Bush Demands His Own Impeachment
by Jeffrey Steinberg
President George Bush's infantile and defiant response to the Dec. 6 release of the Iraq Study Group report was tantamount to a demand for his own impeachment, along with that of Vice President Dick Cheney. Now, the new Democratic majority 110th Congress has a clear mandate, from a wide segment of the U.S. political institutions, spanning the leading factions in both the Republican and Democratic parties, to dispense with the Bush-Cheney regime, before another new disaster unfolds. Topping the list of such looming disasters—beyond the all-but-unavoidable crash of the global financial system—is a military strike against Iran, by either the United States or Israel. The use of nuclear weapons in such a strike is not to be ruled out, according to well-informed U.S. military experts.
As EIR already reported, just days before the final session of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker III and former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), Vice President Cheney flew off to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attempt to forge a "Sunni bulwark" against Shi'ite Iran, built upon a U.S. and NATO military alliance with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states plus Egypt and Jordan. Such an anti-Iran politico-military alliance would also, de facto, include Israel—an Israel, capable under present leadership, of launching a "breakaway ally" air strike against Iran.
As EIR reported in a now famous memorandum "Behind Cheney's Trip to Riyadh," Cheney's action was tantamount to a declaration of intent to launch preemptive war against Iran. If carried out, such a strike would spark a Sunni versus Shi'ite war within the Muslim world that would rapidly spread into a global Hundred Years' War. While such an asymmetric conflict would be firmly against U.S. vital interests, an Anglo-American faction that steers the Vice President's every sneering move, would celebrate the chaos, seeing it as the means by which to destroy the United States and end the Westphalian system of sovereign nation-states altogether. In today's parlance, this is called "globalization."
Backing Cheney's actions, President Bush preemptively rejected the most pressing recommendation of the Baker-Hamilton report: the opening of diplomatic talks with Iran and Syria, with no preconditions. Speaking in Riga, Latvia at the end of November at the NATO summit, the President rejected outright the idea of negotiating with Tehran or Damascus, and also rejected the idea of troop withdrawal from Iraq. "Victory is the only exit strategy," Bush had fulminated.
On Dec. 6, the Iraq Study Group released its final report, The Way Forward—A New Approach. The 96-page document presented 79 recommendations, which, taken as a whole, represent a call for a comprehensive change in U.S. foreign policy towards Southwest Asia, a change completely consistent with the earlier proposal by Lyndon LaRouche, "The LaRouche Doctrine for Southwest Asia," which was first published in April 2004.
While LaRouche, addressing a group of diplomats hours after the Baker-Hamilton document's release, expressed some misgivings about missing elements in the study document—including the failure to note the onrushing collapse of the international financial system—he nevertheless heralded the report as an institutional demand for a major shift in U.S. policy. And in a correspondence the next day, he wrote that "the Baker-Hamilton Commission's report has defined a new global strategy. It is not finished work, but it defines certain essential strategic parameters within which reasonable alternatives to failed currently operating policies, or lack of policies, can emerge. This Commission's report will reverberate throughout North America and Europe, where both the immediate situation in the Southwest Asia region and the strains of a failed policy on the financial situation of governments are already painful.... The Baker-Hamilton report, taken in context, defines a new global situation for purposes of policy-shaping. The effect will be, I believe, dramatic and early."
Did Bush Hit the Bottle?
Less than 24 hours after the release of the Baker-Hamilton report, President Bush repudiated the idea of direct talks with Iran or Syria, repeating his tired mantra about how "Iran and Syria know what they have to do." Bush was appearing before White House reporters with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The President's flippant rejection of the strategic vision of the Baker-Hamilton document did not take the commission members at all by surprise.
In an extraordinarily frank exchange with reporters the day before Bush's remarks, two senior statesmen who were members of the Iraq Study Group ridiculed the President's dismissal of the study. It is not a stretch to say that their comments constituted an implicit call for his removal from office. Asked how Bush had responded to the Dec. 5 presentation by the Baker-Hamilton group of their final report, Lawrence Eagleburger, a former U.S. Secretary of State under the President's father, George H.W. Bush, said, "His reaction was, 'Where's my drink?' He was a little loaded. It was early in the morning too, you know." Considering that the President's 24-year bout of alcoholism is both well known and a highly sensitive topic around the First Family, Eagleburger's comments could hardly have been more provocative.
Asked what questions the President has posed to the group, Eagleburger added, "I don't recall, seriously, that he asked any questions." Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), another prestigious Republican on the panel, added his own denunciation of what he called "100 percenters," those who "refuse to compromise." "A 100 percenter," he explained, "is a person you don't want to be around. They have gas, ulcers, heartburn, and B.O."
Inside the Commission
Sources close to several of the commission members have reported to EIR that the Iraq Study Group was well aware of the fact that the President would reject their blueprint for a policy overhaul. A month before the final session of the ISG, the group had met for over three hours with the President. According to the sources, they came out of that session with a resolve to force a public policy debate, and hopefully put enough pressure on the White House to force a course correction.
The final report, in fact, surprised many experts, with its broad scope and blunt language. For example, in addition to the controvercial calls for direct negotiations with Iran and Syria, and the urgent need to solve the Israel-Palestine dispute—on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Baker-Hamilton document directly rejected the Bush Administration's Sunni versus Shi'ite conflict schemes, albeit in the most diplomatic of language. The report said that the Bush Administration's "GCC plus two" approach was too narrow (!), and would not solve the Iraq dilemma.
The membership of the Baker-Hamilton commission represented a cross-section of the U.S. institutions. Virtually every member had served in the Executive Branch and/or in senior posts in Congress, and had had direct experience dealing with Presidents. When such a prestigious group of senior figures delivers such a harsh, unanimous critique of an administration's policy in a vital part of the world, there are consequences for refusal to respond.
Sources tell EIR that the White House will attempt to stall, perhaps into early Spring 2007, before issuing a clear rejection of the report. A review of the Administration's drawn-out rejection of the findings of the 9/11 Commission should make it clear that no such stall-and-appeal tactics can be accepted—with Iraq already in the throes of ethnic cleansing, and civil wars about to erupt in Palestine and Lebanon, stoked by Anglo-American covert operations and arms trafficking.
There is only one answer to the Bush-Cheney rejection of the Iraq Study Group: Impeachment. With the institutional backing of the Baker-Hamilton effort, the 110th Congress cannot waste a moment. Bruising oversight hearings must begin the moment the new Congress is sworn in.