by Scott Creighton
During a conversation my mother had with one of my two uncles, this point was brought up about impeaching Dick Cheney; “Impeachment will make the US look bad to the rest of the world.” I would tend to disagree.
First of all, my mother, poor thing, has the unfortunate task of having to listen to my endless ranting about the various topics you can read here on my blog. She’ not old enough yet to pretend she can’t hear and my apartment is small, so she either fakes a seizure or she has to listen. There is no escape. I can often see her working out the choice in her head when I call her over to see something or to read a new post. She will scan the floor to see if there is anything in the way that she could actually hurt herself on when she takes the flop…
It’s sad that a 67 year old woman has to make such choices. But, I console myself; these are hard times for everyone. Why should she get a break just because she brought me into this world; fed and clothed me; wiped my bottom (not recently); went to all my tedious high school plays and wrestling matches; helped me get to college; and has been the only living person to continue to stand by me, thru thick and thin, when all others have forsaken me?
“Attention must be paid.” (give you a hint…it’s from a play.)
My uncles are identical twins. They honorably served our country with distinction; they took jobs that they held for 20 years or more; they raised families; bought homes; and have now retired and enjoy the “golden years” of their lives. They are the embodiment of what the “American Dream” once was; achievable.
But aside from all of that, they have both suffered losses and ran upon hardships that have never seemed to really shake them. They both have rather different, but clearly defined humor that seems to carry them thru all things. They have stood by their children and have become beaming grand parents. They are good men even though they are ever so slightly misinformed.
Yet still, I have always had the greatest respect for them.
So when my mother came to after her latest seizure, she told me of the talk she had with one of her brothers about the situation in Washington right now. She tried to explain how the MSM doesn’t really give a complete picture of the news of the day and that Cheney needs to be impeached.
His first response was; “why?”
You see, not everyone who watches Fox News is automatically a troll. They are just misinformed. That much is clear. But, try telling that to a good man who has done all the right things in his life and who just happens to think that Fox’s biggest “flaw” is that they are simply a little “conservative” in their approach to reporting the news. It’s a tuff sell.
My next post will deal with the question of “why impeach Cheney”. It’s a little harder to put a finger on than the cum stain on a dress. But I will give it a shot.
But for now, I would like to address the second, and last, remark my uncle made to my mother about impeachment; the impeaching the Vice President will harm the image of the United States abroad.
This is a very important issue to people like my uncles and should be to every American.
My uncles fought for the image of this country and lived thru times when things must have seemed to look really bad from outside. The civil rights unrest and the Vietnam protests must have made us look like we were about to tear ourselves apart. Nixon and the Watergate Scandal probably didn’t go over so well in greater Europe either.
So, for my uncles to be concerned about how our country is being seen across the pond and elsewhere is a legitimate beef.
The problem with their logic is that they don’t seem to have been told by Fox News that the current World Opinion rating of the US is somewhere just south of China, in the rest of the industrialized world. And it has been in steady decline since we invaded Iraq.
From the International Herald Tribune, June 2006:
“As the war in Iraq continues for a fourth year, the global image of America has slipped further, even among publics in countries closely allied with the United States, a new global opinion poll has found.”
From the International Herald Tribune, June 2007:
“Anti-Americanism since 2002 has deepened, but it hasn’t really widened,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Global Attitudes Project. “It has worsened among America‘s European allies and is very, very bad in the Muslim world. But there is still a favorable view of the United States in many African countries, as well as in ‘New Europe‘ and the Far East.”
“Nonetheless, majorities in many countries reject the main planks of current U.S. foreign policy and express distaste for American-style democracy, the survey found.”
“While the survey covered a broad range of issues, it focused intensively on the world’s image of the United States, which was largely positive in 2002 – reflecting global sympathy for Americans after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington – but has declined steeply since 2003, when the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq.”
“Over the last five years, favorable ratings of the United States have decreased “in 26 of the 33 countries for which trends are available,” Pew said.”
If you don’t like the Herald Tribune… How about Forbes magazine? Aug. 2007:
“European and world views of the United States and President George Bush have dramatically worsened since 2000; the trend has intensified since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. There has been a decline in perceptions of the United States throughout the European Union, including in such traditional U.S. allies as the United Kingdom and Poland, and in Muslim and Latin American countries, according to annual polls undertaken by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Pew Research Center and the BBC World Service.”
“–Contemporary anti-Americanism derives largely — but not entirely — from President George Bush’s Iraq policy.”
“In a March 2007 survey of 28,000 people in 27 countries conducted for the BBC World Service by GlobeScan and the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes, only Israel, Iran and North Korea were perceived as having a more negative influence than the United States on world affairs.”
The reality is that our actions in Iraq and other nations across the Middle East are already fueling strong anti-American sentiment everywhere. Not just in the Middle East.
It was not our removal of the Taliban from power that did it. It was the way in which the war in Afghanistan has been conducted and the fact that certain elements within the White House manipulated public opinion and intelligence to justify a war with Iraq. It is the fact that with all this history of false information being used to sway the American people that a war with Iraq was necessary, we see the same pattern developing around Iran, by mainly the same cast of characters.
But even still, this is not enough to generate the kind of sentiment shift that we have seen world wide.
Just like Americans are capable of separating the regime from the people of a nation, so is the rest of the world. As we hold strong feelings about the despot Kim Jung Il, not many Americans would have the same feelings about the people of North Korea.
So why are there such strong “anti-American” sentiments as opposed to anti-Bush and Cheney? The ones who lied us into these illegal wars?
I think the reason is quite simple; because we are allowing it to continue.
No country outside the US has the ability to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their actions as long as they are in control of the military. Only we can do that. Only we can stop this administration from unleashing yet another ‘shock and awe” on the people of another country. And to date, very few of us are trying to do just that.
By impeaching Cheney, and then Bush, we would re-establish the reputation of this nation. The reputation that my uncles fought for and some of their friends gave their lives for. We would bring back the notion that under our form of democracy, no man is above the law. A President is ultimately answerable to the people and the constitution.
This would, in fact, restore the faith the rest of the world has in our unique form of democracy. And it would make the world a safer place for them and us alike.