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Commentary Last Updated: Feb 20th, 2007 - 00:33:04

Let�s stop beating around this Bush
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 20, 2007, 00:26

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Our ancestors saw much merit in beating the bushes in order to flush them for hunters. It made a lot of sense to them. Could there be even greater merit for us today if we stop beating around this Bush and finally hold him accountable for the mess he, knowingly and criminally, got us in?

Congress simply refuses to get to the point, the country only getting deliberations and resolutions that do nothing to stop the war in Iraq while doing everything to tell the world that we are an unrepentant, warmongering nation. But while acknowledging that, let�s not rush to judgment by blaming this indecisiveness, or apathy, solely on the legislators of the 110th Congress, Republicans or Democrats. Congress people may be just acting out what their constituents are really all about.

Somehow a sizeable number of Americans, hopeful progressives among them, thought that the country was poised for a measurable change -- at least in reference to the war in Iraq -- by having a spanking new Democratic Congress. Wrong on two counts! First, this 110th Congress could hardly be called a Democratic Congress. Second, Democrats, unlike the fairly homogenous Republicans, come in a true rainbow of denominations, from the bluish Jefferson-Paine followers to the reddish Republican wannabes.

How can anyone call the 110th a Democratic Congress? Control of the Senate is being held hostage by a single vote; the super-vote of an elected Independent, three-term Senate Democrat, and truly an Ameri-Likudian at heart: Joe Lieberman. For all intents and purposes, Senator Harry Reid only commands a ghost majority, particularly on war and foreign policy issues. As for the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn�t have a clear, ideologically-clean, overriding majority; not when well over 10 percent of her Democratic troops are but wolves in sheep�s clothing, ranging from moderate to ultra conservatives.

So, expect nothing from this Congress . . . on the War in Iraq . . . on domestic issues . . . on anything. Nothing of substance that can bring a message loud and clear . . . a message telling us, and the world, that Bush�s America is nothing but a nightmare of the recent past. Unfortunately, the bad dream remains very much with us, even if some people decided last November to give Tweedledee the vote, instead of Tweedledum . . . or, is it the other way around? Change in America is not likely to be initiated by Congress, at least not by this 110th Congress.

If Americans want change, and they really mean it, they must force it at the local and state level, and forget about the people they�ve sent to the Capitol in D.C. It�s the small towns and big cities that need to make declarations rebuking America�s foreign policy and its byproduct: war, war and more war; rebuking jointly the president and the vice president and calling for both their impeachments. Until there is such a groundswell of public opinion, and it becomes conclusive that we must stop beating around this Bush, there will be little hope for change, and definitely no end to the involvement in Iraq.

A few communities have already sounded off via their elected officials in city hall. And, Vermont has recently done its patriotic deed as well. But little else has happened; most people seem willing to wait for the natural turn of events: the 2008 presidential election.

So, although a majority of Americans now readily accept the premise that they were lied to before Iraq�s invasion; or that the prospect of terrorism looms larger now than before; or that the US level of credibility with much of the world is in shambles . . . none of those things seem to matter much, so the prospect of impeachment ranges from zero to none.

In matters of peace and war, societal compassion plays the key role. And we don�t seem to have that. Results from recent studies that were conducted to measure human compassion indicate that although we may be moved by the suffering or death of one specific person, we become insensitive to the suffering or death of many, becoming oblivious to a My Lai, or a Haditha, or a Fallujah . . . wars, genocides or holocausts. I don�t know whether the studies look exclusively at the psychological, social, political and institutional makeup of just Americans . . . or if it�s a humankind sort of a thing. In either case, it is a sad result, one that many of us suspected, but preferred or pretended that it not be true.

If compassion will not move Americans to impeach Bush, perhaps economic issues will. We are unlikely to make it to the next presidential election before it�s discovered that we had a multi-year weak economy masked by pseudo wealth creation and spending, resulting from a housing market that was shaping up as a house of cards. And as that house of cards falls, something now at its very early stages, it won�t be long before millions of Americans -- short on compassion, and long on greed -- turn their backs to Bush, blaming him for his share of the problem . . . as well as theirs. For the lack of compassion, some may think of this outcome as sweet revenge.

� 2007 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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