Saturday, January 13, 2007

Impeachment and withdrawal

Mike Mejia (in full, for reasons that will become apparent)
The only real solution to the Iraq debacle: Impeachment and withdrawal

By Mike Mejia
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Wednesday night, George W. Bush cemented in the minds if many, if not most, Americans, a harsh reality the United States now faces: Bush has no clue how to piece back together Iraq, the country the U.S. military and the neocons have torn asunder. Watching the pundits after the speech on CNN, it is absolutely clear that even conservative war apologists, like Andrew Sullivan, aren’t buying into this charade of a "troop surge." In other words, Bush’s "send more troops" plan has failed before it has even begun.

Of course, the "surge" is not the only bad plan floating out in the public sphere. It’s about equal to the roadmap put out by the Iraq Study Group and a half dozen other ideas that have been suggested by various talking heads. In fact, just about all the "how to get out of Iraq schemes" are all about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. None of these gets to the core reality of the situation: the war is lost and it was lost a very long time ago. Iraq is now a fractured country and it will take years of civil war, coups, and countercoups before the dust settles and either the country breaks apart completely or a new Sadaam Hussein comes to power. Although there’s a chance Iraqis at the end of the day will develop their own democratic institutions, this will occur in spite of the Americans, who have never really wanted Iraqis to run their own country.

Given the inevitability of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, there are only two options, in my view, that we as Americans face: leave sooner or leave later. What occurs in Iraq after withdrawal, while important, is completely beyond our control. Thus, it seems self-evident to me that the first option is the preferable one. And the leave sooner option is overwhelmingly becoming the consensus among average Americans (though the corporate media and political elite have yet to concur).

But of course, there is one giant obstacle to America leaving sooner: President George W. Bush will not allow it. Not as long as he is president of the United States, Bush has stated, will the U.S. leave Iraq. For one thing, Bush doesn’t want to leave. But just as important, even if Bush thought U.S. withdrawal inevitable, he’d want a subsequent commander-in-chief to be the one to give the order. That way, George W. wouldn’t have to admit how badly he had screwed things up. So even if Bush concludes all is lost, the killing will go on for two more long years.

Henceforth, it stands to reason any U.S. withdrawal that comes before Bush’s term expires in 2009 must be a phased withdrawal. Here are the phases as I see them: Phase 1: Impeach Vice President Cheney. Phase 2: If Phase 1 fails to force Bush to withdraw troops, Impeach President Bush. Phase 3: Withdraw troops under either Cheney's replacement or, in the absence of one, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who as the third in the line of succession, would become president.

Now there are some Americans who will call this plan radical. For example, why not just cut the funds off for the war, which will force Bush to withdraw? The problem with the latter strategy is that it assumes that cutting off funds necessarily forces immediate withdrawal -- it does not -- and that the Congress has the political will to defund the troops while they are in harms way. Secondly, cutting off funds eventually ends the war, but it holds no one accountable. The genius of impeach first, then withdraw is that it holds leaders to account while ending the war concurrently.

Sound familiar? This is exactly how America was able to finally extricate itself from the quagmire in Vietnam. Of course, Nixon escaped impeachment, but he did get the next best thing: forced resignation. But ultimately, the only way America could get itself out of its mess back in the '70s was to punish the leader who refused to formulate a rational policy to end an ill-conceived and destructive war.

So there is nothing radical about this proposal -- it has historical precedent. Actually, the more valid criticism of my proposal is that I leave the impeachment of George W. Bush as a "maybe" -- that is, if Bush changes his evil ways, I believe he could be allowed to fill out his term in office.

On that point, good people can disagree. Though there are more than enough grounds to impeach Bush, I don’t think there will be the political will to do so unless Cheney is removed first. If George W. refuses to get the message to bring the troops home immediately after his vice president were removed from office, Bush would be practically begging for impeachment. And many, if not most, Americans would be happy to oblige him.

So let’s cut to the chase. Impeach and withdraw is the only solution that makes sense. We Americans will not be able to then say we won the Iraq War if we follow this strategy, but we will be able to say that we have won something far more important: the right, once again, to call ourselves a democracy.


profmarcus said...

no, it's not shrill... it's shrill only for those who fail to grasp exactly how much damage bush and his cronies have done to the united states, because, after all, even though iraq is a huge issue, and a critically important one, what the bush administration has done to the constitutional fabric of the country is equally if not more devastating... failing to take serious action to halt these criminals not only insures ongoing death and destruction in a criminal war, it also leaves the door open for bush to continue accruing the powers of a dictatorship... we can't let that happen...

Miguel said...

Right on profmarcus. I would also add that if we want to prevent future disasters like Iraq, impeachment will send a signal to future leaders of America- do not send the country to war on false pretenses.

lukery said...

profmarcus - when i asked Mejia if i could post his piece, he said 'i hope i don't get called 'shrill' - so it was a joke for him in case he dropped by here.

damien said...

Minor point, but it's been said before. If Cheney gets impeached then a new VP is appointed. If Bush then gets impeached the replacement VP takes over. Naci never gets to be Prez. Is that right?

damien said...

...neither Nancy nor Naci gets to be Prez!

LeeB said...

Luke, you need to send Mejia the link to our 'shrillification' discussion. Then he will be proud to have earned such a label.

Damien, you're correct, if a new VP is appointed and confirmed by both Houses of Congess prior to removing geedubya, Nancy wouldn't be prez . . . but the more I think about it the more I'm thinking that may not be such a bad thing. In order to get a replacement VP confirmed, they would of necessity have to appoint someone of the moderate and sane variety who, when assuming the presidency, would have the same exercise to accomplish - appoint a new, acceptable VP.

We would retain Nancy as Speaker which, given her performance so far as primo herder of Democratic cats, is a good result, too. I think the way things have evolved to this point, a decent Republican or two in the White House as place holders would not necessarily be bad.

I think this country is not as likely to be wanting to keep 'em in 2008 after the battering we've experienced. Of course, I could be seriously mistaken and if it all shook out with Nancy in the White House, that wouldn't make me mad. I just don't want us to lose her from government prematurely if she should have no desire to run for the office in 2008. There is still so much work to be done in Congress to correct the messes the thugs have made.

lukery said...

D - correct - neither of them become prez in this scenario. i don't know what would happen if there were simultaneuous impeachments.

LeeB said...

Luke, I think if simultaneous impeachments resulted in both being removed from office, Nancy would be President and she would appoint a new VP who would be subject to confirmation by both houses of Congress.

LeeB said...

I don't remember all the facts around Agnew being forced to resign in favor of Gerald Ford's appointment as VP but I seem to recall some discussion about some 'engineering' of the event since the Republican heavyweights in Congress knew the world was closing in on Nixon and they wanted a more likeable (read: "electable") VP in place and damned quick.

If today's senior Congressional Republicans become sufficiently convinced of the jeopardy their entire party is in, they may arrange the same sequence in order to try to hang on to the White House in 2008. Maybe, if they do that, they will also keep in mind the fatal mistake Ford made by pardoning his predecessor and see to it that is not repeated. In the event they do decide to run this type of interference, watch for the appointment of some presidential hopeful from their side of the aisle, like Chuck Hagel.