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Profile in Courage

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Last week Congressman Dennis Kucinich stunned the Bush administration by his successful attempt to read articles of impeachment on the House floor against Vice President Cheney for the numerous crimes he has committed against our great nation.

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Even though Speaker Pelosi and Majority leader Hoyer put the brakes on Kucinich's act of courage -- they did not shield his message from the American people. Furthermore, Kucinich was successful in getting HR 333 sent to the Judiciary Committee. Now we will have to wait and see what happens there -- I guess.

I suspect that the Democratic leadership in Congress is scared of what the ramifications might be in the 2008 elections if they were to impeach Bush or Cheney. It's politics at its worst but I can understand it, as disturbing as that sounds.

I was never one who advocated for impeachment because I never believed that the Democrats would have the courage to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their criminal actions.

However, what I can not understand is why impeachment was taken off the table by Speaker Pelosi. That sends a message directly to President Bush and Vice President Cheney to just run wild, continue your illegal war in Iraq, attack Iran, do your best to keep destroying our country, we won't stop you, we will just use it as political ammunition against your Republican allies running for election in 2008.

At the very least Democrats should make sure that Bush and Cheney know that they are on a very short leash and are being watched.

Without a serious threat of accountability Bush can just operate as if the Republican party controlled Congress because he knows the Democrats have already committed to giving him a free ride.

To be fair I have to give some credit to the Democrats controlling Congress. If the Republicans still held the majority President Bush would have already received every dollar for the war in Iraq in one shot with no strings attached, we would have probably attacked Iran by now, Alberto Gonzalez would still be the Attorney General, Karl Rove would still be in the White House, and Rummy would still be running the Pentagon.

So there has been substantial progress, but still not a whole lot of accountability.

Congressman Kucinich demonstrated last week that he is willing to fight fire with fire when it comes to dealing with Bush and Cheney like no other Democrat has done yet.

As an Iraq war veteran with 8 honorable years of military service I want to extend my deepest respect and gratitude to Congressman Kucinich for taking a real stand for what is right and for putting moral courage over politics.

When I served in the military I did not do so to be used by a President and Vice President who:

* Lied about WMDs to American people and the world community to invade Iraq
* Use fear mongering to scare the American people into supporting an illegal war
* Alter highly classified intelligence reports from the CIA to justify their false claims
* Condone the use of torture in secret prisons around the world
* Out undercover CIA operatives
* Are responsible for the deaths of 3,860 US troops because of their lies
* Are responsible for the countless and needless deaths of innocent Iraqi people
* Continue to lie about the current situation in Iraq - as if it is good
* Have broken our Army making our national security weaker
* Placed the financial burden of the war on future generations while giving more tax cuts to their rich friends who are so greedy and unwilling to give up that tax cut to help pay for a war they so ardently support
* Advocate for a total unshared sacrifice of the American people in this mess they inflicted upon us
* Would rather spend a trillion+ dollars on their delusions in Iraq while we have millions of Americans right here at home with no livelihood or health care.
* etc,etc,etc.

This is not the leadership I fought for as an American soldier. Bush and Cheney are a disgrace to all that is American. They have betrayed our troops, our people, and our country.They should be held accountable and Congressman Kucinich should forever hold his head up high for his efforts. He stood up for the wishes of the American people when other leaders of Congress lacked the courage to do so out of political fear.

I never thought I would ever see the day when a member of Congress would read articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. It actually inspired me to fight even harder for an end to the war in Iraq.

Thank you Congressman Kucinich and all of your cosponsors of H.R. 333 for standing strong for America and giving us some much needed hope. Actions speak louder than words and you have all led by example -- the best way to lead. I hope more members of Congress follow your leadership.

John Bruhns
Iraq Veteran

P.S. This is not an endorsement of Kucinich for president. This is simply me recognizing his courage to do what it right and my gratefulness for that. Also I have not left the Democratic Party. I am and have always been a Democrat. Right now I am just not satisfied with how Congress is operating. I have met Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid on many occasions. I know they want an end to the war in Iraq. But their past approach in dealing with President Bush has gotten us nowhere because of Bush's refusal to accept their authority as leaders in a co-equal branch of government. Our leaders must learn from those mistakes of the past. The time for reasoning and compromising with Bush regarding Iraq came, went, and is totally gone. It has been clearly demonstrated that Bush is too stubborn and petulant to recognize his complete failure as a President. It's now time for Congress to micromanage his agenda in Iraq and bring our troops home.