With less than three weeks left to go before President George W. Bush leaves office, the attempts to rewrite his legacy are starting to shift into overdrive — Laura Bush, Condoleeza Rice, and John Bolton are among the most recent minions who are busily trying to justify Bush’s criminal regime — as anything goes to save Bush’s legacy woes.
As noted by Helen Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, both President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are leaving office, passing the disaster of their making on to President-elect Barack Obama, with no remorse and no regrets. For now I’ll focus on President Bush and his legacy. More information on Vice President Dick Cheney’s legacy of deception can be found in this article from The Nation. It has become rather entertaining watching the attempts to justify Bush’s Imperial Presidency. Many of Bush’s atrocities were committed with the blessings of many in Washington.
Courtesy of Bush, the U.S. became the recipient of illegal wars, Guantanamo, torture and rendition, an economy that was raped and pillaged by corporate greed and deregulation, gross negligence in the handling of the destruction of New Orleans, destruction of civil liberties and Constitutional protections at home, illegal surveillance and wiretapping, a politicized ‘Justice’ Department, a politicized Federal Court system, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court and a ruined reputation abroad among many other things.
The hypocrisy from the Bush administration regarding torture is astounding. If it weren’t for the fact that many died while being illegally tortured — with written approval from President Bush — at the hands of the U.S., it could be considered funny. After trying to rewrite laws and justifying his use of torture and claiming impunity with colluded legal opinions from Justice Department lawyers, Bush’s Justice Department wants the son of a former Liberian President imprisoned for 147 years for torturing people when he was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father’s reign. In other words, the Bush administration wants torture committed by political leaders to be punished in a court of law while trying to justify Bush’s use of torture. Incredible.
Bush could end up being remembered more for his ignorance and stupidity than all the criminal acts he and his administration perpetrated against the U.S. and the rest of the world. Bush can claim that he prevented a rerun of the attacks of 9/11, but the fact remains that he was complicit in allowing the first attacks to happen. It would have been impossible to implement his draconian policies and destroy America’s remaining freedoms without allowing almost 3,000 innocent civilians to be killed. Intentionally exploiting and creating public fear worked for most of his presidential appointment, until the public finally started waking up last year.
The Bush Administration Specialized in Deceit
If you add up the damage done by the Bush administration to this once great country, by disastrous, loosely worded ‘policies’ designed to make Bush’s corporate leaders richer while bankrupting and destroying the working class citizen, Bush’s intentions become blatantly obvious.
Bob Herbert from the New York Times doesn’t think Bush should be allowed to slip quietly out of town after he leaves office — office that he was illegally and immorally appointed to to begin with. Mr. Herbert believes there should be a great hue and cry over the damages Bush has done to this country. He may be right, especially since the only way the American people will see justice is to demand it.
Also, as noted by Mr. Herbert, the Bush administration specialized in deceit, backed by a feckless Congress who backed the invasion of Iraq in response to the attacks of 9/11, despite the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11. It’s pretty apparent that aside from being feckless, many members of Congress, and their spouses, have profited handsomely from the destruction of civil liberties and the illegal occupation of Iraq. Besides specializing in deception, Bush intentionally exploited the public’s fears.
Illegal use of propaganda, with aid from much of the U.S. corporate media, was relied on heavily to sway public opinion. The White House has repeatedly violated laws against using deceitful propaganda, especially when it came to justifying the illegal occupation of Iraq.
The Staggering Costs Of Bush’s Corruption
The death of more than 4,000 American military personnel and the genocide of Iraqi civilians will eventually reach a cost of $3 trillion or more. That does not include the more than $8.5 trillion already doled out as part of the Fraudulent Financial Bailout to save the tanking financial industry who are, in essence, being paid twice for ripping off the American public while receiving hefty tax cuts.
Bush destroyed the credibility of America’s scientific realm and hamstrung the regulatory apparatus to help foster the most income disparities since the years leading up to the Great Depression. Bush will be remembered for his lies to the Hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast, and for parading around the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in a flight uniform giving his photo-op speech about “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq, despite the fact that it never was. Iraq is a quagmire that, short of genocide, is unwinnable and never-ending.
Bush claims his ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation is a success, but in reality it too has turned out to be a dismal failure. America’s Educational system has suffered for quite awhile. Many job recruiters demand a college degree. Having a college degree does not mean you’re smarter than everyone else. Bush has a college degree — though one has to wonder how he got it since the past eight years have also revealed his possession of limited intelligence. Anyone with the proper political connections can get whatever they want at any price, along with impunity for the crimes they have committed.
Since the attacks of 9/11, which again, could have been prevented, America, under the Bush administration, has been subject to increasing racial profiling and prejudice. Much of the racial divide in this country has occurred due to Bush policies.
Bush’s Hypocritical, Politicized Justice Department
Bush’s Justice Department has done anything and everything it can to impede justice and justify Bush administration crimes. Alberto Gonzales, Bush’s first appointed Attorney General, resigned in disgrace. Some of Gonzales’ lowlights are explained in this article from Think Progress. Some of those lowlights include politicizing the Department of Justice, approving torture, lying about warrantless wiretapping and distorting pre-war intelligence in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Gonzales is also infamous for the many lies told to Congress under oath, which is perjury.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Gonzales once again lied about his role in Bush administration policies. Gonzales is puzzled as to what it is that he did that is so fundamentally wrong, portraying himself as one of the many casualties of the war on terror. Since resigning, Gonzales hasn’t been able to find work. I’ll save my response to his ponderances for a later post.
Gonzo was replaced as Attorney General by Michael B. Mukasey, who was appointed by Congress despite the fact that he refused to say whether or not waterboarding is torture. Mukasey has proven to be for the most part, a carbon copy of Gonzo. Mukasey has repeatedly done everything he can to keep Bush administration officials from being prosecuted for their crimes. Mukasey has repeatedly tried defending Bush’s authorization of torture, basically implying that if the president does it, it’s ok. We saw how much that logic benefited President Nixon. Just because the president does it, it’s not ok, especially when it violates multiple Federal and International laws.
During a recent speech at the Holocaust Memorial Musuem, Mukasey had the audacity to say that: “…law without conscience is no guarantee of freedom; that even the seemingly most advanced of nations can be led down the path of evil…,” and regarding the prosecution of the former President of Liberia’s son for torture: “…who was convicted of torturing his countrymen. His conviction – the first in history under our criminal anti-torture statute – provides a measure of justice to those who were victimized by his reprehensible acts, and it sends a powerful message to human rights violators around the world that, when we can, we will hold them accountable for their crimes…”
Mukasey quoted part of Robert Jackson’s opening statement before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials: “…The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power…” yet he refuses to do anything about the torture authorized by President Bush. Again, the hypocrisy is astounding. History will probably find a way to hold President Bush and all of his enablers, including his highly politicized Justice Department accountable for their crimes. Impunity for all politicians who commit horrendous crimes needs to cease.
Systematic and Brazen Lawlessness
As noted by Scott Horton in Harper’s Magazine, Americans may wish to avoid what is necessary, but avoiding this task, simply “moving on,” is not possible. The Bush administration did more than commit crimes. It waged war against the law itself and no prior administration has been so systematically or so brazenly lawless.
As noted by Glenn Greenwald from Salon News, The Bush administration has spent the past eight years obliterating America’s core political values as well as slowly and methodically — not to mention illegally — destroying civil liberties and Constitutional protections. In the beginning of Bush’s administration, law breaking, liberty-abridging policies were conceived of in secret and unilaterally implemented by the executive branch. More of the most recent destructions of civil liberties and Constitutional protections were the dirty work of the U.S. Congress. Congressional leadership has played a major role in destroying their constituents while profiting nicely for their complicity in Bush’s crimes.
2008 proved to be especially enlightening of Bush’s crimes. Somehow I have the feeling that after January 20, 2009 at 12:01 p.m., we will become even more enlightened. It’s become clearer what the incoming Obama administration can and must do to arrest and reverse the illegal destruction done to America’s civil liberties and the Constitution. There is much debate, based on Obama’s chosen appointments to his cabinet, as to whether or not anything will be done to rectify the conundrum caused by the most illegal, never-elected presidential administration this country has ever had the displeasure of being stuck with.
Nothing that Bush administration officials or their minions can say will justify their criminal actions or Bush’s legacy woes. Politics as usual in Washington have become a massive snake pit of corruption and deception. Congress, the Federal Courts, the Bush administration and all of their enablers cannot be allowed get away with the crimes and destruction they have unleashed against America and the rest of the world. The people need to demand accountability and justice.