Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | June 10, 2003

Is lying about WMDs an impeachable offense?

The question is rhetorical, of course. No one suggests that President Bush will really be impeached.

But it is a legit question, and it's especially surprising who is asking it: John Dean, Nixon's White House Counsel:

Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.

As I remarked in an earlier column, this Administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, it was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is all Bush's doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.

To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."

This is explosive stuff. And considering that the war's number one cheerleader -- Bill Kristol -- is now admitting Bush made "misstatements", it looks as though the whole WMD issue could very well be an albatross hung around Bush's 2004 re-election effort.

And, while some administration officials continue to insist the hunt for WMDs goes on, the truth on the ground is far different:

U.S. military units assigned to track down Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have run out of places to look and are getting time off or being assigned to other duties, even as pressure mounts on President Bush to explain why no banned arms have been found.
They've checked out every single suspected WMD site, and they were all empty.
Bush lied. People died.

Posted June 10, 2003 10:48 AM | Comments (225)


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