Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Today's visit from Mr. Dictionary Man

BENCHMARK (bench-mark, n) a standard of excellence, achievement, etc., against which similar things must be measured or judged.

It appears that the Iraqi "government" will fail to meet any of the benchmarks laid out in connection with the surge. There is one major reason why this is not surprising--


This fraud of a parliament meeting under U.S. protection in the Green Zone commans no loyalty and exhibits none of the common attributes of sovereignty or statehood. It will accomplish no objectices because it cannot.

In a classic little book written many years ago, Joseph Strayer described some of those attributes of statehood. He uses the medieval example to illustrate how states spring from 1) relative permanence in space and time, 2) relatively permanent and impersonal political institutions and 3) a fundamental transfer of loyalty from tribe, sect, region or religion to the new state. Sound like Iraq?

That makes the continued use of American troops to support this illusory mirage of a government even more tragic and criminal. The frightening part is, though, that the president will continue unabated for one very simple reason.

He has nothing to lose.

He has no concerns about facing the electorate, or as so many second-term presidents experience, having their vice president preparing a presidential run. He has no further need of Congress, as his pet legislative projects, "reforming" Social Security and and immigration are so dead that they make Jacob Marley (or Bob Marley, for that matter) look perfectly sprightly by comparison. He has already reshaped the Supreme Court profoundly, so even lower court (dis)appointments that will happen in the future can be taken in stride.

His legacy, such that it is, is also firmly etched in the hardest of stone, a legacy of failure, indifference, corruption and incompetence. He now is less popular than skin rashes and open sores, and history will place him at the peak of the firmament of the gawdawdawful, joining Buchanon and Andrew Johnson as the worst of all time.

Because of this perfect storm of events, the president is no longer constrained by conventional political checks. His Libby commutation and the continued incoherent rantings about "al Qaeda" and "fighting them there" are a giant middle finger waving at us with a "you can't touch me" smirk.

But we can. Not only can we, but we must.

"The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."


drmagoo said...

As usual, 100% correct, Pete. Bush won't get another policy passed while in office, he's the lamest of lame ducks, but he'll use "executive privilege" to continue using the Constitution to line his diapers til the very last second he can. There is absolutely no way to hold him accountable, short of the Republican party remembering that it, in principle, is made of humans, rather than just power-hungry denizens of the netherworld and overturning his vetoes, other than impeachment.

Life Hiker said...

Where do we sign up as supporters of your last paragraph?

Despite my understanding of how our American political system really works, and how dirty it is, I still have to pinch myself to believe that, in this day and age, we put this bunch of clowns in charge of our country.

Is is really too late to contest the Ohio vote in 2004?