Iraq Study Group recommendation number one: Bush and Cheney should resign

Every time I hear the words “Iraq Study Group” the phrase triggers a little involuntarily interior monologue that goes something like this:

“Study Group” — it sounds like a group of undergraduates cramming for finals. Isn’t “studying” what the Bush administration should have been doing back in 2002 and 2003 when it created the mess the Baker commission is desperately seeking a path out of today? What exactly is it that the “Study Group” is studying that the Bush White House, which appointed it, hasn’t already seen?

Hundreds of people are dying every day in Iraq, but the president has decided to let his disgraced Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, hang around a few weeks longer just so he can claim the title of “longest ever serving defense secretary.” Could there be a more ludicrous indication of how disconnected the White House has become from the carnage it has unleashed?

What options is the Study Group likely to propose — in the way of negotiations with Iraq’s neighbors, pressure on the Iraqi government, or timetables for withdrawal — that aren’t already obvious? What are we waiting for? Why are our leaders and the press splitting hairs over whether Iraq is in a state of “sectarian violence” or “civil war” or total anarchy?

The trouble is, our problems don’t lie where a “Study Group” might help, in figuring out what to do; they lie with an administration that has created a national disaster and now decided that cleaning up the disaster is not its problem at all. If you look at the coverage from Sunday’s Times exploring different roads forward for the U.S. in Iraq — “In Search of the Fixers” or the accompanying infographic — there is a strange absence of voices from the Executive Branch. After years of declaring victory and advocating “staying the course,” Bush and his team have now simply gone silent. (Or “checked out,” as Josh Marshall put it.)

It’s as if Bush, having driven the nation into a ditch, now wants to dust off his suit and walk away from the wreck. Trouble is, he’s not handing over the keys.

Now here’s something constructive the Study Group could recommend: The president needs to take responsibility for his failure and be a president for the next two years, leading the U.S. out of Iraq so it can repair its relationships with its allies, rebuild its armed forces and resume the real war we’re fighting against the group that attacked us on 9/11.

If Bush is unable to do that — and he may well be — he and his vice president should have the courage and honesty to resign. And the Baker commission should have the courage and honesty to say that to the president. In a parliamentary system, Bush and his people would have been out on their ears after this month’s election. That’s not our system — but we can improvise if we have to.

I don’t know whether, if Bush and Cheney actually did this before the new Congress takes office, Dennis Hastert would become president. After the Congressional transition, it would be Nancy Pelosi. Neither, of course, seems likely to move into the White House any time soon. But how can the country begin to move beyond our current disastrous paralysis, other than by starting with a clean sweep at the top? Are we going to spend the next two years pretending that we’re still “nation-building” and “fighting the terrorists” while American soldiers keep filling body bags and Iraqi morgues keep overflowing?
[tags]iraq, iraq study group, bush resignation[/tags]

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  1. Amos Anan

    I’ve been calling the Republican assault on the American system as turning it into a parliamentary one even before I saw it anywhere on the Net – which is now fairly commonplace. Balkanization has recently had a few in depth posts on the flaws of the American system and its constitution. Having lived for a time under a parliamentary system I saw immediately its practices in the Republican block voting with heavy punishment for any Republicans that dared not follow the party line. Hastert’s disgusting “majority of the majority,” so anti-democratic and what I once would have described as anti-American, was a prime example of Republican parliamentary practices. Representatives weren’t allowed to represent their constituents but had to follow the leadership (party) line. Republicans before Americans.

    You stated:

    “In a parliamentary system, Bush and his people would have been out on their ears after this month’s election.”

    Actually in a parliamentary system, with a small majority, any break in party discipline could lead to a “no confidence” vote and necessitate an election. But the flaw in the “parliamentary system = good” idea is exemplified by Blair and England. In England the press hasn’t been completely Fauked (not a reference to Guy Fawkes). The English weren’t subjected to an unexamined fantasy world of past and future war glories that the American media and press used to saturate the American public dialog. Yet the Blair government has continued on undeterred in spite of being tied to the same disasters of the Bush group (including a further terror strike). That, along with the added cache of being viewed as a lap dog to a dangerous idiot.

    To use a programming metaphor, whenever I do this sort of look at the mess that is America today I get a sense of top-down programming, seeing the big mess at the top – the Bush White House. Then going to the Republican parliamentary behavior, and continuing down the top-down outline. But I always seem to get stopped when I hit the question of how these idiots and their obvious lies could be allowed to so pervert and destroy everything that was special about America and its jewel, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and the Constitution. The Constitution itself being the jewel of the Age of Reason, built on the Age of Enlightenment, though somewhat compromised to insure unity.

    For me the flawed tool, function, object, message – whatever – in the mix is the press and media. That these dangerous thieving murderous idiots could so lead the nation into such obvious disasters (Iraq is only one of many disasters America has been lead into) is the result of Americans being ill informed. “Ill informed” is much too gentile a phrase for what has happened. Americans have been lied to on a fundamental and monumental level for years now and those lies have not merely been transmitted to the people with little examination, they’ve been megaphoned with high praise.

    I’ve commented elsewhere that it isn’t even the lying that was ever much of a concern to the American public. That’s expected from politicians. It isn’t the lying. It’s the losing. But in every case, the Bush and Republican lying, facilitated by the press and media, has lead to losing for Americans. Iraq, Medicare donut holes, Katrina, Social Security privatization, Enronesque oversight. And on and on. Average Americans are the losers in the lies.

    I’m ever grateful for the rise of the Internet and the voices of reason that have appeared and given some semblance of truth and insight to the public dialog. My fear is that with the current power leadership, including those newly elected, there will be attempts to end the freedom of speech on the Internet that dares speak truth to power.

    But Bush and Cheney aren’t going to resign. You know that. If they did they’d be open to prosecution without the unitary executive to protect them. “You and what army?” as a counter to the congress and courts won’t have any meaning.

    It’s not in their make up. I’m reminded of a story that appeared in Salon a couple of years ago.

    George W. Bush’s missing year,14779,1295936,00.html

    Around the same time, for the 1972 Christmas holiday, the Allisons met up with the Bushes on vacation in Hobe Sound, Fla. Tension was still evident between Bush and his parents. Linda was a passenger in a car driven by Barbara Bush as they headed to lunch at the local beach club. Bush, who was 26 years old, got on a bicycle and rode in front of the car in a slow, serpentine manner, forcing his mother to crawl along. “He rode so slowly that he kept having to put his foot down to get his balance, and he kept in a weaving pattern so we couldn’t get past,” Allison recalled. “He was obviously furious with his mother about something, and she was furious at him, too.”

    We’re all in that car being slow ridden into oblivion and no one has the guts to give that moronic self centered fawker a bump to get his sorry ass out of the way.

    Here’s another image that came to mind years ago about Bush and the rest of us. It’s been mentioned on the Net.

    It’s a Good Life (The Twilight Zone)'s_a_Good_Life_(The_Twilight_Zone)

    As for the “Iraq Study Group,” it’s political theater. The search for the new “Peace With Honor” with the same disregard for any that may be seen hanging from our helicopters. It’s just a matter of working out the stage sets to control the finger pointing when “genocide” replaces “civil war” in the press style sheet debates.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, Amos. I don’t think I meant to argue that the U.S. should have a parliamentary system — that has plenty of downsides. I just meant to say that in most of the world, a government that suffered a defeat like Bush has just suffered would quickly be out of power. Certainly I know that Bush and Cheney won’t resign. I still think it’s worth pointing out that, if they ignore the results of the election in their Iraq policy, they should resign!

  3. dan scott

    gee so smart.when you graduate war college and have commanded a army .then you have a opinion.untill then keep your dumb commits to your self.then you will not sound stupid.all bush is doing is carters and clinton mess ups.


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