FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Impeaching the Symptom, Not the Disease

I feel like I’m watching a sitcom called “America.” Next episode: Will they impeach the president? Stay tuned!

“Impeachment is therefore imperative, not only to protect the integrity of next year’s elections but to secure America’s continued democratic existence. If the House does its job, it will fall to Senate Republicans to reveal, in their decision to convict (or not), their preferred flavor of republic: constitutional or banana.”

So writes Will Wilkinson in a recent New York Times op-ed, making the case that Donald Trump definitely stepped over the line on July 25, when he pushed Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky to come up with some dirt on Joe Biden so that his country could receive $391 million in promised U.S. military aid. And yes, yes, this is as blatant, raw and slimy as corruption gets — like, my God, here’s a big-city political boss running the world! Impeach now or else . . .

And yes, I get it and don’t disagree. Trump is a shameless buffoon, a racist, a threat to the country and the planet and definitely should not be in the position of Most Powerful Man in the World.

But as I read about Ukraine-gate (or whatever this is) — all the shock, all the outrage — something keeps me from jumping wholeheartedly into the impeachment furor: the unspoken assumption that the United States is a solid, integrity-fortified democracy and force for good on Planet Earth, and Trump alone endangers this. In other words, this ain’t no banana republic (and let us quietly avoid thinking about all the banana republics we’ve supported and helped create over the years).

Trump may be a pioneer in bringing reckless, unrestrained narcissism into the role of national leadership, but he’s also a symptom of something wrong with this country that far transcends his stumbling ineptitude.

For instance . . . in case you’ve forgotten . . . we’re still engaged in pointless wars that no leader knows how to — or is allowed to — end, which have faded conveniently into background noise, except for occasional spurts of reportage, e.g.:

“A US drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State hideout in Afghanistan has killed at least 30 civilians who were resting after harvesting pine nuts.”

So Reuters informed us several weeks ago, adding: “Forty people were also injured in the attack on Wednesday night which struck farmers and laborers who had just finished their day’s work at the mountainous Wazir Tangi in eastern Nangarhar province. . . .

“‘The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them,’” a tribal elder told Reuters.

In a slightly different context — say the killings had been committed at a Walmart’s in El Paso, not a forest outside Jalalabad, and the weapon had been an automatic rifle rather than a drone — this would be called mass murder. Instead we call it war, and forget about it.

Or, as a U.S. military spokesman said: “We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts.”

That’s reassuring!

Finally, the story points out: “The United Nations says nearly 4,000 civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of the year. That included a big increase in casualties inflicted by government and U.S.-led foreign forces.”

So 18 years on, we’re still fighting some kind of war in Afghanistan, or combating terrorists, though in the process we’re killing more civilians than they are. We’re also fighting and funding wars throughout the Middle East, including in Iraq. That was the war — remember? — birthed in lies so damning they bury Trump’s stream of “alternative facts” under a million corpses.

This starts to get at something. There was never an impeachment bandwagon aimed at George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or the other liars who fabricated the excuse for a little shock and awe. Indeed, while there were worldwide protests against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the mainstream American media were all for it, turning prewar coverage into Operation Groupthink and marginalizing everyone who had his or her doubts about it.

Indeed, militarism and the pursuit of empire have been the norm for a long time. In April 1953, three months into his presidency, Dwight Eisenhower cried out to the American public about the insanity of military spending: “This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” Yet the Cold War, and military spending, grew during the Eisenhower presidency and continued thereafter, as though driven by a hidden, uncontainable force.

This is a force that has seldom made an appearance in presidential debates or campaigns. Certainly it’s one of the forces behind gerrymandering and voter suppression. As far as I can tell, it’s not a force within the reach of democracy.

Impeaching Trump would . . get rid of Trump, or at least begin the process to do so. That’s about it. The rest of our problems would remain in place.

More articles by:

Robert Koehler is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
Farzana Versey
What Religion is Your Nationalism?
Clark T. Scott
The Focus on Trump Reveals the Democrat Model
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Do Bernie’s Supporters Know What “Not Me, Us” Means? Does Bernie?
Peter Harley
Aldo Leopold, Revisited
Winslow Myers
A Presidential Speech the World Needs to Hear
Christopher Brauchli
The Chosen One
Jim Britell
Misconceptions About Lobbying Representatives and Agencies
Ted Rall
Trump Gets Away with Stuff Because He Does
Mel Gurtov
Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the Insecurity of China’s Leadership
Nicky Reid
Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard and the Slow Death of the Democratic Delusion
Tom H. Hastings
Cross-Generational Power to Change
John Kendall Hawkins
1619: The Mighty Whitey Arrives
Julian Rose
Why I Don’t Have a Mobile Phone
David Yearsley
Parasitic Sounds
Elliot Sperber
Class War is Chemical War
December 05, 2019
Colin Todhunter
Don’t Look, Don’t See: Time for Honest Media Reporting on Impacts of Pesticides
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail