by George Beres
(Swans - September 12, 2005) Two of Oregon's most prominent citizens, Jim Weaver and Frank Stahl, drew parallels between Richard Nixon and George Bush when they discussed impeachment at a public program in Eugene in June 2005. Weaver served in the US Congress for three terms (1975-87). Stahl has been the most eminent scientific figure at the University of Oregon, where his work places him on the cutting edge of cancer research.
"We're both in our mid-70s," said Weaver, "so we have clear memories of how Nixon's break-in of Democratic offices in the Watergate Hotel justified articles of impeachment against him. We believe the same action should be taken against President Bush for what I would describe as his 'break-in' of Iraq."
The program was sponsored by the Pacifica Forum of the University of Oregon. It followed the release of the Downing Street Memo of British intelligence, which described an agreement between Bush and England's Prime Minister Tony Blair to lie about existing information to justify their intent to invade Iraq.
"Impeachment of a president is one of the most serious steps our representative democracy can take," said Weaver. "Another is going to war. Both should be approached with utmost care, and on clearly stated grounds.
"That Bush and his cohorts vilify and trash anyone who dares speak against them and their policies is a blot on our democracy. But it is not an impeachable offense. When he intimidates the news media, that is not impeachable.
"His tax cuts for the wealthy, enabling a few families and corporations to dominate a benighted lower class, are not impeachable. Threatening the judiciary and packing the courts with right wing fanatics, dangerous and destructive as they may be, are not impeachable.
"His allowing desecration of our environment and his denial of global warming -- ignorant and arrogant as these policies are -- are not impeachable. If ignorance were a disqualification for high office, half the US Senate would be disbarred from membership.
"WHAT IS IMPEACHABLE?
"James Madison, a principle author of the Constitution, said violation of the public trust was impeachable. Evidence, both in clearly demonstrated fact and in such documents as the Downing St. Memo, is compelling. It shows Bush lied and lied again about reasons that drove us into the war in Iraq.
"That is a violation of the public trust involving the most important action a nation can take: war. It rises to the very highest level of impeachable grounds. Therefore, I urge all citizens of Oregon to make an urgent call for impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney, who also is guilty."
Prof. Stahl said he shares Weaver's views on impeachment because "imperial ambitions of the Bush Administration must be stopped." Also of concern to him was how the University of Oregon's scientific research is being dominated by military grants from the Pentagon.
"My research has led me to accept the view that what we face today is national collusion of a Military-Industrial-University Complex. Sadly, I now recognize my university is acting as a member of that Complex. The UO's actions that dismay me include lobbying Congress for an increase in Pentagon funding for 'tomorrow's warfighters,' and conducting research that promises to create soldiers unencumbered by normal human emotions.
"When the University Senate is back in session next school year, it must decide whether the University should continue to endorse an expanding military budget. However, we must act now by insisting on introduction of a Bill of Impeachment against George W. Bush."