Things are not looking so hot for the Bush administration. The smell of “impeachment” is in the air. A couple of Democrats are finally making a stink over the Downing Street minutes and major news outlets have found the courage to run with the story. US misconduct at Gitmo has been exposed and confirmed by the Pentagon. Donny Rumsfeld himself admitted this past week that Iraq isn’t any safer than it was before the fall of Saddam. And now prominent Republicans in the House of Representatives are calling Bush a neo-con and demanding him to end the war in Iraq, ASAP.
Yep, you read that last sentence correct. The first of the House Republicans to speak out on television against the “neo-con invasion” was Mr. “Freedom Fries” himself, North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones. As Jones told the news program, This Week, he now believes that neo-cons within the Republican Party are to blame for pushing an illegitimate war on Iraq.
Based on what Jones called “bad intelligence,” the Bush administration tricked Congress into supporting the invasion. Initially Jones supported the Iraq war and even went as far as to blast France for their opposition to Bush’s foray. But things have changed since then.
The Representative will be introducing a bill in the House later this week, which is to call on President Bush to outline an exit strategy at once. Whether or not the exit strategy is compliant with the goals of the antiwar movement remains to be seen, but dissent within his own party can’t help Bush’s already plummeting popularity.
Rep. Jones isn’t the only Republican to publicly denounce the Iraq invasion. On Tuesday’s “after hours” segment of The House, televised on CSPAN, Tennessee Republican Rep. John Duncan, along with Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican, called on Bush “to order a phased and orderly withdrawal from Iraq.”
Rep. Duncan in his televised speech recounted a briefing he had with George Tenet in 2002 in which Tenet assured him that Saddam posed absolutely “no threat” to the United States. Duncan exclaimed that this was only a brief time before Tenet spoke to the President about the Saddam danger. Duncan, like Jones, said that he was convinced the neo-con war was not carried out in order to protect the United States from Saddam.
Distancing himself from the neo-cons Duncan exclaimed, “This is not a conservative war some people call conservatives isolationists … this war has isolated us from the rest of the world. I have traveled widely and I have experienced this.”
Duncan went on to admit that the US “can’t be a nation that seeks empire across the globe … that seems to be what we are doing. Polls in Iraq show that a large majority of the Iraqi people view us as occupiers, not liberators. We should not be mouthing these thoughtless clichs like ‘we can’t cut and run.”
Perhaps impeachment is around the corner and the Republicans are trying to save face by distancing themselves from the Bush administration. A handful of traditional conservatives like Pat Buchanan and Paul Craig Roberts have been railing the neo-cons for sometime – and it seems their dissent is starting to catch fire in the House. Let’s hope the flames they’ve sparked spread to the White House and smoke Bush right out of office.
JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the forthcoming book, Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, to be published by Common Courage Press. You can pre-order a copy at discounted rate at www.BrickBurner.org. Josh can be reached at: Joshua@BrickBurner.org.