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Daniel Patrick Welch: Impeach the SOB

Impeach the SOB
Damn the Republicans-Full Speed Ahead!

By Daniel Patrick Welch

It's time to stop beating around this Bush and start beating up on him -- but good. There is no set of humanitarian or democratic principles by which this administration would not have been removed in any sane society. The last election was questionable at best, and his reckless, dangerous and criminal actions in the ensuing years have shown the whole world he is unfit to govern. The only democratic remedy, impeachment, was set aside early and forcibly by an opposition still afraid of its own shadow. It did make some sense, early on, to argue that, since the Greasy Oil Plutocrats (GOP) controlled both houses, it was a waste of time and energy.

Cynical political calculation is the currency of a failed "democracy," and Washington is crawling with sellouts and political weathervanes. In the Sausage Factory that is the legislative process, anyone who wants to get anything done had best be ready to hold her nose and roll up her sleeves. Still, principle still counts for something. To hear either of the Mega-Parties talk, you'd think they were all about principle. Grandiose rhetoric covers the tiniest focus-grouped nuances; minor tweaks to failed policies are disguised as major ideological shifts, their proponents bravely marching, Quixote-style, into the windmill of their ever-so-slightly differing opponents.

So maybe it's time for a simple, radical proposition: Truth is True. Of course Republicans will fight impeachment like crazy--so what? Anyway, it's past time to put to rest the right-wing myth that Nixon was "hounded out of office" by the opposition. By the time Barry Goldwater met with Nixon to tell him the jig was up, he reported that the president could expect no more than ten votes in the Senate. "And," he is reported to have added, "I'm not one of them." Politicians don't always toe the party line, especially when it is one drawn in the sand by a crook.

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The damage done to decades-long international agreements, to the reputation of the US, and simply the revulsion at all the atrocities commited in our name, is almost beyond calculation, and quite likely beyond repair. Cornered at every turn, the thieves and liars of this junta respond to every new self-inflicted crisis with greater abandon. There are dangerous and powerful forces trying to keep this man in power, and there is no doubt that confronting them head on will prove difficult. But there is no choice left. The iceberg whose tip is now poking its way into the eye of a weary world is gargantuan, and will not melt of its own accord. These men intended all along to shred the Geneva Convention, the US constitution and every safeguard in between. The "Iraq Prison Abuse Scandal," a misnomer if ever there was one, is not about a few hicks on a rampage. Anyone with a brain could see that immediately, and once again we were proven right. The attempt to end-run the CIA and establish a fully secret system of torture and "intelligence gathering" lays bare the core of these men's "principles:" utter contempt for democracy and due process.

It should be something of a clue to learn that the CIA was too accountable for these guys. The CIA, as we well know, is loath to bend any rules or skirt accountability in pursuit of its own shadowy goals. Doug Feith, apparently, knows better than the CIA, and he wouldn't trust them for...well, let's say for all the assassination manuals in Central America.

It has become the unspeakable, torturous mess we knew it would, and they still won't come clean. That's why they mustn't be let to leave of their own accord. Next January is far too long, too many wars, atrocities and frayed alliances too late. These guys, and yes, I mean all of them, from Dubya and Lon Chaney on down--these guys have to go now. And I don't mean back to cutting brush in Crawford. (What's the deal there, by the way? Does this guy live on a billion acres that he cuts himself, or what? Isn't he done yet?).

No, not back to Crawford or off to some slimy lobbying firm--they need to go sit in a dock in the Hague and await the judgement of the world. The world's responsibility is to convene an ad hoc tribunal to prosecute the war crimes of the Iraq war--just as they do with other rogue nations who refuse to subject themselves to the conventions of international law. Our responsibility in the US is to facilitate the process by first removing the war criminals from power, and then not stopping the international peacekeeping force when they come to arrest them.

Shocked? Why? Of course, it is often shocking to turn the looking glass around, but if we try to see what the rest of the world sees, these are the logical next steps. Instead, the internal "debate" grows more and more deaf to the outside world. The Democrats have already picked their pro-war candidate, and he is staying the course, while rumors about a "unity ticket" with McCain swirl above the wreckage of the international scene. What planet are we on? I actually saw an article recently chiding the left with the spectre of 1968, claiming that it was our fault (the antiwar crowd) that Humphrey lost. Huh? I guess it couldn't have been Humphrey's fault that he saddled himself with Johnson's War. At least he was the sitting vice president--what's Kerry's excuse?

And as long as we're playing the bogus counterfactual history "whose fault was Nixon" game, there are plenty of turns to go around. Assume that RFK had not been killed in June of 1968. Having won the California primary, he was poised to wrest the nomination from Humphrey, relieving the Democrats of their war burden, and would presumably have swept to victory over Tricky Dick. Houston Plan, no destabilizing Chile--maybe a few million still alive in Southeast Asia.... Well, maybe it's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the point is history is not an a la carte menu. You can't pick and choose once the opportunities are gone.

The only way the Democrats can lose this election, as I see it, is to fail to embrace and stay ahead of the exploding buyer's remorse now coming into focus over the quagmire in Iraqnam. The RFK analogy is with us still, in the person of Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich is RFK for 2004--the late-surging candidate whose war stance-deemed opportunistic by some, too establishment by others--represents the hope of the party but whose candidacy, alas, is not to be: RFK's because he was shot in the head, and DJK's because he was shot in the image, budget, soul...take your pick. But it doesn't graft well a generation later. No bullets were necessary to doom Kucinich's candidacy, and no matter what changes between now and July, it is exceedingly unlikely that Democrats in the "disciplined," slick "modern" era would abandon the walking disaster that is the Kerry candidacy--although they should be thinking hard about it.

But of course, it's beside my point. Who cares who's running in November? Impeach the bastards now. By the time the dust settles and the indictments are all handed out, we may well have come far enough down the chain of succession to where a new government might mean something: Bernie Sanders, or Kucinch, and Barbara Lee. Full speed ahead....


© 2004 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit and link to Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse School. His website is at

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