far more critical. We need to nail the White House for its biggest crimes, not only so that the world can finally know George W. Bush's true legacy, but to prevent future abuses.
Here's a few juicy places to start:
1. Lies in federal documents meant to deceive Congress--principally around budgets and tax cuts.
- Lies to Congress to justify the war
- War profiteering and the links between the bush white house, donors, and private contracts
- Secret Renditions
- Other legal issues
5. Doctoring science, both in promotional material and federal reports (birth control, global warming, abortion, other environmental issues)
These are extremely grave charges. The country and future generations are owed the result of an investigation into whether or to what extent they were illegal.