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Kucinich Announces Cheney Impeachment, Citing Threats Against Iran; Dana Milbank Blows a Gasket

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On Tuesday, Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Vice-President Cheney. There are three articles: manipulation of intelligence to deceive Congress and the American people, fabricating a threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction prior to the invasion of Iraq; manipulation of intelligence to deceive Congress and the American people about an alleged relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda prior to the invasion of Iraq; and threatening aggression against Iran, in violation of the U.N. Charter and the U.S. Constitution. (Kucinich seems to be one of the few Members of Congress aware that threatening to attack other countries is a violation of the U.N. Charter, a treaty to which the U.S. is signatory.)

You can find the text of the impeachment articles and supporting documents here.

Writing in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank is predictably snarky, although the level of venom is breathtaking. We couldn't have published Mr. Milbank's piece in my high school newspaper. Unlike the Washington Post editors, apparently, our faculty advisor had standards for what you could print.

From Mr. Milbank's aggressive journalism, we learn that Kucinich is "perhaps 5 feet 6 inches tall in shoes" and that "he approached the microphones, which nearly reached his eye level." We also learn that Kucinich was undeterred by "wind that ruffled his text and the few strands of his hair that were insufficiently weighted by Brylcreem."

Feminists take note. It is not only women politicians who can expect to face irrelevant and inappropriate media commentary about their appearance. Apparently, as a male politician, if you oppose the imperial ambitions of the Washington pundit class too vigorously, you can be an honorary woman.

Despite pundit dismissals, Kucinich's introduction of impeachment articles against Cheney could have immense practical significance for efforts to oppose war with Iran and end the war in Iraq, even if the House never votes to impeach Cheney. News reports make clear that the Vice-President's office is the Dark Tower of planning and advocacy for aggressive war and human rights abuses in the Administration, a place where officials conspire to sabotage efforts of other Bush Administration officials to pursue serious diplomacy. A serious effort to impeach Cheney, even if ultimately unsuccessful, could discredit, delegitimize, isolate and preoccupy the Vice-President's office, limiting its potential for harm for the next year and a half, and strengthening the more adult forces in the Administration.

A recent and important example: on April 13 the Washington Post reported that the State Department wanted to release 5 Iranian officials captured in Iraq in January:

The Bush administration has decided to hold onto five Iranian Revolutionary Guard intelligence agents captured in Iraq, overruling a recommendation from the State Department to release them because they are no longer useful, according to U.S. officials.

The case is at the center of mounting tensions, the Post noted, and threatened efforts towards cooperation about Iraq:

The five, seized in a Jan. 11 raid by U.S. forces in the Kurdish city of Irbil in northern Iraq, are at the center of increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran. Iran has been indirectly ratcheting up pressure on the United States, its allies and even its own friends in the Iraqi government to win freedom for the group now known as the Irbil five.

Iran is threatening not to attend a pivotal meeting in Egypt next month of Iraq's neighbors - plus the United States and international groups involved in Iraq - that Washington hopes will increase regional cooperation to stabilize the country. Without Iran, which exerts great influence in Iraq, the meeting could end up having marginal impact, according to Iraqi officials and Middle East experts.

When the Iraqi government did not help obtain the release of the five detainees, Iran refused to allow a plane carrying Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to fly over Iranian territory en route to Japan last week. Some U.S. officials now say they believe the seizure of 15 British sailors and marines last month by Revolutionary Guard naval forces may have been at least in part an effort to heighten pressure on the United States through Britain, its close ally and the second-largest contributor of troops to coalition forces in Iraq.

Guess what happened to the State Department's recommendation?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went into the Tuesday meeting with a recommendation to free the men, but after a full review of the options she went along with the consensus, U.S. officials said. Vice President Cheney's office made the firmest case for continuing to hold the men.

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