Swans Commentary » swans.com April 23, 2007  



Exit Strategy For George W. Bush


by Charles Marowitz





(Swans - April 23, 2007)   Every transgression and faux pas in the past five years is traceable back to President George W. Bush.

The shameful partisan dismissal of US attorneys from the Justice Department due to partisan revenge was clearly overseen by Alberto Gonzales who, being a longtime Texas crony of the president, was elevated to the position of attorney general, for which he had little or no qualifications. It was the president who "rewarded" Gonzales for his "loyalty" (read obeisance) by appointing him to the highest judicial position in the executive branch.

FEMA's bungling of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans can be traced back to the ineptitude of Michael Brown being eased into a position for which he was blatantly unsuited and for which his résumé was shamefully inflated; an appointment approved by the President of the United States.

The actions that triggered the Iraqi invasion and generated the civil war which now rages in that country is directly attributable to decisions made by the commander in chief. The refusal to pull out of this morass and perversely escalate a war, which no one can plausibly justify, was the outgrowth of deliberately falsified intelligence, almost certainly cherry-picked by the Chief Executive. The continual slaughter of ill-equipped American troops as well as the steady stream of murder and abduction of civilians and journalists are the direct result of blunders committed by the commander in chief. The ethnic rivalries which are claiming the lives of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children stem directly from the tenacious and unwavering refusal of the President of the United states to acknowledge the failed strategies in a war that should never have been fought, can never be won, and that will poison our relations in the Middle East for decades to come.

The influence of misguided neocons such as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove, who are responsible for the strategy that initiated this senseless war, was firmly authorized by George W. Bush. There would have been no targeting of Iraq or subsequent invasion if the president had not enthusiastically bought into the "philosophy" peddled by those "advisors" in the earliest days of his presidency. The outrageous graft and corruption of American companies in Iraq such as Halliburton and its subsidiaries, would never have occurred had the president not chosen and supported the arguments of Vice President Cheney. Indeed, without the nod from Bush himself, Cheney would never have assumed the office he now holds. Bush is responsible for installing this lethal influence in the executive branch and without his rubber-stamping of Cheney's tactics and tautologies, we would not be in the quagmire that presently debilitates our armed forces, alienates us from our former European allies, and threatens the fiscal security of the American economy.

The imprisonment of ostensible "enemies" in gulags such as Guantánamo and prisons in other countries to which "renditions" have been made permits acts of torture and prohibits the oversight of international monitors. This policy, condemned by the Supreme Court and most morally-sensitive Americans, is directly attributable to the elasticity with which President Bush bends constitutional safeguards. In place of freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, we get the "Wanted-Dead-or-Alive" credo of Bush's Texan upbringing, which confuses mythic cowboy heroes with precepts that have been enshrined in our judicial system for over three centuries. The violations of privacy contained in the Patriot Act and the widespread and invasive surveillance of American citizens are also practices initiated and enthusiastically supported by the Chief Executive. Have we grown so timorous that we can quietly ignore the president's inroads into personal liberties through illegal surveillance, both of innocent citizens and targeted members of the opposition party, his dastardly practice of not signing off on duly passed legislation, his end-runs around the Geneva Conventions, and the trampling of habeas corpus?

Clinton came close to being impeached for a dalliance with a sexually-aggressive female intern. In the wake of that peccadillo, the Republicans called for his head -- and almost got it. Lyndon Johnson was nationally maligned for perpetuating a war in Vietnam, which we could not -- and did not -- win. Nixon's paranoia and the crimes he masterminded against the opposing party caused him to resign in disgrace and, had he not, he would have been impeached. But the faults of all those roiled presidents are flea bites as compared to the damage being wrought by George W. Bush and those blinkered stalwarts who refuse to curb the death wish he is inflicting on Americans and Iraqis on a daily -- almost hourly -- basis.

In the face of such a juggernaut of deadly decisions that are fracturing our own country as much as they are destabilizing the Middle East, there is no longer any point in trying to apply rationalism to habitually irrational behavior. If ever impeachment were required, it is in response to the plunder committed by George W. Bush -- and yet, the opposition party and stalwarts throughout the nation continue to equivocate, analyze, and dispute the horrors that sink us deeper and deeper into a miasma. It is as if the country, pistol-whipped, oblivious to the growing crescendo of casualties that glut the daily bulletins and instill in us an overwhelming sense of helplessness, cannot bear taking the one action that might put an end to the national malaise: the impeachment of a president who has flagrantly violated the Constitution, besmirched the honor of his office, and trampled on the decencies which once made us proud of our country.

We were badly fractured by the Nixon crisis and filled with turmoil by the Johnson presidency, which caused us to fight a war that could never be justified and which, to this day, remains a bone of contention among Americans who fought it as well as those who fought against it. Clinton's sexual dalliance was both a distraction and an embarrassment, but as bumper stickers sensibly proclaim: it didn't take American lives or threaten to bankrupt the treasury. In comparison, Bush's transgressions are almost as vile as Robespierre's but if we call him on these misdeeds, many feel we will be embarrassing that half of the nation that elected him with hope, then re-elected him out of despair and now wish to dispose of him out of disgust.

We cannot face up to the prospect of impeachment because it is like cutting off our noses to spite our faces. It would be forcing us to acknowledge that we elected the wrong leader, were cowered by his fearful warnings of having one day to fight the insurrectionists on our own turf, and forcing us to confront the multitude of wrongheaded decisions we have made -- both as citizens and allegedly rational human beings. Given the number of fantasies that have been unleashed in the past five years, we are no longer capable of coping with reality.

It is just too painful and forces us to admit to too many of our own misjudgments. But unless we forsake that highway littered with body bags and serial negotiations with people who, more than anything else, simply want us out of their country, and make that turn which places us on the road to impeachment, we will continue to tremble as we go to bed and despair when we awaken.

What has almost entirely disappeared from America in the first decade of the 21st century is that rebellious vigor that characterized the American Revolution and inspired us to free ourselves from the tyranny of a foreign ruler. Today, we are in the grips of a different kind of sovereign whose stance, ideology, and instincts are as antithetical to America as George the Third's were in 1776.

It is evident that we cannot rely on an opposition party which is docile in the face of wrongs regularly inflicted upon the populace; an opposition party more concerned with using the present crisis as fodder for the forthcoming election rather than dealing with it as a grave national emergency; that views the ongoing crisis not in terms of human suffering or moral rectitude, but simply as exercises in political one-upmanship. As a polis, we are behaving like pussy-whipped, Bushwhacked underlings -- privately admitting that horrendous mistakes have been made which are debilitating our nation, but too timid and docile to remove the single political figure most responsible for those catastrophes.

The most dynamic verb in a democracy's lexicon is the verb to impeach, which the dictionary reminds us means a) to bring an accusation against, b) to charge a public official before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office, and c) to challenge the credibility or validity of an office-holder. The key phrase in that definition is competent tribunal. Can we gather together a tribunal competent enough to put the case that an office-holder should be confronted with an accusation that a majority of the American people believes to be willful and lethal misconduct? Or are we to content ourselves with repetitive bitching and moaning, an endless litany of angry accusations that posit our opinions, reiterate our growing discontent, convey our rage, and simply leave it at that?


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Published April 23, 2007