This is the third part of a blog on actions of George W. Bush which should have led to impeachment. I first published this piece on November 6, 2007, sending it to the Peace Action network. What prompted the writing was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenging the listeners of talk show host Ed Schultz to find even one law that Bush had broken.
V. Grey Areas
1) According to United Press International, 300 Special Forces troops were introduced into Iraq shortly before the March 2003 invasion, where they joined Delta forces and CIA paramilitaries already in the country. Introduction of foreign troops into a sovereign state without an invitation is tantamount to an invasion and is thus against international law and the UN Charter.
2) The U.S. tried to blame the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan for the deplorable conditions at Shebanghan Prison: the finding of at least 15 Taliban captives, smothered to death near the prison; the suffocation of Taliban captives in airless shipping crates; and the finding of dead Taliban with feet or hands tied, meaning they had been killed after being captured. A good treatment of U.S. command responsibility in Afghanistan can be found in the December 12, 2002 memo to the Council on Foreign Relations, written by Holly J. Burkhalter for the Physicians for Human Rights. A special report on detainee mistreatment in Afghanistan can be found in a late August 2002 issue of Newsweek. Yet another good source is to google Special Forces in Afghanistan and link to “Vietnam Redux.”
3) According to the Winter 2002 report by the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Immigration Naturalization Service picked up 1,200 to 2,000 people from Arab, South Asian and Muslim backgrounds. The Justice Department was going to great lengths to keep the immigration proceedings secret. During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush had criticized the Clinton administration for conducting closed immigration hearings.
4) Questionable appropriation of funds:
a) General Tommy Franks used funds not appropriated for that purpose to plan the war on Iraq.
b) Money was secretly expended to individuals to promote Bush administration programs, such as the $240,000 supplied to a talk show host to promote No Child Left Behind.
c) A Pentagon-funded contractor in Iraq used servicemen to write puff pieces under the guise that they were articles written by Iraqi journalists.
5) Malfeasance fostering corruption:
a) According to Naomi Klein, an Iraqi reconstruction watchdog, not one additional auditor was provided in the initial appropriation of over $18 billion for Iraqi reconstruction.
b) A British auditing firm could not find a paper trail for about 20 percent of Iraqi oil money earmarked for reconstruction.
c) Testifying before the House Government Reform Committee on October 4, 2007, auditors for the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction said that the State Department does not know specifically what it received for most of the $1.2 billion in expenditures under its DynCorp contract for the Iraqi Police Training Program. The books were in “disarray.”
It is not the case that actions with very destructive outcomes always involve the breaking of specific laws. Operating a government in a very secretive way; having a reckless disregard for the checks and balances in government; and being heedless of the effect of your nation’s actions on international opinion, constitutes conduct worthy of severe censure, even if no laws are broken.
Speaker Pelosi, the listings of Bush administration wrongdoing or misconduct are illustrative of the iceberg in the ocean, as much more is hidden than is seen. Yet this limited treatment far exceeds your challenge to Ed Schultz that you be advised of one law that President Bush has broken.