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Posted by H2O Man in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Oct 30th 2007, 12:58 PM
(Note to DUers: This is the first half of a paper on three of the grounds for impeaching VP Cheney. I will post the second half soon. Thanks, H2O Man)

Impeach Dick Cheney: Part 1

{A} Introduction

"The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury …."
--Article III, Section 2; US Constitution

In "The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill," author Ron Suskind tells of the Bush2 administration’s first National Security Council’s first meeting. On January 30, 2001, President Bush spoke about his plans to change the foreign policy of the United States in regard to the Middle East. (pages 70-72) "Getting Hussein was now the administration’s focus, that much was clear," Suskind quotes O’Neill as saying .(page 75)

The US war of occupation in Iraq has been based on the actions of numerous people within the Bush2 administration. This paper will focus on the role of one official in particular: Vice President Dick Cheney. The long political career of Dick Cheney is well known: he served in Washington as part of the Nixon and Ford administrations, and was closely connected to the Reagan and Bush1 administrations. It is interesting to note that Cheney had been opposed to occupying Iraq during the first Gulf War:

" ‘I was not an enthusiast about getting US forces and going into Iraq,’ Cheney later said. ‘We were there in the southern part of Iraq to the extent we needed to be there to defeat his forces and get him out of Kuwait, but the idea of going into Baghdad, for example, or trying to topple the regime wasn’t anything I was enthusiastic about. I felt there was a real danger here that you would get bogged down in a long drawn-out conflict, that this was a dangerous, difficult part of the world.’ Sounding like a determined foreign policy pragmatist, Cheney said that Americans needed to accept that ‘Saddam is just one more irratant, but there’s a long list of irratants in that part of the world.’ To actually invade Iraq, he said, ‘I don’t think would have been worth it’." (Fiasco; Thomas Ricks; pages 6-7.)

This paper will examine what changed Dick Cheney’s mind about invading Iraq between the first Gulf War and the first Bush2 NSC meeting, and then focuses on the role that VP Cheney played in selling the invasion and occupation of Iraq to congress and the American people. This will be done in a manner that explains three of the charges that VP Cheney should be impeached by congress.

In order to understand and fully appreciate the process of impeachment, people should read the 1974 House Judiciary Committee’s report on the Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment. On November 15, 1973, as a result of several resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Nixon had been introduced in the House of Representatives, the Speaker referred them to the Judiciary Committee for consideration, investigation, and a report.

The legal staff’s report takes a close look at the history and legal issues involved in impeachment. It is important to understand that the process of impeachment, in the House and then Senate, is a civil trial. The phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" is an archaic phrase that implies abuses of power. These abuses can be violations of criminal law. But it can also include abuses of power that are not violations of the criminal laws, much as the Joseph and Valerie Wilson civil suit attempted to hold Cheney et al responsible for abuses of power. In dismissing their case, Federal Judge Bates voiced his opinion that their suit raised important Constitutional questions, but that his court lacked jurisdiction.

The Congress of the United States has the needed jurisdiction to try VP Dick Cheney. He should face the consequences for abuses of power that include violations of 18 USC, Section 1001 and Section 371, which as noted in Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s September 15, 2005 letter to Patrick Fitzgerald, involve the false and fraudulent misrepresentation to the congress and the public the "immediate threat" that Iraq posed to the United States. More, as in Article 2 of the articles of impeachment to be brought against Richard Nixon, Vice President Cheney engaged in a campaign against Joseph Wilson on political grounds, in which he is guilty of gross abuses of the power of his office.

{B} Cheney’s Transition

"While I was meeting with Saddam, Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney was in Saudi Arabia showing the rulers of the kingdom satellite photos of the Iraqi troop deployment throughout Kuwait, close to its southern border with Saudi Arabia and not far from the fabulously lucrative eastern Saudi oil fields." – The Politics of Truth; Joseph Wilson; page 126.

In 1992, two Cheney aides, Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis Libby, prepared a document titled "Defense Planning Guidance," that called for an expanded US military presence around the world in the next century. It called for a "permanent US military presence on six continents to deter any ‘potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’." Though the plan was shelved then, it would be resurrected a decade later in an official Bush document, The National Security Strategy of the United States." (Where the Right Went Wrong; Patrick Buchanan; pages 42-44)

In the years following his role in the Bush1 administration, Dick Cheney would, among other things, serve as a "senior fellow" in the conservative American Enterprise Institute. (Hubris; David Corn & Michael Isikoff; page 51) He would also be aomong the signers of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) founding statement, along with Wolfowitz and Libby. (ibid; page 78)

PNAC would send a letter to President Clinton, urging him to attack Iraq to insure that Saddam did not acquire WMD, and to protect "the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil …."

Just as Paul O’Neill notes in The Price of Loyalty, the authors of Hubris make clear that the Bush administration is focused on "when," rather than "if," it will attack Iraq and remove Saddam from power. (page 11) Suskind notes that in mid-August of 2002, VP Cheney spoke to Iraqi dissidents in exile, and assured them that the United States was going to remove Saddam.

Although it is well-documented that the forces in the administration, led by Cheney, were advocating an attack on Iraq from well before September 11, 2001, that day’s events would be hijacked in the effort to convince the congress and public that Saddam posed a threat to our national security.

{C} The Office of the Vice President

"They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal – a small cluster of policy advisors and analysts ….who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, (producing) a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy towards Iraq. They relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. By the fall of 2002, the operation rivaled both the CIA and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the DIA, as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda."
--Chain of Command; Seymour Hersh; pages 207-208.

In his book Losing America, Senator Robert Byrd tells of how in the hours after the 9/11 attacks, VP Cheney instituted the "continuity of government" plans, which had been prepared during the Cold War, in case of a nuclear attack on the US. The "shadow government" combined executive branch officials and business leaders, and not only did not include either other branch of the federal government, but was placed beyond any congressional review.

In the summer of 2002, the OVP helped to institute two other new groups. The first was the White House Iraq Group, which consisted of officials who would coordinate the information provided to the public to sell the war in Iraq. Scooter Libby was among its members. The second group was the Office of Special Plans, an intelligence group that was run out of the Pentagon, but with cells in the State Department and other areas of the federal government. (A Pretext for War; James Bamford; pages 318-319) The OSP was also set-up to serve as VP Cheney’s "parallel national security office" and had no congressional oversight. (Wilson; pages 432-434)

VP Cheney was recognized as being in charge of the administration’s pre-war intelligence. (Plan of Attack; Bob Woodward; page 29) Cheney put Libby in charge of his " ‘shadow’ National Security Council." (Corn & Isikoff; page 5) In Fiasco, Thomas Ricks identifies Cheney, Libby, and Wolfowitz as being among the administration hawks who were intent upon attacking Iraq. (page 51) They engaged in activities that were geared only to support their pre-determined decision to identify information that justified attacking Iraq. In Chain of Command, Hersch describes the way that "intelligence" was stove-piped both from the OSP to the OVP, and thus to the Oval Office. (pages 207, 227-228)

Bob Woodward describes how David Kay, "one of the world’s foremost experts on nuclear weapons inspections," worked with US intelligence and the United Nations to attempt to evaluate possible Iraqi WMD programs. (State of Denial; page 213) Both Cheney and Libby would attempt to influence Kay’s work. He told Woodward that he was "astounded" by the vice president’s attempt to use raw intelligence to bolster his position. (page 238) Libby called Kay to tell him that Cheney wanted him to examine "intelligence" provided by Manucher Ghorbanifar, who was associated with Oliver North’s criminal activities in the Iran-contra scandal. Kay told Woodward that the Cheney-Libby efforts reminded him of the novel The Da Vinci Code. (pages 259-260)

In "Plan of Attack," Woodward had compared Cheney’s isolation to that of Howard Hughes. (page 419) He noted that despite opposition to his opinion, "Cheney thought it wouldn’t matter in the end. It would be noise to history as long as they were successful in what they were trying to do. Outcomes matter." (page 429) As former federal prosecutor Elizabeith de la Vega has noted, CEOs engaged in fraud are often confident that "everything will turn out okay in the end." It is not a legal defense to charges of fraud.
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