Created on Wednesday, 17 January 2007 23:33
Written by Andrew Bard Schmookler
by Andrew Bard Schmookler
Iâ€™ve expended some virtual ink here laying out my thoughts, post election, regarding the idea of impeachment. In a nutshell, Iâ€™ve said that while the Bushites deserve impeachment like none others in American history, the Democrats should proceed very carefully if at all to make sure that they do not play into the Bushitesâ€™ hands and lose the center of the American electorate. What I had in mind was that the Dems conduct the right kinds of hearings in the right way, and see how things evolve.
But of course, the situation in the system evolves in other ways as well. And with the Bushitesâ€™ latest military gambit â€“the so-called surge, as president in GWBâ€™s talk to the nation this past weekâ€“ may lead to a different scenario from any Iâ€™d imagined before. My purpose here is to lay out a conceibable scenario that may lead to impeachment sooner and for different reasons than Iâ€™d envisioned before.
1) Signs are accumulating that the new Bushite gambit is NOT about Iraq but about expanding the existing disaster in Iraq into a wider regional war, with Iran in particular as the target.
Among these signs are a) some language in the presidentâ€™s statement, b) the replacement of the commander of American forces in Iraq by a Navy man whose expertise has nothing to do with the kind of war being fought in Iraq but would be appropriate for managing an air assault on Iran, and c) the the sending of a carrier fleet to the Persian Gulf.
Iâ€™m not yet ready to say that the launching of a new war is
really what all this is about, but it would not be the first time that
this gang had lied us into a conflict. And the possibility seems real
enough to justify thinking through the implications of the possibility.
2) It is clear that there are many in Congress â€“including some
Republicansâ€“ who want to stop this administration from unilaterally
escalating and expanding Americaâ€™s involvement in war in that region. A
variety of possible checks are being discussed, from using the power of
the purse to revoking the presidentâ€™s authorization to use force to the
War Powers Act.
Even if the Bushites are NOT trying to expand the war beyond Iraq,
their incredible defiance not only of the message from the electorate
in November and of the Baker-Hamilton report, but of reality, seems to
be evoking significant opposition not only from Democrats in Congress
but from Republicans as well.
3) It is also pretty clear that the Bushites will not recognize the
authority of Congress to prevent the president from doing whatever he
wishes to do. Not only is there a long record of this administrationâ€™s
making claims of virtually unchecked power for the
â€œcommander-in-chief,â€ but such statements are continuing as Congress
and the administration appear to be moving toward a constitutional
confrontation over these matters of checks and balances.
4) The question then arises over how this confrontation will be
resolved. Perhaps the issues could be taken to the Supreme Court. With
that scenario, I wonder two things: first, would it be possible to get
a resolution in a timely way, i.e. before the â€œcommander-in-chiefâ€
might have taken the actions forbidden him by Congress; second, could
one count on the Court â€“with its new members Roberts and Alitoâ€“ to come
down against the Bushite interpretation in which the president gets the
power of an autocrat? Might Congress decide that resolving the specific
issues through the Court would not be a workable solution?
That leads to the final point.
5) Perhaps it is in the context of such a struggle that a bi-partisan
majority in Congress could conceivably decide that the best way to
block the Bushites from compounding the disaster theyâ€™ve created would
be simply to remove them from office. After all, it would not be
difficult at all to find the legal bases of â€œhigh crimes and
misdemeanorsâ€ on which to base an impeachment.
Thus, the Bushitesâ€™ latest gambit may change the picture regarding the
chances for impeachment. Previously, Congress might well have
calculated that with less than two years left in Bushâ€™s second term,
removing him from office would not achieve enough to warrant the mess
and hassle of an impeachment. But now, if enough in Congress feel that
an impeachment is the surest way to prevent this gang from creating a
whole new disaster, immediate removal might seem important and not
Previously, it has seemed that not that many members of Congress have
felt, as many of us do, that the defense of something so abstract as
the Constitution and the rule of law required them to expose and punish
the lawlessness of this regime. But even for people who donâ€™t take
seriously such abstractions, the concrete matter of expanding the
present disaster into a still larger disaster of regional war might
provoke them into action.
Iâ€™m not saying that I necessarily expect that things will unfold in
this way. But this now seems at least a genuine possibility.
The recklessness and ruthlessness of the Bushites continually surprise,
and take us into waters dark and dangerous and unforeseen.