Editor’s Page

...before it's too late

In the last issue of Southern Cross Review’s Editor’s Page, I ranted on about the need to impeach President Bush. Of course neither I nor (probably) anyone else seriously believes that it will happen – certainly not before the November congressional elections, and even then it’s doubtful. But possible? That depends on the American voters’ knowledge about what is really going on and the politicians’ courage – mostly the former. There are many other, more pleasant topics for editorials in a publication which appears only once every month or so, topics I would prefer to write about. However, the violence in the Middle East and the stupidity and arrogance of the U.S. administration is such that one is almost compelled to hammer away.

I live in the ass-end of the world, but try to keep informed. I read the online version of the New York Times, other news and political opinion sites, local papers, watch CNN and BBC regularly. I also subscribe to The New Yorker, which I necessarily receive late. The July 10 & 17, 2006 issue arrived today and I was astonished (mostly at my own ignorance) to read Seymore M. Hersh’s article titled “Last Stand”, in which he reveals that not only that the Bush administration is seriously planning to bomb Iran, but they wanted to use tactical nuclear devises to do so until they were at least temporarily persuaded by Marine General Peter Pace, currently chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, not to go that extreme route. The tactical problem is that Iran’s nuclear development sites are scattered around the country in underground bunkers and no one, not even the Israelis, knows exactly where they are. Also, American ground forces are already over-extended in Iraq, so the only alternative for a war in Iran is blanket air strikes using bombs powerful enough to penetrate the bunkers – if they could be found and if they exist. The plan is still there however, albeit minus the nuclear option - we hope.

But there’s been a reverse rebellion of sorts. Classically it’s the military which must be reigned in by their civilian masters. In Washington today the generals are protesting the civilians’ belligerence.

Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political and military consequences for the United States.

"And for the rest of the world", they might have added. One general observed: “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is the Son of Iraq.”         

Well, you can read a lot of stuff in newspapers, magazines and the internet, and much of it is opinion, informed or not, and some is just weird. But Seymour Hersh has been revealing harsh truths for quite a while. He’s the guy who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal – remember? Today’s conscience-ridden insider whistle blowers know who to go to when they see a clear and present danger – and Hersh is the present-day Woodward-Bernstein rolled into one. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get the same wide news coverage as his predecessors did.

I’ve just been interrupted by the news that 24 potential airplane suicide bombers have been arrested in England. Bush-Cheney & Co. will probably use it as a confirmation of the correctness of their misguided “war on terrorism”, a.k.a. the war in Iraq. Hopefully, the voting citizens of the United States will realize that the war has served to radicalize many Muslims from Europe through the Middle East and Africa to Asia and, eventually, America. Potential terrorists are no longer a small group of Al Qaeda fanatics; they are legion. The only way to stop the trend toward violence is to combat it with the power of peace. But the people in power in Washington are on a different page. They profess to be Christians, but they’re actions are more akin to the ancient “an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth”. In other words: if they hit us we will hit them back bigger, better with even more cruelty and with more blood. The greatest contradiction of all is that Christ, whom they profess to follow, is the Prince of Peace. These people are extremely dangerous and should be relieved of their destructive power sooner rather than later and the only way to accomplish it is by impeachment - before it's too late.

Yeah, but then Cheney would be vice-president, which would be like going from the frying pan into the fire. Right, so let’s impeach them both. If such an unheard of impeachment were successful, the next in line is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, one Dennis Hastert. Who? I never heard of him either, before I looked him up today. (Click on the name for a short biography.) Doesn’t seem like a bad guy.

Two things I would like to recommend. First read the article, No Time for Empire, by Jonathan Schell, which goes in the same direction but stops short at demanding impeachment. Perhaps it’s more realistic. Nevertheless, aside from the fact that Schell says it much better than I ever could, his analysis is so clear and riveting, that I feel it should be read and digested by as many people as possible, United States citizens or not. Schell argues for a radical change in direction; we agree, but add that only impeachment can guarantee that change.

Secondly, an Impeachment Blog Action is being planned. Starting at noon Eastern Time on September 1, 2006, and lasting 24 hours, websites and blogs all across the internet are being asked to replace their front pages with the single word "Impeach" in simple white text on a black background. Here's an example: http://impeachnet.net

Visitors to those sites and blogs will be able to click and link to the sites' usual front pages. But first they will see a word ("impeach") that, standing alone, is as powerful as any word right now: it is banned by our political and media leadership but more popular among citizens and activists than perhaps any other. It is both shocking and welcome. For 24 hours, web surfers and readers will see that word first when they visit their favorite sites. In this way, it is hoped that the public will start talking about the one tool guaranteed by the Founders to restore Constitutional Democracy. So if you have a website, please check out http://impeachnet.net and then at the bottom: “Call to action", where the html code is provided. Unfortunately, if you have a blog which you don’t host yourself you probably won’t be able to make the change – but you can recommend it to others.            

Yours sincerely,

Frank Thomas Smith