"I personally am calling to impeach the president of the United States," an emphatic Glenn Beck said three weeks ago on his radio show. Beck's charge against Obama? The purported arming of al Qaeda–linked terrorists in Syria.
It's an idea that has been bouncing around right-wing blogs for awhile now. But since Beck began hyping the issue, it's been gaining traction in certain circles.
Now, Beck calling for Obama's impeachment isn't anything new. He did it during the IRS scandal. He did it over the Benghazi attack. He even did it after the Boston Marathon attacks. Over Syria, however, he went much further:
We know some of the arms are going to fall into the hands of al Qaeda. And how do we know that? Because the president just had to waive the law saying that we are going to arm known terrorists. If that's not an impeachable offense, for Lindsey Graham, for John McCain, for John Boehner, for the president of the United States, I don't know what an impeachable offense is.
We did not get into bed with Hitler to defeat Japan. We did not do it. It's the height of insanity. But I also believe it is impeachable. I believe it is treason. [via Politico]
Beck is talking about the Arms Export Control Act, part of which was waived so the U.S. government could send gas masks and other "nonlethal assistance" to Syrian rebels to protect themselves from a potential chemical weapons attack. The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is accused of using chemical weapons to kill more than 1,400 people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on August 21.
While the Arms Export Control Act cited by Beck pertains to nonlethal aid, the United States is shipping arms to Western-backed Syrian rebels, mainly the Free Syrian Army, a move that was first delayed by Congress over fears that those arms would end up in the hands of al Qaeda-linked groups like Al Nusra Front. The CIA is also training a small number of moderate rebels in the region in hopes of turning the tide in a civil war that has killed more than 115,000 people since it started in 2011.
This is how that looks in some corners of the right: The fact that the "United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists," said Michelle Bachmann in a radio interview over the weekend, is evidence that "we're in God's end times."
And it might indeed look like the end times when D.C.-area commuters hit the beltway on Friday. That's because protesters are organizing a three-day "Truckers Ride for the Constitution," during which truckers will circle I-495 "three-lanes deep" at 55 m.p.h., according to U.S. News & World Report, blocking what is already a crowded highway.
Protest organizers Earl Conlon and Zeeda Andrews say 3,000 trucks plan to show up to protest Obama, who they say is guilty of treason for sending arms to rebels in Syria. They are also going to demand "the arrest of everyone in government who has violated their oath of office," naming both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
If law enforcement officials refuse to arrest lawmakers like Pelosi, Conlon told U.S. News & World Report, "we will."
"What we want to do is go in nice and peaceful and keep it as peaceful as possible...but if they decide to get ugly with us, we're going to do what we have to do," Andrews said. "If all I get is one or two congressmen walked out of there in handcuffs, that will be a shot across the bow that will ripple across all branches of government."
We're pretty sure that would result in kidnapping charges, too.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- A trick for better lunch sandwiches
- The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue
- How Democrats might goad the GOP into shutting down the government
- How Hillary Clinton's 'smart power' turned Libya into a dumpster fire
Subscribe to the Week