by David Dieteman
by David Dieteman
I am greatly sympathetic to Sen. Bob Graham's call for George Bush to be impeached.
First, the war was begun under false pretenses. I previously wrote (see "Liars vs. Liars") that the war pitted lying American politicians allegedly lying Iraqi politicians.
(As an aside, Condoleeza Rice's essay includes a link headlined with the graphic "DENIAL AND DECEPTION." Following the link, however, brings the reader to a page entitled "Renewal in Iraq," replete with photos of smiling Iraqi children and tales of "100 days of progress." Draw your own conclusions.)
The title of the White House paper "Apparatus of Lies" (linked in PDF above) does not refer to the White House itself, or to the American media (which, before the war, resisted the administration's fatuous propaganda about as vigorously as a strumpet resists a tanned millionaire in a Mercedes), but to the now-deposed Iraqis.
Given the manifest blunders of American and British "intelligence," if not outright fabrication, one must now ask whether the "Apparatus of Lies" was in Baghdad or Washington.
The Iraqis claimed not to have "weapons of mass destruction." The Bush administration claimed that the Iraqis did. Now, more than three months after the war, with the American military in control of Iraq, the "weapons of mass destruction" have not been found.
The Bush administration cannot, on the one hand, publish documents entitled "Apparatus of Lies," "Denial and Deception," and "Why We Know Iraq is Lying," and then complain that its case for war is being scrutinized, or that it is accused of fabrications.
The American central government accused the Iraqi central government of lying. The evidence now indicates that the American central government lied instead. Having accused the Iraqi central government of lying, the American central government cannot now be heard to complain that it is accused of lying.
Fair is fair.
Moreover, the Bush administration simply cannot credibly claim that it "believed the intelligence at the time."
The evidence does not indicate that the war on Iraq is a case where the Bush administration was innocently misled despite relentless, valiant efforts to triple-check and confirm the accuracy of the accusations against Iraq.
Instead, the "intelligence" used to "justify" the war was largely fabricated. Worse, there were numerous commentators before the war who complained that the evidence for war was exceedingly thin at best, and fabricated at worse. Claims to have "believed" such fabrications "at the time" are thus preposterous after the fact rationalizations. This is especially true in light of the fact that the Bush administration's own pre-war rationalizations shifted over time, as various "trial balloons" were floated to see which would resonate with the public. (See my previous article, "Foolish Rationalizations for a Foolish War," from August 2002).
Second, there is the human cost of the war. On average, there is an American soldier dying each day in Iraq. Moreover, innocent Iraqis, both children and adults, are dying as well. As Charley Reese relates:
An American officer came to the home of an Iraqi family. American soldiers had killed the family's young son by mistake. The boy was taking his mattress to the roof to sweat out the hot Baghdad night when a nervous American on patrol mistook him for a sniper.
"How much compensation would you accept?" the officer asked.
"Ten dead Americans," the father replied.
This sort of "foreign policy" is perhaps the best advertisement for Al-Qaeda that one could imagine. And yet these kind of human evils are nearly unavoidable in the present occupation of Iraq.
All that having been said, there are two practical issues raised by the impeachment of George Bush. First, the partisans in Congress (i.e., those of his own Republican party) will never vote to do it. Such a vote would arguably require them to commit political suicide, and lose face, which they are highly unlikely to do.
Second, the Congress did not actively oppose the war. Although perhaps not as complicit as the American media in cheerleading the war, the Congress let Mr Bush and his cabal of advisors push the nation into a foreign war without reasonable justification.
In closing, in the event that the Congress could muster the votes, I do not expect that I would object to the impeachment of George Bush. Such an action, however, would leave two questions.
First, who will impeach the Congressmen who supported the war? Second, how many of those who elected those Congressmen (or Mr Bush) plan not to re-elect those incumbents?
Americans are right to blame those who lied the United States into war. Those who blindly accepted such lies, however, ought to have a long, soulful look in the mirror as well.
August 21, 2003
Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
© 2003 David Dieteman