Hmm, I just read an article by John Dean of Watergate fame, that posed this very question and it got me to thinking that if Bill Clinton can be impeached over lying about a couple of bouts of oral sex and the whole Monica Lewinsky affair, why the hell can’t the same thing be done to President George W. Bush if in fact no weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) are discovered in Iraq? Sure, we all know that Clinton probably lied under oath but if it ever comes out that the Bush Administration lied to the American public and the world in general about matters of national security, well, lets just say that the stakes are much higher.
In the article, Mr. Dean raises some valid points and cites examples of Richard Nixon and his abuse of power as well as LBJ's refusal to reveal the extent of American involvement in Vietnam. Even though LBJ wasn't impeached, his lack of disclosure about our involvement was a major factor in his decision not to run for re-election.
Mr. Dean uses the following quotes from George W. Bush to make his point.
"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
United Nations Address
September 12, 2002
"The Iraqi regime . . "Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons."
"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."
October 5, 2002
“possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."
"We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."
"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States."
"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" - his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."
Cincinnati, Ohio Speech
October 7, 2002
"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."
State of the Union Address
January 28, 2003
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
Address to the Nation
March 17, 2003
The article goes on to describe the importance of a President's statements regarding matters of national security and the implied trust that the American people have in their leadership. It further goes on to describe the importance of such statements since they have an effect on the world in general.
Mr. Dean’s sentiments are much in line with my own way of thinking. Even though I consider myself a left leaning, free thinking individual and I did not cast my vote his way, I trusted the President and his statements regarding Iraq’s capabilities. So far to date, my trust seems to have been betrayed as no major evidence of weapons of mass destruction have been uncovered and none looks like it is forthcoming. If that turns out to be the case, then I’m all for starting the impeachment process.
I’m beginning to think that the President, in the wake of terrorist acts and threats played upon the fears and emotions of the country rather than practical solutions such as the United Nations weapons inspections which, coincidentally, turned up little or no evidence of WMD’s.
It gets me to thinking about the words of another President who told a struggling country in his first inaugural address:
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”
Yeah, I know that times have changed since those words were spoken but I don’t think the sentiments behind them have.
In closing, I guess as things stand right now, the decision by both France and Germany to not support the war on the basis of the lack of evidence of WMD’s is looking pretty good. Even though the war has been declared “over”, both American soldiers and Iraqis are still being killed on a daily basis. There seems to be no exit strategy and even though I regret saying it, it looks like our troops will remain in Iraq for many years to come.