Thursday, September 15, 2005
Send a message to the world. Impeach Bush.
The terrorist attacks on 09/11 indeed changed everything. America found itself thrust into a struggle that it had not prepared for and did not seek. The nature of the war on terror is such that international cooperation against our enemies is vital to our success. Who can not remember the French papers Le Monde headline of 09/12 reading "We Are All Americans" and not recall the sense of unity that permeated the international stage in the face of the threat to our way of life? Indeed the perpetrators of this attack were roundly condemned by the rank and file of the very religion they purported to wish to advance. Another outpouring of support after the attack was directed towards the leadership of President George Bush by the American people with polls immediately following the attacks showing nearly unheard of support for his leadership.
The immediate response from President Bush to the terrorist attacks was to invade Afghanistan and remove the Taliban government that had given refuge to Osama Bin Laden. In this undertaking America enjoyed widespread international support. So what has happened to this support immediately following the successful ousting of the Taliban?
The first signs of trouble with the international community came when the Whitehouse created a novel class of detainee. Designating those captured and suspected of involvement with terrorism as enemy combatants allowed the administration to deny these prisoners basic rights recognized by the Geneva conventions. The international community correctly protested when America constructed a detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and attempted to lay a legal foundation allowing for the torture of these prisoners. International and American military legal opinions decrying these methods were not considered as the administration pushed forward with this policy. As evidence of prisoner abuse came to light, rather than forsaking this course of action the administration has further promulgated the mistake. After the invasion of Iraq, (which consequences on international opinion will be discussed shortly) the unlawful combatant designation was transferred to prisoners being held there. This policy is directly responsable for the scandal of Abu Ghraib. That scandal has become one of the most potent recruiting tools for Al Queda in the war on terror. The latest affirmation of the torture policy is the threatened veto of the Department of Defense spending bill if an amendment proposed by Senator John McCain were attached. The amendment would mandate that all prisoners be treated according to the standards required by the U.S. Army’s Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.
By forwarding this hitherto illegal treatment of prisoners, President Bush has brought dishonor on the United States of America. He has also increased the threat to American military personel should they fall into the hands of our enemies. For allowing this stain on our national honor and the resulting loss of invaluable international standing and goodwill in the war on terror, and for pursuing policies that strengthened our enemies in a time of war, George Bush should be impeached.
The next great strain on international support for American leadership in the war on terror came with the pursuit of war with Iraq. Using outright falsehoods domestically, as well as internationally , the administration pushed it's war with Iraq. While claiming this invasion must go forth in a world changed by 09/11, the fact is that the invasion was planned prior to that horrible day. While the Administration found fertile grounds for their propaganda with the American media, it could never garner international support for the invasion on a scale approaching the support gained domestically. Despite this failure, the administration, in a classic creation of it's own reality, claimed that going forward with the invasion was somehow enforcing U.N. security council resolutions at the very same time that body was steadfastly refusing to endorse the invasion. The administration further alienated potential partners in the aftermath of the invasion by excluding nations from rebuilding contracts if they did not support the invasion. The seeming bellicose attitude from the administration in going forward with the invasion despite not having planned for an occupied Iraq led to a loss of international prestige on a massive scale. The President single handedly took unprecedented support of American goals internationally after 09/11, to unprecedented depths of international distrust and approbrium with the Iraq war. This wrong headed policy has lead to increased recruitment by our enemies in the war on terror. It furthermore has given them a real life training ground to further develop the techniques that harm our interests. The recent uptick in American and Afghan government casualties is a result of terrorist tactics perfected in Iraq being exported to Afghanistan. The notion that we are safer because of the Iraqi war is simply not credible. We have harmed our own interests in the war on terror (which no one doubts MUST be won) by invading Iraq and snubbed our former allies in doing so, doubly injuring our effort.
For harming the interests of the United States by pursuing, through falsehoods, a needless war that detracted from Americas true effort in the war on terror, and alienating needed allies in the war on terror thereby giving aid to the enemy, George Bush should be impeached.
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