Former Powell aide says Bush, Cheney guilty of 'high crimes'
A former top State Department aide to Colin Powell said today that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are more deserving of impeachment than was Bill Clinton.
Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, said on the public radio program On Point Thursday that "Bill Clinton's peccadilloes ... pale in significance" when compared to the "high crimes and misdemeanors" of Bush and Cheney.
Wilkerson did not directly call on Congress to begin impeachment hearings, and he brought up impeachment in response to a caller's question. Early in the show, however, he observed, "This administration doesn't know how to effect accountability, in my opinion."
Wilkerson's comments were first reported by pro-impeachment Web site AfterDowningStreet.org.
"The language in [the Constitution] about impeachment is nice and precise -– it's high crimes and misdemeanors," he said. "You compare Bill Clinton's peccadilloes for which he was impeached to George Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors or Dick Cheney's high crimes and misdemeanors, and I think they pale in significance."
Taking a historical view of impeachment, Wilkerson said he believed the Founding Fathers would be surprised that more presidents had not been impeached.
"I do believe that they would have thought had they been asked by you or whomever at the time of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia 'Do you think this will be exercised?' they would have said 'Of course it will, every generation they'll have to throw some bastard out.'"Wilkerson said. "That's a form of accountability too. It's ultimate accountability."
Asked about the high crimes of the current administration, Wilkerson said the American public was duped into supporting a war in Iraq.
"I think we went into this war for specious reasons," he said. "I think we went into this war not too much unlike the way we went into the Spanish American War with the Hearst press essentially goading the American people and the leadership into war. That was a different time in a different culture, in a different America. We're in a very different place today and I think we essentially got goaded into the war through some of the same means."