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12/18/2005

Responsible? then resign or be impeached

  9:53 pm

The President wants to do the right thing and take responsibility for starting a war that has admitedly cost tens of thousands and in all likelyhood over a hundred thousand lives. And the criminality of starting this war goes beyond the obvious loss of life. Many have been tortured, and many have turned to indiscriminate acts of violence. The Iraqi society is in ruins and there are fears of outright civil war. Remember what happened when Yugoslavia fell apart?

Unfortunately, this claim of responsibility is rhetorical and hopeless. When a criminal murders someone and is found guilty, he goes to jail for the rest of his life. That is the solution society has come up with to assign responsibility for a capital crime. But when a president begins a war, over the objections of stong allies and despite the largest pre-war peace demonstrations in history, and wrecks havoc on a foreign land and ruins the reputation of his own nation, how can he with a straight face claim to be responsible and then show up the next day at work to continue the very same war? A more reasonable way to take responsibility would be to publically apologize to the world and resign. Perhaps Bush’s speech could begin like this:

“I have made one of the biggest mistakes a human being can make. There are no words to express the regret I feel. I can tell you that I believed what I was doing was the right thing. Yet in fact I was wrong and countless people who I never knew and had no argument with are lost forever. Many previously good people have turned to violence.

I have placed our young soldiers in situations where they were forced to kill or be killed, and there were many times when they discovered to their horror that they had killed non combatants. They will suffer these memories and live with feelings of guilt and shame, but in fact it is I who put them in such dangerous and chaotic situations that this could happen. I believed that the righteousness of our nation would guarantee a positive outcome, despite the obvious dangers and difficulties.

Unfortunately the results are catastrophic. Our continued presence in Iraq is not providing the stability needed, and in fact the ongoing occupation is agitating and inflaming a situation simmering with resentment. And yet if we were to abandon the country now and remove our troops, I fear an even worse outcome could emerge.

I am the face of the decision to start this war. The world must now know that this decision was a dreadful mistake, and I must step down. I believed we could use military force to eliminate tyrany, but in the process, I became more like my adversary than I ever could have imagined. I cannot say with certainty which course of action we should take now, but I know that I am not the one fit to make these decisions. I can only hope that new leadership will somehow find a way to bring peace to this awful situation I have created. I offer my heartfelt apoligies to the Iraqi people, to the people of the United States, and to the people of the world.”

As we may not soon be hearing anything like the above apology and resignation, the best face saving strategy for the United States is to begin impeachment procedings against Bush and discredit him the same war Richard Nixon was discredited as a way to disassociate the U.S. from the failing and widely unpopular Vietnam war.

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