Undaunted by the rejection of the neo-con ideology in the November elections, Bush has continued a full court press on our civil liberties, seeking not only to open any snail mail but also force internet providers to record and report every web site visited by all U.S. citizens.
He continues to advocate tax cuts for the wealthiest, even after new figures released proved his cuts through 2004 yielded only benefits for those earning over $1 million annually, a tiny fraction of the American taxpayers, though a huge percentage of his supporters.
He has cut deals to aid India's nuclear program, undoing decades of non-proliferation work, and he has approved a completely new program to build a new class of expensive nuclear missiles, though we already have more then would be needed to destroy the entire planet hundreds of times over. He would also have us resume underground testing, in violation of long standing international treaties.
His appointments continue to shamelessly recycle cronies, most lately his nomination for General Counsel of the Department of Transportation being a lobbyist and ex-Halliburton executive who intends to begin privatizing our highways. The new Ambassador to the Dominican Republic? A lobbyist who chaired Arizona's Republican Party. The new hire at the Agency for International Development? Former director of daddy Bush's Presidential Library and an Iran/Contra era rehash. The new deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management? A lobbyist and consultant for firms specializing in outsourcing and building access between senior executives at very large corporations with federal agency leaders to "help improve the quality of governmental services".
Most visible however has been the President's inability to grasp the notion that the American people and troops are done in Iraq. Despite the protests of up to 80% of Americans and Iraqis, clear majorities in the House, Senate and military from the top brass to the boots on the ground, Bush feels this "war" needs a new beginning. Never mind the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and daddy Bush's trusted Secretary of State, nor the UN and world community. He doesn't get it yet, going so far as to label as "pessimists" everybody who agrees the conflict cannot be resolved militarily.
Rather, Bush has us headed in the opposite direction, calling for a 21,500 troop increase to engage in dangerous urban door-to-door raids, while making less stringent the careful, conservative rules of engagement he himself imposed on our soldiers designed to minimize collateral casualties.
Beyond this, he has just recently conducted airstrikes on alleged al Qaeda operatives in Somalia. Many do not know realize the fighting is still ongoing there three days later, with U.S. fire accounting for scores of civilian deaths, massive firefights have been touched off in a situation which mirrors Iraq in several ironic ways. The U.S. backed Ethiopian forces that have been providing security for the "transitional" puppet government failed to win the hearts and minds of defiant Somalis who chased off US troops in 1993. Armed bands of gunmen have retaliated, spurring door to door searches and escalation of the violence between Ethiopian troops and Muslim resistance fighters, who are often cheered by Somali locals.
This precarious current situation may soon require additional US involvement. The timing of the revenge attack on the alleged masterminds of the 1998 embassy bombings came about one day before Bush's latest nationally televised speech, eliciting questions about a "wag the dog" tactic meant to bolster Bush's accomplishments but which immediately backfired after the region fell into chaos and the al Qaeda operatives' deaths could not be confirmed.
Receiving even less publicity then the Somali raids however, was the incident which took place as Bush was airing his speech Wednesday night. US troops stormed the Iranian consulate in the Kurdish-controlled area of Iraq 220 miles from Baghdad, taking six embassy staffers into custody and and confiscating computers and files.
Iran has accused the US of trying to "create tension" between Iraq and its neighbors as their foreign ministry demanded an explanation, summoning Iraqi and Swiss envoys to Tehran (Switzerland handles our diplomatic chores as we have no embassy in Iran).
Also enraged were Kurdish forces who claimed jurisdictional authority, causing a reported one-hour "tense standoff" between US troops and the ticked off peshmerga guard.
Last week, Bush and Cheney ordered US aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf, positioned strategically close to Iran. Bush's replacement of widely regarded Generals Casey and Abizaid with David Petraeus (the only remaining General who hadn't opposed the idea of a troop surge) seemed obviously devised to utilize Petraeus' expertise in naval air combat, more closely suited to potential engagements with Iran.
This move was roundly recognized as another preparation for engagement with Iran. Connecting the dots, it's clear what Bush's intentions are, just as they were in the lead up to the Iraqi invasion -- we've seen this movie before, we just thought it had a horribly disappointing ending.
This reckless activity in these various foreign destinations (except for the region of Pakistan where Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding) should concern Americans enough to consider what it will take to put the brakes on this runaway train. Perhaps these deliberate provocations are a passive-agressive reaction to proposals to cut off military appropriations. Perhaps Bush is simply a madman bent on world domination, or has visions of bringing on the apocalyptic rapture. Perhaps he's on mind-altering substances, or is simply a mouthpiece for Cheney who is seeking exponential growth in the war profiteering industry.
Regardless of which unpleasant scenario it is, we may have to consider impeachment as a defensive maneuver before we have more fighting on our hands then we have troops to deal with it.
We can all see that almost 4 years of futile fighting in Iraq has made the situation worse then ever. We need a complete redefinition of "war" when Iraqi guards moonlight as insurgents and local hires working as translators play us for fools.
This is not war, this is our soldiers being blown up on roads as we travel back and forth, wondering how to tell our adversaries apart from innocent civilians. But we knew even before the invasion this was not a job for the military, we just hoped maybe the terrorists would put on recognizable uniforms and fight us like they did in the last millenium.
Unfortunately, the idea of impeachment has been widely rejected, not only because it takes so long (an estimated two years, making it impractical) but because it might make Bush a political martyr.
My alternative suggestion therefore is to draft a bill that would override Bush's executive order and authorize full United States participation in the International War Crimes Tribunal, requiring the president to go over there and cut the ribbon on our brand new signatory nation bureau offices.