The fact that Cheney works stealthily behind George W. Bush not only makes his alliance dangerous to the president but also shields Cheney’s surreptitious maneuvers in usurping powers of the presidency. Hidden from the public view, Vice President Cheney has been pulling strings, shaping both domestic and foreign policies, influencing the Oval Office, and quietly controlling the White House and the obvious delusional President Bush.
Who's running the country?
President Bush claims that he’s the "Decider" but not without the menu of choices handpicked by Vice President Cheney as the "Director". On the domestic front, Cheney wields a dominant voice behind the scenes, as it has become more apparent with every passing year. He has held sway on taxes, spending and political spin on domestic policies without much notice in the public arena.
On the international front, Cheney wields an axe as he gets his way with foreign policy, homeland security, and broadening presidential authority. He pushed the nation to engage simultaneously in two illegal wars: Iraq War and ‘War on Terror’; supported torture, CIA renditions, international and domestic spying on ordinary citizens; and tarnished the American image abroad by expanding the US military industry complex and having Bush renege US pledges to international treaties.
Worse still, Cheney wields a wrecking ball to the Constitution as he broke numerous laws, jeopardizing our Founding Fathers’ creation of a foundation built on their dreams. As we now face a constitutional crisis, the nation is floundering in a tragic loss of identity, international respect and simple law and order. Evidently, the United States, under the helm of Bush and Cheney, has become a pariah nation.
It is Cheney’s office that oversees countless presidential signing statements that Bush has attached to laws passed by Congress. It didn’t matter to Bush for breaking the country’s laws and treaties, such as the War Powers Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), or Geneva Conventions. It mattered less for Cheney to comply with Presidential Records Act which requires him to preserve and protect presidential records. As expected, he has refused to comply with Executive Order 12958, adopted by Congress in 1995 to clarify the classification and protection of national security information.
In the latest challenge to the Constitution Cheney exerts he is exempt from the presidential orders because he is not an "entity within the executive branch." He further claims he is not an "agency" as set forth in the Executive Orders. On the contrary, Executive Order 12958 states that the term "Agency" means any "Executive agency," as defined in the statutory language found at 5 U.S.C. 105, and it includes "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information." Section 105 of Title 5 of the United States Code clearly points out that the term “Executive agency” means an “independent establishment” within the executive branch.
However, in his letter to the Judiciary Committee as a response to the congressional subpoena on documents related to President George W. Bush's domestic spying program, Cheney had his attorney, Shannen Coffin defend him by asserting that he does have "executive privilege" after all:
"While the Office of the Vice President reserves legal protections that apply in this matter, we look forward to working to meet the Committee's needs for information and on legislative matters to protect the Nation."
The Impeachment of 'Vice' Presidents
In the United States history, the message is unambiguous: vice presidents have shown a canny ability to split and destroy their own parties and become insignificant alter egos of the presidents. Furthermore, they tend to lose as presidential candidates or they become undistinguished presidents. Worse still, most of them have slipped into obscurity, buried in history books.
However, two vice presidents stand out in infamy – John Tyler and Andrew Johnson. They stepped into the presidency without being elected and both upset the Congress to warrant impeachment proceedings. John Tyler became the 10th President after William Henry Harrison, who served only 31 days as President, died of illness. President Tyler, being accused of abusing the veto power, was the first to receive and survive an impeachment resolution. In 1865, Andrew Johnson succeeded as the 17th President after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. President Johnson who was pro-slavery went against what Lincoln stood and fought for by allowing Confederate supporters return to power and to deprive former slaves of civil rights. In 1868, the United States House of Representatives issued eleven articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson. He became the first president impeached by the House but escaped Senate’s conviction – short of one vote of the 2/3 majority.
In another notorious case, Richard M. Nixon, who also served as Vice President to Dwight D. Eisenhower, became the 37th President. In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee produced three articles of impeachment against him. However, President Nixon, who was implicated in the Watergate scandal, resigned in 1974 before the full House could have a chance to vote on impeaching him.
In 1993, Bill Clinton, who never served as a vice president, became the 42nd President. In 1998, the House Judiciary Committee introduced four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton in connection with covering up a fling with a former White House intern. He was impeached by the House, but acquitted by the Senate.
Vice President Cheney Warrants Impeachment
In comparing the articles of impeachment of Vice President Cheney with those of previous presidents — Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon , and Bill Clinton — the misconduct and the criminal acts of the vice president have already appeared as severe consequences to the nation and the charges are much more serious than any of the previous presidential impeachment trials.
On April 24, 2007, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich filed Articles of Impeachment against sitting Vice President Richard Cheney alleging unconstitutional misconduct, high crimes and misdemeanors. So far, Congressman Kucinich has been joined by 14 others, bringing support for Impeachment to 15 House Democrats. If Cheney gets impeached, he will make history as the first vice president to be impeached.
To answer a journalist’s question: "Why solely impeach Mr. Cheney?" Kucinich responded as follows:
“Now, with respect to the president. I think that it's very important that we start with Mr. Cheney. Because if we were to start with the president and pursue articles of impeachment, Mr. Cheney would then become president."
Considering all the signs of enormous US military built-up in the Gulf and in Cheney’s own words on Iran that "all options are still on the table" and his recent push for war on Iran, it’s only rational to impeach Cheney first and Bush next. As for Bush, he could be removed either by impeachment or by invoking the 25th amendment for being the delusional self-crowned king.
In conclusion, President Bush and Vice President Cheney were elected by the law of the land; when they don’t obey the nation's laws — the only option is to remove them by those very laws of the land!
We owe it to our nation, to the world, and to humanity — Impeach Vice President Cheney Now!
(First published on UniOrb.com, July 23, 2007)