Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Impeachable Offense?

John W. Dean, remember him, of Watergate fame? now surmises that if the President lied about WMD in Iraq it is an impeachable offense. I saw the Democrat Howard Dean trying to get traction in Iowa for his presidential run say that this is one of those critical political turning points that demanded that "what did he know and when did he know it" question be asked. Such points, such modes of political rhetoric, are, of course, either silly or mischevious.

Although I have followed this essentially inside-the-beltway dispute a little bit (a dispute essentially about intelligence gathering, then about whether or not it is worth going into Iraq, and then whether or not that will help with the war on terrorism, and then will Saddam’s demise help with a better and more lasting peace between Israel and Palestinians, then to a full blown--still an inside the beltway thing, though--political issue that is being used by Demo presidetial candidates, to an amazing media hype) I have now decided that all this is no longer worthy of serious consideration. Apparently, so have the American people. What people forget in doing this kind of "inside" politics is that if the issue they are pushing doesn’t resonate with the American people, it just turns into petty politics pursued for petty inside-the-bureaucracy reasons. No citizen is interested in such matters. They were also not interested in the US being blamed for the asserted and unproven mass looting that was supposed to have taken place of the museum in Baghdad (that proved to be all wrong, and CNN is still only is barely able to admit it).

What citizens are interested in is making sure that bad guys don’t attack us any more, and that our national interests are doggedly pursued. Now, it goes without saying that we can have disputes about what those national interests are. It is arguably the case (and although open to it at the time, I respectfully disagreed) that we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. But that kind of argument is different; it is not an "inside" argument, it is a "public" argument, a civic argument, unlike the current "where is the smoking-gun WMD" crap.

The "inside" argument cannot have any standing in public--I don’t care how hard ABC news and CNN and Howard Dean work on it--when mass graves continue to be found in Iraq, when the whole mid-East is moving in a more sensible and moderate direction, when it looks as though changing the regime in Iraq was both the right thing to do and also in our interest.

Take a look at this op-ed by Robert Kagan and this long blog by Glenn Reynolds and follow his references.

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