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Lewis Lapham’s Case for Impeachment

Alas and alack, Lewis Lapham has resigned as editor of Harper’s, depriving readers of his monthly attempt to kindle outrage. But before he resigned this spring, he wrote his own Case for Impeachment, which is organized around Rep. John Conyers’ own 182-page report on George W. Bush’s misconduct surrounding the its military engagement in Iraq. An excerpt:

“We’re at war,” the President said on December 19, “we must protect America’s secrets.”

No, the country isn’t at war, and it’s not America’s secrets that the President seeks to protect. The country is threatened by freebooting terrorists unaligned with a foreign government or an enemy army; the secrets are those of the Bush Administration, chief among them its determination to replace a democratic republic with something more safely totalitarian. The fiction of permanent war allows it to seize, in the name of the national security, the instruments of tyranny.

The question posed to the assembly is whether enough people care, and, if so, how do they respond when, in the language of the Declaration of Independence, “a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.”

Although the abuses and usurpations are self-evident, obvious to anybody who takes me trouble to read me newspapers, me Bush Administration makes no attempt to conceal the Object evinced in me design of its purpose, because it counts on the romanticism as well as on the apathy of an American public reluctant to recognize the President of the United States as a felon. Who wants to believe such a thing, much less acknowledge it as a proven fact?

More people than dreamed of in the philosophy of Karl Rove or by the content providers to the major news media. The heavy volume of angry protest on the Internet, reflected in the polls indicating the President’s steady decline in the popular esteem, suggests that at least half of the American electorate, in the red states and the blue, knows that the Bush Administration operates without reference to the rule of law, also that the President believes himself somehow divinely ordained, accountable only to Jesus and the oil companies, at liberty to wave what he imagines to be the scepter of the Constitution in whatever ways he deems best. But in the news media they find no strong voice of dissent, in the Democratic Party no concerted effort to form a coherent opposition.

Which places the work of protecting the country’s freedoms where it should be placed — with the Congress…

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