Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Top Ten Screwups: How many are impeachable?

Juan Cole points out that the Bush Administration's misteps are Iraq's sufferings. His list of the Top Ten Mistakes the Bush Administration made in going after al-Qaeda makes me wonder: how many of them are impeachable, violations of international law, or just broken promises? Let's see...
1. Bush vastly exaggerates al-Qaeda's size, sweep and importance, while failing to invest in genuine counterterrorist measures such as port security or security for US nuclear plants.
I suppose that could be seen as "dereliction of duty" which would be considered a crime in military circles.
2. Bush could have eradicated the core al-Qaeda group by putting resources into the effort in 2002. He did not...
see above
3. Bush opened a second front against Iraq before he had put Afghanistan on a sound footing.
Stupidity is not criminal. Not even in Presidents
4. Bush gutted the US constitution, tossing out the Fourth Amendment, by assiduously spying on Americans without warrants. None of those spying efforts has been shown to have resulted in any security benefits for the United States. ...
5. Bush attempted to associate the threat from al-Qaeda with Iran and Syria. ... Bush and Cheney have cynically used a national tragedy to further their aggressive policies of Great Power domination.
Unless it's under oath, I can't see that being impeachable. Though, under the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal standard of "conspiracy to wage agressive war" (which was a pretty weak echo of Nuremberg, I'm afraid) they're toast.
6. Bush by invading Iraq pushed the Iraqi Sunni Arabs to desert secular Arab nationalism. ... Bush has spread political Islam and has strengthened its influence.
Stupidity still isn't criminal. Not even for Presidents.
7. Bush diverted at least $1,000,000,000 in US security spending from the counter-terrorism struggle against al-Qaeda to the Iraq debacle, at the same time that he has run up half a trillion dollar annual deficits, contributing to a spike in inflation, harming the US economy, and making the US less effective in counterterrorism.
see above. If we start criminalizing bad economic policy, we're all criminals. At least those of us with credit card balances....
8. Counterterrorism requires friendly allies and close cooperation. ... Bush is widely despised and has left America isolated in the world. Virtually all the publics of all major nations hate US policy.
They don't vote; no wonder the administration spin machine can't handle them
9. Bush transported detainees to torture sites in Eastern Europe. Under European Union laws, both torture and involvement in torture are illegal,and European officials can be tried for these crimes. How many European counterterrorism officials will want to work closely with the Americans if, for all they know, this association could end in jail time? Indeed, in Washington it is said that a lot of our best CIA officers are leaving, afraid that they are being ordered to do things that are illegal, and for which they could be tried once another administration comes to power in Washington.
Yes, plus it's strategically stupid. Bush has been very sparing in his use of pardon authority, and has proven entirely willing to let underlings and foot-soldiers hang in his stead. Loyalty, however highly valued in the abstract, is not a one-way street.
10. Bush's failure to capture Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri allows them to continue to grandstand, to continue to frighten the public, to continue to affect financial markets, and to continue to plot. ... If al-Qaeda does pull off another American operation, it may well give Bush and Cheney an opportunity to destroy the US constitution altogether, finally giving Bin Laden his long-sought revenge on Americans for the way he believes they have forced Palestinians and other Muslims to live under lawless foreign domination or local tyranny.
There's stupidity and there's malice: the stupidity is proven, but the malice is still inchoate potential. Can't impeach on that, though we really ought to be able to bring down a few of the underlings. interfering with military operations and discipline ought to be enough to smoke out some of the more obvious political operatives: how many Scooters do they have in this administration?

Speaking of impeachment fodder, how about the new information about when Bush (and Blair) were resolved to go to war in Iraq and what they were prepared to do to get there? That's a pretty clear case of consipiracy to violate international law, a better indictment than most of the "legal victories" the administration has achieved in Federal court.

Speaking of screwups, did you know that we take hostages and abuse family members as interrogration tactics? No, I'm not kidding. That's how we add fuel to the insurgency.

This isn't impeachable either, though it ought to be: Bush Administration takes budget priorities from Peter Singer.

Don't think impeachment is possible? There is real momentum and the Administration is actually concerned [via]. It's becoming Mainstream Media fodder, and the usual plaints about our republican-not-democratic political system are starting to be heard (get over it, and get on with the actual work, will you?)

My own roundup of impeachment charges and possibilities is here. Shout them down!

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