The lunatics have taken over the asylum

After seeing the insanity unfold before his eyes, a visiting law professor felt compelled to say this:

“I am really astonished at the mood in this room,” commented one witness, George Mason University School of Law professor Jeremy Rabkin.

“The tone of these deliberations is slightly demented,” Rabkin said. “You should all remind yourselves that the rest of the country is not necessarily in this same bubble in which people think it is reasonable to describe the president as if he were Caligula.”

Where was he?  A netroots (or do I mean nutroots?) convention?  A Truthers’ gathering?  A San Francisco party?  A Berkeley tree sit-in?

Nope.  None of the above.

Our professor was sitting at House Judiciary Committee hearing, listening to Democratic Congresspeople and their friends vent their spleen at President Bush.  It wasn’t an impeachment — the Dems aren’t that stupid — but it was almost worse, because it had the trappings of a kangaroo court with the President being tried in absentia:

Leading the way was Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the former Democratic presidential candidate who has brought repeated impeachment resolutions on the House floor against Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Kucinich got a rock star welcome of whistles, hoots and clapping as he walked into the hearing room, holding hands with his wife, from hundreds of anti-war, anti-Bush people crammed into the room and lining the hallways outside. T-shirts reading “Arrest Bush” and “Veterans for Impeachment” illustrated the sentiments of many.

“The decision before us is whether to demand accountability for one of the gravest injustices imaginable,” Kucinich testified, avoiding use of the “I” word.

[snip]

“To the regret of many, this is not an impeachment hearing,” said committee chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., pointing out the less incendiary title of the event, “executive power and its constitutional limitations.”

Still, Conyers, a vocal opponent of Bush, noted that his panel had pursued many issues that Kucinich and others regard as impeachable offenses: manipulating intelligence about Iraq; misusing authority with regard to torture, detention and rendition; politicizing the Justice Department and retaliating against critics, as in the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

[snip]

“The rules of the House prevent me or any witness from utilizing familiar terms,” Kucinich said. “But we can put two and two together in our minds.”

Former Los Angeles County Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, known for his prosecution of Charles Manson in 1970, acknowledged that “I am forbidden from accusing him of a crime, or even any dishonorable conduct” under House rules. But he could still encourage people to read his book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., was less circumspect in asserting that Bush was “the worst president that our nation has ever suffered.”

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., concluded that “this is the most impeachable administration in the history of America because of the way that it has clearly violated the law.”

Unsurprisingly, the only sane words in this gravitas-free mad house that emanated from an actual elected figure were those voiced by a Republican:

“It seems that we are hosting an anger management class,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the committee’s senior Republican. “This hearing will not cause us to impeach the president; it will only serve to impeach Congress’s credibility.”

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Comments

  1. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    Back in my military days, there was a joke about the what difference might be between the Army and the Boy Scouts.

    The Boy Scouts, you see, had adult supervision.

  2. Ymarsakar says

    Another reason for Impeachment is because it gives the President an up or down vote, so the cowards can’t just sit on the sidelines and snip. This is related to what Don said before about how he prefered Impeachments to being a vote by the people.

    Such things will always cause Senators and Congressmen to manipulate things for their own fashions. Impeachment, by a vote of Congress, at least rewards people who have the courage to vote down or up for the President. It clears his name, in one fashion or another.

    Without impeachment or with impeachment by the popular vote, you will always have kangaroo courts going on in the background.

  3. BrianE says

    This is just the beginning, not the end of the war on G.W.
    If Obama is elected and democrats increase their margins in Congress, expect the treaty participating in the International Criminal Court to be ratified.
    This would allow international prosecutors to pursue investigations of Bush since

    ICC’s jurisdiction will only be triggered if the country of the accused is found to be “unwilling or unable” to prosecute

    The left will revel in this as much as impeachment. While it is unlikely Bush would ever stand trial, the left can enjoy the spectacle while the democrats can feign innocence.

  4. BrianE says

    As preposterous as it seems, I see a scenario where this could happen.
    It is my understanding that Bush withdrew the US from the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the permenant ICC, which Clinton signed, but never sent to the senate for ratification.
    In 2002, an amendment was passed in the Senate protecting American servicemen from prosecution under the ICC jurisdiction, but the amendment was deleted from the bill in conference.
    106 nations are participants in the treaty, including Afghanistan.
    With an Obama presidency, and a filibuster proof democratic senate– it would seem likely given Obama’s new pledge of international cooperation that he would submit the treaty for ratification.
    Democrats would likely pass something protecting American servicemen, but there is also a likelihood that international interpretation of the ICC mandate would supercede US law.
    Once the US is a participant, the only protection for a US president would be the ‘non-political’ judgement of the ICC court. That certainly doesn’t offer much solace.
    The UN Security council can defer any action by the ICC for a year, which is renewable, by a majority vote. It is possible that the security council could block any investigation.
    Probably the easiest “crime” for the ICC to investigate would be that of torture, which is why the left and MSM in this country have worked so hard to establish that we have ‘tortured’ enemy combatants.
    I’m sure no one on the left thinks an American president would stand trial for any crimes, but I’m also sure they would dance in the streets if an indictment against Bush were handed down.
    I know this sounds too surreal, but how surreal is a possible presidency of Barack Obama– the most unqualified person ever nominated to be president of the US?
    There is one additional factor which may work in President Bush’s favor. The court can only investigate crimes after a state becomes a participant in the treaty.
    I may be overly alarmist here, but attitudes in the US seem to be changing at a rapid pace to defer our sovereignty to World opinion.

  5. BrianE says

    A few days ago, I responded to this post with an off-hand comment that the BDS sufferers would love to see Bush investigated for war crimes and the democratic party and Obama would facilitate that by ratifying the Rome Statute.
    When I saw my comment show up on another blog, I decided to look into it a more and since have come to a different conclusion. Obama and the democrats are NOT as deranged as the left of their party.
    In fact, it is John McCain that has endorsed our participation in the ICC. Obama has reservations, according to this article by the Foreign Policy in Focus website.

    International Criminal Court

    The United States has made promoting and protecting human rights and the punishment for those individuals that abuse these rights a cornerstone of its foreign policy. Americans acknowledge the need to prosecute individuals who perpetrate the most heinous crimes anywhere in the world.
    At the end of the 20th century, one of the bloodiest in human history, the international community adopted a treaty creating the world’s first independent and permanent court to investigate and prosecute individuals accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – the International Criminal Court (ICC). This court will act only if national courts are destroyed or unable to handle the case, or are deliberately shielding the accused from justice.
    President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Treaty near the end of his term in office. Bush then reversed our nation’s policy in regards to the ICC.
    In January 2005, McCain came out in favor of the United States joining the court, when he said, “I want us in the ICC.” This comment came at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
    Since his “I want us in the ICC” comment, McCain has not repeated such a sweeping statement in regards to the United States joining the Court. In 2006, however, McCain did urge that the U.S. cooperate in support of the Court’s Darfur investigation. “U.S. and allied intelligence assets, including satellite technology, should be dedicated to record any atrocities that occur in Darfur so that future prosecutions can take place,” he said. “We should publicly remind Khartoum that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes in Darfur and that Sudanese leaders will be held personally accountable for attacks on civilians.”
    Obama said in his questionnaire that it’s “premature to commit” to signing the Rome treaty.
    “Now that it is operational, we are learning more and more about how the ICC functions. The Court has pursued charges only in cases of the most serious and systemic crimes and it is in America’s interests that these most heinous of criminals, like the perpetrators of the genocide in Darfur, are held accountable. These actions are a credit to the cause of justice and deserve full American support and cooperation. Yet the Court is still young, many questions remain unanswered about the ultimate scope of its activities, and it is premature to commit the U.S. to any course of action at this time.
    “The United States has more troops deployed overseas than any other nation and those forces are bearing a disproportionate share of the burden in the protecting Americans and preserving international security. Maximum protection for our servicemen and women should come with that increased exposure. Therefore, I will consult thoroughly with our military commanders and also examine the track record of the Court before reaching a decision on whether the U.S. should become a State Party to the ICC.”
    Obama’s former foreign policy advisor, Samantha Power said in an early March interview with The Irish Times that many things need to happen before Obama could think about signing the Rome Treaty.
    “Until we’ve closed Guantánamo, gotten out of Iraq responsibly, renounced torture and rendition, shown a different face for America, American membership of the ICC is going to make countries around the world think the ICC is a tool of American hegemony.
    “If Barack Obama ratified the ICC or announced his support for it on day one, two things would happen. One, it would have the chance of discrediting the ICC in the short term, and two, he would so strain his relations with the U.S. military that it would actually be very hard to recover. There’s a whole lot of internal diplomacy, internal conversations about sovereignty and so forth that have to be had before you can think about that.”

    Tigerhawk has a post about the ICC which reinforces the inherent political nature of any organization like this. “Politics and the International Criminal Court”
    While I think it is true the leftist of the left would enjoy seeing Bush tortured in the court of world opinion, actual rational consideration may temper the democrat position on the ICC.
    It appears his reluctance to join may be driven by his support of the ICC (I’m against it so I can be for it), and because the military establishment may not like him, not because of the harm they might suffer.
    I still think it’s inevitable that Obama would support participation in the ICC.

    Participation in the ICC may have lasting repercussions for US foreign policy, whether or not it’s used as a game of ‘gotcha’ against Bush.

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