The Double Standard of The Nation on Impeachment

The lead editorial in the April 11 issue of The Nation, “The Libya Intervention,” leaves one wondering. Whatever the editorial may be, it does not qualify as a resounding condemnation of Barack Obama for his war on Libya.

It begins by naming, a president, but that president is George Bush not Barack Obama. The editorial notes that the Libyan “intervention” comes eight year’s to the day after “Bush began his ‘shock and and awe’ war.” It appears that W wages war, but Obama merely “intervenes.” Noting that Bush’s war ravaged Iraq and brought America’s reputation low, The Nation observes that Obama “seems to have learned this lesson.” Then the editorial goes on to praise Obama for taking military action only as a last resort to prevent a “potential” massacre of civilians. But does that not mean that the Libyan adventure is a preemptive war just like Bush’s?

The Nation then heaps praise on Obama for deciding to “support” the Security Council resolution, ignoring the fact that the U.S. browbeat the Security Council into (just barely) passing that resolution. The editorial continues: “The (UN) resolution makes clear that its goal is the protection of civilians rather than regime change. Thus the administration’s decision to support the UN action is an important defense of a multipolar world that operates according to international law.” Sounds so far like Obama is doing a great job.

Only when one arrives at the fifth paragraph of this nine paragraph editorial do we begin to find criticism of Obama. The fact that Obama has taken the country to war without a declaration by Congress is duly noted – but there is no mention of impeachment as the remedy, not even a hint.

Let us turn the clock back to 2006 for a moment. Then The Nation was a leading voice calling for impeachment of Bush, for example in a landmark article in the January 30,2006 issue, by Elizabeth Holtzmann who help draft articles of impeachment against Nixon. In that article under the heading of “Subverting our Democracy,” Holtzmann writes that “the decision to go to war is the gravest decision a nation can make, and in a democracy the people and their elected representatives, when there is no imminent attack on the United States to repel, have the right to make it.” And when the president denies the people and their representatives that right by lying to them as did Bush or simply ignoring them as Obama has done, Holtzman’s remedy is impeachment. The editor of The Nation was delighted with that article.

Holtzmann goes on to suggest the way forward. She says: “The task has three elements: building public and Congressional support, getting Congress to undertake investigations into various aspects of presidential misconduct and changing the party makeup of Congress in the 2006 elections. Drumming up public support means organizing rallies, spearheading letter-writing campaigns to newspapers, organizing petition drives, door-knocking in neighborhoods, handing out leaflets and deploying the full range of mobilizing tactics.” She even praises “AfterDowning St.” headed by David Swanson for building support for impeachment. Swanson now leads “War is A Crime,” and is an explicit advocate for doing nothing about impeachment in the case of Obama.

So The Nation was in favor of impeachment when the war was Bush’s and it was useful to win votes for Dems in the 2006 elections. The Nation’s editor was delighted with Holtzmann’s article featured on the cover. But The Nation and the same editor now stand mute when the war and the violation of the Constitution are Obama’s. The words of those who place Party over principle merit considerable contempt, especially when it comes to issues of war, but they do not deserve to be taken seriously.

20 thoughts on “The Double Standard of The Nation on Impeachment”

  1. Double standard indeed. Immoral hypocrisy is the "new chic and trendy" paradigm. All hail the Emperor same as the old Emperor. War Criminals 'R' US.

  2. Why anyone with a functioning brain stem pays even so much as one precious life millisecond of serious attention to what ANY of these MSM rags, either dead tree pulp or electronic edition, has to say is absolutely beyond me.

  3. I once suggested that Obama should be impeached at another site and I was accused of being a racist. So, if Bush does wages war it's bad, if Obama wages war it's good, and Obama must have been forced to do it is the ususal excuse. Then they say they cannot understand why Obama betrays them. It's because they don't have a clue as to what Obama is or what national leaders are by nature.

    1. I can't believe that I'm agreeing with a racist.

      Kucinich said that Obama's actions were an impeachable offense, but saved himself the wasted effort of introducing articles of impeachment since that got nowhere the last time.

      (I'm just kidding when I call you a racist. I like to joke that Obama is half black and all white devil.)

      1. Probably realistic at this point regarding Kucinich. In fact, I think Obama will win the next election much less be impeached. You are right about Obama, he is white for all intents and purposes. Still, I think Kucinich could and should introduce impeachment if only for the historical record before they rewrite history as they are prone to doing. And like the fellow below says, you can't win unless you fight. Unfortunately there is little fight in the faithful these days.

    1. Thank you for that link, JLS. Glenn Greenwald helps me keep my sanity.

      Here is my solution to the dilemma Greenwald discusses. If the Democratic base wants to have any influence, it must be willing to lose elections in the short term in order to be accommodated in the long term. Otherwise, they'll never gain anything ever. Also, Obama has proven that it does the Democratic base very little good for a Democrat to win as long as the Democratic base is a political doormat. Thus, the Dems should either stay home or vote for an independent candidate (like Ralph Nader) in a presidential election. I have argued many times that the people who voted for Nader in 2000 were the ones who did NOT throw their votes away.

      The other solution is to get rid of electoral politics. Representatives should be chosen for limited terms at random (like juries), except that you allow people to decline since you are asking for a bigger (but well paid) commitment than a week on jury duty. Thus, you pick 50 or 100 names at random for a district, then go down the list till you get someone to answer the call to duty.

      The advantages are that you get rid of partisanship, a bribe would be punishable as a bribe instead of accepted as a legal campaign contribution, you get more diverse experience and points of view, and you get people with much better character. When people are forced to take that responsibility and to study the issues for themselves rather than being manipulated through partisan spin, even the rubes can make very sensible decisions.

  4. I cannot say this enough (because there are those who prefer not to hear it): Obama should be impeached, prosecuted, and imprisoned. -David Swanson
    (I won't hold my breath for the correction.)

    1. Once again Swanson, the activist, proclaims his support of impeachment, but he does so in word not deed. Talks the talk but no walking is involved. Here is Swanson in his own words from a recent CounterPunch article:
      "So why not impeach Obama? I clamored for the impeachment of Bush. I say Obama is as bad or worse. Why am I such a corrupt hypocrite that I haven't built a movement to impeach Obama? Well, I'll tell you, as I've told people more times than I can count. Obama should be impeached and convicted and removed from office. Obama should be prosecuted for his crimes. So should his subordinates. So should his predecessor, his subordinates, and all corporate co-conspirators. The reason I can't get 20 people into the streets to demand Obama's impeachment (and if I did, they'd want him impeached for being born in Africa to aliens from Planet Socialism) is that nobody in Congress is even pretending to give a damn."
      There it is. Although Swanson might think it is a dandy idea to impeach Obama, he will not lift a finger to do anything about it. Considering his stance on Bush/Ceney, that is a double standard, just like The Nation. Does that make him a "corrupt hyocrite," the words he chooses? You tell me.
      But look at the last sentence in the Swanson quote from CP. If you want to impeach Obama, Swanson tells us, you are a know-nothing and in opposition to Obama because of his African heritage. Translation: If you are interested in impeachment you are a racist.
      In the same sentence Swanson tells us he does not know 20 people who would go "into the streets" to demonstrate for Obama's impeachment. I suggest he is hanging out with the wrong crowd, the same crowd by the way that the editors of The Nation hang with.
      So Mr. Swanson those who favor impeachment of Obomba and want to do something about it are growing in number – and they are neither know-nothings nor racists.

  5. As hasbeen pointed out so many times on this site, Democrats are just the left wing of the War Party. Seen in this light, it should hardly surprise anyone that Democrats would be all on board when a war is started by a President with a "D" after his name.

  6. How about the Republicans introduce the Impeachment of Obama in the House, Whilst at the same time the Attorney General brings charges of waging illegal war( the day that someone actually shows me the UN resolution that specifically said that Bush and Co could in fact actually attack Iraq, and that it had the specific legal blessing of a specific UN security council resolution as required by the AUMF i will keep my mouth shut) and also the charges of Torture against those in the Bush Administration that ordered such things to be done. Bush Cheney Rumsfeld et al.

    The end result will in fact be that Presidents of either persuasion realise that, War isnt something that they should enter into without forethought..

    1. The reasons this will NEVER happen are essentially three-fold. First, the facade of rancorous partisanship has to be maintained in order to continue gulling the votards into believing the fiction that there are actual ideological divides between two distinct parties rather than two false fronts of a single, unitary fascialist entity. Second, in order to maintain this facade while at the same time providing safe cover for the cronyism that is rampant at all levels of government, no attorney general will EVER aid in the impeachment of a sitting president of his or her own party. Finally, each and every member of an executive cabinet and each and every member of Congress wants for themselves, someday, the possibility of grabbing (the illusion of) position and power to do EXACTLY what the current sock puppet in the Awful Orifice is now doing as "commander in chief" of the armed forces. For this reason they're certainly not about to strip a predecessor of the power they all, openly or otherwise, crave for themselves.

      1. This reply hides a dangerous attitude in "radical" clothing. Don't fight because you cannot win. The ruling class is much too powerful says commenter. But though powerful, our rulers are not omnipotent. That is a thought that persists in all political camps from Etienne de LaBoetie on the Libertarian Right all the way up to Mao Zedong on the revolutionary Left.
        In fact we can win if we are clever enough and work hard enough. The truth is you cannot win if you do not fight – and this commentator wants to stop us from fighting. Where such devious logic comes from, I do not know. But voices like this are present urging inaction at every crucial juncture in human progress. If they are heeded, we go nowhere.

  7. I am a little disapointed in this blogs interpretation of 'war' and 'intervention'. GWB's was an "invasion' without UN sanction (or any other countries except, your congress which was lied to anyway and doesn't count) in both Iraq and Afghanistan . Libya is something else again. It is a temporary UN repeat UN sanctioned operation. Get it? If GWB was still in power and did this the silence would be deafening .

    1. UN sanction does not matter. The Constitution demands that the people's reps vote on war – period.
      And the UN was bullied into it be the Empire.

    2. predates blogs by 5+ years, and opposed wars under Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Fail at doing basic research about what you are reading JC!

      I consider myself on the decentralist anti authoritarian activist left, but I very much respect the integrity of the transpartisan opposition to war by the principled Libertarians and paleo-cons behind

  8. Very IMPORTANT!!! Here are some of your tools for fighting for FREEDOM…It starts from within…the mind!

    We each play a part in this world called life!

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