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To The Editor:
Gaye Symington, in her opening statement regarding the impeachment bill, said she was voting against it. Although she believed that the Bush administration may be guilty of illegal wiretapping, torture and war, it is a waste of time, energy and money to pursue an impeachment investigation. Such an investigation, she said, would hinder efforts to move forward with health care, education and environmental issues.
Unless we are living in the moment, this argument is completely illogical. For the moment, the distraction of an impeachment investigation would no doubt sidetrack efforts and finances that could be spent on more concrete and centrist issues. But we have to consider the long term effects of the corruption and criminality which administration is very apparently guilty of.
What if, when the Enron scandal broke, the justice system decided that an investigation was a waste of time and money because the company was already bankrupt; people had already lost their livelihoods and savings, so let's just write it off and move on. Absurd, right? Not only did the executors of the Enron debacle need to be punished, a message needed to be sent to all corporations that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. If we let the Bush administration get away without answering the questions of why we invaded Iraq, why American citizens have been illegally spied upon, why torture has been condoned, we're sending a message to future administrations, and to the global community, that this type of misconduct is acceptable to Americans.
A congressional investigation isn't enough. If you or I committed a crime, we would pay the consequences. Our elected officials should not be above the law. They should be scrutinized more rigorously since they are in a position of authority. To Ms. Symington's point about actual impeachment being highly unlikely to occur, I remember the infancy of the Watergate investigation and how I thought that it would never accomplish anything; I was wrong. At minimum, Vermont could have sent a message to the world that Americans do believe in democratic principles, and do not condone torture and unnecessary war. It's wonderful that the Vermont Senate had the courage to start this process, but then we dropped the ball. I just hope it can be picked up again.