This is a relevant question given the following books that bear witness and testament to the incompetence and deliberate deceit of President George W. Bush. Can the US risk another MidEast, I-am the-Commander-in-Chief fiasco ? Can the country withstand 8 more months of dismantling hard-earned constitutional and practical political controls on power? Can the US afford to let the man go Scott Free? Or shall the US allow George Bush to build his Presidential library and bask in the plenitude that his well heeled and well re-imbursed supporters will surely fete him with ? Meanwhile, the next President, regardless of being Democrat or Republican, will have will have to pick up the following governmental ruins from the Bush/Cheney Presidency:
Against All Enemies: Summer 2004 and Your Government Failed You: May 2008 by Richard A. Clarke, National Security Adviser to both the Clinton and Bush administrations – like Al Gore’s book Assault on Reason, Clarke establishes that a)the Bush Administration had at least 3 major opportunities to “connect the dots” prior to the the attack on 9/11, b)that the Bush administration willfully and skillfully deceived the American public on the reasons for Iraq War, and c)again the Bush administration willfully deceived and ducked the resposibility for the long list of torture sites including Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, and several 3rd country sites throughout the world. And then in 2008 State of the Union Speech, Bush has the to use deceitful “we don’t torture in America” – translation=> “not in the USA and not what I as Imperial President deem to be torture. That is how this statement qualifies to be the truth”. But Clarke does not stop here but goes onto describe the Katrina fiasco and political and business opportunism that is gutting Homeland Security spending and efforts.
Broken Government: by John Dean ,White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, September 2007 – in the third of his New York Times bestsellers “Dean takes the broadest and deepest view yet of the dysfunctional chaos and institutional damage that the Republican Party and its core conservatives have inflicted on the federal government. He assesses the state of all three branches of government, tracing their decline through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Unlike most political commentary, which is concerned with policy, Dean looks instead at process”. Again, there is a repeat of the dismantling by Bush and Republicans of good processes in all 3 branches of the federal government.
A Tragic Legacy: by Glen Greenwald journalist, April 2008 – This book returns to the theme that the moralistic, narrow, and end-justifies-the-means attitude of President Bush was the root cause of his catastrophic failures. This is much too narrow as there was clearly a cabal of similar thinkers plotting the deceptions of the Iraq war and the dismemberment of Judicial and Legislative control and checks on the Imperial-leaning White House. I nominate VP Dick Cheney for equal if not greater complicity.
Assault on Reason by Al Gore, vice president of the US, May 2007 – The first major politician to describe the mendacity and imperial seizure of power of the Bush/Cheney White House. It is chilling to read the other book accounts here because they underline the almost every one of the arguments made by Al Gore. The one arena that is ommitted is the Bush promises in the 2000 presidential campaign to bring new environmental efforts during his presidency where as almost immediately upon taking office Bush started to dismantle environmental agency, laws, and accords such as the Kyoto Carbon protocols.
America, the Next Chapter: by Chuck Hagel, Republican Senator from Nebraska, March 2008 – Republican Senior Senator from Nebraska describes the nature of Changes that the Presidential Candidates are now espousing. The two themes that the Senator returns to are 1)the cynicism and duplicitous lying by Bush administration officials especially regarding the War and 2) the rancor and viperous partisan politics that now paralyzes effective action in Washington.
Bush’s Law: by Eric Lichtbau, New York Times reporter, April 2008 – “Bush€™s Law is an unparalleled and authoritative investigative report on the hidden internal struggles over secret programs and policies that tore at the constitutional fabric of the country and, ultimately, brought down an attorney general.”
What Happened: by Scott McClellan President George Bush’s Press Secretary for 2 years and 9 months, May 2008– This book confirms from direct Presidential sources that George Bush, Dick Cheney and their administration deliberately and systematically deceived Congress, the Press, and the Public on the reasons and rationales for going to war against Iraq.
So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits–and the President–Failed on Iraq by George Mitchell journalist, March 2008 – “In early 2003, Greg Mitchell was one of the few mainstream journalists to seriously question the stated reasons for invading Iraq. In the years since, he has repeatedly challenged the media to probe the conduct of the war and its toll on our troops. Now, after five years of war, he traces the conflict — from the “runup” to the “surge” — and the media’s coverage of it, in this important collection of commentaries “
Utter Incompetents: by Thomas Oliphant of the Boston Globe, November 2007 – recounts the Bush team’s hyperpoliticized approach to policy formation and unwillingness to consider information conflicting with their worldview. …[he is] saying American history contains few examples of such a pervasive, systemic, persistent record of blunders by a national administration, much less an equally persistent record of a myopic refusal to face the facts”.
Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values by Phillippe Sands, May 2008 – The Subtitle tells the tale and gives credence to others accounts of the Bush Administration’s shame – condoning torture in secrecy while denying in bald face lies that it is being done.
Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charles Savage Pulitzer Prize reporter for Boston Globe, September 2007 – Savage details how President Bush and Dick Cheney have acted in concert to increase the imperial power of the presidency. This includes not just signing statement in which the President reserves the right to defy the legislation he is signing into law, but also unauthorized wiretaps and claims to be able to unilaterally negate treaties with other countries.
A Time to Fight: by James Webb, Democratic Senator from Virginia, May 2008 – Returns to the issue of deception and incompetence in the Bush/Cheney Iraq War but springboards that to an assessment of broader ills – an incarceration society with jails now overflowing and more per capita than any other developed country, the problem of poverty with a growing wealth imbalance in the country further accelerated by the Bush Tax Cuts, and the dangerous accretion of power especially in the Bush executive branch.
This list of a dozen books highly critical of the Bush/Cheney administration a)could easily be tripled in size; b)reflect the observations of many Republicans as well as non partisan reporters and observers of the scene; and c)garnered not less than a 4.5 reviewers rating on Amazon and BarnesandNoble book sites. No wonder change is the number one issue in the upcoming Presidential election.
Impeachment is not Operative.
lets be frank, President Bush’s culpable negligence on 9/11 and then lies and deceptions on going to and prosecuting the war in Iraq alone would provide ample grounds for impeachment. And impeachment would certainly curtail Bush’s opportunity to do more damage to the country. But for some obvious reasons it is not operative:
1)If you impeach Bush, you get Cheney, even worse. One would have to do a doublehitter – impeach Bush and then upon taking office, immediately impeach Cheney.
2)So late in the Bush administration, impeachment could weaken the US and provide some nasty players opportunities for adventurism.
3)Impeachment has been one of the sources for severe partisan and polarized politics.The Republicans got back at the Democrats by impeaching Bill Clinton for a peccadillo others throughout the World have tolerated in their politicians for scores of years. This was payback for the “impeachment” of Republican President Richard Nixon. The US can hardly afford such tit-for-tat escalations.
4)The Republicans have ruined their brand, “We know best how to govern” with George Bush. They know it and have seen the consequences in recent Congressional by elections. This could make them reckless in the upcoming elections. Why not just let the electorate inflict the appropriate punishment by turfing them out of office in both the Presidency and Congress. So let the people have the first opportunity to punish the culprits without polarizing the population.
However the problem lingers that Bush/Cheney have 8 months to make mischief and have shown a willingness to do so. The recent move to expedite legal preceding against the Guantanamo inmates before the Supreme Court ruled on its process and constitutionality, the vetoing of the SCHIP extension of Medical care to children without medical insurance, the threat to veto a GI Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, the continued insistence on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans – there is a long list items where Bush/Cheney are playing a politically devious lame-duck end game with little regard for the country because they are serene in their assurance that their base will stay loyal and even if the Democrats win it will be a tiny minority easily reversed in the next election cycle.
Be Prepared to Censure the President
Already, the Judicial branch even though it is loaded with Republican and Bush appointees, has shown a willingness to curb the presidents actions vis a vis the treatment of foreign prisoners according them Habeas Corpus rights. Congress, must be prepared to Censure and rebuke the President if he takes Executive actions which endanger US norms and well being.
But ultimately, the people will have to act intelligently. And unfortunately, the Politics of Fear, Deception and Demagoguery have won the day. The people have to live with what they paid for not once but twice. The French have a wonderful, short and pithy expression for this situation – C’est dommage. It is a pity.