The bricks were so old and brown that Manhattan’s West Park Presbyterian Church looked about to crumble. Inside, a hand-lettered war protest sign hanging over a balcony was already yellow with age.
“Not By Might, Nor By Power,” read the sign, quoting a Bible verse, “But By My Spirit, Says The Lord.”
Next to the sign hung a huge banner that announced the day’s intent. It read: “Drive Out the Bush Regime!”
That was the call last weekend at a conference organized by 30 groups, from the Green Party to World Can’t Wait, that want to impeach George W. Bush for war crimes. Though the 75 people who showed up at Saturday’s opening session hardly filled the church’s pews, they came from as far away as Seattle to kick off a grassroots campaign to recall the president.
Days before, on Feb. 14, a state senator introduced a petition in Washington’s Legislature calling for an impeachment investigation — a measure that the conference participants in New York pointed out as an important effort.
“A war where there is no valid plea for self-defense is a war crime,” Liam Madden, a 22-year-old former Marine and veteran of Iraq, told conference attendees. But, “If [the president] says he won’t end the war on his watch, then we have little choice but to end his watch.”
Impeachment may not actually remove Bush from office, but that’s OK, Madden and others said. The point is to start an investigation that will show the world Americans don’t support the war in Iraq and won’t accept other White House policies that allow torture and wiretapping, restrict abortion and scientific research, and deny funding to feed and house children.
“People are starting to understand it’s a war on everybody,” said Brianna Herrera, 22, a Seattle attendee with New York-based World Can’t Wait, a group that advocates impeachment. “Being silent is being complicit,” she said. “We have to pressure [members of Congress] to let them know we’re still awake and we give a shit.”
When the Democrats took control of Congress last fall, however, new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said impeachment was off the table. Jonathan Tasini with Progressive Democrats for America said that means people will have to take to the streets (a march on the Pentagon is planned March17 to mark the Iraq War’s fourth anniversary) or get state lawmakers to take up the issue.
Tasini said legislatures in other states — including California, New Mexico, and Vermont — are currently considering bills similar to Washington’s. In SJM 8016, Sen. Eric Oemig (D-Kirkland) cites findings of a bipartisan Senate investigation led by Sen. John Rockefeller (D-West Virginia).
In the lead-up to the war, the bill quotes Rockefeller as saying,“‘The [Bush] Administration pursued a deceptive strategy of using intelligence reporting that… was uncorroborated, unreliable, and in critical instances, fabricated.’”
That’s just the beginning of the case, conference participants said. But if it isn’t made now, Bush’s policies could survive his presidency — something Maggie Lawless, another Seattle attendee, doesn’t want to see.
“Everything about the Bush regime is absolutely intolerable,” Lawless said. But, “It’s really going to be up to the people to create the conditions for Bush to be driven from power.”
By CYDNEY GILLIS, Staff Reporter
Writer Sunsara Taylor will speak in Seattle as part of the lecture tour Mission of a Generation: Stop the War, Drive Out the Bush Regime on Wed., Mar. 5, 6:30 p.m., at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall. For details, email [email protected].
For copy of actual issue, go to https://www.realchangenews.org/2007/02/21/feb-21-2007-entire-issue