Yesterday, a 17-member delegation of Veterans For Peace presented some 23,000 petitions to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), demanding the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.  Conyers, chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, is the Member of Congress with the authority to call for impeachment hearings. 

Also Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to send the 35 Articles of Impeachment, submitted Monday evening by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to the Judiciary Committee for consideration and hearings.

At their meeting with Conyers, several of the VFP members, each carrying a bundle of petitions, placed them on a table in front of the 21-term Michigan Democrat, and stated why they were in favor of impeachment. 

Elliott Adams, VFP president, told Conyers, who is a Korean War veteran, emphasized "it's not just about impeaching a President, it's about defending democracy.  It is about whether we will continue to have a government of the people and for the people."

He warned against letting constitutional government slip into the dark waters of a unitary presidency, "...another name for a totalitarian state." 

After listening to the veterans, Conyers said he was not prepared to comment on the impeachment articles Kucinich introduced, but would examine them carefully.  He invited VFP members to meet with him again immediately after the Fourth of July recess to hear what he intended to do.

Later that afternoon, Congressman Kucinich met with the VFP delegation In a corridor off the floor of the House of Representatives.   Kucinich said that if the Judiciary Çommittee did not schedule hearings by the time the Independence Day break was over, he would "be back with 68 articles the next time, and more after that until they are heard."

Debbie Tolson, a Washington, D.C. area resident who attended the meeting with Conyers said, "The next time we meet with him we want to hear when he intends to move these articles of impeachment in his committee. I'm not planning on being as polite as we were today."

VFP's Impeachment Committee attempted unsuccessfully to get a meeting with Rep. Conyers for over two months.  They finally determined they would take the petitions to Washington on June 11, and sit in at the Chairman's office until they met with him or were arrested.  The morning of the group's news conference announcing their intentions, Conyers' appointment scheduler called one of the VFP committee members and scheduled a meeting for that afternoon.

Mike Ferner is the author of "Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq."  See highlights of the VFP news conference on June 11 here: