A resolution to impeach president George W. Bush was urged Sept. 13 on the Portland City Council and Mayor Tom Potter by Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie. Hastie is former vice president and active member of Portland's Veterans for Peace organization (Chapter 72).
He was among the five Portland residents scheduled for the opening 30- minute public-hearing portion of the council's Wednesday morning meeting. The Council has heard five speakers since May 10 requesting it draft such a resolution to join dozens of towns, cities and counties such as San Francisco. The resolution requires three votes for passage from the four commissioners and mayor. No action has been taken so far by the group.
Hastie's testimony cited the consequences of the Iraq war from parallels to the Vietnam war. The VfP's national position is that the Iraq war is illegal. In the allotted three minutes, he used experiences as a medic in Vietnam and statements by Iraq returnees to support his statements about the negative impact on the military in both conflicts in terms of tactical, physical, and mental results.
"The chaos is the same in Iraq," he said of the improbability of meeting the Bush goals for its pacification and instituting American-style democracy in a Middle Eastern country. He indicated that the resistance's rise and, now, civil war are the chief contributors to plummeting morale in the ranks reported by Iraq veterans attending the VfP's recent convention in Seattle.
Hastie's remarks got full attention of the council and the audience when he underpinned them with a display of his Vietnam-war photographs, including one of many helicopters that, after 1970, had "Why?" painted on their noses. Another key photograph illustrating the physical and mental impairments ahead for Iraq returnees was the zombie-like appearance of a heavily medicated Iraq veteran attending the Seattle convention.
"That's what you're going to see a lot of," Hastie warned, referring to the 20,113 wounded reported by the Pentagon in mid-September—and all others deployed to Iraq.
The national VfP's conventions have voted twice (May 2003, March 2005) for impeachment resolutions based on violations of the military portion of the Sixth Amendment. The 2003 resolution called for impeachment of Bush, vice president Dick Cheney, secretary of defense Don Rumsfeld, and attorney-general John Ashcroft. The 2005 named Bush, Cheney and "public officials under their authority and members of the U.S. military under their command."
Hastie and VfP member Brad Perkins will be meeting next week with commissioner Randy Leonard to provide further information on crafting an impeachment resolution for the city.