Bush Should be Impeached and Tried for War Crimes

Denise Giardina
The Charleston Gazette

Monday 12 May 2003

One image from the conflict in Iraq continues to haunt me. A photograph in the New York Times includes the school pictures of three girls. Marwa, Tabarek, and Safia Abbas were dark-haired beauties, aged 11, 8, and 5. They could be from anywhere, but until recently they lived in Baghdad. Note I refer to them in the past tense.

According to the Times, their family was agonizing how to tell their injured father that an American bomb killed his daughters. "It wasn’t just ordinary love," they said. "He was crazy about them."

So much for photos. The most haunting quote has come from a military man, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd.

"The dog has caught the car," he said. Indeed. Some fools may think the war in Iraq is over. In truth, it has just begun. And we all know what happens to dogs that catch cars, even if all they wanted was the oil.

Most of the world’s nations, spiritual leaders, Nobel Peace Prize recipients, and artists, opposed this war. There was a reason for that. Consider the objections:

The war would be bloody. It has been. The world community is documenting the widespread death and suffering that continue in Iraq. Americans may not understand this since American television has abandoned its responsibilities. The Abbas girls are only three of thousands of dead civilians.

Particularly appalling was the use of condemned weapons like cluster bombs which continue to kill noncombatants, especially children. The Pentagon has admitted that about one in 10 missiles missed their target. Add to that the reports in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the foreign press, of truckloads of dismembered bodies of women and children, of far greater casualties than the Gulf War, of U.S. troops killing civilians and journalists, sometimes indiscriminately, even firing upon ambulances. The protesters shot by U.S. troops in Fallujah were mostly schoolboys.

The war would destabilize the Middle East and empower Islamic fundamentalists. Take out a dictator like Saddam Hussein without proper planning, and you get a power vacuum. The fundamentalists who gave us 9/11 are more than ready to step into it. Donald Rumsfeld says it won’t happen. But how does he intend to stop it, except with another bloodbath?

The Iraqi people would not be happy to have us stay and run their country for them. They clearly aren’t.

The war would be about oil. This seems accurate considering the care taken to protect the Iraqi Oil Ministry offices, while allowing the sacking of hospitals and museums. Iraqis go without water and electricity but the oil wells are running. Bush’s corporate crony Bechtel is busy already building pipelines, and companies like ExxonMobil will be major players.

Bush and Blair were lying about the threat Saddam Hussein posed to the world.

Armchair warriors, who seem to think combat is like a Civil War re-enactment in Putnam County, love to compare Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler. The comparison is absurd. Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein had nothing in common save cruelty and moustaches.

In 1938, Hitler commanded one of the most powerful armies on earth. In 2003, Hussein’s army was a shadow of its 1991 strength, not remotely close to a force that could dominate the world. In 1938, Hitler took over Austria and attacked Czechoslovakia. In 2003, Saddam attacked and conquered no one. He was, in fact, scarcely able to defend his own country.

Hitler made clear his aim to conquer Europe and enslave its people while leading Germany to world domination. What Saddam Hussein made clear was that he was one of scores of vicious dictators in the world today. Left to himself, his regime would have imploded of its own evil and madness, as did that of Idi Amin in Uganda. Saddam lasted as long as he did only because of years of support from the Reagan administration, including Donald Rumsfeld.

Weapons of mass destruction? Saddam no longer had them. If he had, he would have used them. And if any are found now, the cabal that has hijacked our country will have planted them there. That is why the Bush administration has made clear it will not allow the U.N. back in the country to provide neutral inspections.

Here is what is coming clear. George W. Bush and his cabal lied to the American people so they could attack another country to seize its oil wealth. Bush has, as Doonesbury and others have pointed out, assumed the mantle of Julius Caesar. He is in the process of ruining the American republic and establishing an American/corporate empire. A favorite motto at the White House is "Let them hate us, as long as they fear us." Emperor Caligula liked that saying too.

The American people should be clear about two things. History never judges kindly a rich, powerful nation that attacks a small, poor one. The second is that empires — all empires — end up on the ashbin of history.

George W. Bush should be impeached. After that, he should stand beside Saddam Hussein in the dock to be tried for war crimes. First witnesses — though they cannot speak for themselves — should be Marwa, Tabarek, and Safia Abbas.

Giardina’s novel "Saints and Villains," about German theologian and Nazi-resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, won the Boston Book Review’s Fisk Fiction Prize in 1998.