Saturday, September 22, 2007
Impeaching George W. Bush..." ( World Audience Books)
Impeaching George W. Bush and His Administration;
Essays by Different Writers
A World Audience Book
New York, New Castle
www.worldaudience.org Reviewed by Lo Galluccio
Hot of the presses is an ample and acute journal of essays, critiques, poems, reflections and treatises on two basic subjects: why the Bush administration should be impeached and why the war in Iraq should end. This journal represents a diverse group of international writers driven by a “focused outrage” on these issues.
The basic idea behind impeachment is that it would show the world that America is willing to investigate a corrupt government and try to save our Democracy against internal abuses of power and the misguided policy which has caused the ravages of war in Iraq because of an American occupation.
In his essay “We, the People” Editor M. Stefan Strozier states:
“Right now, America is facing a lot of trouble. This has been the case ever since President Bush took office. In life, there are different kinds of troubles. The trouble America faces right now is potentially irrevocable. President Bush has 18 months left in office –the perfect amount of time to impeach him. President Bush is leading us down a path from which we might not emerge. The only way to stop this from happening is to impeach President Bush, and soon.”
Strozier goes on to say that impeachment amounts to a form of accountability, a way of taking responsibility for our actions, for our failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, for our failure to have any real impact on the so-called real terrorists (Osama Bin Laden, for instance is still at large, while Sadaam Hussein did finally swing from a noose as a war criminal.) He states vehemently, “Impeaching President Bush would demonstrate to the world, clearly, that we are a good nation of strong people.”
And he goes on to quote Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address – the famous section about not allowing those who have died to have died in vain, in a war where over, compared to Iraq 625,000 American soldiers died in an internal battle over issues of great economic and racial consequence to our country. And then to the futility and failure which the war in Iraq has proven to be over the past 6 years. Ironically, we’ve in fact helped instigate a civil war in that country between various religious tribes that were in some sense held at bay by Hussein’s dictatorship.
The bottom line for Strozier is that if we are fighting in Iraq we must fight for something right and stand for humanity not just democracy. Our history of foisting Democratic governments on other countries by force leaves a fairly poor track record.
Essentially Strozier states that “a general is not a general” But, the hitch is that he is, in times of war, the Commander in Chief. The issue it seems to me is that this war was started under false premises, declared won under false premises and continues to be fought without any regard to the clear evidence that it cannot be won. And the cost in human life, over 3,000 American soldiers killed and up to 100’s of thousands of Iraqi’s killed, aside from the financial cost of over $530 billion in government funds spent, is more than criminal waste. There may be just and unjust wars. This one, it seems to me, cannot be classified as a just one. And that is good enough reason to go along with an impeachment proceeding.
I think it is worth noting that there have been three Presidents within the past 30 or so years who were brought to impeachment by the US Congress and Senate. President Nixon was impeached after the Watergate scandal was leaked and found guilty of bugging Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. He was essentially put on trial for a charge of wrong doing and before convicted on many counts, including misusing the C.I.A., he resigned from office. Remember the backdrop prior to the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate Scandal in the 1960’s under Nixon, was the Vietnam War, the closest equivalent, I think we can find to the current war in Iraq. Nixon's last days in office came in late July and early August, 1974. The House Judiciary Committee voted to accept three of four proposed Articles of Impeachment, with some Republicans voting with Democrats to recommend impeachment of the President.
The final blow came with the decision by the Supreme Court to order Nixon to release more White House tapes. One of these became known as the 'smoking gun' tape when it revealed that Nixon had participated in the Watergate cover-up as far back as June 23, 1972. Around the country, there were calls for Nixon to resign. He did so on the evening of August 8, 1974.
The other President who was called to trial for possible wrongdoing in office was, of course, our charismatic Democratic President from Arkansas, Bill Clinton. On a much less important scandal, at least to most American people and certainly I think, it is safe to say the rest of the world, especially Europeans.
Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998, and acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. The charges, perjury and obstruction of justice, arose from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Paula Jones law suit. While there was an issue of the President having committed perjury in his denial of sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, a 22 year old White House intern and some division in opinion over the President’s culpability, he was not forced to resign from office but reprimanded with a monetary civil suit of some kind.
These are vastly different cases of Impeachment and so it needs to be noted that impeaching a Presdident really means putting him on trial, it does not mean automatically having him/her thrown out of office.
In “The Finger and the Moon” by Tom Frozart, he lists three reaons for impeaching George W. Bush:
· Serial lying; bogus claims about special power, WMD;
· Conducting an illegal war; faciliation of crimes as described in Nuremburg Charter and Geneva Convention on POW;
· Committing/iinducing his adminstration to commit a sizable number of federal crimes against civil liberties.
Under the heading a “A big Step Backwards for Democracy” Tom writes,
“The current situaiton in Iraq is going a step further with the outsourcing of military prerogatives to private organizations that usually fall into the category of mercenaries. War is more and more a a funding of business with public money, and lives; to do so, deals have even been struck with foreign countries to compose a motley alliance mixing formal democracies, authoritarian reigning families, and mafia style gangs. In other words, we are going full-speed in reverse gear; warlords of the medieval age didn’t act differently, and already invented the free circulation of people in chains.”
Franklin W. Liu, an editorial, essay writer, visual artist and reviewer who has traveled the world from his home base in Hong Kong writes a rather lyrical history of his own relationship to America as the foundation of Liberty, using the famous Statue in the NY Harbor as a pivot point. In one passage of his chronology he writes:
“President George W. Bush, in fact, upon the commencement of the Iraqi War declared that the United States reserves the right to use any weaponry in our military arsenel, including our nuclear weaponry. Thus with this wanton, reckless rhetoric, President Bush opened the floodgage for other countries to rush into nuclear weaponry development and may have pushed al Quaeda to seek suitcase nuclear devices via the black-market. Critics say Presdident Bush a born again Christian, has witlessly brought the world one step closer to the Bliblical End Times..”
Of course there are also those who think it significant that our President is also a somewhat recovered alcoholic or one acting like a ‘dry drunk.”
To interject a few of my own observations: I believe that had Bush tried to enforce a draft as in the Vietnam War in the late 60’s so that more middle and upper class young people were affected by this debacle, many more people would have protested this war in the streets. It also saddens me a great deal that the facts are that most of the American soldiers fighting are on the 3rd, 4th or 5th tour of duty and most are young and from rural areas of the country. In one New York Times article I read, these soldiers, before returning to their regiments, even write in journals of dreaming about their imminant deaths, and can do nothing to stop their fate except writing letters to their children to keep them strrong and with faith in God and sacrificing for one’s country. I also read at one point that, while we have virtually destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq, and many soldiers die because jeeps simply fall off faulty or broken road lanes, there are now over 6 million cell phones in Iraq, up from the under 100,000 pre-War. That was an Associated press statistic. It really makes you wonder the kind of quality of life that America is bringing to the world. Sure it’s great to have a Nokia when you’re in a bind, but if you can’t reach a doctor or a tow truck or friend who’s just been killed by a suicide bomber, is the Nokia worth that much?
And there is the supreme irony that Osama Bin Ladin is still at large and that he, not Sadaam Hussein masterminded 9/11. So, with all our U.S. intelligence and fire-power, why does this man elude us? According to a PBS special that aired some months ago, our invasion of Iraq was a dream come true to him, because since the time that Anwar Sadat was assasinated for being fairly friendly toward the West, Muslims decided that there was a loophole in the Koran and that they could fight and kill each other. Bin Laden hoped that he could provoke American to attack a strong Middle Eastern civilizaiton like Iraq. That was really when the rise of the extremist Muslim movement took hold and Osama Bin Laden visited America and unfortunately, according to this special, didn’t really like our manicured suburban lawns or our lindy hops. I could understand the lawns, but I can’t really understand who could hate the swooning swing of 1950’s high school be bop and rock and roll dances. It makes no sense to me. Then, again I’m not a devout Muslim. The point being, that as an enemy of American wealth and indulgence, Bin Laden hoped that he could provoke America to attack a strong Middle Eastern civilization like Iraq. And that is exactly what George Bush did after the attack on 9/11, The point also being that after the World Trade Towers in NYC were attacked that day much of the world was on our side. They were pretty sympathetic to thousands of secretaries and even CEOs going up in flames and “W” did the exact opposite of what he should have done. He didn’t use his little grey cells. He didn’t rally international support or wonder what this terrorist movement based in the Middle East was really after. He just went to war against that oil-producting country whose leader his ole’ Daddy had a grudge against. And it created one of the biggest messes in history.
Hugh Fox, poet, writer, reviewwr, anthropological scholar and all-around humane visionary has this to say. He sees what’s actually happening here in America as a result of Bush’s policies and this war:
“I mean they’re closing down schools, reducing the sentences of criminals so they can pay less to maintain prisons, raising the tuition at the university, closing down plants, thousands of people out of work, crime up, on some streets most of the restaurants and stores and factories are for sale/lease.
In the meantime trillions are being spent sending soldiers over to a country at civil war with itself, as if the English had sent over troops to stop the American civil war….
So, it’s not just getting involved with the wrong war and putting the US economy into the worst debt it’s ever been in, not just the killing American troops, all the concentration being focused on nonsense (while the bad-guy Arabs are planning their next big massacre!) but no concentration being focused on the American middle and lower classes, no concentration being focused on manufacuring, on the protection of American foods, toothpastes, you name it.’
Particularly impressive is a 10 part imagistic expose by a NY based psychologist and singer/songwriter named Dr. Mel Waldman who in a montage of styles describes the horrors of the war. It is poetic, and declarative, psychological and metaphorical.
In his intrduction he writes:
“This war is a labyriinth and we are trying to find our way out. But for now, we are lost in a dark dreamscape of unspeakable violence and death, a black holEof depair tht is vast and incomprehensible…”
Other parts are titled 1. THE INVISIBLE SOLDIER, 2. WAR IS EVIL – SOMETIMES NECESSARY / THE STREETS OF PLANET EARTH 3. WAR IS INSANE 4. WAR IS FREUDIAN: A REPETITION COMPULSION 5. THE IRAQ WAR SEEMED JUSTIFIED 6.PRESIDENT BUSH SEEMED ENCHANTED BY LADY VIVTORY 7. OUR SAFETY IS QUESTIONABLE. 8 ADAAM HUSSEIN’S HANGING SEEMED INFLAMMATORY 9. THE WAR IS LITERARY 10. WAR IS TRAUMATIC
As far as I know Presidential candidate Barack Obama is mounting the strongest drive to impeach President Bush and end the War in Iraq. There will be numerous demonstrations in Washington this month against the war though it is interesting that they are not getting the kind of prime-time coverage one would have thought they deserved. In almost every poll the majority of American votesr want the war to end but the Senate and Congress still seem gridlocked about how to ease out of the situatoin gracefully. Bush, it seems, is just trying to save face.
M. Stefan M. Strozier has put together a mighty colleciton of pieces – many of which I couldn’t include, of short letters to the Editor and poems also, about why impeaching Bush could lead to an end to the War and a return to a sense that America is willing to hold it’s highest leader accountable for his worst mistakes.
The journal is available on-line through World Audience Press at www.worldaudience.org.
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