Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Iraq: prospects for leaving

Here's a link to my latest column on antiwar.com. It's a discussion of the prospects for a fairly prompt withdrawal from Iraq -- dim in my view unless the Democrats act more forcefully than I expect them to, which suggests more activity contacting congresscritters by people who oppose the war might be a good idea.

Several antiwar.com readers wrote calling me kind of wimpy for not advocating impeachment. It's not that I'm against it -- I wish we'd impeached more presidents in our history and thrown a few out of office, just to keep them suitably nervous. But while the "high crimes and misdemeanors" phrase in the impeachment clause sounds all hyper-legal and like the definition of a criminal act, it's really a term of art with a fairly open definition. In political terms it means, "We're sick of you, bud, and it's time for you to go."

Impeachment is a quintessentially political process, as much as it might appear to be legal. I suspect that politically, the U.S. is not there yet when it comes to Dubya (perhaps in part because of lingering revulsion about the Clinton impeachment, which delighted me). Could be that impeachment sentiment will increase. I'll cheer if it does, but promoting it is not a top priority for me just now.


Michelle said...

I tend to think that impeachment will only divert a lot of attention and money from working to solve real problems to some crazy media frenzy. There are too many important things going on for something that would inevitably and quickly become really ridiculous. I do think he is completely illegal and awful but I also think impeachment would just make matters worse.

Alan Bock (abock@ocregister.com) said...

Many of the letters I get in response to my Antiwar.com columns criticize me for not calling for the immediate impeachment of Bush -- and Cheney too, in some cases of people who recognize that impeaching Bush would put Dick Cheney in the Oval Office.

I'm not sure impeachment would make matters that much worse. I think it would have been healthy to impeach a president every 20 years or so, just to keep them on their toes and a little off-balance. Despite the oh-so-legal-sounding language in the Constitution ("high crimes and misdemeanors," impeachment is essentially a political process, which translates roughly into "We've had enough of you, bub, and it's time for you to go."

But the U.S. didn't choose that route, which made impeachment more like a "nuclear option." We can't relive our history. I suspect most Americans are content that dumping the Republican majority in both houses of Congress is punishment enough for Bush. That sentiment might change in the next year, but at this point it strikes me there are more important things to worry about.