Putting Donald Trump’s Impeachment in Context
Each week, LA Progressive’s editors pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Richard Behan, an LA Progressive contributor, who commented on the article by Andrew Bacevich, "The Real Cover-Up."
Mr. Othmer makes an excellent point, that the rule of law has essentially withered away. I, too, share Bacevich’s thesis, and I also agree fully with Mr. Othmer, but I have yet another, closely related statement of concern. We have become a delusional society. (See Siegfriend Othmer's comment below.)
Over the past several years George W. Bush has been showered with accolades, as an honored elder statesman. At least four national organizations have done so.
Here’s one example. The Liberty Medal is awarded annually by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia “to men and women of courage and conviction who have strived to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.” The 2018 awardee was George Bush.
What was the National Constitution Center thinking?
The Bush Administration was committed to the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq long before 9/11–for reasons having nothing to do with terrorism. Only on that date, however, did the president declare his “war on terror.”
Here’s the truth. George Bush has secured precious little liberty to people around the globe. Around that world instead 480,000 human beings have met violent death in his “war on terror.” 10.1 million refugees wander that world in desperation. Six trillion dollars of scarce public capital have been squandered. He is personally responsible for the creation and growth of ISIS, the global network of terrorists. And his “war on terror” continues without visible end, the tragic legacy of a criminal president.
Furthermore his “war on terror” was utterly fraudulent: it smokescreened a deliberate quest for oil and empire. I’m finishing a book on that topic, and discovered some appalling facts.
- The Bush Administration was committed to the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq long before 9/11–for reasons having nothing to do with terrorism. Only on that date, however, did the president declare his “war on terror.”
- Waiting for his approval when Bush took office was a standing offer from the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden into U.S. custody or to have him assassinated. The President refused to accept the offer four times prior to 9/11 and once more five days afterward. He did not need to invade Afghanistan–unless there was some other reason.
- President Bush also refused an offer from Saddam Hussein, February of 2003, to go into voluntary exile in Saudi Arabia, Turkey. To effect “regime change” there was no need to invade Iraq a month later.
(This is neither speculation nor contrivance. All three items are compehensively documented.)
So we honor a man for committing international crimes.
We are a delusional society.
Andrew Bacevich and Siegfried Othmer are refreshing exceptions.
Siegfreid Othmer: On the substantive issues, one can heartily agree with Bacevich, and I do. However, for me the paramount issue is the restoration of the rule of law. As someone born in Germany during the war, I am most sensitive to the issue of the ascent of tyranny. Right now all my nerve endings are being fried as our nation’s institutional guardrails are being sundered. The Weimar Republic was declared by historians to have been weak. But democratic institutions are never inherently strong. They remain strong only by fealty to institutional norms, and these are breaking down massively. Our priority must be that of aborting the consolidation of one-man rule, cloaked as it may be in the innocuous term of ‘unitary executive.’
On the substantive issue, our nation is in thrall to the pursuit of empire, and the demands thus imposed on our society amount to another kind of tyranny, one that is beyond control by our democratic processes.