The morally reprehensible rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Incredibly, or perhaps not so incredibly, given the current insanity, the man who launched a blatantly illegal war based on an outrageous lie - and which destabilized not just the Middle East but the entire world, is now being lauded in Western liberal circles for his tacit criticism of Donald Trump’s attacks on the press and for calling for ‘answers‘ on the new President’s alleged ties with Russia.
What next? If the octogenarian psychopath Charles Manson comes out and takes the ‘right’ position on Trump, the media, and Russia, will newspapers be quoting him with approval too? You can just imagine the conversations: ‘OK, his ‘Family’ might have killed a few people, but it was a long time ago, and you’ve got to admit Charles is absolutely right about Putin and Trump and the threats to our wonderful free media. Yah?’.
In 1971 Manson was found guilty of conspiring to kill seven people, including the lovely actress Sharon Tate. Bush’s Iraq war was a conspiracy which has claimed the lives of up to one million people and led directly to the rise of ISIS. If there were such a thing as international justice, then Bush, like the monstrous Manson, would now be behind bars for what he did. Instead, the man who set fire to the Middle East - and who later joked about the absence of WMDs - is promoting his first art book and has become the Russophobes’ darling of the month. Just how sick is that?
The Washington Post which back in December falsely claimed Russia had hacked into a Vermont power utility - ran a piece entitled: ‘Why you should listen when George Bush defends the media.'
Dubya was hailed for saying that the America media was “indispensable to democracy” and that “independent media” was needed to hold “people” like him to account. But that’s the problem. The US media, with one or two honorable exceptions, is not “independent” and it didn’t - and doesn’t - hold establishment-approved warmongers like George W. Bush to account.
Far from it, the media in the US helped Bush ‘sell’ the fake news of Iraqi WMDs in 2002/3. Newspapers in the lead-up to war were full of opeds from ‘experts’ and columnists telling their readers why America simply had to attack Iraq on the grounds of ‘national security’ and ridiculing those who opposed the aggression. In 2014, the Nation reported that the Washington Post ran no fewer than 140 stories on its front page promoting the war.
News channels relentlessly beat the drums for war too. It’s worth noting that it was at the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner that Bush joked about WMDs not turning up. No one booed - instead, there were hearty laughs from the ‘inside the tent’ audience.
No wonder Bush is now praising the Fourth Estate. If it had been genuinely ‘independent’ and properly challenged the 43rd President on his WMD claims, then the Iraq war might have been averted.
It's not just those who cheer-led for the illegal invasion who are now praising Bush. Even more shocking has been the support of former critics.
Back in 2003, the Guardian newspaper, which I’ve contributed to on a regular or semi-regular basis down the years, published a number of articles opposing the Iraq war, including one by me on the unwelcome return of Arabophobia.
On the tenth anniversary of the huge anti-war march in London, the paper declared: “Ten years on, the judgment of those who took to the streets against the rush to war, only looks wiser.”
Even in 2016, a Guardian editorial described Iraq as “a country that we helped to ruin.”
But in a pro-Bush editorial on Monday entitled “George W. Bush: A welcome return,” there was no mention of the ‘I’ word. Instead, Dubya was lauded as ‘a paragon of virtue.'
“His defense today of a free press (“indispensable”), his call for a “lawful, welcoming” immigration policy and his preference for “answers” in the scandal engulfing Donald Trump’s team over Moscow’s meddling in the presidential election may mark a turning point for Republicans. We certainly hope so,” the editorial asserted.
My first thoughts were that the piece was a parody. Then I thought I had done a ‘Rip Van Winkle’ and somehow slept through the whole of March only to be awakened on April Fools’ Day. But no, ‘George W. Bush: A welcome return’ was real, and the published date was 27th February.
How did we get here? Going back to the ape world, my biography of King Kong co-creator Edgar Wallace was called Stranger than Fiction. The phrase certainly applies to the rehabilitation of the chimp otherwise known as George W. Bush. Because the Iraq war was not just some minor transgression that can quietly be forgotten now that Trump‘s around, but a crime on an epic scale.
The Nuremberg judgment held that to initiate a war of aggression, as the Nazis had done, and Bush (and Blair) did in 2003, was ‘not only an international crime, it is THE SUPREME INTERNATIONAL CRIME differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole’.
Let’s just imagine for a moment if Hitler hadn’t topped himself in his bunker in 1945, and instead- cunningly disguised as a young German maiden he had done a runner. Then, fourteen years later, in 1959, the mustachioed one had re-emerged to issue (at the same time that his new art book was being published) a press release criticizing the new German Chancellor’s attitudes toward the media and demanding 'answers' on his successor’s alleged ties to Russia. Would liberals be falling over themselves to cite him and write gushing opeds welcoming his return? I think not. But they’re doing the same with Bush today.
As to demanding ‘answers’ on Trump and Russia- it’s Bush who should be answering OUR questions. Why did he falsely claim Iraq had WMDs? Why did he attack a country which had nothing to do with the 9/11 terror attacks? Why did he send US troops to fight and die in a war which most certainly had nothing to do with protecting national security?
The neocons have, up to now, got off scot-free for the crimes they committed and the lies they told us fourteen years ago.
Not only that, the victory of Donald Trump and the Deep State/Establishment media fake news about ‘Russian interference’ in the US election has seen previously sensible liberals lose their marbles- and embrace- or at least take the same side- as those they quite rightly regarded as being beyond the pale, not so long ago.
In 2004, the baseball-capped film-maker Michael Moore was lambasting Bush and the war-hawks in his film Fahrenheit 9-11. Now the self-same Michael Moore is impersonating the hard-right Senator Joe McCarthy to lambast Trump.
On 17th February, he tweeted: “Vacate you, Russian traitor.”
How embarrassing to see people like Moore act like total idiots and swallow hook, line, and sinker the Cold War 2.0 propaganda of the CIA. How sad to see liberals forget about the horrors of Iraq and the enormous damage the invasion caused to the lives of millions of people around the world.
The rehabilitation of George Bush is utterly obscene and must be countered. The chimp who once inhabited the White House has done far more harm than King Kong ever did, and his return to our screens - unless it’s a trial for war crimes - is far less welcome.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.