By Chuck Terzella
Well, it's summertime and an once again Washington watchers are gearing up for that age old pastime: that's right folks...it's Impeachment Season. The warm and balmy months in our nations capitol are traditionally a time for frolicking poolside and attempting to bring down our nations leaders.
It will be remembered by the half dozen Americans who actually pay attention to what their nations leaders are doing that Presidents Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan all faced impeachment, or at least the threat of it, during the summer months. Now, apparently, it's George W. Bush's turn.
The revelation of what has become known as the "Downing Street Memo" and which may come to be referred to as the Real Downer Memo by White House insiders has begun to reverberate throughout the halls of Congress and the Senate, prompting Democrats and even some Republicans to call for a formal investigation into when exactly President Bush decided to bomb the crap out Baghdad. Bits and pieces of evidence suggest that it was as early as November of 2001, or a full fifteen months before the invasion began, something that the Bush Administration has long denied. Those same bits and pieces also seem to suggest that George Bush and his staff were not just committed to war, they were also willing to manufacture the pretext to support it.
Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's report that discounted the Administration's claim that Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake from Niger in an attempt to manufacture nuclear weapons earned him the approbation of the Administration in general and of White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove in particular; the result was the vindictive outing of Wilson's wife undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame by Conservative columnist and White House confidant Robert Novak. Revealing the name of a Central Intelligence Agency operative is a treasonous crime, but at this point neither Karl Rove nor Robert Novak has suffered from any fallout from doing just that. Instead the Administration continued to use the discredited information as one of it's pretexts for war.
The Downing Street Memo and related British documents also point out that Great Britain was worried that while the United States certainly had the military capability to invade Iraq and destroy it's army the Bush Administration never bothered to take in account the aftermath of that invasion other than blithely assuming that the Iraqi people would welcome the invaders with open arms. This assumption on America's part fell a bit short of the mark. Now, with American casualties mounting, the nation of Iraq still in turmoil more than two years after the invasion and no solid American plan for pacifying the country, allegations of torture and prisoner abuse by the Army at the Abu Grab an Guantanamo Bay prisons and a growing insurgency in both Iraq and Afghanistan, even some stalwart Republican supporters of the President are beginning to question the pretext for the war and it's aftermath.
The White House however is continuing to refuse admit that it's pretexts for war were mistaken, although it has been forced to acknowledge that there never were any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. One by one, all the reasons it gave to justify invasion... that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks, that Iraq was harboring and aiding terrorists, that Saddam Hussein could launch a massive bio-chemical attack in as little as forty five minutes...have all been disproved. Ironically, George Bush has been forced to fall back on the one justification that before the invasion even he said wasn't a valid reason to attack; namely that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator and the world would be better off without him.
Up until the Downing Street Memo, these revelations have only pointed to the Bush Administration being politically and strategically inept which, given the nature of American politics, is not illegal. However, the evidence is mounting that George Bush and his staff deliberately misled Congress and the American people in order to bring about a war with Iraq, which most certainly is a crime.
Whether this war was waged to distract the public from the Administrations intelligence failures that led to 9/11, or the White House's desire to secure another base of operations in the Middle East in response to the growing antipathy by the Saudi Arabian people to American military installations in that country, or to secure not just Iraq's vast oil reserves but also to control the water supplies of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the arid Middle East or something so elemental as the desire for revenge against a man who tried to assassinate the President's father is still a matter of conjecture. Maybe it's all of the above. What is certain is that barring some additional Administration slight of hand that will distract the American peoples growing concern about the war and it's costs, President Bush faces a long, hot summer.
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