All hope that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will change the violent direction chosen for this country by President George W. Bush and his administration is gone.

All hope that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will change the violent direction chosen for this country by President George W. Bush and his administration is gone.


Exactly what did senators on the Democratic side of the aisle expect to accomplish by an all-night debate on the war in Iraq? For the first time in a long time, I agree with a Republican. ``This is nonsense.''


I look at a button given to me by a friend with this date, in large numbers: ``01.20.09.'' Beneath the date, this statement: ``Bush's Last Day.'' I read that Vice President Dick Cheney is pushing Bush to expand the ``war'' on terror into Iran. Cheney does not want to leave office with the ``nuclear'' Iran threat unresolved, and Cheney isn't into negotiation. It can only mean more violence.


In the meantime, Congress ignores a National Intelligence Estimate report that gives them power they could use to get us out of Iraq, though not out of the war on terror. That war, the war that started and should have stayed in Afghanistan, has been given few resources because Bush decided that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was more a threat than Afghanistan's Osama bin Laden.


So Saddam is dead, the United States spends $10 billion a month in Iraq, and bin Laden nurtures his Taliban and al Qaeda network in Afghanistan and Pakistan unrestrained. According to the report mentioned above, Al Qaeda is as powerful, or more powerful, than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, the day their Islamic martyrs flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania and killed more than 3,000 people.


Ironically, it was an all-night debate in 2002 when Republicans convinced Democrats in Congress that Iraq was a nuclear threat. That was around the same time Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was touring the country and giving her infamous ``mushroom cloud'' speech.


Iraq was the ``nuclear'' flavor of the day. It was a lie. Now they're focused on Iran. Another lie?


No one would have believed, six-and-one-half years ago, that one man could deliver such a devastating blow to the United States of America. That man has an additional 18 months in office and no one, not even the majority of senators and congressmen who oppose him, will stop him.


They are paralyzed by politics and indecision, so they resort to the ``nonsense'' of all-night grandstanding that changes nothing.


It's time to take stock of exactly where this country is in the war on terror. Are we safer today than we were on the day Bush declared war against Osama bin Laden and his network of Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives - a war a majority of this country supported?


It's official. We are not.


In fact, Bush's ``Wanted, dead or live'' poster boy is alive and well and growing his business of terror in Pakistan and Afghanistan while our soldiers and marines are fighting and dying in Iraq. And bin Laden rubs our noses in it.


I'm going to kill you, he tells us in a recently-released video. It's just a matter of time, he says. Bush has told us many times that Al Qaeda operatives are ``on the run.'' Another lie.


So what should our esteemed members of Congress be doing? They should be concentrating their efforts in two areas.


First, they should vote to redeploy U.S. forces - not back to the states, but to Afghanistan and Pakistan to finish the job Bush abandoned. We should do that with all available firepower so that leaders in the Middle East understand that we can and will hold them in check. Then we should invite them to talk peace.


Second, Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney. I was wrong a year ago when I wrote against impeachment. Congress must clearly show to all who would lead this country that they will do so truthfully and within the confines of the Constitution or face the consequences.


I expect none of that, however. Bush will be out of office in 18 months. How long will it take this country to recover from eight years of his leadership?


Deb Gauthier of The MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.) can be reached at dgauthie@cnc.com.