RUTLAND, Vt. — Over the weekend, I traveled Vermont with three of the most remarkable defenders of democracy I have met in a long time: former Army Sgt. Drew Cameron, former Marine Cpl. Matt Howard and former Army Sgt. Adrienne Kinne.
We were on a mission: A mission to end an unjust and horrific war, and a mission to hold to account the men who launched that war.
What made the experience of appearing in close to a dozen communities with the local Iraq Veterans Against the War campaigners was not that these courageous young vets had chosen to speak so openly and so directly about the reasons why they favor ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq. IVAW members and supporters are speaking up all over this country, more boldly, more aggressively, every day, telling the fundamental truth that Drew Cameron, who served as a field artillery soldier in the 4th Infantry Division, spoke: “Democracy is not taught through the end of a gun.”
Rather, the experience was remarkable because these veterans had come to the same conclusion as that reached by a growing number of honest critics of the war: If we are determined to bring the troops home, we have to get serious about addressing the lawlessness of those who brought this war on and who now seek to expand it.
We do not do so by promoting “non-binding resolutions.”
We express our seriousness by sending a signal that the need to end this occupation of a foreign land is so pressing that we are prepared to speak of impeaching the men who promise to maintain their military misadventure for so long as they occupy the White House.
“If you want to support the troops, you need to support the Constitution,” explained Kinne, who served in the Army from 1994 to 2004 as an Arabic linguist in military intelligence, “And you need to recognize that if you support the Constitution, you must support impeachment.”
There are millions of Americans who would like to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney for the long list of high crimes and misdemeanors that have been associated with the names of these errant executives over the past six years. For instance, polls suggest that a majority of Americans favor impeachment if it is proven that the president lied to the America people about the reasons for going to war in Iraq.
But there are still those casual citizens who suggest that impeachment is a “distraction” from the important business of the day.
The Americans who established the power to impeach had just finished a revolution against a king named George. They fought that revolution on the premise, spelled out by a young Virginia farmer named Thomas Jefferson, that the people had the power to remove leaders who disregarded the rule of law and the mandates of morality. “A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people,” wrote Jefferson, who worried that the presidency would devolve into a circumstance where an occupant of the Oval Office would govern as a king for four years.