Reinventing a War Criminal: Defending the Bush Legacy - by Stephen Lendman
The Bush legacy is based on lies, deceit, crimes of war and against humanity, and complicity in criminal fraud, a disgusting record deserving denunciation and prison, not shameless feting.
Yet his new book, "Decision Points," attempts the impossible, a brazen scheme to reinvent a war criminal, one of history's greatest, his legacy marked by:
-- neocon hellishness;
-- duplicity and public betrayal;
-- a disdain for human rights and civil liberties;
-- racist hatemongering;
-- usurping unconstitutional "Unitary Executive" authority, what Chalmers Johnson called "a ball-faced assertion of presidential supremacy....dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo;"
-- imperial wars called liberating ones;
-- mass murder;
-- extrajudicially establishing coup d'etat "continuity of government" authority to abolish constitutional freedoms unilaterally;
-- color revolutions against democracy;
-- reveling in being a "wartime president;"
-- making torture official US policy;
-- establishing a global torture prison gulag;
-- abolishing the 1807 Insurrection Act and 1878 Posse Comitatus protections against using US military forces for domestic law enforcement, except as constitutionally authorized or in cases of internal insurrection;
-- militarizing state and local law enforcement agencies, establishing a martial law apparatus throughout all levels of government without congressional approval;
-- supporting the worst of Israeli crimes;
-- deposing Haiti's Jean-Bertrand Aristide, its first democratic leader since liberation from France in 1803, turning slaves into citizens;
-- staging a failed coup to depose Venezuela's Hugo Chavez;
-- failing to establish a militarized North American Union (NAU) merger of Canada and Mexico with America, headquartered in Washington;
-- transferring unprecedented wealth to the rich, exceeded only by his successor;
-- unabashedly favoring business over beneficial social change;
-- designating everything for privatization, including public education as another commodity;
-- waging war on working Americans;
-- unprecedented levels of secrecy;
-- endangering public welfare and safety by regulatory shredding;
-- creating the grimmest economic conditions since the 1930s;
-- destroying civil liberties;
-- silencing dissent;
-- criminalizing First Amendment activities advocating for environmental and animal rights;
-- institutionalizing illegal spying and police state repression;
-- turning elections into shams;
-- hiring journalist as paid propagandists;
-- failing to privatize Social Security and end Medicare;
-- opposing Net Neutrality;
-- waging war on Muslims, Latinos, and other political targets; persecuting them; denying them due process and judicial fairness; incarcerating and/or deporting them;
-- fostering social decay; and
-- much more, a legacy from hell, a disgusting betrayal of every norm of civilized decency, engendering global contempt and outrage.
Yet there he was discussing his record publicly on the hustings, promoting his new book, 477 pages of ghostwritten rubbish - fiction, not fact.
The writer: Christopher Michel, aged 28, a fellow Yale graduate, working with Bush preparing it since January 2009. The Daily Beast's Bryan Curtis said, in 2003, he was an unpaid intern, then rose to become deputy assistant to the president and deputy speechwriting director. Both positions involved close regular contact, including traveling the world on Air Force One.
Treating his former boss reverentially, he said Bush was fully in charge, "writ(ing) a first draft of a lot of things, (then) email(ing it) to" him. "My role (was) to help put together different scenes. (He wrote) the scenes, and (I) stitch(ed) things together." Or so he claimed, wanting Bush to get full credit, a man who couldn't complete a full sentence, got through Yale and Harvard Business School on his pedigree, not intellect, and likely didn't write his own term papers, let alone a book.
Curtis concluded saying "the best way to read the Bush memoir is as the elusive piece de resistance of the most loyal Bush scrivener. In (a) 2009 email to friends, Michel wrote, 'I owe more than I can repay to the 43rd president of the United States, a man of courage who will fare well in history.' " Perhaps what's taught in Texas schools or featured in "managed news." Never by legitimate chroniclers, exposing one of history's greatest war criminals, a mass murderer, a contemptible human being, so far unaccountable.
Feting a World Class Rogue
Bombastically back on the world stage, Bush began a whirlwind tour on prime time NBC TV, promoting his book, defending his illegal wars, rationalizing his abandonment of New Orleans post-Katrina, and more, trying to reinvent himself.
Soft media hosts, including Matt Lauer, Oprah Winfrey, Rush Limbaugh and three Fox News regulars (Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren in that order) provided venues. Print interviews will follow, one announced with AARP The Magazine. More interviews as well on CBS Sunday Morning, prime time CNN, The Tonight Show, and other programs, part of the carefully planned scheme to rewrite history, reinvent the man, and sell books, corporate media hosts always cooperative.
New York Times writer Brian Stelter called it part of a well-orchestrated campaign, NBC getting first crack having outbid other network proposals. One reason perhaps is because Bush's daughter, Jena, is a part-time Today show correspondent.
In his November 7 article titled, "With Book, Bush Is Back in Spotlight," Stelter said:
Late last month, NBC taped the interview "over the course of two days in Texas," calling it "a major coup." But anyone expecting "to see a televised confrontation over issues like the Iraq war may come away disappointed. The tone of the prime-time special (and other scheduled interviews) is conversational, not prosecutorial, and for that reason, 'Lauer/Bush' is not likely to join 'Frost/Nixon' in the public imagination."
Former Bush press secretary Dana Perino said tone was an important consideration for the tour, a combination image-building/book-selling effort, already a non-fiction best seller.
Without trying to embarrass or pressure Bush, Lauer asked, "Let's talk about waterboarding." He flatly denied it was torture because he legal staff said so. In fact, they followed orders, devising legal opinions to justify lawlessness, what they clearly understood.
Yet with no substantiating evidence, Bush claimed it "saved lives" by providing advance warning. In fact, experts know that that torture is both ineffective and counterproductive, accomplishing nothing but vengeance.
One of many torture techniques used, waterboarding inflicts severe pain from 40-second applications in two hour sessions, multiple ones daily, forcing water in detainees' mouths and noses for 12 minutes, repeated daily, sometimes for weeks.
Merriam Webster online calls it "an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee's mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of drowning."
Wikipedia calls it:
"a form of torture that consists of immobilizing the subject on his/her back with the head inclined downwards; water is then poured over the face into breathing passages, thus triggering (a sensation) of drowning. In contrast to submerging the head face-forward in water, waterboarding precipitates an almost immediate gag reflex (causing) extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to (the) lungs (and) brain....from oxygen deprivation (as well as) other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage or, if uninterrupted, death."
By any standard, it's barbaric torture, omitted from media interviews. They focused mainly on Bush's book, reinvented history, airbrushed truth, the same "managed news" featured daily in corporate media reports, censoring or sanitizing hard topics too sensitive to discuss.
Instead, soft-ball hosts doted on Bush calling the world "better off without Saddam Hussein in power, as are 25 million (Iraqis) who now have a chance to live in freedom." The millions dead, suffering, and immiserated perhaps feel otherwise. Their country (like Afghanistan) is occupied, destroyed, corrupted, tryannized, and contaminated, the undiscussed Bush legacy Obama continues seamlessly, his memoirs ahead in a future volume, no less disgusting than "Decision Points."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.