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.

Obama Will Go Naked to Stockholm

Obama, Kissinger, Wilson, Roosevelt and Moniz.

Quick. What do Barack Obama, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger and Egar Moniz have in common? All won the Nobel Prize, the first four for “peace” either as sitting presidents, or in Kissinger’s case, while his bombs were falling on innocents in Vietnam. Moniz won the prize in Physiology or Medicine for his invention of the lobotomy. Of these five he wrought the least carnage.

Today we awoke to news that Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Some looked quick to see whether it was April 1. Most often folks mumbled resignedly “War is Peace.” I prefer the Vietnam era formulation that warring for peace is like fu**ing for virginity. A few wept tears of disappointment, certainly mainstream Medea Benjamin who, having recently come out definitively as a hawk, must have thought that with this adjustment the Nobel was certainly in sight. Code Pink needs a new name now. Justin Raimondo suggests Code Yellow. But I believe Whores for Wars might be better. (That would only apply to Medea and the national leadership, many of the local Code Pinkers being genuine anti-interventionists who cannot stomach the narcissistic national leadership like mainstream Medea.)

My good friend and Israeli expat Joshua was at first afraid he was having a bad dream or that the Nobel committee was working a cruel joke. After all, Joshua reasoned, Obama is war criminal, who has engineered the biggest military spending in human history, who daily drops bombs on innocents, women and children in at least three countries, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, who supports the worst war criminals and lodges some in his administration, who destroyed in a few months the “hope” for a peace in the middle east. The western world has gone crazy, no doubt, says Joshua. And since war is now peace we might rename all organizations appropriately – United for War and Justice, War Action, and so on.

This led Joshua to predictions for future Nobels.

Next year, literature: Obama for “The Audacity of Hope” – the greatest fiction ever.

Next year, economy: Obama – creating a new statistical metric for recovery.

Next year, peace: Bush/Cheney – based on Obama’s peace prize precedent.

Year after, peace: Netanyahu – the man behind Obama’s peace in the Middle East.

But to this writer we witness the second repetition of history. The US Empire’s first great colonial war on the Asian mainland in the last half century was Truman’s Korean war. This was repeated as tragedy in Vietnam at the hands of the Best and Brightest, with Johnson and Kennedy in the lead. And now the Iraq/AfPak war comes at us from Bush and Obama and Congresses both Democrat and Republic. If Vietnam was tragedy, then certainly Iraq/AfPak is farce. There were no WMD in Iraq and everyone knew it. By the military’s own admission there are about 100 Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, so the US troops are not there because of Al-Qaeda – and everyone knows it.

Now the ultimate comedic turn comes with the award to Obama of the Nobel War Prize. Perhaps the antiwar movement needs to adjust its tone from pure outrage to ridicule. After all Obama and the elite running this country are without clothes as they parade before us as men of peace, puffed up with talk of fake health care reform and assuring us of economic recovery that provides no jobs. It would be hard to make this stuff up. And through our tears at the predicament we are in, we can at least ridicule these hypocritical murderers. They deserve to be seen clearly as the cruel and absurd hollow men that they are. They march before us unknowingly naked.

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com. He believes that if the Nobel Committee were serious, Cindy Sheehan would have won the award long ago.