Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Did Bush Commit A Felony?

A friend of mine poses the question. To me, the short answer is, yeah, duh. But he raises some good points:

Did Bush Commit A Felony?

  • 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1505: ... Whoever corruptly ... influences, obstructs, or impedes ... the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress ... [s]hall be fined under this title, [or] imprisoned not more than 5 years ... or both.
  • 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1515(b): As used in section 1505, the term "corruptly" means acting with an improper purpose, personally or by influencing another, including ... withholding, [or] concealing ... information.

Well, I think so, but...

As a legal matter, of course, the argument of executive privilege is that they're not influencing anything, just keeping the world safe for democracy, literally, in that if the executive branch can't have frank discussions then they won't be able to adequately discuss all policy options, blah blah blah. They are not obstructing, they're merely preserving their right to have open policy debates without fear of penalty or judgment in hindsight (some call "judgment in hindsight" learning from your mistakes, but this is another matter). And of course they would argue the application of the adverb "corruptly" in that they debated in good faith and are protecting themselves in good faith.

Is it bullshit? Of course. Just like the commutation of Libby's sentence is bullshit (the man who executed a record number of people getting all a-twitter at the injustice of some poor undeserving soul spending a whole 30 months in the hoosegaw...). The issue is getting that charge of bullshit to do anything worth a goddamned while. Bullshit is like hearsay: you may trust the charge, but that doesn't make it admissible in a court of law (and impeachment proceedings are basically a court of law).

There was recently an impeachment kerfuffle between me and a group of friends (which includes the person who asked the felony question here) and I don't think I made this clear enough when I argued against impeachment in that discussion (or not really against, but lectured as to the infeasibility and impracticality of that procedure at this point in time): I yearn for impeachment. I long for Bush and Cheney to be paraded down the National Mall on rails, tarred and feathered. I especially long for Cheney to suffer some kind of justice for the wrongs, for the evils, that he's wrought upon the world.

The only problem is that the practical part of doing this is not yet there. It's getting close, God knows. Even after our e-mail uproar over this, there was yet more shit to come out about the horrific dishonesties, dissembling, disgusting mess of practices that these fuckers have brought about.

And it's not as if I didn't always think that the Bush Administration was doing this type of thing anyways. But it's like junkies in the Mission: I always knew they were there, but that doesn't mean I didn't come close to puking when I stumbled across some dudes shooting up in an alley and saw the needles and the blood streaking their arms and one guy digging at his crotch because his veins were so collapsed elsewhere that the only place he could shoot up was behind his scrotum.

And every day and week that passes, the hope of achieving justice, or at least throwing these fuckers out before they can do something desperate and terrible (more so than already, e.g. war with Iran), becomes slimmer because their time in office becomes slimmer. Remember, Clinton was impeached in '97, with well over three years left in office. The only gilding on this sow of an administration is that it's thankfully close to being writ in history as the worst administration in the history of the United States of America.

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