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G.W. Bush’s life after the election

Local Commentary . Politics

Posted: November 3, 2008 7:48 p.m.
Updated: January 5, 2009 5:00 a.m.

A funny thing happened on the way to Tuesday's election.

Both Democrats and (many) Republicans came to agree that George W. Bush's reign at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was the Katrina of U.S. presidencies.

Poor, outbound George.

Throughout his life, his name-saving father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, has always been there to bail him out and cover his losses, including drunk driving, avoiding military service in Vietnam and running businesses into the ground.

But this time, there is nothing that Patriarch Poppy can do to reverse his son's mistakes. He cannot cut a check or call in an overdue favor from some influential crony.

Nor can he mitigate the malignant mantle space George W. has created for himself along tomorrow's historical library shelves.

The damage is done. But wow, has he gotten paid for being such a failure. George W. Bush went into office looking at a $200,000-a-year salary.

Owing to an increase that became effective under his watch, that annual amount became $400,000 each year.

All that taxpayer money, and look what we got to show for it.

Oh, I know, there was monumental stress attached to those two terms - particularly for everyone under the "leadership" of George W. Bush.

With his White House departure, W. will receive a cozy federal pension, nearly $200,000 per year. He'll also score a generous transition allowance, with a paid-for furnished office, staff and supplies.

He'll receive paid-for local and long-distance telephone service.

Of course, he and Laura will also be entitled to Secret Service surveillance, top-notch medical/surgical care in military hospitals, and other "liberal" benefits that go with being a past president.

Not too shabby for a commander-in-chief sitting on a 22 percent approval rating.

These munificent retirement perks will be provided by the same taxpayers who watched in horror as Bush made a joke of the U.S. presidency and government transparency. And he did it all with the self-satisfaction of a smug 14-year old.

All of this leads me to wonder: Are there other Americans like me who don't feel like paying George W. Bush one damn cent? This was not "Mission Accomplished!"

In my world, such a plentiful retirement package should be reserved for those who have done the job right - at least for the most part.

Unless "severe dereliction of duty" has become a new judging criterion for commanders-in-chief, George W. Bush just hasn't cut the mustard.

There's been growing talk about impeaching him, and it's a concept that deserves louder dialogue. Although impeachment was avoided during this complex election year, it can be re-visited after Bush leaves office.

If impeachment could be carried out against a successful president who lied about having sexual relations with a White House intern, certainly we can do it to this president. After all, Bush, along with his VP and other conspiring Cabinet members, consciously and repeatedly violated their own nation.

In Congressman Dennis Kucinich's 2008-published book, "The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush," he includes a lengthy list of crimes/articles of impeachment.

A sampling of that list includes:
n Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for the war against Iraq;

n Initiating a war against Iraq for control of that nation's natural resources;

n Falsely, systematically, and with criminal intent conflating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, with misrepresentation of Iraq as a security threat as part of fraudulent justification for a war of aggression;

n Misleading the American people and members of Congress to believe Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction;

n Illegally misspending funds to secretly begin a war of aggression;

n Invading Iraq in violation of the Requirements of HJRes114;

n Failing to provide troops with body armor and vehicle armor;

n Falsifying accounts of U.S. troop deaths and injuries for political purposes;

n Providing immunity from prosecution for criminal contractors in Iraq;

n Reckless misspending and waste of U.S. tax dollars in connection with Iraq and U.S. contractors;

n Use of torture against captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places, as a matter of official policy; imprisoning children;

n Misleading Congress and the American people about threats from Iran, and supporting terrorist organizations within Iran, with the goal of overthrowing the Iranian government;

n Creating secret laws; spying on American citizens without court-ordered warrants; directing telecommunications companies to create an illegal and unconstitutional database of the private telephone numbers and e-mails of American citizens;

n Exposure of classified information and obstruction of justice in the matter of clandestine CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson;

n Failure to plan for the predicted disaster of Hurricane Katrina, failure to respond to a civil emergency;

n Misleading Congress and the American people, systematically undermining efforts to address global climate change;

n Repeatedly ignored and failed to respond to high-level intelligence warnings of planned terrorist attacks in the U.S. prior to 9/11;

n Obstruction of the investigation into the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001;

If those transgressions don't constitute high crimes and misdemeanors, then what does?

No matter who gets elected today, we must look ahead to better times - and then see that positive transformation actually happen. Our morale and wallets won't sustain anything less.

We also need to take care of some old business while we're re-growing our nation from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on down.

That process includes impeachment.

Impeachment is not vindictive. It is an act of patriotism and justified reflection. Created by our forefathers, impeachment hearings ensure that where there has been a grave abuse of power, there is a thorough investigation and appropriate consequences paid.

To me, that's a far more deserving reimbursement for George W. Bush that the annual package now awaiting him.

Diana Sevanian is a Santa Clarita resident. Her column reflects her own opinions and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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