Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Impeach Obama

Upon taking office, President Obama recklessly escalated the war in Afghanistan, while refusing to be either open or consistent with the public as to the necessity for this war, or to his war aims, which changed from speech to speech, tracking polling data more than any moral or security barometer, all the while costing more lives.

Simultaneously, following the lead of his criminal predecessor, the President fecklessly expanded that war into Pakistan without allowing for any public debate on the matter.

Similarly unaccountable and irresponsible was the President’s decision to wage war in Yemen, Somalia, and across North Africa, a war which accompanies the expansion of a U.S. military presence on that continent, an expansion which, historical evidence suggests, will lead to the U.S. becoming an even more prominent target for military activity at home and abroad, thereby imperilling rather than protecting the public.

This President has given a full-throated endorsement of many of the terroristic methods associated with the wars waged by his predecessor, maintaining the torture prison at Guantanamo, permitting a set of revolving torture prisons in Afghanistan and Somalia to replace the more permanent institutions, and embracing murder as a viable legal alternative to detention.

The President has launched a spirited defence of jingoistic and counter-productive imperialistic American exceptionalism, sentiments which amount to warmongering. 

The President signed the National Defence Authorisation Act, which permitted the indefinite detention without trial of American citizens.

The President has demonstrated his willingness to use drones to murder people on the basis of how well their activity matches a profile, and presides over a weekly “kill list”, an ugly and unethical abuse of power given the lack of interest in capturing criminals, the civilian deaths which result from acting on such a list, and his willingness to murder American citizens.

The President argued that a war waged using drones—as in Libya, where the United States deployed enormous force to overthrow a government—is not a war at all, thereby setting a frightening precedent to allow the executive branch to dodge responsibility and wage war unchecked.  Given that many wars of the future will be waged in this manner, the President’s redefinition of war has made a significant contribution to enabling the abuse of power and ensuring that war will become an increasingly casual enterprise in which deaths on the “other” side carry little or no moral weight.

The President who promised to preside over the most “open and transparent” administration in history went to extraordinary lengths to hide his “murder memo” from the public, when in fact the release of such a memo was very clearly in the public interest.

The President (again, remember the “open and transparent” bit) has launched an extraordinarily vicious campaign to shut down whistleblowers, thereby closing down what has become the public’s primary window into the workings of the secretive national security apparatus.

The President’s Justice Department, as we have learned in the last few days in what has been for me the final straw, has also seized records from the Associated Press in what seems a violation of First Amendment freedoms.  This is particularly egregious given that the administration’s claim that leaks to the AP “put the American people at risk” is hogwash, notably because of AP’s deference in holding off with publication of the story in question pending administration approval. 

This latest abuse demonstrates the administration’s selective approach to justice.  The President has shamefully refused to prosecute major criminals for their involvement in obscene financial deals which helped to plunge our nation’s economy into a tailspin, and yet casually violates press freedoms in an effort to intimidate journalists and limit the public’s access to information.

There are undoubtedly plenty of Republicans who would like to see the President impeached, if for all the wrong reasons.  They will focus on Benghazi, where it is increasingly clear that their already razor-thin case is evaporating as new evidence suggests that someone, somewhere, doctored the White House e-mails to make them look incriminatory.  They will focus on the IRS investigations (on which the President had precisely zero impact and input, unlike Nixon’s personal targeting of his opponents in Watergate), which entirely correctly investigated a series of newly-formed, anti-tax organisations which might well be suspected of trying to get the most advantageous tax status they could, and which like any new wave of political-non-profits, should be investigated. 

I am equally certain that Democrats will close ranks around the President, fearful that standing up for any principles will affect their showing in 2014 and beyond.  All of this means that any proceedings will stall, and that this President, like his criminal predecessor, will not be subject to justice.

But if Bill Clinton could be impeached for misleading Congress about an affair, surely President Obama could be impeached for commissioning murder, seeking to aggrandise executive power in order to wage wars of aggression, stifling inquiry into the workings of his war of terror, and acting in a way that imperils public safety, violates the public trust, and is in clear contravention of the public interest.

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