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Commentary Last Updated: Jan 12th, 2007 - 00:27:17

The only real solution to the Iraq debacle: Impeachment and withdrawal
By Mike Mejia
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 12, 2007, 00:13

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Wednesday night, George W. Bush cemented in the minds if many, if not most, Americans, a harsh reality the United States now faces: Bush has no clue how to piece back together Iraq, the country the U.S. military and the neocons have torn asunder. Watching the pundits after the speech on CNN, it is absolutely clear that even conservative war apologists, like Andrew Sullivan, aren�t buying into this charade of a "troop surge." In other words, Bush�s "send more troops" plan has failed before it has even begun.

Of course, the "surge" is not the only bad plan floating out in the public sphere. It�s about equal to the roadmap put out by the Iraq Study Group and a half dozen other ideas that have been suggested by various talking heads. In fact, just about all the "how to get out of Iraq schemes" are all about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. None of these gets to the core reality of the situation: the war is lost and it was lost a very long time ago. Iraq is now a fractured country and it will take years of civil war, coups, and countercoups before the dust settles and either the country breaks apart completely or a new Sadaam Hussein comes to power. Although there�s a chance Iraqis at the end of the day will develop their own democratic institutions, this will occur in spite of the Americans, who have never really wanted Iraqis to run their own country.

Given the inevitability of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, there are only two options, in my view, that we as Americans face: leave sooner or leave later. What occurs in Iraq after withdrawal, while important, is completely beyond our control. Thus, it seems self-evident to me that the first option is the preferable one. And the leave sooner option is overwhelmingly becoming the consensus among average Americans (though the corporate media and political elite have yet to concur).

But of course, there is one giant obstacle to America leaving sooner: President George W. Bush will not allow it. Not as long as he is president of the United States, Bush has stated, will the U.S. leave Iraq. For one thing, Bush doesn�t want to leave. But just as important, even if Bush thought U.S. withdrawal inevitable, he�d want a subsequent commander-in-chief to be the one to give the order. That way, George W. wouldn�t have to admit how badly he had screwed things up. So even if Bush concludes all is lost, the killing will go on for two more long years.

Henceforth, it stands to reason any U.S. withdrawal that comes before Bush�s term expires in 2009 must be a phased withdrawal. Here are the phases as I see them: Phase 1: Impeach Vice President Cheney. Phase 2: If Phase 1 fails to force Bush to withdraw troops, Impeach President Bush. Phase 3: Withdraw troops under either Cheney's replacement or, in the absence of one, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who as the third in the line of succession, would become president.

Now there are some Americans who will call this plan radical. For example, why not just cut the funds off for the war, which will force Bush to withdraw? The problem with the latter strategy is that it assumes that cutting off funds necessarily forces immediate withdrawal -- it does not -- and that the Congress has the political will to defund the troops while they are in harms way. Secondly, cutting off funds eventually ends the war, but it holds no one accountable. The genius of impeach first, then withdraw is that it holds leaders to account while ending the war concurrently.

Sound familiar? This is exactly how America was able to finally extricate itself from the quagmire in Vietnam. Of course, Nixon escaped impeachment, but he did get the next best thing: forced resignation. But ultimately, the only way America could get itself out of its mess back in the '70s was to punish the leader who refused to formulate a rational policy to end an ill-conceived and destructive war.

So there is nothing radical about this proposal -- it has historical precedent. Actually, the more valid criticism of my proposal is that I leave the impeachment of George W. Bush as a "maybe" -- that is, if Bush changes his evil ways, I believe he could be allowed to fill out his term in office.

On that point, good people can disagree. Though there are more than enough grounds to impeach Bush, I don�t think there will be the political will to do so unless Cheney is removed first. If George W. refuses to get the message to bring the troops home immediately after his vice president were removed from office, Bush would be practically begging for impeachment. And many, if not most, Americans would be happy to oblige him.

So let�s cut to the chase. Impeach and withdraw is the only solution that makes sense. We Americans will not be able to then say we won the Iraq War if we follow this strategy, but we will be able to say that we have won something far more important: the right, once again, to call ourselves a democracy.

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