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by William Hughes
Thursday, Jan. 11, 2007 at 6:43 AM
Daniel Ellsberg of “Pentagon Papers” fame was one of the riveting speakers at an event at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., held on Jan. 4, 2007. It was sponsored by the World Can’t Wait organization. Ellsberg said that President George W. Bush and V.P. Dick Cheney have to go. He labeled Bush “dangerous!” He urged activists to push for a two pronged Congressional strategy: First, to cut off all funding for the Iraqi War; and, secondly, to investigate the serial crimes of the Bush-Cheney Gang.
daniel_ellsberg.jpg, image/jpeg, 483x426
“Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.” - Eugene V. Debs
Washington, D.C. - On Jan. 4, 2007, at the National Press Club, the World Can’t Wait organization put on a first rate program, entitled, “Voices for Impeachment.” (1) It featured speakers, like: “Peace Mom” Cindy Sheehan, pundit John Nichols of “The Nation,” activist Sunsara Taylor from World Can’t Wait, Michael Ratner, Esq., of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the man who released the “Pentagon Papers”--Daniel Ellsberg. (2) Author Gore Vidal made an appearance, too, via a video hookup. Journalist David Swanson of Afterdowningstreet.org served as the moderator for the lively affair. (3) It was held before a capacity audience. In fact, another room had to be opened up to handle the overflow crowd.
Ellsberg said: “I think [President George W.] Bush and [V.P. Dick Cheney] Cheney have to go for a number of reasons. One of them is that, frankly, if there is...another 9/11, while they are in power, then I think you will not distinguish this country very much from the police state in Germany in the summer of 1933...We have to get them out. If we don’t try to impeach them, then we accept the legitimacy of the criminal moves that they have already made...Cheney is Bush’s insurance, just as [Spiro T.] Agnew was [President Richard M.] Nixon’s [during Watergate, in 1973]. (4)
“While I was worried that after the next 9/11, that they would turn the National Security Agency (NSA) on us, it turns out they did that on September 12th, back in 2001. They have been doing it for five years, now! These other things--the torture is clearly illegal... it’s clearly criminal to be doing this...NSA wiretaps are already illegal...They did this totally against the law...You are accepting a man who thinks of himself right now as a dictator. If we don't’ tell him otherwise, through the Congress, and through the public in general, he is. And future presidents will be the same. We have to do whatever we can. We have to challenge [him] to get back some degree of a rule of law and of the Constitution.” (5)
When Swanson introduced Ellsberg, he said this of the celebrated anti-Vietnam War gadfly: “Much has been written and at least one movie has been made about his life. He has been with us opposing the current war. He has been arrested in Crawford, Texas, of all places. Ellsberg is the author of ‘Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.’ And, he has been calling on members of the Bush administration to do what he did and that is to release evidence.” (6)
With respect to anyone in the present federal government leaking information, Ellsberg shared this thought: “Don’t wait till the bombs are falling...Don’t wait till the war has started. Don’t wait until more thousands of people have died...go to Congress, go to the press, go to the public with the information that might avert that war and save countless lives.” Ellsberg praised Katherine Gun of the UK. She “immediately” leaked information regarding the Iraqi warmongering scheme of Tony Blair’s regime. (7) Blair is know as “Bush’s poodle” by many Brits. I won’t say what MP George Galloway, that splendid Celt, thinks of Blair, since this piece will end up on a number of family-oriented web sites. (8) Ellsberg also lauded Lt. Ehren Watada for his principled stand against the Iraqi War. (9)
Ellsberg continued: “We need right now to avoid an attack on Iran and the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. It must be said that congressmen are not to be faced with a ‘fait accompli’ with the rest of us on the day after. They have to be saying right now, ‘no!’ There should be hearings on it. But also, no funding for an attack on Iran...There were 150 votes on such a bill last year, more than I would have guessed. That has to be renewed.
“This 30,000 to 40,000 [troop surge in Iraq] thing...We should be saying right now, ‘absolutely not.’ Whatever we think should be done in Iraq, this [troop surge] is the wrong direction. This president after this election, [Nov. 7, 2006], in view also of the polls, in view of an non-delusional recognition of reality, the direction he is about to take is the wrong direction. And the only way to stop that and I think the public absolutely doesn’t want that...the only way to stop that...is to get him out of there. There must not be an expansion of this war of the kind that he is about to make... And we have to roll back the assault on our Constitution. Bush has to go, not because he is stupid. I don’t even know whether he is or not, but because ‘he is dangerous.’ And he has to be gotten out of there...The Iraqi War is unconstitutional and illegal...It’s a crime against the Peace.” (10)
Ellsberg said: “It is too late to avert the Iraqi War, but not too late to avert the next war...in Iran. That could be a matter of days, weeks, months.” He suspects that the “troop surge” ploy could be used to contain the insurgency in Iraq, while “Bush bombs Iran.” He praised Cindy Sheehan, and other activists, for protesting last year at the White House, with a specific issue of “Don’t Attack Iran.” (11) He called that a “well focused” demonstration and added that we need “more of that” kind of activism. He said that sending more troops now to Iraq and extending the service time of military members in that theater of war, is something that the public might get excited enough about to openly oppose. Ellsberg also sees evidence of a “crack in morale” in the U.S. military and “resistance over there” on the ground with the troops in Iraq to the insane Bush-Cheney policies. Like his hero, the unrepentant champion of Labor, the great Eugene V. Debs, who opposed WWI on legal and moral grounds, he added that he “would certainly sympathize and support any such move.” (12)
There is public speculation that Bush’s “troop surge” plan could mean that the Pentagon would have to repeal its present policy and send Army National Guard and reserve units on lengthy second tours. Julian E. Barnes of the LA Times, 01/09/07, wrote that under present policies a tour was “limited to 24 months of mobilization for the Iraq War...Such an order [a new policy] would be controversial with governors, who share authority over the Guard, and could heighten concern in Congress over the war and Bush’s plans for a troop increase.”
Ellsberg, drawing on the striking parallels between the Watergate/Nixon Impeachment crisis and today’s corrupt Bush-Cheney Gang, said that the way to get to impeachment is to put pressure on the Congress to simultaneously cut off the funds for the Iraqi War and to investigate the “criminality and recklessness of the White House...You get the investigations. The White House stonewalls...As in 1973, the President’s own party, the Republicans, can get their backs up...They [the Congress] press further and then they begin to talk impeachment for the first time, since the President is obstructing justice and obstructing their role. Meanwhile, you pick up votes for the cut off of funds.” (13)
Finally, Ellsberg charged: “Bush is saying, ‘I am above the law.’ He is claiming Monarchical powers. That doesn’t mean it goes back to [King] George III. Rescinding Habeas Corpus goes back to John I--that 700 years earlier! That is really rolling back civil liberties and democracy.” Ellsberg predicted that if the dynamic for change within the U.S. Congress, and also with the public, towards revealing and punishing the criminal antics of the Bush-Cheney Gang, takes place, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, will soon end up being for “impeachment, too.” (14)
3. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ and
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R807aqvcDro and http://www.youtube.com/my_playlists?p=2B623A1B52732F04
10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbOTRmqqHHw and
14. Compare Daniel Ellsberg’s arguments for impeachment, with the one put forth by Elizabeth Holtzman, Esq. See, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwiSyIbeYjI
© William Hughes 2007.
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (Amazon.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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