Public Comment

Commentary: Why We Don’t Impeach the President or Stop the War

By Bill Hamilton
Friday May 25, 2007

There have been many articles on this subject lately. To generalize, it comes down to two very broad reasons. The first is based on the desire for the Democrats to just let the bastard stew in the mess that he created and in the process take the Republicans down with him. The Dems are dreaming of winning back the presidency without having to work very hard. This is probably correct. It insulates the Dems from having to make a courageous stand on principle, an especially odious enterprise for the other corporate dominated party, but, it also makes them culpable for this endless war. This will be the Republican’s defense come next elections: You were with us on this war until it got hard. They have a point. 

The other broad category is the public psychological angle. “The unpleasant truth is that Bush did what a lot of Americans wanted him to. And when it became clear after the fact that Bush had lied about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, it made no sense for those Americans to turn on him. Truth was never their major concern anyway—revenge was.” By this account Bush is merely expressing the public’s base desire to seek revenge and to kick ass. Superficially this is correct, although, the president could have used his bully pulpit to guide the public’s anger and blood lust towards a more constructive end. He did not. In fact, he amplified those public sentiments and pointed them, like a loaded gun, towards a rational and vulnerable target for controlling oil, a very valuable and indispensable commodity for our oil based economy.  

The president, I maintain, is just the kind of John Wayne most “good Americans” hate most of the time but are thankful for when it comes to defending our lifestyle based on cheap oil. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows we are not in Iraq to dispense democracy or to fight the bad guys. We are there to defend our way of life, again, based on cheap oil. It’s not pop psychology. It’s not political machinations. It’s not fighting the evil doers. It’s the oil. We all know this and it corrupts our politics when we don’t admit it. It corrupts our ethics and our will to fight to end this catastrophic war and the presidency that actually had the John Wayne courage to go after this valuable commodity with lies and fake rationales. But, he kind of goofed up in the process. 

Now we are upset because he made a mess of it. He didn’t listen to his generals that said he needed three times the troops to get the job done. He didn’t listen to his CIA about planning for the post invasion period. He used terror not only to inflame the public but to get information from prisoners. He did these things and he decided to jettison important parts of the constitution to get what we want, cheap oil. Neo Conservatives have a way of keeping their eye on the prize and not getting all tangled up in decorum and niceties. Shoot first, ask questions later. We don’t like to see ourselves in this unflattering light. It undermines our self image as a nation. The uncomfortable truth is that we are complicit because of our addiction to oil. 

The question comes down to: Are we as a people willing to forgo our oil based lifestyles in exchange for a sustainable and rational domestic and foreign policy? When the answer is yes we will then be willing to end this war and impeach this president.  


Bill Hamilton is a Berkeley resident.