Monday, April 30, 2007

What Else Can I Do? Part 2

What Else Can We Do – Part 2
Demand that Bush and Cheney Resign

Remember the Iraq Study Group Report. Here is a story about it from the International Herald Tribune. While this bipartisan group inexcusably avoided the issue of how the administration used fraud and deceit to justify beginning to kill Iraqis and American soldiers, it did extensively cover the incompetence of the handling of the project.

I could not help but think of the report again and the response here when I read the article in the Boston Globe this morning about the reaction in Israel to the release of the report of the Winograd Commission on the invasion by Israel of Lebanon last summer.

There is such an eerie similarity between the Bush in Iraq and the Ohmert in Lebanon. Both invasions were rash and misguided and both were (and as for Bush’s are) badly mismanaged.

BUT in Israel the response has been to call for the resignation of Ohmert and Peretz.

In the United the world of the news Bloggers, there are calls for impeachment of President Bush but for the most part the establishment traditional media’s response has not been outrage but rather, to be charitable, muted. Maybe they will read the news from Israel and have the courage and integrity come up with a consensus on a story line similar to the following:

“There is and there has been for a long time only one significant action that would begin to move the United States on a path that would lead to peace in Iraq, a return to unity and community and the rule of law (especially the Constitution) here at home and the restoration of the United States as a moral leader in the world: the immediate resignation of President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and the members of the cabinet.”

And, if they don’t, maybe THAT is something we can do!!!


International Herald Tribune
Report is a rebuke to Bush
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

WASHINGTON: In 142 devastatingly stark pages, stuffed with adjectives like "grave and deteriorating," "daunting," and "dire," the Iraq Study Group report is an impassioned plea for bipartisan consensus on the most divisive foreign policy issue of this generation. Only one person - President George W. Bush - can make that happen.

The commissioners - five Democrats and five Republicans - tried to be kind to Bush, adopting his language when they accepted the goal of an Iraq that can "govern, itself, sustain itself and defend itself."

But gone is the administration's talk of Iraq as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. Gone is any talk of victory.

Instead, the report forces the president to accept the painful truth that cost Republicans control of Congress: his policy in Iraq is not working, and it the American people do not support it. If Bush embraces the report's blueprint for changing course, he himself will have to reverse course - and meet Democrats more than halfway.

The study group, for instance, calls for direct engagement with Iran and Syria; so far, Bush has refused. While Bush has steadfastly resisted a timetable for withdrawal, the report says all combat brigades "not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq" - note the careful use of the conditional, could - by the first quarter of 2008.

Olmert braces for fight to save his job
Report faults handling of Lebanon war
By Craig Nelson, Cox News Service April 30, 2007

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert braced himself yesterday for a bitter fight to save his job after portions of a long-awaited government report criticizing his handling of last summer's war in Lebanon were disclosed to local media and the clamor for his resignation swelled.

Quoting from what they said were leaked copies of the report, local television stations reported over the weekend that a government-appointed panel investigating Israel's prosecution of the war had sharply criticized Olmert, describing his actions as "rash" and "misguided" and saying he lacked an "organized plan" for the Lebanon operation against the radical Islamic group Hezbollah.

Allegations that Olmert and his defense minister, Amir Peretz, demonstrated a woeful lack of military acumen and badly mismanaged the war prompted renewed calls for both men to step down. Both onetime allies and longtime foes joined the chorus.

Former Cabinet minister Ofir Pines, a member of Peretz's Labor Party, advised the pair to follow the example of Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, the military chief of staff during the war who quit in January in the face of criticism of his performance from both inside and outside the military.

"I expect the prime minister and the defense minister to stand up and take responsibility and resign," Pines told Army Radio.
Gideon Saar, of the opposition Likud, also urged Olmert's entire 26-member Cabinet to quit.

"The government is the body in charge of the military campaign, and the government failed," Saar told Israel Radio.

While Olmert's aides insisted that he had no intention of stepping down, the prime minister put off comment until today's scheduled release of the Winograd Commission's preliminary findings.
"We cannot discuss what has been leaked ," Olmert reportedly said at a meeting of ministers from his Kadima party.

The aftermath of last summer's war with Hezbollah is not the only source of political travails for Olmert, whose popularity ratings have dipped to record low single digits, according to some polls. He is the subject of at least three corruption investigations.

Despite Olmert's woes, his immediate resignation is unlikely, analysts said. The five-member commission has no authority to order or recommend resignation, or file criminal charges.
"Olmert will not resign unless there's a smoking gun, and since this commission is part of a political process not a criminal investigation, it is unlikely to produce one," said Reuven Hazan, a professor of political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

A revolt by members of his Kadima party, keen to avert catastrophe at the polls, could change the equation. So could the expected replacement of the unpopular Peretz as head of the Labor party later this month -- possibly by an emboldened successor who could topple Olmert by yanking Labor from the governing coalition.

Finally, public opinion could grow so toxic toward Olmert that he has "no choice" but eventually to resign, said Yossi Avigor, a 30-year-old army reservist who fought for two weeks in southern Lebanon last summer.

"The commission has no teeth, but in the end, Israelis don't want a prime minister who was so quick to go to war and don't want a defense minister who doesn't understand the military," said Avigor, a member of a group of reservists critical of the government's conduct during the war.
The conflict began July 12, when Hezbollah fighters kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed three others in a cross-border raid. When an Israeli armored unit struck back across the frontier an hour later, five more troops were killed. Hours later, Israeli warplanes began striking targets throughout Lebanon.

The 34-day military campaign ended Aug. 11, three days after the UN Security Council passed resolution 1701, which called for an enlarged UN force to maintain a security zone in southern Lebanon. The fighting left 159 Israelis dead, including 116 soldiers and 43 civilians. About 1,109 Lebanese civilians and 28 Lebanese troops were killed

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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