Political Sanity of Sorts


A few months ago I accused the American voters (almost half of them anyway) of being indirectly responsible for the carnage in Iraq and the decline and precipitous fall of the United State’s prestige in the entire world. How could they? I asked myself. Now we can only thank our stars that a majority of the same voters have woken up (although it took two disastrous years), and have given the opposition Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress. Let’s see what has happened to bring this about.

The president and his neocon cronies launched a brutal war on a weak country for no reason. Oh, they said there was a reason, a good one – that the Iraqi dictator was behind the World Towers attack on September 11, 2001 and was preparing weapons of mass destruction to be used against the United States. This, we now know, was a lie. Stop! some will say. Is a lie a lie if when you said it you believed it? No, it was a mistake based on faulty intelligence. Sorry, I don’t buy that. The most one can do, being overly generous, is to say that they should have doubted their own premises because the intelligence information was dubious, skewed and contradictory. Even if that is so, it is no excuse. It is much more likely that 9/11 was another kind of excuse: to invade Iraq and take over its enormous oil reserves.

They must have realized that the 9/11 guilt and WMDs claims were at least shaky. But so what, if they turn out to be untrue the war will be over by then, for how could the Iraqi army hope to put up more than a token defense against American power? But there was complete ignorance about the Middle East in Washington’s halls of power. In April 2003, John Le Carré wrote: The U.S. Has Gone Mad. Sure, Le Carré is “only” a novelist, but certainly one of the most knowledgeable ones around. And he was right, for the U.S. had already forgotten Viet Nam, where a ragtag peasant guerrilla force, highly motivated, fought and defeated the most powerful, best armed country in the world. They had forgotten (or never knew) that both the British and Soviet empires had already retreated from the Middle East with their tails between their legs, leaving blood, gore and mutilation behind them. To go in again using the same tactics and hoping for victory? That is surely madness. But like the Romans before them, our bloated with ego political heroes, sitting in their plush, far-from-reality dens, decided to rule the world. And George W. Bush laid down the rules: “You’re either with us or against us.” And if certain ragtag religiously fanatical groups wanted to be on the “against us” side, well, “Bring ‘em on.” Stupidity, ignorance? Yes. Guilty of crimes against humanity? You bet. It’s not for nothing that the United States refuses to be bound by the International Court in The Hague, which exists for exactly the purpose of prosecuting crimes against humanity.

To date over 3,000 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq and many more thousands wounded. And Iraqis? Who knows, no one is counting, but it could be in the hundreds of thousands. But wait a minute: precision bombing is supposed to prevent innocent people, such as women and children, babies even, from being harmed. If anyone believed that (and some actually did) they must by now realize that it’s total bullshit. And American soldiers (sorry, “coalition” soldiers) when fired upon by an invisible enemy, have no choice but to shoot everything that moves. And please let us not forget Abu Ghraib

and the torture - Oh, the horror! - about which Susan Sontag wrote so elequently. But “stuff happens” in war. No big deal.

Now I should apologize to the American voters I suppose. But I won’t, not yet (although I was very happy at the outcome of the 2006 election). And I don’t think I should wait until 2009 when Bush, Cheney, Rice and the rest will be removed from the White House to do so. American voters still need to do more, they need to demand impeachment. The constitutional “crimes and misdemeanors” are there for all to see, the bodies and body parts live in memory. In a land of law the guilty should be punished, and these people should not only be removed from their positions of power, but also prosecuted for their crimes.

Ten Reasons to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney:

1. Violating the United Nations Charter by launching an illegal "War of Aggression" against Iraq without cause, using fraud to sell the war to Congress and the public, misusing government funds to begin bombing without Congressional authorization, and subjecting our military personnel to unnecessary harm, debilitating injuries, and deaths.

2. Violating U.S. and international law by authorizing the torture of thousands of captives, resulting in dozens of deaths, and keeping prisoners hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3. Violating the Constitution by arbitrarily detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans, without due process, without charge, and without access to counsel.

4. Violating the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.

5. Violating U.S. law and the Constitution through widespread wiretapping of the phone calls and emails of Americans without a warrant.

6. Violating the Constitution by using "signing statements" to defy hundreds of laws passed by Congress.

7. Violating U.S. and state law by obstructing honest elections in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

8. Violating U.S. law by using paid propaganda and disinformation, selectively and misleadingly leaking classified information, and exposing the identity of a covert CIA operative working on sensitive WMD proliferation for political retribution.

9. Subverting the Constitution and abusing Presidential power by asserting a "Unitary Executive Theory" giving unlimited powers to the President, by obstructing efforts by Congress and the Courts to review and restrict Presidential actions, and by promoting and signing legislation negating the Bill of Rights and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

10. Gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina, in ignoring urgent warnings of an Al Qaeda attack prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and in increasing air pollution causing global warming.

Then, on February 27, 1933, the Reichstag was set on fire, and the Nazis instantly accused the Communists of responsibility for the crime, claiming it was the first signal of a planned uprising that only the harshest measures could prevent or quash. The evidence for Communist culpability? A half-crazed Dutchman with some putative associations with Communists had been found in the burning building. Within hours, Hitlers's government convinced Hindenberg [the president] that the nation was in imminent danger and the latter dutifully signed emergency decrees, quickly formulated, that suspended all basic civil rights contained in the Constitution, allowing, for instance, the arrest of any "suspected" person, without indictment or right to legal council. These decrees provided the "legal" bais for all the terror and repression that was to follow."

From "Five Germanys I have Known" - by Fritz Stern

Sound familiar? I'm not insinuating that Bush and Chaney are Nazis or fascists. Some are saying they are, but I consider it a gross exaggeration - only...some of the things they have done and are doing go in the same direction and they must be stopped before it's too late. The congressional election in which they lost both Houses' majorities is an important step in the right direction, but it isn't enough. Impeachment, even criminal proceedings (whether they go to jail of not is immaterial), should be initiated in order to send a clear message that this can not happen again.

A few days ago, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the future Speaker of the House, called Bush “dangerous” and much more. Now, after lunching with him, she wants to cooperate for the good of the country. She also said that the Democrats will not withhold funds to continue the war, because that would put “our boys” in danger. They and the Iraqi population already are in danger, as is the world at large with such dangerous near-psychopaths holding unlimited means of death and destruction. You promised a lot, Nancy, now how about doing some of it. (Okay, I’m a traitor; so take me away.) 

Frank Thomas Smith