Conyers and the Impeachment Table

By David Swanson

Congressman John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has used the following rhetoric repeatedly in recent weeks:

“George Bush has the habit of firing military leaders who tells him the Iraq war is failing. But let me tell you something. He can’t fire you. He can’t fire us. But we can fire him! We can fire him!”

You can watch Conyers say those words to a crowd of 500,000 on January 27th in this video:

He said the same thing at an event a few days later, and went further, suggesting that he will favor impeachment if Bush attacks Iran. Here’s the audio:

Meanwhile, of all the endless lists of crimes and abuses committed by Bush and Cheney, Conyers is using his committee to “investigate” the two easiest ones to impeach on: the illegal spying that Bush has openly confessed to, and the dictatorial signing statements, which are readily available on the White House website. These issues do not require any investigating. They do require publicizing. And if Congress finds the collective nerve to move forward on them, they are the most likely to be carried through to a successful impeachment. They are the crimes in which Congress Members have been least complicit, for which the evidence is most apparently and simply indisputable, and prosecution of which least threatens powerful corporate interests.

Say what you want about Conyers, he’s not lacking in intelligence or wisdom. He’s lacking only in sufficient public pressure to move a group of brave Congress Members forward. Conyers won’t step out on his own. And a group of Members won’t ask him to lead unless there is a sufficient groundswell of support. But citizen activists should recognize that they are already having an impact. Public pressure is the only reason Conyers is giving the speeches he’s giving, and the only reason he’s committing to moving on impeachment if Bush attacks Iran. Conyers does not actually believe an attack on Iran would be any more impeachable an offense than was the attack on Iraq. After all, Conyers has published a lengthy report on the impeachable offenses involved in the attack on Iraq:

So, when Conyers goes on Democracy Now as he did on Friday or on any other radio show and claims that he opposes impeachment and that by “we can fire him” he means that we can elect someone new when Bush’s term runs out, it’s important to understand that you are listening to Conyers the wily partisan politician operating under Pelosi’s heel, not Conyers the patriotic prosecutor who recognizes better than anyone else the fatal wound that will be given to our republic if 2009 arrives with no one having been impeached.

Conyers should be thanked for the groundwork he’s laid, applauded for the stance he’s taken on Iran, and encouraged to step up and serve his country before a single bomb hits Iranian soil. And he should be asked to look very closely at the evidence against Vice President Cheney that has emerged in the Libby trial. This is evidence that Pelosi had not seen when she ordered impeachment “off the table.” And it is evidence against a different person from the one she said not to impeach.

Conyers can be reached at (202) 225-5126 or

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