'Several polls taken in the last two years have shown that large numbers of Americans support impeachment. An Angus Reid poll taken in May 2007 found that a remarkable 39 percent of Americans favored the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. An earlier poll, framed in a more hypothetical way, found that 50 percent of Americans supported impeaching Bush if he lied about the war -- which most of that 50 percent presumably now believe he did. Vermont has gone on record in calling for his impeachment, and a number of cities, including Detroit and San Francisco, have passed impeachment resolutions. Reps. John Murtha and John Conyers and a few other politicians have floated the idea. And there is a significant grassroots movement to impeach Bush, spearheaded by organizations like After Downing Street. Even some Republicans, outraged by Bush's failure to uphold right-wing positions (his immigration policy, in particular), have begun muttering about impeachment. (Yay, us.)* amy:
But there's a deeper reason why the popular impeachment movement has never taken off -- and it has to do not with Bush but with the American people. Bush's warmongering spoke to something deep in our national psyche. The emotional force behind America's support for the Iraq war, the molten core of an angry, resentful patriotism, is still too hot for Congress, the media and even many Americans who oppose the war, to confront directly. It's a national myth. It's John Wayne. To impeach Bush would force us to directly confront our national core of violent self-righteousness -- come to terms with it, understand it and reject it. And we're not ready to do that.
The truth is that Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors, far from being too small, are too great. What has saved Bush is the fact that his lies were, literally, a matter of life and death. They were about war. And they were sanctified by 9/11. Bush tapped into a deep American strain of fearful, reflexive bellicosity, which Congress and the media went along with for a long time and which has remained largely unexamined to this day. Congress, the media and most of the American people have yet to turn decisively against Bush because to do so would be to turn against some part of themselves. This doesn't mean we support Bush, simply that at some dim, half-conscious level we're too confused -- not least by our own complicity -- to work up the cold, final anger we'd need to go through impeachment. We haven't done the necessary work to separate ourselves from our abusive spouse. We need therapy -- not to save this disastrous marriage, but to end it.
The establishment media, which has tended to treat impeachment talk as if it were the unseemly rantings of half-crazed hordes, has clearly bought this paradigm. In this view, those who want to impeach Bush, or who are simply vehemently critical of him, are partisan extremists outside the mainstream of American discourse. This decorous approach has begun to weaken. A recent U.S. News and World Report cover read, "Bush's last stand: He's plagued by a hostile Congress, sinking polls, and an unending war. Is he resolute or delusional?" When centrist newsweeklies begin using words drawn from psychiatric manuals, it may be time for Karl Rove to get worried. But it takes time to turn the Titanic. The years of deference to the War Leader cannot be overcome that quickly.
For all these reasons, impeachment, however justified or salutary it would be -- and I believe it would be both justified and salutary -- remains a long shot. Bush will probably escape the fate of Andrew Johnson and the disgrace of Richard Nixon. But he's not home free yet. The culture of spin is also the culture of spectacle, and a sudden, theatrical event -- a lurid accusation made by a former official, a colorful revelation of a very specific and memorable Bush lie -- could start the scandal machine going full speed. Even the war card cannot be played indefinitely. If Bush were to withdraw the troops from Iraq, and the full dimensions of America's defeat were to become apparent, all of his war-president potency would backfire and he would be in much greater danger of being impeached. Congress and the media both gain courage as the polls sink, and if Bush's numbers continue to hit historic lows, they will turn on him with increasing savagery. If everything happens just so, the downfall of the House of Bush could be shocking in its swiftness.
"U.S. Considers Fallujah-Style Attack on Sadr City
The U.S. military is planning to make a major push into the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City that houses two million Shiites. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. military is considering a wholesale clearing of the neighborhood if political avenues fail. One military officer said "A second Fallujah plan exists, but we don"t want to execute it."
Revealed: U.S. Plotted to Assassinate Moqtada Al-Sadr
In other news from Iraq, the British journalist Patrick Cockburn has revealed explosive details about a secret US plan to kill or capture one of Iraq"s best known Shiite leaders, Moqtada Al-Sadr. According to Cockburn, the U.S. Army tried to carry out the plan two and a half years ago by luring Al-Sadr to peace negotiations at a house in the holy city of Najaf. Iraq"s National Security Adviser said the effects of the U.S. plan is still being felt because it lead to Sadr losing all confidence and trust in the U.S.
Blackwater Succeeds in Preventing Lawsuit From Going to Court
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper is reporting the private security company Blackwater USA has succeeded in partially derailing a landmark lawsuit brought by the families of four Blackwater employees killed in Fallujah, Iraq three years ago. A federal judge has ordered the lawsuit be decided behind closed doors in arbitration. This will allow Blackwater to avoid public examination of its practices in Iraq. The outcome of the arbitration will be confidential. One of the three arbitrators is William Webster. He served as head of the FBI and CIA under President Reagan and has personal and business ties to several Blackwater lawyers.
UK Prosecutors Charge Ex-KGB Agent With Murder of Litvinenko
And this news in from London – British prosecutors have announced they are charging a former KGB agent in the poisoning death of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko. The British government said Andrei Lugovoi met with Litvinenko at a London hotel only hours before Litvinenko became ill with polonium-210 poisoning. Litvinenko was a former spy and prominent critic of the Russian government. The Russian prosecutor-general's office has announced it will not turn Lugovoi over to Britain to be tried.