About a week ago, Nancy Pelosi said in a town hall that back when she was speaker of the house while George W. Bush was in office, and he and his cronies were publicly claiming that Saddam Hussein had uranium, chemical weapons, and a veritable stockpile of WMDs, she knew he was lying.
“When I became speaker the first time there was overwhelming call for me to impeach President Bush on the strength of the war in Iraq which I vehemently opposed…That was my wheel house, I was in intelligence, I was a ranking member in the intelligence committee… so I knew there were no nuclear weapons in Iraq, it just wasn’t there… the intelligence did not show that was the case.
“So I knew it was a misrepresentation to the public…”
But, she said, she didn’t pursue impeachment because she “did not want to go down that path because of what it would mean for the American people.”
What did that war mean to the American people? It meant almost 4,500 American soldiers dead between 2003 and 2019. Of course, not to mention the number of Iraqi people who have been killed during the longest war America has ever waged, estimated from the hundreds of thousands to nearly a million. Rarely is that number mentioned.
We know they don’t care about brown people in faraway countries, but do any of these people actually give a shit about the American people like they claim to?
If Pelosi truly gave a shit about the American people, then she might have considered the gross mishandling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, in which government aid came far too little too late, and 1800+ people died – mostly people from poor communities, mostly black people (Kanye West was right – George Bush doesn’t care about black people) many elderly and disabled people died – because they didn’t have the resources to evacuate, something that could have been avoided if the government had reacted with haste, or like it was an emergency. But they didn’t. They acted like it had taken them by surprise, like it wasn’t well known that the levees were structurally deficient, and that the funding once allotted to bolstering these safeguards hadn’t been shifted elsewhere – namely, to fund a war that was waged entirely to enrich the members of the ruling class. Then, there’s the fact that the rebuilding of Katrina was a privatization playground for the rich, who lined their pockets with government contracts, tearing down public housing and building charter school after charter school.
But Bush was endearing, and if given to malapropisms and the occasional blooper-reel gaffe, he was at least charming and self-aware. A guy you could have a beer with. Now, look – the doddering old Texan is back at his ranch painting pictures of dogs! How adorable! He’s holding events for the injured veterans of the illegitimate war that he started! And he’s friends with Ellen DeGeneres!
After Bush, there was Obama, that cheeky, handsome, oratorically gifted guy that we all loved. He gave the go-ahead for some 500+ drone strikes in the Middle East and Somalia, which killed between 1200 – 7500 civilians (the numbers are quite murky, and the US decided to consider all military-age males as enemy combatants rather than civilians in their death toll unless explicit evidence said otherwise).
How about that beloved, fatherly icon, still revered on both sides of the political aisle, Ronald Reagan? The Gipper, the great communicator, the handsome and urbane former movie star who, whether you agreed with his politics or not, you had to admit was darn handsome and an affable fellow. What about the CIA-led coup in Nicaragua that he countenanced? What about the fact that the CIA funded this operation, as Gary Webb of the Sacramento Bee later proved, by trafficking cocaine from South America into South Central Los Angeles, effectively inciting the crack epidemic that ravaged the black community there?
What about Trump’s fellow impeachee, Richard M. Nixon? His administration carried out a series of covert (i.e. illegal) bombings in Cambodia from ’69 – ’70 that killed an estimable 100,000 people, after explicitly saying he would not touch Cambodia. He waged a “War on Drugs” that was really a war on black people and leftists. Earlier this year, one of Nixon’s top aides from his presidency, John Ehrlichman, told CNN: “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.”
Was he impeached for that? Or for the then-provable war crime in Cambodia (which resulted in four American college students being killed by the National Guard in a protest at Kent State)? No, he was ultimately impeached for stealing from the DNC. The so called “Saturday Night Massacre,” was a bloodless, paltry reason to impeach Tricky Dick in comparison to the war crimes he had authored in southeast Asia, and the domestic campaign against the black community. Why was this the crime that couldn’t go unpunished?
Because it was an indiscretion within the elite. Trump’s mistake was that he committed an impropriety within the ranks of the politico-capital class, which threatened another faction of the ruling class. It wasn’t that he locked children up away from their parents in concentration camps with woeful, inhumane conditions, it was that he abused his power as president to mess with a political opponent.
Why wouldn’t Nancy Pelosi try hard to impeach Bush for waging a war that she knew was premised on lies? Why wasn’t Nixon impeached for his extralegal strafing of Cambodia, which had terrible repercussions for that country for decades? Why wasn’t Reagan impeached for the coup in Nicaragua?
Why was John F. Kennedy murdered for challenging the system, for threatening to break up the CIA, for going after the mob, for planning to withdraw troops from Vietnam and refusing to give air coverage to the CIA-led Bay of Pigs Invasion? And why did no one, Republican or Democrat, press too hard when, against all evidence, the Warren Commission determined that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone? (But don’t get me started on this….)
The answer is: because the rising tide of imperialism and military industry buoys all ships, regardless of party affiliation. Because Democrats and Republicans alike are all members of the ruling class, equally invested in America’s overseas campaigns and domestic austerity. The truth is: THEY. DON’T. CARE. ABOUT. YOU. And Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party are complicit just as much as the Republican Party.
So when you talk with misty-eyed reverie about the days of Bush, Obama, that incorrigible Clinton, and basically every other President before Trump, miss me with that “miss me yet?” tripe. Don’t tell me that Nancy Pelosi is a badass, a queen, a savior. Crooked systems are run by crooks, and most of them have been more nefarious than Trump. They’ve just been more adroit, more skillful at pretending noble intentions when they really want the oiiiilllll.
In that way, Trump has been kind of hilariously candid, telling the media that he wouldn’t cut off diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia or sanction them in any way after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder because there was a huge arms sale that was about to go down. He hasn’t said much about the obviously American-funded coup in Bolivia, conducted in order to install a pro-US regime in there that will sell us that sweet sweet lithium at a bargain rate, but I’m sure that we’ll find out all about that later. Maybe it will seem like an aberrant level of corruption given the guy’s legacy, but it’s hardly an anomaly. It’s par for the course.
But we can’t in good conscience abide this guy anymore. Because Trump is a clown, a national embarrassment, a dog-whistling white supremacist, an obvious sexist, and an amoral bastard. He’s downright offensive! Didn’t his parents ever teach him manners? This guy’s a bully! We’ve never had anyone this bad! Forget about Reagan’s crack epidemic and militarized crackdown on black communities in the ’80s, or the anti-welfare rhetoric – an obvious cipher for anti-black speak – that wasn’t racist in the way Trump has been. Bush basically ignoring the poor black communities in New Orleans during Katrina – that’s not racist. Trump, though, that guy’s explicitly racist. We can’t have that. Our basic problem with Trump is that he’s impolite. That he doesn’t – can’t – affect a veneer of grace and decorum like his politically-groomed predecessors. That this is our primary complaint with Trump is the real problem.
Ousting the big orange won’t do much besides assuage our consciences and help us to not be so sheepish when confessing our nationality to the Canadian couple we meet while on holiday somewhere in Europe. The fact is that it’s the policies of the United States, domestic and international, that are really in need of impeachment. And that won’t happen, because the people who benefit most from them also happen to be the ones in charge of the votes.
Do not get me wrong – I do think Trump should be impeached. He is a racist, misogynistic asshole. More importantly, his concentration camps at the border are destroying families and killing people. But the crime for which he he is being tried is that he messed with other members of the ruling class, and most people want him out of office simply because he doesn’t project that pretty-face that allows the United States’ brutal interventionism and suffocation of the working classes to continue under the guise of noble intentions. This is by-and-large political theatre to give the Dems a moral high ground, when in reality, they’re one half of the same sick system. So don’t celebrate too hard, because no matter what the outcome of this here impeachment thing is, the smart money’s on nothing changing at all.
We NEED to change things. Let me change that emphasis – WE need to change things. And that means not relying on politicians to save us, even when they’re handsome and witty and cordial and charismatic.