Mar 20 2013
HARTMANN: March 19th is the anniversary of when the bombing commenced in Baghdad. George W. Bush opened the gates of hell that led to the death of somewhere between 150,000 and 600,000 Iraqis, over 4,000 American soldiers, the displacement of at least 5 million Iraqis and an orgy of death squad and sectarian violence that continues to this day. I mean, here’s the really poignant story from the New York Times, in an article by Tim Arango, ”Iraq closed a painful decade just as it began: with explosions reverberating around the capitol. Beginning in the early morning Tuesday with the assassination of a Ministry of Finance official with a bomb attached to his vehicle and continuing for hours, the attacks were a devastating reminder of the violence that regularly afflicts Iraq. And they seem somehow more poignant coming on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the American-led invasion,” which is being marked in the West by new books, academic studies and polls, re-testing public attitudes a decade later.
Vince Bugliosi, the guy who wrote ‘Helter Skelter’ and who prosecuted Charles Manson, wrote a prosecutor’s brief for the attorney general of any state in the union to prosecute George W. Bush for murder. In fact, the title of the book is ‘The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder’ by Vincent Bugliosi. This book came out in 2008 and it is every bit as relevant today as it was then. At that point in time it was obvious to all of us that we had been lied into an unnecessary war that was leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths, the devastation of a nation, the devastation of a culture. And, just in terms of our geopolitical interests, if you buy the notion that a Shiite Iran needs to have something strong on its border to restrain it from an expansionist tendency towards all the Sunni countries around it, then a Sunni controlled Saddam Hussein-run government in Baghdad, Iraq was actually our barrier.
This is why for a decade, back before W. became president, back before his daddy became president, why Americans supported both Iran and Iraq. We particularly supported Saddam Hussein and his war with Iran. Over a million Iraqis and over a million Iranians died in that war. It was a horrible and bloody front. But we supported him in that. Donald Rumsfeld sold him weapons of mass destruction. There is a famous picture of Don Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. So, what was the first big business to open in Iraq after the war was “over”? It was The Bank of Tehran, Iran.
The majority of people in Iraq are actually Shiites and Iraq is now largely controlled by Shiites and it’s aligned itself more closely with Iran than with us. Now, I’m not complaining about that. I think Iraq should have the right to determine its own fate and future, but if George W. Bush was trying to justify this in a geopolitical context it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The only way that the war against Iraq makes any sense, and this is what Cindy Sheehan laid out in front of John Conyers’ Commission, when she testified before Congress, is that George W. Bush thought that being a war time president would get him political capital that he could use when he was re-elected in 2005.
Back in 1999 a year before he was even running for President, his family hired Micky Herskowitz, to write his biography, ‘A Charge to Keep’. Micky wrote the first draft and they found someone else to write the second draft because Micky didn’t suck up enough. He had almost a hundred hours of audio tape recordings with George W. and he was interviewed by Robert Perry and this is on the record with a journalist. Cindy Sheehan said, “As a matter of fact in interviews in 1999 with respected journalist and long time Bush family friend, Micky Herskowitz, then Governor George Bush stated, “One of the keys to being seen a great leader is to be seen as commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I had a chance to invade, if I had that much capital I’m not going to waste it, I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”
James Madison wrote about how war gives the executive branch additional powers and therefore it can be an incredible corrupting influence and beware of presidents who want to use war. And this is the argument that the Republicans were making in the 1930s saying, ‘Oh Franklin Roosevelt wants to use war with Germany or Japan to claim even more power than he’s already taken with the New Deal’. That’s why Roosevelt ran when he ran for re-election in 1940 on the platform of: I will not get us into World War 2. The Republicans were freaking out saying, ‘We don’t want to get into this war, Hitler’s just fine thank you very much’.
So how do we prosecute George W. Bush?
Visit Thom’s website.
Read Tim Arango’s article.
Vincent Bugliosi’s book, ‘The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder’.
Interview with Micky Herskowitz.
SONALI KOLHATKAR IS ON MATERNITY LEAVE.