By Situation Theatre 3/12/2018
No one killed foreign women and children with more civility than George H.W. Bush.
The war criminal responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, George W. Bush, described his father George H.W. Bush as “a man of the highest character”.
The war criminal who fabricated evidence to make the case for war with Iraq, Colin Powell, called the late President a “perfect American” who was “a man of great humility”.
The war criminal who has teamed up with Saudi Arabia to conduct a genocidal war in Yemen, Donald Trump, said Bush “inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service, to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope and opportunity of America to the world”.
On the other hand, negative Nathans over at Politico annoyingly point to reality and remind us that “respect for the dead must coexist with respect for the historical record”.
Such naysayers remember Bush Senior a little differently to the aforementioned mass murderers. Perhaps mass murder has a funny way of distorting one’s perspective.
Ariel Dorfman, writing in The Guardian, recalls “those deplorable years as Reagan’s vice-president, his racist campaign against Michael Dukakis, his invasion of Panama, his appointment of Clarence Thomas to the supreme court, his sabotage of global initiatives to reverse catastrophic climate change, the disastrous Nafta treaty, the vetoing of civil rights legislation, the presidential pardon of the neo-con Elliott Abrams, and, of course, Bush’s mawkish “thousand points of light”…
“Bush had operated as head of the CIA from 30 January 1976 until 20 January 1977. As such, he was undoubtedly privy to exhaustive information about the devastation being inflicted by the US-supported Pinochet regime in Chile, at a time when opponents were being disappeared, concentration camps were still open and torture was rampant. During his tenure, the American government facilitated the infamous Operation Condor, run by the intelligence services of six Latin American dictatorships to coordinate their repression of dissidents. Perhaps most inexcusable was that Bush remained unrepentant of his country’s involvement in so much suffering. Had he not stated – when an American missile had blown up an Iranian aircraft with 290 innocent civilians aboard in 1988 – that he would “never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”
Mehdi Hasan, columnist writing in The Intercept, remembers his “dishonest case” for the Gulf War. He quotes journalist Joshua Holland who argues it was “sold on a mountain of war propaganda”. Hasan lists war crimes including “a U.S. airstrike on an air-raid shelter in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad (which) killed at least 408 Iraqi civilians” and refers to the deliberate targeting of “civilian infrastructure for “leverage” over Saddam Hussein.”
He asks “How is this not terrorism? As a Harvard public health team concluded in June 1991, less than four months after the end of the war, the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure had resulted in acute malnutrition and “epidemic” levels of cholera and typhoid.” He cites figures from Beth Osborne Daponte, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, estimating that “Bush’s Gulf War had caused the deaths of 158,000 Iraqis, including 13,000 immediate civilian deaths and 70,000 deaths from the damage done to electricity and sewage treatment plants”.
George HW Bush was an unrepentant war criminal. May his many victims across the globe Rest In Peace.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) December 1, 2018
I remember feeling a deep sense of shame and anger when I visited the Amiriyah shelter in Iraq. George HW Bush killed more than 400 civilians huddled there on February 13, 1991. These are the crimes we should be discussing today.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) December 1, 2018
George HW Bush systematically attacked the civilian infrastructure in Iraq. He turned hospitals into death rows for infants. He widely used depleted uranium, causing cancer rates to skyrocket. He made Iraq a mass graveyard. And the killing hasn’t stopped since.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) December 1, 2018
Hasan also discusses Bush’s obstruction of justice over the Iran-Contra affair along with a massive escalation of the racist war on drugs and the groping of several women.
I sadly don't have time today to pay homage to George HW Bush, so I'll rely on the 1992 statement of Lawrence Walsh, the Special Counsel investigating the Iran-Contra crimes, when Bush pardoned his criminal aides & thus ended all investigations into Bush's own grave crimes #RIP41 pic.twitter.com/DKRR8GbzQo— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 1, 2018
A variety of critics on social media also point out that Bush undermined effective action during the AIDS crisis and granted safe haven to right-wing terrorist Orlando Bosch, a CIA-backed operative who was involved in the bombing of Cubana Flight 455 in October 1976, killing 73 people.
Keeping all that in mind, our PM’s “thoughts and prayers” tweet is exactly what you would expect from a Donald Trump impersonator but the gushing praise from liberal heroes has been nothing short of sickening.
[1/2] Australians join with the American people to mourn the loss of President George H. W. Bush. The President was a true and great friend of Australia, who fought for freedom and democracy, not only as President and throughout his public life, but as a WW2 veteran.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) December 1, 2018
[2/2] Our thoughts and prayers are with the President’s family and the American people.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) December 1, 2018
"I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed. From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood." - Former President Bill Clinton.
"George HW Bush's life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey." - Former President Barack Obama.
“Bush’s most admirable quality is still of high value – his deep sense of public duty and service, dating back to his time as a second world war combat pilot…Bush was a patriot who did not need cheap slogans to express his belief in enduring American greatness.” - Simon Tisdall, foreign affairs columnist in The Guardian.
“As a progressive, I disagreed with President Bush’s politics and many of his policies. As a foreign policy professional, I am in awe of his achievements. As a public servant, I am inspired by his service to his country. And as an American, I am proud he was my president. In these troubled times, let us not discard ideas of global rules and norms like freedom and justice as “old ideas” – they are not old, they are timeless. America must continue to fight for them, pick up President Bush’s mantle, and spark a thousand points of light as we build a new world.”
- Michael H Fuchs, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, writing in the Guardian.
Good stuff guys, don’t let things like silly little things like obstruction of justice, racist propaganda, and war crimes get in the way of paying a moving, respectful tribute to the “perfect American”.