DUMMERSTON, Vt. — When the lawmakers of the country your occupying don't want you around any more, you know your war is in trouble.
Last week, the Iraqi Parliament voted to approve a timetable for U.S. forces to withdraw from their country. More than half the members of the parliament, 144 in all, signed on to the legislative petition.
That might explain why Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise visit to Iraq last week.
But it wasn’t just the parliament’s antiwar vote that brought Cheney to Baghdad. He also stopped by to pressure the Iraqi government to move forward with plans to privatize the state-controlled oil industry and pass a production sharing agreement that would give foreign oil companies a great share of the profits.
However, the bigger concern for the Bush administration ought to be the Iraqi vote for withdrawal. The majority in the Iraqi parliament that voted for the resolution is an undeniable sign that the nationalists who oppose permanent U.S. military bases and privatization of the oil industry are far greater political force than the administration realizes.
While the sectarian violence in Iraq continues, there is one thing that Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds all agree on — the desire for a sovereign Iraq free of the heavy hand of the United States.
For all the Bush administration's talk of its desire to see a united Iraq free of sectarian violence, it has no desire to see an Iraq that has full control over its oil and its economy.
That is why will continue to see U.S. forces in Iraq for the foreseeable future. The Pentagon announced last week that another 35,000 soldiers will be heading to Iraq this fall as reinforcements for the Bush administration's so-called surge.
President Bush has made it clear he will not accept any timetables for withdrawal and there still is not enough support in Congress to override a presidential veto. While there is growing talk from both parties in Congress to give the administration until September to show that it is making progress in Iraq, the reality is that the bulk of the U.S. forces will remain in Iraq through the rest of this year and through all of 2008 as well.
As it stands now, the U.S. Congress wants to see our soldiers leave Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament wants to see our soldiers leave Iraq. Most of the opinion polls in both the United States and Iraq show a strong majority supporting the withdrawal of U.S. forces. But as long as President Bush remains in office, our soldiers will remain in Iraq.
The politicians who oppose the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney say that energy should devoted toward ending the war. The reality is that as long as the Bush administration is in power, the United States will stay in Iraq — no matter how unpopular the occupation becomes with Americans and Iraqis.
This illegal and immoral war will not end until Bush and Cheney are removed from power. That is the most important argument for their impeachment.
Unfortunately, most Democrats still believe it is safer to let the electoral process run its course and win back the White House in 2008.
This assumes, of course, that the 2008 election will be free of the vote stealing and other assorted chicanery we saw in 2000 and 2004. It also assumes that there will be no "October Surprise" in the fall of 2008 that could shift support to the Republicans.
While the current Republican candidates for president are a motley and uninspiring lot, the Democrats shouldn't count on an easy victory in 2008. If the Democrats won't draft articles of impeachment for Bush and Cheney, they must pick up the pace on its investigations.
The Democrats must conclusively put on the public record the extent of the incompetence, lies and corruption of the past six years. If those investigations follow through to their logical conclusion, it will become impossible not to impeach them.