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THEY IMPEACH MURDERERS, DON'T THEY? (english)
16 Jun 2003
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NEW YORK--George W. Bush told us that Iraq and Al Qaeda were working together. They weren't. He repeatedly implied that Iraq had had something to do with 9/11. It hadn't. He claimed to have proof that Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons of mass destruction. He didn't. As our allies watched in horror and disgust, Bush conned us into a one-sided war of aggression that killed and maimed thousands of innocent people, destroyed billions of dollars in Iraqi infrastructure, cost tens of billions of dollars, cost the lives of American soldiers, and transformed our international image as the world's shining beacon of freedom into that of a marauding police state. Presidents Nixon and Clinton rightly faced impeachment for comparatively trivial offenses; if we hope to restore our nation's honor, George W. Bush too must face a president's gravest political sanction.
As the Bush Administration sold Congress and the public on the "threat" posed by Saddam Hussein last winter, White House flack Ari Fleischer assured the American people: "The President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense would not assert as plainly and vocally as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it." That's unambiguous rhetoric. But since allied occupation forces have failed to find WMDs, Bush is backtracking: "I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out that they did have a weapons program," the C-in-C now says.
What's next? Claiming that Saddam had WMDs because, you know, you could just feel it?
A ferocious power struggle is taking place between Langley and the White House. "It's hard to tell if there was a breakdown in intelligence or a breakdown in the way intelligence was used," says Michele Flournoy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. No it's not. Career analysts at the Central and Defense Intelligence Agencies, furious at Bush for sticking them with the blame for the weapons scandal, are leaking prewar memoranda that indicate that the Administration covered up the spooks' assessments, making the case for war with a pile of lies constructed on a bedrock of oil-fueled greed.
A September 2002 DIA study said that there was "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons," but Bush ignored the report--and told us the exact opposite. After Bush used the discovery of two alleged mobile weapons labs to claim "we found the weapons of mass destruction," CIA "dissenters" shot back that Bush had lied about their reports and that they "doubted the trailers were used to make germ agents, not[ing] that the plants lacked gear for steam sterilization, which is typically necessary for making bioweapons." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld parried: "Any indication or allegation that the intelligence was in any way politicized, of course, is just false on its face...We haven't found Saddam Hussein either, but no one's doubting that he was there." Rummy also floated the CIA-debunked tale of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link.
Both factions are missing the point.
Calling for a full Congressional investigation, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) of the Armed Services Committee, says: "I think that the nation's credibility is on the line, as well as Bush's." But not even the discovery of a vast WMD arsenal should save Bush now. Assuming that one accepts preemption as a legitimate cause for war--and one ought not--you must possess airtight substantiation that a nation poses an imminent and significant threat before you drop bombs on its cities. Evidence that falls short of 100 percent proof, presented in advance, doesn't pass the pre-empt test.
Bush claimed to have that proof. He said that Iraq could deploy its biological and chemical weapons with just 45 minutes notice. He painted gruesome pictures of American cities in ruins, their debris irradiated by an Iraqi "dirty bomb." It was all a bald-faced lie, and lying presidents get impeached.
George W. Bush, like Richard Nixon, "endeavor[ed] to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency." George W. Bush, like Richard Nixon, "[made] or caus[ed] to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States." (The legalese comes from the first Article of Impeachment against Nixon, passed by the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 1974. Faced with certain impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, Nixon resigned two weeks later.)
In the words of Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment, George W. Bush "has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."
Nixon and Clinton escaped criminal prosecution for burglary, perjury and obstruction of justice. George W. Bush, however, stands accused as the greatest mass murderer in American history. The Lexington Institute estimates that the U.S. killed between 15,000 and 20,000 Iraqi troops during the fraudulently justified invasion of Iraq, plus 10,000 to 15,000 wounded. More than 150 U.S. soldiers were killed, plus more than 500 injured. A new Associated Press study of Iraqi civilian casualties confirms at least 3,240 deaths. Although Bush, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice denied such legal niceties to the concentration-camp inmates captured in their illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, these high-ranking Administration henchmen should be quickly turned over--after impeachment proceedings for what might properly be called Slaughtergate--to an international tribunal for prosecution of war crimes.
Anything less would be anti-American.
(Ted Rall is the author of "Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan," an analysis of the underreported Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project and the real motivations behind the war on terrorism. Ordering information is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.)
COPYRIGHT 2003 TED RALL