Friday, March 02, 2007

Salt Lake Mayor calls for Washington Legislature to support resolution to impeach President Bush

Salt Lake Mayor calls for Washington Legislature to support resolution to impeach President Bush
By Doug Smeath
Deseret Morning News

When President Clinton was impeached, it was a partisan exploitation of a law broken not at the expense of the nation but in a personal matter, Rocky Anderson says. When President Andrew Johnson was impeached, it was simply over policy disagreements.

But when it comes to President Bush, "Never before has there been such a compelling case for impeachment and removal from office of the president of the United States," the Salt Lake City mayor told a Washington state Senate committee today.

The mayor was invited to Olympia, Wash., by Sen. Eric Oemig, D-Kirkland, to testify in support of the first-term lawmaker's proposed resolution that would call on Congress to investigate possible impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

In his written testimony, Anderson wrote that impeachment "should be pursued when, as in the case of George W. Bush, a president misleads Congress and the American people in taking our nation to war; authorizes and supports the kidnapping, incarceration without charge and torture of human beings; demonstrates contempt for the rule of law and for specific laws passed by the United States Congress; and blatantly violates fundamental constitutional protections afforded citizens of the United States."

The 22-page written testimony, along with the text of Anderson's speeches today, can be read at

Also testifying in support of the resolution today was Ann Wright, a 29-year U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2001. A number of Washington residents spoke at a public hearing for the resolution, and all favored the impeachment effort.

Anderson's written testimony outlines a number of instances in which Anderson believes Bush and his administration misled the public in the run-up to the Iraq war, broke international law in invading Iraq, spied on American citizens through unconstitutional wiretapping and violated detainees' human rights by allowing them to be tortured.

"Impeachment and removal from office is the only appropriate remedy for a president who asserts such abusive, totalitarian power, in contravention of fundamental rights and liberties embodied in the U.S. Constitution," Anderson wrote. "It is the only means by which we can make it clear in the future that no president can so casually override our precious freedoms."

Oemig's resolution is one of a handful of similar statements that have been considered by state legislatures across the nation, including in California, Illinois, Minnesota and New Mexico. No state has passed such a resolution, although New Mexico's has passed through two committees.

The Washington resolution has missed a technical deadline — the cut-off date for legislation to be introduced to the floor of the full Senate was Wednesday. However, an exemption can be granted by a simple majority vote of the Senate, and an Oemig spokesman said the delay was intentional.

The idea, he said, was to allow debate on state issues to be carried out before the cut-off period and save the debate on national politics for later.

The Washington Legislature finishes its current session April 22. Oemig's proposal could come up for consideration any time before then.

Anderson's status as a national anti-war and anti-Bush figure continues to grow in the wake of two Salt Lake City anti-war rallies — one in August 2006, another in August 2005. Before he appeared before the legislative committee in Olympia, he spoke at an pro-impeachment rally at the state Capitol there.

He told his fellow protesters that Bush must be booted from office "to restore some modicum of decency and accountability for our nation and to protect our nation against those who would rule without regard to established law."

The rally, he said, was a gathering of "proud patriots" who "embrace the fundamental values underlying our Constitution so dearly."

Anderson's anti-Bush rhetoric has regularly stirred the ire of Utah Republicans, who condemned him as a bad host for protesting when Bush visited Salt Lake City the last two summers. And while they were largely quiet when he addressed an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., in January, state GOP chairwoman Enid Greene this week called Anderson's visit to Olympia "embarrassing on many, many levels."