Monday, November 14, 2005
Why We're Talking About Impeachment
Mon Nov 14th, 2005 at 01:28:55 PM EDT
I'll tell you why. The war in Iraq is not going well. And more importantly, people from all ideological points of view have now lost faith that the Bush administration has the will, wisdom, or credibility to change course and prevent a disaster.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the best policy change we can make is to change the leadership. It begins with Rumsfeld, (who now claims he never wanted to fight this war), despite making bellicose anti-Saddam statements on the afternoon of Sept. 11.
With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." – meaning Saddam Hussein – "at same time. Not only UBL" – the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.
Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld.
"Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not." CBS NEWS
But getting rid of Rumsfeld is no longer considered a sufficient course correction. It's clear to close observers that Scooter Libby perjured himself to cover up Dick Cheney's culpability for outing Valerie Wilson. Cheney gave Libby the name and the media strategy for smearing Wilson. When it became apparent that Cheney had committed a crime, the White House went into cover-up mode. But Cheney's problems run deeper. He has lost the confidence of the Bush Crime Family, most notably, of Brent Scowcroft, who now says he doesn't even know Dick Cheney anymore. Meanwhile, Powell and Armitage have referred to him as crazy, and Larry Wilkerson said Cheney and Rumsfeld constituted a secret warmongering cabal.
When Michael Moore says such things, he's partisan. When the extended Bush Crime Family says them, it's serious.
There is a gangrene on the Presidency. That gangrene is growing in the Vice-President's office and in the Pentagon. Dubya responded by firing back at the war critics, equating questioning of the pre-war intelligence with aiding and abetting the enemy. The Washington Post's editorial board's Fred Hiatt, joined in this chorus, stating:
What Lieberman doesn't say is that many Democrats would view such an outcome as an advantage. Their focus on 2002 is a way to further undercut President Bush, and Bush's war, without taking the risk of offering an alternative strategy -- to satisfy their withdraw-now constituents without being accountable for a withdraw-now position.
Many of them understand that dwindling public support could force the United States into a self-defeating position, and that defeat in Iraq would be disastrous for the United States as well as for Mahdi and his countrymen. But the taste of political blood as Bush weakens, combined with their embarrassment at having supported the war in the first place, seems to override that understanding.
Hiatt ignores the fact that Carl Levin, who is leading the charge in the Senate, did not vote for the Iraq War. He also ignores the fact that no one has any confidence left in the civilian leadership of the war effort. In the simplest formulation, we haven't built up the Iraqi government's military, police, and intelligence forces sufficiently to prevent a catastrophic civil war after we draw down our troops. This failure alone is enough reason to change the civilian leadership, but when we add the manipulation of pre-war intelligence to the mix, we are talking about malfeasance on a different order of magnitude.
For several years columnists and politicians as varied as Tom Friedman, John Kerry, and Bill Kristol have been offering advice on how to improve the performance of our troops in Iraq.
They have tired of giving advice that is not taken. Increasingly, the only solution looks like a change of leadership. Bush could buy some time by firing Rumsfeld and asking Cheney to resign. Fitzgerald could be a real patriot if he would indict Cheney and make his choice for him. After all, Bush can't force Cheney to resign. But if Bush keeps trying to stay the course, rumblings of impeachment will keep growing, eventually from both sides of the aisle.