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“The question now is whether it is simply too late to achieve President Bush’s goal of a stable and democratic Iraq “, this from a NY Times November 12 article by David Sanger and Scott Shane. The thought is presented not as conjecture but as fact, his goal not professed, but held. It is hard to think of a more flattering compliment to pay the President, worthy of a sycophant but not a watchdog. Coming as it does at the President’s lowest ebb makes it all the more puzzling.
Then we have the about-face from Representatives Pelosi and Conyers, taking impeachment “off the table”. Quoting from Cindy Sheehan’s open letter of November 12 addressed to them:
” BushCo have openly committed egregious crimes which they have all admitted to. The question really isn’t: should they be impeached, but why haven’t they been impeached, removed from office and criminally charged and tried for these crimes, yet?….The investigation and eventual rubber stamp to begin impeachment proceedings against Nixon was a bi-partisan effort and Nixon wasn’t even investigated for the level of crimes that BushCo should be investigated for.”
And we can certainly adduce the Clinton impeachment proceedings as not rising to the level of offense that we witness from the present administration. The apparent contradiction may be explained by an about-face of another kind– it can be argued that it is precisely the egregiousness of the present crimes that insulates them from official scrutiny.
The Nixon and Clinton cases had a “housecleaning” aspect to them. Both were guilty of inside jobs, Clinton’s being the coarser. As with any housecleaning it was possible to go on feeling good about yourself afterwards. Using the jargon of the banal commercial, “what happens here stays here.”
This is not the case if the Bush/Cheney administration is thoroughly investigated. Planning, preparing, initiating, or waging of a war of aggression reaches the Nuremberg standard. It is a Crime against Peace, the supreme international crime “differing from other war crimes only in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”. That would be torture. Humiliation. Terror. This would most certainly not “stay here”.
Instead, such an admission of guilt would sully not just the guilty parties but the abstraction known as the United States of America, its cloak stained for all time. There is immense pressure, much of it self-felt, not to let this happen. Politicians are around to the next election cycle and merely inherit the structure of establishment policy set firmly in place. There will be little collective energy for an upheaval that will shake this establishment. Sadly, for those seeking justice, it was all done in our name.
JAMES ROTHENBERG can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org