Impeachment may be the solution

President Bush is, quite reasonably, appealing to history to salvage his legacy since his prospects don’t look good in the short term. Despite current efforts to put the best possible face on conditions in Iraq, the news continues to be bad.

For example, last week, one day’s news reported the assassinations of two Iraqi governors, as well as the admission by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker that southern Iraq was plagued by “a lot of violence.” In northern Iraq, a truck bomber killed 45 people, and others died elsewhere.

The day also brought the news that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was playing the democracy card, rejecting criticism from the Bush administration that his government isn’t making sufficient progress on bridging the divisions between Sunnis and Shias — or between Shias and Shias, for that matter. His government also was reluctant to divide up the oil. Al-Maliki, just back from three days in Syria, said, “No one has the right to place timetables on the Iraq government. It was elected by its people.” A “gotcha” moment.

Finally, the day brought news of 14 American troops getting killed in a helicopter crash, bringing the total of American dead to 3,721. Another soldier was killed elsewhere. At least 15 families will get bad news.

So it wasn’t a good day in Iraq. But, all in all, it was a typical day, nothing particularly unusual.

Crocker insists that all of these problems are “fixable,” and undoubtedly the report that he and Army Gen. David Petraeus will deliver to Congress in a couple of weeks will be optimistic in the attempt to reinforce our resolve to face the difficulties of the so-called way forward.

But the word “failure” is probably too weak to describe accurately our situation in Iraq. After all, it’s possible to fail in the pursuit of a good cause, as well as succeed in a bad one. Iraq was a bad one from the beginning. Nevertheless, for a long time Bush insisted on “staying the course.” With Petraeus and the surge, we changed course. But I suspect that the only way out of Iraq is to admit we were wrong and reverse course.

This wouldn’t be easy; we’re not used to admitting we were wrong. But I predict a calming effect on the situation. To a large extent, the motivations, desires and needs that govern relations between human beings are the same as those that govern relations between nations. And nothing defuses antagonism like an admission of error on the part of the dominant party.

“Hearts and Minds,” the Oscar-winning 1974 documentary about Vietnam, depicts a woman-on-the-street who asks this question about that quagmire: Why can’t we just admit that we were wrong? That’s what we expect grownups to do when they make mistakes.

But how do we admit we were wrong? One way would be for the electorate to speak clearly with their ballots. They did so in November 2006, but, unfortunately, the election has had no impact on the course of the war so far.

Another way would be to impeach Bush. At other times, in other places, leaders who made major blunders — whether it was their fault or not — were expected to resign or commit suicide. In this case, neither is likely. And in practical terms, impeachment is unlikely, as well. Between the rigid party loyalists and the congressmen who are waiting longingly for the balance of Bush’s term to expire, the votes are not available.

But in theory, impeachment is an attractive idea, not as a punishment for Bush, but as a way of saying that, knowing what we know now, we would never have gone into Iraq, which is a proposition that even thoughtful pro-war citizens should accept. It would be a way of taking this war away from our leaders who have mishandled it so badly.

Soon, the American death toll in Iraq will reach 4,000. And before we know it, we’ll be at 5,000, wondering how we let all those brave soldiers slip away.

(John M. Crisp teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. E-mail jcrisp(at)delmar.edu.)

Comments

  1. SEAL

    Thanx for your support, Momcat, but I doubt many would vote for someone with my medical prognosis and the amount of narcotics I consume every day of my life. Start with 120mgs of Oxycontin every 6 hours plus 3 other pain killers. Add the chemo that keeps the cancer killed, the Dextramethasone full of steroids, the blood thinners, antibiotics, Xanax to calm the effects of some of the drugs, Anbeins to sleep, IV infusion to strengthen my damaged and weakened bones, and whatever else they come up with and watch the voters reaction.

    If not for that, I would run. I think the people are ready for someone who tells it like it is and a lot of them would come out and vote for the first time.

  2. SEAL

    I say again, the democrap candidates must get out front on this “another terroist attack” idea and pouplarize the fact that, if there is a second one, it will be the fault of Bush and the repugnant party just as the first one was. It’s their watch, their failure, and their responsibility.

    This should be led by Obama, Edwards, and Howard Dean. Hillary’s opening comment about it giving the advantage to the repugnants indicates that she is in on it and just setting it up. She couldn’t possibly this stupid. I am still amazed that none of the candidates responded to what she said.

    They should point out how the Bush gang screwed up and allowed the first one to happen and if it happens again they will be double to blame. Maybe that will stop the gansters from whatever they have planned.

  3. anthny

    anthny The fix is in for 2008, no matter who you elect the machine is in place to put who the New World Order wants. They rule the country and they have ruled since after WWl.
    The whole point of Iraq was to bankrupt the country and put us useless eaters into slavery.
    The world as we knew it is over, the criminals have come out of the closet and don’t give a dam about our ambiguous constitution or the rule of law.
    So battan down the hatches and think beyond going to the mall or any other form of distraction.
    They have been hinting around that another 9-11 will happen and there have already been put options on certain companies like when the airline stocks before the last blk opts.
    Just think New World Order and the North American Security and Prospertiy Union between USA, Canada, and Mexico. Kinda sounds like what the Japanese were doing in Asia, during WWll. Asia for the Asians.
    Remember that Iraq is full of contractors who are making millions on tax payers money and when whistle blowers rat them out they end up in prison, being fired or worst.
    This was all planned before the Bush was selected by the supreme court.
    So kiss your wonderful Democracy goodbye. The founding fathers wanted a Republic. The majority is always wrong.

  4. mary cali

    Vietnam Vet asked where the money is coming from.
    We are borrowing heavily from overseas, particularly China. Isn’t it ironic that capitalist USA will be paying communist China interest on our debt for the forseeable future. This interest money does not fix a US bridge nor buy a US bullet. It goes into the pockets of the communist Chinese so they can expand their military.

    During WWII the country raised money by selling war bonds to US citizens. The interest on that debt went to American primarily. Add another layer of incompetence and hypocrisy to the Republicans who have enabled this adminstration to sell our fiscal future to communist China.

    No matter how disappointed people are in the Ds, they are all we have at the moment to counter the delusional and cultishly loyal Republicans. They need to be supported as the important work of getting out of Iraq goes on.

  5. MomCat

    Seal,

    Your considered plan makes more sense than anything thus far proposed.

    If you’ll run for POTUS, you’ll certainly have my vote, and, I daresay, a landslide majority by the citizens of this country who currently despair of any common sense approach to salvaging this democracy.