A Hopeful 08: Impeachment And Climate Change
By Bill Henderson

09 January, 2008


"Our time for change has come."

"When Obama gave his speech after his win in Iowa, there was almost an audible click of history's gears meshing and its engines turning over and beginning to hum. At the very least, the moment crystallized a wide-scale national disgust with what has gone before. The era of two dynasties-of the Bushes and Clintons-seemed to be coming to a close." Jonathan Schell

At the dawn of a hopeful 08 new year, in a Washington Post guest op-ed, George McGovern has called for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney:

"Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard."

With George Bush already a crippled lame duck in his final year, a divided country and Congress, there is little possibility of impeachment proceedings even though Mr. McGovern and many others have presented a strong case that:

"The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

"All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. "

Doing nothing given the overwhelming evidence of criminality will further corrode respect for law, government, and the Constitution within the United States. The next presidency and Congress's ability to govern will be poisoned and impaired to some degree by the lingering stench of very serious criminality.

Americans in general greatly underestimate the damage done to the emerging multilateral framework by US action in Iraq. Multilateral organization is essential for maintaining peace, facilitating trade, and for solutions to global-scale problems like climate change, severe resource depletion (peak oil, water, food) and biodiversity loss.

The world doesn't view Iraq as just a mistake by a well intentioned cowboy president concerned for the safety of Americans, but as cynical, pre-meditated, self-interested aggression to control of the all important, oil producing Middle East. The continuing injustice in Iraq is in addition to a seemingly organized Bush Administration attack on all things Islamic and two terms of an imperial, unilateralist foreign policy, including the Bush Administration's rejection and subversion of Kyoto and every other attempt to organize an effective global GHG emission reduction agreement and strategy.

If you understand climate change as an emergency requiring urgent global solution that must practically begin and be led by the US, then this lingering question of untried criminality of an American government who thought it was above and openly flouted international law can't be ignored, can't be just forgotten in hope for the next, new administration.

Hopeful supporters of Barrack Obama think that he represents a real chance for needed change, at a key time when change is possible. Obama is the real deal - a candidate who has had to play the conventional political games yes, but only in order to be president of a re-united country capable of change. To his supporters Obama can be the leader of a government promising legislated solutions to building problems such as inequality, economic malaise, climate change and the end of cheap oil:

But in reality, without a cathartic event in 08, Obama will win the presidency to become the same old / same old president, ineffectual except perhaps as commander in chief. He may have de facto won the presidency today in New Hampshire, but even a landslide vote next November won't give him a mandate for systemic change, a mandate for the type of change needed in America but presently impossible.

Maybe the economy will tank (I mean really tank), or maybe a new scientific consensus on climate change danger will make the emergency THE ONLY campaign issue, or maybe, through a determined impeachment process, Americans will awaken to their fundamental predicament of consuming rapidly depleting global resources at 32 times the rate of the vast majority of humanity in developing countries requiring the neocon construction of Fortress America with it's 700 plus global military bases to ensure the continuing flow of resources.

Without such a catharsis Obama won't have the mandate or power to escape business as usual, won't even consider any policy or legislation that might negatively effect the economy by even a few percentage points - not even if it means that globally we give up all hope of staying below 450ppm. Without that mandate Obama won't be able to deliver any more change than Ms. Clinton or Mr. Edwards could or would, and instead his supporters and their fellow Americans will just witness same old / same old and the beginning of the campaign for that all-important second term.



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