Friday, April 14, 2006

Impeachment is Not Enough

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The voices for impeachment grow louder and more numerous by the day. More Republicans are running from Bush than Democrats; it looks like a stampede. But impeachment now will only help the GOP hang on to power. Mere impeachment fails to address the numerous crises that our nation now faces.

Impeachment is not even a good stop gap measure and would most certainly fail to stop what appears to be an imminent nuclear strike against Iran. Impeachment now would only make it easier for the Republican party to retain control of both houses of Congress. Impeachment now would make Dick Cheney President. A Cheney impeachment would make Dennis Hastert President. A Hastert impeachment leaves us with the pro tempore of the Senate. After that –Condoleeza Rice! None of these are attractive alternatives. None of them address the crisis we face.

Bush is very credibly quoted as having said: “The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper!” It explains why he has clearly violated his oath of office –an oath he took but did not intend to honor.

So –what’s really needed is not the mere impeachment of crooked officials. What’s needed is a profound sea change throughout American culture. What’s needed is a velvet revolution via a new national convention, a new government re-committed to the principles of our Democratic Republic. What we need to do is to literally write George W. Bush and his entire administration out of a job! In fact, nothing positive can be done to reform until the nation faces an unpleasant fact: our government is rotten to the very core –evil, inefficient, crooked, and increasingly fascist, increasingly contemptuous of the very values we grew up with and revere.

Much has been made of Bush’s ex post facto declassification of information resulting in the “outing” of Valerie Plame. And much has been made of the effects: a subversion of American national security, treason! But as far as I know no one has written about an even worse crime. Bush has required of American soldiers that they carry out war crimes in the name of the United States. It is known that murders took place at Abu Ghraib. If what has been said of Abu Ghraib by the Bush administration itself is true, then those murders were “policy”. The policy itself is criminal but the defense –‘we were only following orders' –does not exculpate.

It is the nature of evil that its commission is never confined to one person, but spreads like a cancer. The war against Iraq, the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, the domination of our government “of the people” by the Military/Industrial complex, the ill-advised and often illegal domination of congress by American corporations –all of these things are evidence of a widespread rot literally shot-through American society. And while I especially blame the GOP for rewarding a tiny, radical elite while courting theocrats who most certainly despise our Constitution, Democrats must be faulted for having failed to oppose effectively. Democrats must be faulted for having failed to understand the nature of this threat to Democracy. Democrats must be faulted for having failed to articulate an alternative vision. Someone abandoned his/her post. Someone was asleep at the switch.

The issue is a lot bigger than Democrat vs. Republican, progressive vs. conservative. Only an entirely new paradigm can save America. The America of just one or two generations ago was a different America than the Fox/Walmart America of today. When did we become a fascist nation, espousing fascist values —and why didn’t we see it coming? Howard Zinn asked recently: “What does it take to bring a turnaround in social consciousness - from being a racist to being in favor of racial equality, from being in favor of Bush's tax program to being against it, from being in favor of the war in Iraq to being against it?” That’s the question and impeachment alone won’t answer it.

There are some in this country who believe that war is good for business, but, more properly, good for "war profiteers”. But at a time when the U.S. trade deficit is increasingly an issue, war itself threatens to become America’s chief export. War during Hitler's Third Reich was, similarly, good for business –for a while. Hitler's economy, indeed, boomed –for awhile.

We would like to think that it all turned “bad for business” when the Reich collapsed. But I'm not so sure. In fact, most of the perpetrators of Hitler’s Holocaust got away with it. Despite Simon Weisenthal's best efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, many of the corporate "war profiteers" were never brought to trial. The Bush family continued trading with Hitler even after America joined the war effort. That's just one example.

The corporate, economic power behind the Third Reich was largely untouched; I.G. Farben, for example, was merely broken up. A conglomerate, many of its "subsidiaries" still do business and are doing fine. One of them is Bayer Aspirin. Thyssen, likewise, still does business in America. The board room criminals who plan and profit from war are little affected it. As Dr. Gustav Gilbert, the American psychologist who interviewed and "analyzed" Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, concluded: evil is the lack of empathy! There is no "empathy" to be found in the board rooms of corporate war profiteers. Empathy has, of late, been demonized ala conservative subverters of the language: those with "empathy" are called "bleeding hearts!"

On another front, impeachment alone will not save the United States from creeping theocracy. The American right wing will still try to force the teaching of religion in public schools, will continue to debunk real science even as they celebrate and advocate junk science like “creationism” and “intelligent design”. The American right wing will still demonize Darwin and attribute to him positions he never took. The American right wing will still strive to make of our country a radical theocracy in which the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will become American “Mullahs”.

Mere impeachment will not restore the Bill of Rights —the very foundation of our freedom. How many times were the families of American servicemen told that their young men had made the ultimate sacrifice at Normandy and the battle fields of Europe for the ideals of American freedom. If that were so, why is the Bill of Rights now demonized by the GOP, Bush, and the right wing in general? Why are the Bill of Rights under seige by an unconstitutional domestic spying scheme for which Bush has no legal authority under the Fourth Amendment? And most recently, MSNBC warns of an emerging national secret police:

...America’s Secret Police?

An informal panel of senior Pentagon officials has been holding a series of unannounced private meetings during the past several weeks about how to proceed with a possible merger between the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), a post-9/11 Pentagon creation that has been accused of domestic spying, and the Defense Security Service (DSS), a well-established older agency responsible for inspecting the security arrangements of defense contractors. DSS also maintains millions of confidential files containing the results of background investigations on defense contractors’ employees.
Evil is insidious but also —as we were told so profoundly by Hannah Arendt —banal. [See: Eichmann in Jerusalem] Don't expect Dick Cheney and George Bush et al to reveal themselves by snorting fire, projectile puking green bile, or cackling maniacally when they nuke Iran. Would it were so easy! The reality of evil is more mundane. If fundies can explain the universe with "God did it", they will justify wars of aggression with "God has ordained it!” And even then, Bush's gang of NeoCons lied this nation into war. As Voltaire put it: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Considering the fact that corporate crooks now rule our nation, global warming seems irreversible and a nuclear strike against Iran may be imminent, one is reminded of this bit of gallows humor:

The doctor told his patient:

"My God, man, you're going to die in five minutes!”

"Gee, Doc!!!! Is there anything you can do?"

"I could boil you an egg!?!"
'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission

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