Lately, I've been thinking about accountability. I wonder if anyone will ever be held accountable for a war that had nothing to do with terrorism and was based instead on lies, deceptions, misunderstanding of the task, and the narrow ideologies of a powerful few. President Bush's war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East, increased the terrorist threat, overextended our military, ruined America's moral authority and credibility in world affairs, and cost the lives of thousands of people and trillions of dollars.
What about accountability? President Bush's troop surge in Iraq and his refusal to consider exit strategies have caused many to react like Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel who recently said, "The President says "» he's not accountable anymore, which isn't totally true. You can impeach him."
Last fall, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that impeachment was "off the table." The Democratic Party fears impeachment will distract from its legislative agenda. But more and more citizen activists are refusing to wait until 2009 to end Bush's reign. Outside Washington, an "impeachment from below" movement is gathering steam.
And it's not just Bush who should be impeached and tried. Reps. Demns. Kucinich, William L. Clay and Jan Schakowsky have filed a bill of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post responded by writing that Cheney's actions are not impeachable, but rather unforgivable. More to the point Cohen spoke of the "immensity of outrage, the enormousness of breach of trust, the naive faith that some of us had that when it came to the making of war, we'd be told the truth. This was not the case. The harping on weapons of mass destruction was an attempt to scare the American people into supporting a war that need not have been fought."
I disagree with those who say it doesn't matter now how we got into the war. Without accountability, Bush and Cheney remain in power despite the overwhelming evidence of their arrogance and incompetence. They continue to ignore the demands of the people, the Congress and the Constitution. They refuse to plan a strategy to exit Iraq. They avoid diplomacy. They escalate a war the people want to end.
Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers said it was the threat of impeachment that got Richard Nixon to bend to pressure from Congress to end the war in Vietnam. Perhaps impeachment will finally convince Bush and Cheney that the United States does not want endless war in the Middle East that makes us less safe at home.
Finally, perhaps impeachment will open a door to America withdrawing our military forces and working diplomatically with Iraq and other countries in the world to end this unmitigated immoral war.
Rebecca J. Thomas of Shreveport is a member of The Times Community Board.
© 2007 The Schreveport Times