Opinion » Editorial

The "I" Word

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When former President Bill Clinton, caught in lies about adultery, was impeached by a Republican-dominated House of Representatives in 1998, it was widely thought that the action would open the floodgates for the impeachment process.

It hasn't happened since, however, mainly because the Republicans shortly thereafter took over both houses of Congress and showed no appetite for looking askance at the misdeeds, real and imagined, of their own party's president, George W. Bush.

In this year of off-year elections, however, at a time when discontent with the president has risen measurably, even among Republicans and even in the red-state hinterland, and when, further, it seems possible that Democrats could take over both House and Senate, the idea is no longer so unthinkable.

Demonstrably, Bush has lied to the American people -- not about his private sex life, but about ongoing issues of life and death. It has long been known that the president prevaricated about his reasons for invading Iraq. That fact was further confirmed this week when The New York Times published details of a government memo that chronicled conversations between Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair. The memos make it clear that Bush and Blair did not expect to find the infamous "weapons of mass destruction" and that Bush at one point actually proposed manufacturing an incident -- painting U.N. colors on a dummy airplane and provoking Iraqi anti-aircraft fire -- in order to further his fraudulent case against Saddam Hussein.

Lying to the American public about a case for war is as egregious an offense as a president can commit. Tens of thousands of human beings have died. Thousands of families have been shattered. All for a lie.

Some Democrats have shied from Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold for advocating a congressional censure of Bush. The brave Senator Feingold was too kind. It is time for the "I" word itself to be considered.

Phone Home

We were disappointed Monday night by the Memphis school board's rejection of member Deni Hirsch's pilot proposal to try out tolerance of student cell-phone possession at three high schools (Cordova, Ridgeway, and White Station). The reason? Opponents said the schools were "unrepresentative" of the district (read: too white).

The board then reaffirmed the current blanket policy that prohibits student possession of cell phones on school property.

At that point, member Carl Johnson pointed out the obvious -- that trying to eliminate cell phones at schools is a futile effort to reverse the tide of technology, that no other innovation of the last few years dominates society as thoroughly as cell phones do, and that wisdom would dictate not prohibition but regulation of their use on school property.

Moreover, as Johnson said, echoing Hirsch, parents have spoken. They supply their children with cell phones for safety purposes, as a means of emergency communication.

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