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Guest Viewpoint

Vermont Democrats and Progressives are seeking to overthrow a duly elected government in Washington. The resolution of impeachment that was considered in more than two dozen Vermont towns proposed the most far reaching removal of an elected government in American history. It proposed not only to remove the President, but also the Vice President, and thus turn over the executive branch to the opposing party and make Speaker Nancy Pelosi President of the United States. A resolution in the Vermont General Assembly sponsored by Vermont Democrats and Progressives proposes to remove from office only the President of the United States, leaving Richard Cheney as President. The allegations in the resolutions are general and unsupported by any evidence. However, there are impeachment Web sites which outline the specific factual bases for the general grounds for impeachment. I spent more than 15 hours researching the specific allegations outlined to support the impeachment resolutions in order to determine their accuracy, because I concluded that if Democrats and Progressives are seeking such a profound change without an election, the facts which are the basis for the proposals must be serious and well documented. The conclusion of my research: every single one of the facts upon which the resolutions are based is false and misleading. First, the impeachment documents claim that the President or Vice President lied in six specific instances about the magnitude of the threat from Iraq. Each one of those six claims is false. Second, the allegations that the President condoned torture are based on the claim in the impeachment documents that the President implemented a policy of extraordinary rendition in which detainees are sent to other countries where, according to the allegations, they can be tortured. However, that policy was initiated by the Clinton Administration in 1995 and likely known by members of the intelligence committees in Congress for over ten yearsand there is no talk of impeachment of any Congressman who knew about the policy. Indeed, the impeachment documents provide only one example of claimed extraordinary rendition by the Bush administration. In that example, Mahar Arar, the alleged victim of torture, himself states that he was sent back to his native Syria on the basis of information given to American authorities by Canadian law enforcement that he had links to Al Qaeda. A second claim that senior military officials condoned the abuses at Abu Ghraib has no factual support whatsoever. Indeed, the abuses were discovered and prosecuted by the military, and strongly condemned by the President. The claim that the President engaged in illegal wiretapping in violation of the FISA courts requirements is unsupported by any factual evidence. The FISA court has never sanctioned the President for any abuse of its rules, and has recently reached an agreement with the President about the Presidents wiretapping policies. Moreover, the FISA law provides for both criminal and civil remedies for illegal wiretapping. There has not been one civil case filed on behalf of any specific victim of alleged illegal wiretapping, and there have been no criminal prosecutions of violations by the Bush administration of the FISA law. Thus Vermont Democrats and Progressives are supporting a resolution to overturn a duly elect national government based on allegations that constitute a sham. Vermont Democrats and Progressives have constructed a mythology to support their hatred for their political opponent, President Bush, and are seeking to overturn the will of the electorate based on that mythology. They should all be held to account for this extraordinary assault on our democratic institutions Deborah T. Bucknam Deborah T. Bucknam is an attorney from St. Johnsbury, Vt. Note: Views expressed by the writers of the Sentinels Guest Viewpoint commentaries are not necessarily those of the newspapers management and staff. We welcome all reasonable rebuttals. Please include your name, address and telephone number.

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