Cure for Iraq? Impeach Bush, Cheney
This suggestion brings up some reasonable questions, including the following:
- What's wrong with the Bush/Cheney plan?
- How will impeachment solve the Iraq situation?
- On what basis could Bush and Cheney be impeached?
- How likely is it that my suggestion will be adopted?
What's Wrong with the Bush/Cheney Plan?
The biggest problem with adding 21,500 US troops in Iraq is that it will not achieve its "mission." There are five key reasons for this:
- The mission is vaguely defined. It is unclear why US troops are in Iraq. In 2003, Bush sold the war as a way to eliminate the threat of Iraq's WMDs and to punish Iraq's role in the 9/11 attacks. Both reasons were proved false. So Bush/Cheney redefined the mission variously as "getting the job done", "victory" or "a democratic Iraq." It is impossible to measure whether any of these vaguely defined missions has been achieved therefore there is no logic for ever withdrawing US troops.
- The Bush/Cheney plan's real purpose is not consistent with that mission. It will not be possible to learn Bush/Cheney's true purpose for adding the new troops. I speculate that since Bush and Cheney's political careers will end no later than January 2009, they are currently trying to improve how history will judge them. I further speculate that they believe that adding more troops will increase the odds that they can delay a resolution of the Iraq situation into the next administration. By forcing another administration to withdraw US troops, I speculate that Bush and Cheney hope that history will shift blame for the failure of their policy to their successors.
- Iraq does not really exist. The concept of Iraq, as a united country fitting into the borders on the map which currently appears in atlases, does not really exist. Under Saddam Hussein, the country appeared to hold together with the help of a brutally repressive police force. In reality, Iraq is at least three separate groups -- the relatively peaceful Kurds in the North, a smaller group of Sunnis, and a larger group of Shiites -- the latter two having been at war with each other for a long time. Since Saddam left power, the fault lines between these three groups have emerged more clearly.
- The current Iraqi government is structured to undermine the Bush/Cheney concept of Iraq. Bush/Cheney envisions a unified, democratic Iraq. However, the current government is controlled by the Shiites. The Bush/Cheney plan relies on this Iraqi government stopping Sunni and Shiite extremists -- which Bush/Cheney believes are the cause of the Iraqi civil war. In fact, the Iraqi government supports the Shiite domination of the country and thus the Bush/Cheney plan will be directed to achieve this end rather than the Bush/Cheney concept of the Iraq mission.
- The American public does not support the Bush/Cheney plan. Polls suggest that only 29% of the US public supports the Bush/Cheney plan. This lack of support for its Iraq policy should have been clear after the the Democratic Party took over Congress last November. Moreover, the Bush/Cheney plan is at odds with the Iraq Task Force report which seemed to have greater support.
- The consequences of not pursuing the Bush/Cheney plan are unclear. Bush/Cheney claims that disaster will follow a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. This claim is similar to the arguments made about withdrawal from Vietnam. Back then, President Johnson argued that withdrawing from Vietnam would cause a domino effect in which many countries would go Communist. Bush/Cheney are suggesting that US troop withdrawal would create a safe haven for terrorists. Clearly previous Bush/Cheney predictions -- that US troops would be greeted as liberators and that the war would last at most six months -- have proven false. The only consequence of their plan that's certain is that more US troops will die as they become targets for the parties to a civil war in Baghdad.
How Will Impeachment Solve the Iraq Situation?
Impeachment will not solve the Iraq situation immediately. However, it appears certain to me that the US will not form or implement a realistic strategy to solve the Iraq problem until Bush and Cheney are out of office. As noted above, they are not concerned about reelection which in their mind frees them to pursue policies which they believe will vindicate their legacy.
After four years of consistently achieving results at odds with the objectives they stated, it is clear to me that Bush and Cheney are determined to leave the problem to their successors. I believe that the problem will get worse in the next two years and will certainly result in more deaths -- especially as the 21,500 new US troops are added.
By impeaching Bush and Cheney, the US can reduce the number of lives lost and begin the process of minimizing further damage from their disastrous Iraq adventure.
On What Basis Could Bush and Cheney be Impeached?
Although I am not a lawyer, according to Impeach Bush, there are at least three legal bases on which impeachment could proceed:
- Violating laws against fraud by lying to Congress to justify the Iraq war. Bush justified the Iraq war based on claims -- later proven false -- that Iraq had Al-Qaeda ties; that it was responsible for the 9/11 attacks; and that it had WMDs -- including African uranium. All these claims have been proven false -- thus violating US Laws related to Fraud and False Statements, Title 18, Chapter 47, Section 1001 and Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Title 18, Chapter 19, Section 371.
- Violating laws against unwarranted spying on US citizens. Bush has admitted to authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct warrantless wire taps on American citizens. The spying even extends to postal mail. This violates US law because he was required to get approval from FISA; and
- Violating laws against torture. The evidence shows that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Gonzales are guilty of violating "Federal Torture Act" Title 18 United States Code, Section 113C, the UN Torture Convention and the Geneva Convention by ordering and condoning the use of torture.
How Likely is it That my Suggestion Will be Adopted?
My suggestion could be adopted but only with significant voter pressure. Unfortunately, it appears that an unspoken consensus has emerged that the impeachment process is not helpful for those members of Congress aspiring to the White House in 2009.
In order to move forward with new leadership, Congress would need to do something unprecedented in US history -- impeach a president and a vice president. Just impeaching Bush would not solve the problem since a president Cheney would probably make the situation even worse.
It is likely that neither would voluntarily resign as Nixon did. And achieving the votes necessary to ensure a successful conviction and removal of Bush and Cheney is a long shot -- the failure of which would likely have severe political consequences for all presidential aspirants.
However, everyone running for president or re-election will have to face voters in the near future. And they will be judged on how they handled Iraq. If enough voters push to stop the train wreck, Congress could change its mind.