After all, this is not about the presidency. It is about congress, a third of the senate and 36 state governorships. Surely these are internal US issues of little concern  to countries with enough problems of their own.

However, because George Bush's Republican party controls senate and  congress, these elections may well be less about American state and local issues and more of a referendum on presidential policy.
 
Furthermore, this Republican congress has given Bush a blank cheque
on his policies, including recent legislation that retroactively legalises some of the more extreme measures emanating from the White House.

 

If the Democratic party seizes congress or senate, or both, the sycophantic congress will disappear. This might even open the door for impeachment - which would never happen under this Republican legislature.

 

Incidentally, barring impeachment and conviction or death, Bush will be president until January 20, 2009.

 

 

"US foreign policy is not going to change whether there are more democrats in congress or not."

Ken Pace, US


More comments...


Here is a very short constitutional lesson about removal of US

presidents.

 

Section 4, article II of the US constitution states that the

president "shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and

misdemeanours".

 

The House of Representatives, or congress, impeaches, or indicts, the president based on specific charges. The president is then tried in the senate with the chief justice presiding. If convicted in the senate, the president is removed from office. 

What he fails to realise is that his policies have encouraged the proliferation of extremism, as evidenced recently by 16 US

intelligence agencies, and that some peoples really do not want the American brand of democracy.

This has never happened, although two presidents have been impeached.

 

There is much discussion in the US about whether the Bush White House has broken our laws and is trying to make our revered constitution an anachronism.

 

Impeachment is a very real threat if the Democrats gain control of congress, and there is little doubt that Bush is a bit worried about that.

 

All of which brings us to Iran, and the head-shaking is noted.

 

To put it in a different way: How badly does Bush want to win next month?

 

He is nearly maniacal in believing that he is the second coming of Franklin D Roosevelt. In his mind, he wants to save the world from fascism – what he sees as an Islamist variety this time – and preserve and expand democracy for all people on the planet to enjoy.

 

What he fails to realise is that his policies have encouraged the proliferation of extremism, as evidenced recently by 16 US

intelligence agencies, and that some peoples really do not want the American brand of democracy.

 

Will Bush attack Iran by air and sea before next month's elections to prove to his domestic audience that his party is best at preserving and protecting our way of life, thereby "ensuring" a Republican victory in congress?

 

Prognosticators have been saying so for weeks, and there are a few troublesome indications.

 

Such an attack, looking very much like a timely political gambit, would have a devastating effect on world opinion - but the Bush administration has scant interest in that.

 

So if the Iranians, say 10 years from now, saw the Israelis about to pounce on Syria and do what they did to Lebanon, perhaps the ayatollahs would say: "Now wait a minute, do not think that you can do this with impunity."

So what are these indicators? At the moment, unmanned drones and American commando teams are collecting targeting data on Iran, which the US says may have a nuclear weapon in five to 15 years.

 

The Eisenhower CBG (carrier battle group) will be off the coast of Iran on or about October 21. But whether or not there is a force build-up all depends on the Enterprise.

 

The Enterprise CBG, currently stationed in the Arabian Sea, is

coming to the end of its normal six-month tour. If the Enterprise departs as the Eisenhower arrives on station, there probably is not a lot to worry about.

 

Characteristically, the navy has no comment on ships' future orders. No shock there. Nevertheless, Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, said: "This is very serious."

 

Colonel Sam Gardiner, former instructor of military strategy at the National War College, also considers it serious. He said: "I think the plan's been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran.

 

"It is a terrible idea, it is against US law and it is against

international law, but I think they have decided to do it."

 

A Time magazine cover story says it is "clear that the military

option against Iran is moving rapidly toward implementation",

according to its author, Robert Parry.

 

Dave Lindorff, an investigative journalist, presented a strong case and said: "I am betting  that we will be at war with Iran before election day."

 

A discussion of what may or may not happen in the Middle East would not be complete without the Israeli connection.

 

McGovern informs us that Israel is not an ally of the US. After the 1967 war, the US offered, but the Israelis demurred. "Thanks, but no thanks," they replied due to the strings attached to mutual defence treaties, thus allowing them to

act independently.

 

McGovern then asks the obvious, "But why does the president say it is?" - addressing the number of references Bush has made to "our Israeli ally".

 

Whatever the case, Israel has the best of both worlds. It is free to act and Bush thinks that it is an ally.

 

McGovern questions whether Israel would feel threatened by Iran. He says: "Why? Because the Israelis have a nuclear monopoly now in the Middle East, and most people believe they have about 300 nuclear weapons which they can fire from missiles and submarines and whatever else. And Iran and their other neighbours have none.

 

"[Iran would] have to be suicidal to mount an attack on Israel

because it would be obliterated."

 

What would it give Iran? It would give Iran a modicum of what we used to call deterrence. It is a word that has dropped out of the vocabulary of Washington but it worked for 40 years after the second world war.

 

So if the Iranians, say 10 years from now, saw the Israelis about to pounce on Syria and do what they did to Lebanon, perhaps the ayatollahs would say: "Now wait a minute, do not think that you can do this with impunity."

 

Even Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Post columnist and traditionally a mouthpiece for the Bush White House, got in on the act.

 

Krauthammer noted that on the day after the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Bush responded to a question about Iran by saying: "It is very important for the American people to see the president try to solve problems diplomatically before resorting to military force."

 

Krauthammer reasoned: "'Before' implies that one follows the other.

 

The signal is unmistakable. An aerial attack on Iran's nuclear

facilities lies just beyond the horizon of diplomacy. With the

crisis advancing and the moment of truth approaching, it is

important to begin looking now with unflinching honesty at the

military option."

 

He concluded: "Bush had essentially made up his mind about attacking Iran."

 

There is much discussion in the US about whether the Bush White House has broken our laws and is trying to make our revered constitution an anachronism.

Another possibility exists. This is pure speculation on my part, but based on the premise that the American military, particularly its officers, are not robots. From lieutenants to four-stars, the officer corps of our branches of service know what is happening in the world.

 

The speculation is further based on the officers' oath. Officers

swear to protect the constitution. They do not swear to protect the president or his ambitions ... or dreams.

 

This president ordered his military to launch an unprovoked attack on another nation based on causes that did not exist. Worse, much worse, the war in Iraq has dragged on for three-and-a-half years.

 

Matters are more serious now than ever, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and the American people are sharply divided.

 

Is it plausible that American generals and admirals will break with history and tradition and not comply with a presidential directive to launch still another unprovoked attack, this time on Iran?

 

An attack on Iran before the forthcoming elections would be rash and transparent, even by Bush standards. The concern is, if he loses either or both houses next month, what will this president, who feels that his goals are divine, do with his lame-duck Republican congress between the elections and early January when its replacement is seated?

 

Sandy Shanks is the author of two novels, "The Bode Testament" and "Impeachment". An avid historian, he is also a columnist, specialising in political/military issues.

 

The opinions expressed here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position or have the endorsement of Aljazeera.