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Why is Bush still in office? May 23, 2007

Posted by Wilz in Society.
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impeach-bush.jpg
Image borrowed from timoregan.com

Why did the United States impeach President Bill Clinton for having sexual relationship (which is his own damn business in my opinion) but not do the same against President George W. Bush who lied to the whole country to send it to war (among other things)?

Before anyone accuses me of not understanding why Clinton was impeached – ya ya – I know it was based on accounts of perjury and obstruction of justice. Seriously dude? He lied about having an affair, and he tried to tell his mistress not to say anything about it. Wow – what a crime! You’d imagine that he was raping young girls in the White House. Doubting his honesty and integrity? Since leaving the White House, the things this dude has done is one of the reasons why I think there is hope for this world. Lowering life-saving AIDS prices in third world countries is his latest achievement.

This question of why Bush have not been impeached have weighed on my mind for some time, and I have yet to see an article that successfully discusses it. This is probably due to the fact that impeachment was a no-no topic due to the high US public support for the war until recently. With opinions of the war on an all time low, and the general opinion being that Bush did lie to his country to push them to war, people have started talking about it. With the severity of his crimes to his people, why haven’t he been impeached? A friend of mine (thanks Joon Hoong) tossed me a link today that discusses the issue really well in my opinion. I strongly recommend this article. However, reproductions of text I thought was significant for those too lazy to click through :

Bush’s unpopularity is mostly a result of Iraq, which most Americans now believe was a colossal mistake and a war we cannot win. But his problems go far beyond Iraq. His administration has been dogged by one massive scandal after the other, from the Katrina debacle, to Bush’s approval of illegal wiretapping and torture, to his unparalleled use of “signing statements” to disobey laws he disagrees with, to the outrageous Gonzales and U.S. attorneys affair.

And this snippet on why politics sucks :

Why? Why was Clinton, who was never as unpopular as Bush, impeached for lying about sex, while Bush faces no sanction for the far more serious offense of lying about war?

The main reason is obvious: The Democrats think it’s bad politics. Bush is dying politically and taking the GOP down with him, and impeachment is risky. It could, so the cautious Beltway wisdom has it, provoke a backlash, especially while the war is still going on. Why should the Democrats gamble on hitting the political jackpot when they’re likely to walk away from the table big winners anyway?

This part is scary because it is so true :

The unpleasant truth is that Bush did what a lot of Americans wanted him to. And when it became clear after the fact that Bush had lied about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, it made no sense for those Americans to turn on him. Truth was never their major concern anyway — revenge was. And if we took revenge on the wrong person, well, better a misplaced revenge than none at all.

For those who did not completely succumb to the desire for primitive vengeance but were convinced by Bush’s fraudulent arguments about the threat posed by Saddam, the situation is more ambiguous. Now that his arguments have been exposed and the war has become a disaster, they feel let down, even betrayed — but not enough to motivate them to call for Bush’s impeachment. This is because they cannot exorcise the still-mainstream view that Bush’s lies were justifiable and even noble, Straussian untruths told in support of what Bush believed to be a good cause. According to this line of thinking, since Bush and his neocon brain trust really believed that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous tyrant, the lies they told in whipping up support for war were, while reprehensible, somewhat forgivable.

Forgivable? FORGIVABLE?!? (Of course, the author isn’t talking about his own opinion – just how he perceives people’s opinions are.) As I said during a long and heated debate with a friend some years ago during the start of all this nonsense in Iraq, for some of us, the decision to go to war, however explainable or excusable, is not one that can be made lightly. Some of us think that under the circumstances, a war which solves nothing is wrong, plain and simple.

And this is probably the conclusion that makes the most sense :

The problem is that the American people are not judging Bush by the standards of law. The Bush years have further weakened America’s once-proud status as a nation of laws, not of men. The law, for Bush, is like language for Humpty Dumpty: it means just what he chooses it to mean, neither more nor less. This attitude has become disturbingly widespread — which may explain why Bush’s illegal wiretapping, his approval of torture, and his administration’s partisan purge of U.S. district attorneys have not resulted in wider outrage.

[…]

A corollary to the decline of logic is our acceptance of the universality of spin. It no longer seems odd to us that a president should lie to get what he wants. In this regard, Bush, the most sanctimonious of presidents, must be seen as having degraded traditional American values more than the most relativist, Nietzsche-spouting postmodernist.

All of these factors — the sacrosanct status of war, the public’s complicity in an irrational demonstration of raw power, the loss of respect for law, logic and memory, the bland acceptance of spin and lies, the public unconcern about the fraudulence of Bush’s actions — have created a situation in which it is widely accepted that Bush’s lies about Iraq were not impeachable or even that scandalous, but merely a matter of policy.

Isn’t that the truth. Spin and ‘policy’ over law and truth. A lot of this is discussed by Al Gore in his latest book Assault on Reason, dealing with how the American democracy failed them, and why it has happened. Here’s an excerpt from TIME. How I wish to read that book. Someone get it for me in my Amazon wish list? :)

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Comments»

1. zhiyuan - May 27, 2007

Conspiracy theories said Clinton is impeached by Republicans. Conspiracy theories also said Republicans don’t like Clinton because he is not pro-war and weak against American Colonization. On the other hand, Bush has the support of the huge war-related industries (which own the media), and the oil tycoons. Imagine a Democrat suggested to impeach Mr Semak Samun and all of a sudden several Haliburton and Exxon Mobil lobbyists awaits him in his office…
Assault on Reason should reach M’sia soon. And I’m also waiting for “Sicko”, looks good on trailer :)


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