Impeachment impractical? Don't tell Conyers

The Michigan Democrat and more than 160,000 other Americans want answers from the president.

By Tim Grieve

Published June 9, 2005 4:54PM (EDT)

We've said it before, and the constitutional experts are saying it now: Whatever the strength of the case for impeaching George W. Bush, it ain't gonna happen. But that doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen, and it doesn't mean that Democrats -- or any Americans, for that matter -- shouldn't be making the case.

So let's hear it, once again, for John Conyers. The gentleman from Michigan isn't calling for Bush's impeachment yet, but he's asking the right questions and vowing to go wherever the answers might lead. Last month, Conyers wrote a letter to Bush, asking him to answer the charges raised in the not-so-famous Downing Street memo. So far, more than 160,000 Americans have signed on to the letter. And so far, Bush hasn't responded.

In an interview with BuzzFlash today, Conyers describes the next steps: "Well, the next thing that needs to be done is that we need to talk with some of the people in London in the Prime Ministers top echelons of government and others around there in London about this whole subject matter," he says. "We need to not be pulling this off the Internet, reading it from newspaper reports. We need to do some face time with the people that are connected with it or know about it, or can add to our understanding of it. And then also inevitably were going to have to have hearings. There will need to be hearings in which this matter is talked about before the Judiciary Committee, and . . . we have witnesses of all persuasions to help shed some light on this. This is a critical part of the democratic process in a constitutional democracy."

The mainstream press has all but ignored the Downing Street memo, sometimes dismissing it as old news from a not-so-credible source. Conyers says that's not good enough: "You cant be silent about something thats from the British intelligence notes," he says. "You cant say we refuse to talk about it, or it has no credibility, when everybody that was involved in it, from what we can tell, are all perfectly silent and are acquiescing by their silence in the accuracy of whats being reported."

Between the blogs and his own investigation, Conyers seems confident that the truth -- about the memo, about the war and the lies that led up to it -- will eventually come out and sink in. "Things are going to turn, and we think that its a matter of such seriousness," Conyers tells BuzzFlash. "This is not just picking on the President or playing petty partisan politics. This is a matter of profound truth. Weve lost thousands of lives, and we stand to lose many more yet in a war that the President refuses to tell the Congress what his plans are for getting out of Iraq. He wouldnt tell us he was going into Iraq, and now he wont tell us how he plans to get out of Iraq. Somethings wrong here, and were going to get to the bottom of it no matter how much of our time and energy it takes."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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