Did you see me? I think you did. When you took the stage at Netroots Nation 2008 this morning, I was the DFH who held my pocket copy of the Constitution high for you to see. I held it there the entire time you were speaking. I thought that perhaps you needed a reminder of the oath you swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
For the past seven and a half years, our Constitution has been under fierce attack from domestic enemies. Just this month, the Fourth Amendment was eviscerated. Our founders blessed us with a system of government based on checks and balances with three co-equal branches of government. Today, we have a unitary executive and the Congress and the Courts are reduced to mere spectators as our country careens away from consent of the governed. In fact, the press reported that Congress “bowed” to President Bush when it passed the FISA Amendment Act.
The list of offenses is too long to repeat here, and I am sure that your office receives hundreds of communications daily reminding you of just how this government has gone wrong. What I want you to know from my protest is that I am especially appalled at the bipartisan effort to prevent holding anyone in the Bush Administration accountable for the many criminal offenses they have committed.
Those efforts started with you. Despite an overwhelming mandate to punish the Bush Administration for its crimes as evidenced in the 2006 Congressional elections, you, instead, chose to take impeachment off the table.
Now that we have additional, iron-clad evidence of systematic torture of prisoners, which the International Committee of the Red Cross termed “categorically torture”, there is now an even louder drumbeat from apologists to prevent accountability.
Even here, at Netroots Nation 2008, the apologists are out in force. Yesterday, Cass Sunstein, legal advisor to Senator Obama, after a long exposition of the legal morass facing the next President, told us that prosecutions create a cycle of criminalizing political behavior.
However, there is a huge difference between prosecutions undertaken because of a political agenda and prosecutions undertaken to uphold the rule of law. Also appearing yesterday was Governor Don Siegelman. During the question and answer session after his discussion with Sam Seder, I asked the Governor whether he felt, as a victim of a politically based prosecution, that the citizens of the United States could distinguish that from prosecutions to uphold the rule of law. He affirmed, very quickly and vehemently, that our citizens can indeed tell the difference.
Another interesting case is Congressman Bob Barr. Just yesterday, he joined the bipartisan effort known as Accountability Now (and Strange Bedfellows) to call for accountability for the crimes that have been committed in our name. Now we have a veteran of pursuing politically based prosecution of President Clinton calling for bipartisan enforcement of the Constitution. It should be noted that his position on upholding privacy rights is not a new position for his Presidential campaign, but comes from the traditional conservative position of respect for the Constitution and the rule of law.
As Speaker of the House, you have been the one person in the world best positioned to bring this lawlessness to an end. Multiple articles of impeachment have been introduced, and you have sent them to committee to die. Acting almost entirely on your own, it would be possible, even now, for you to see that these charges receive appropriate hearings and then proceed to a vote. Your failure to act in this way makes you an accomplice in these crimes against humanity. Check out the international law terms jus cogens and obligatio erga omnes. The heinous nature of these crimes, your awareness of them and your failure to take action make you equally guilty.
Recently, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court filed charges against Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan. Because you will not force Congress to hold this administration accountable, when Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo files his charges against US officials, I suspect the first three charged will be George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney and Nancy P.D. Pelosi.