Column: The mess in Iraq: Holding Bush accountable

By Jack McMillin

The Bush administration is one of the most secretive and corrupt administrations of modern times. George W. Bush will be President until 2009 and only time will tell what this man will further accomplish in his quest to make war, endanger the lives of Americans, and shift wealth from the hands of those who have little to those who have much. The Bush administration has been marked by contempt for the law, disregard for American lives and gross incompetence.

Bush’s presidency has been riddled with scandal from day one. In early 2001, Dick Cheney’s energy task force met behind closed doors. The result was energy policy largely written by officials from the energy industry. In 2002, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the secret proceedings of this task force were ordered to be disclosed, but this has not yet happened. A couple of things from the meetings that have seen the light of day are maps of Iraq’s oil fields and a document called “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” It is worth noting that the energy task force met before Sept. 11.

Bush’s warrantless domestic spying, which the administration had attempted to hide from the American people was recently declared illegal. Who would have thought? What is surprising is that leading up to the recent ruling, Department of Justice lawyers didn’t even attempt to defend the legality of the program. The argument of Bush’s legal team was that the NSA wiretapping was so secret that Judge Anna Diggs Taylor had no authority to rule on it. The Department of Justice did not even choose to argue against the claims of the plaintiffs, only that the program couldn’t be ruled illegal, because it was secret.

It’s arguable which of these individual scandals would be considered high crimes or misdemeanors. But no scandal of the past six years can compare to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Bush and his friends lied to us in front of our very eyes. Bush warned us about weapons of mass destruction he knew never existed. When some of us were skeptical, we were asked if we wanted to see the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud. Paul Wolfowitz later revealed that in the selling of the war, weapons of mass destruction were picked as the reason to invade “for bureaucratic reasons … because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.”

If only Bush and Rumsfeld had worked so hard on planning the war as they did selling it. Bush had no plans to win the war, only glib predictions that we would be greeted as liberators. Three years of “stay the course” have resulted in a bloody civil war with no end in sight. About $267 million is spent in Iraq every day, and 2,600 American lives have so far been lost.

President Clinton was impeached for lying about oral sex. Instead of capturing Osama Bin Laden, whom Bush was “not that concerned about” as early as March 2002, Bush led our troops into Iraq. He lied about threats to American lives and started a war which has destroyed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Bush instituted a secret program to spy on Americans which has since been declared illegal. Yet the same Republican-led Congress which was so eager to go after Clinton has done little to hold Bush accountable.

The only way to hold Bush accountable is to dump the Republican congress. A Democratic congress will be able to hold hearings to investigate illegal domestic spying and the Bush administration’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina. A Democratic congress will be able to provide meaningful military oversight and stop companies like Halliburton from getting rich off no-bid contracts. And a Democratic congress will be able to hold Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and pals accountable for lying us into a poorly-planned war with no clear objective for no good reason.