Nixon compounded the Vietnam War but didn't start it. The war in Iraq, by contrast, is Mr. Bush's invention.—Frank Rich, “We’re Not in Watergate Anymore” NY Times 7/10/05
There were 500,000 US troops in Vietnam when the the Vietnam War was at its height. There are 175,000 US troops in Iraq now, which is pretty much it’s height. 50,000 US servicemen were killed in the Vietnam War. 1,700 have lost their lives directly in Iraq—not including of course peripheral deaths from wounds, disease, or accidents that happen outside of, but due to, the Iraq occupation. Even adding those in, the total is roughly 9,000 deaths. Vietnam still wins the numbers game.
Nixon “widened” the Vietnam War by bombing the border of Cambodia, because supply lines for the North Vietnamese were aggravating the US actions there. When Nixon OK’d the incursion into Cambodia, it was the first time he acted without consent, or even the knowledge, of congress. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution--specious as it turned out to be, based on the non-event of the shelling of US gunboats by the North Vietnamese Communists—at least gave a quasi-legal backing to continue Johnson’s and Macnamara’s misbegotten idea of keeping the Commies out of Southeast Asia. The Nixon action in Cambodia was “high crime and misdemeanored” enough to call for his impeachment.
As John Belushi would say, “But Nooooo….!!” This was not the reason for the downfall of the landslide-elected President Nixon. His faults lay in the covering up of the break-ins and buggings of political opponents and document-leakers. Nixon was going to be impeached because he offered bribes and aid and comfort to those who to this day, we don’t even know if they were doing his personal bidding, or just his underlings were.
In my lifetime, they’ve impeached one president for lying under oath, about having sex in his office when he should have been paying attention to the important affairs of the country. And if Nixon had not resigned before he was impeached, his conduct was impeachable because of dirty tricks and misuse of money in order to make sure he was re-elected by a landslide, which he was.
Here’s George W. Bush, who started a war to protect his fellow citizens from terrorists. Fanatics attacked the US by hijacking airplanes. So Bush sent the most resources of the military he could muster for a conventional campaign to Iraq, to topple the evil dictator, Saddam Hussein. Saddam lorded over the huge oil resources of the region and was ensconced, not coincidentally, by the good graces of the same guys, Rumsfeld and Cheney back in the 1980’s, who now advise Gearge W and his legions about how to maintain the status quo, if there is such a thing. Thar’s oil in that-thar desert.
The Iraq incursion and occupation is barking up the wrong tree in order to thwart terrorism of the kind we saw on 9/11/01. The reasons for going to war in Iraq are already under tremendous fire because there are no WMD, and there is a British memo (“Downing Street”) out that says Bush wanted to go to War in Iraq way before there was any reason. So the impeach-Bush crowd says here’s a good reason to impeach him—big war, major expense, lots of deaths, no apparent reason. Bush lied to congress about why we needed to go to war—let’s impeach him and teach him a lesson.
Nothing—polls keep dropping, Bush/Cheney/Rice/Rumsfeld keep lying—no impeachment.
All is not lost! Nixon resigned because he tried to cover up leaks—if Karl Rove outted CIA employee Valerie Plame, wife of thorn-in-the-side-of-Bush Ambassador Wilson, which may or may not have been illegal to do—and Bush and his people are covering up for Rove’s big mouthedness—that’s big trouble and could be an impeachable offense. It seems pretty bad, at least because those are the huge headlines at Drudge and Huffington tonight. Bigger than the $5 bil dent of hurricane Dennis and the terrorist bombings in London and the possible leaked (again!) info from a new British memo of removal of 2/3 of the US and British soldiers from Iraq within a year. Rove gets more press than these three put together!
That the Bush administration would risk breaking the law with an act as self-destructive to American interests as revealing a C.I.A. officer's identity smacks of desperation. It makes you wonder just what else might have been done to suppress embarrassing election-season questions about the war that has mired us in Iraq even as the true perpetrators of 9/11 resurface in Madrid, London and who knows where else. [emphasis added]--Frank Rich, “We’re Not in Watergate Anymore” NY Times 7/10/05
It makes me wonder if I’m going to be proven right again about impeachment (I said Nixon would be impeached when he was re-elected), but for the wrong reasons—that Bush will be impeached, and just like Nixon, not for ridiculous waste of military action, but for political misjudgement of hubris and arrogance.