Tag Archives: President George W. Bush

On The Anniversary Of The Iraq Invasion, Bush Press Secretary Claims Bush Didn’t Lie, by Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone demolishes Ari Fleischer. From Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

On the sixteenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, as the US government threatens punitive action against International Criminal Court investigators for attempting to look into US war crimes, former George W Bush administration Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has decided to publish a Twitter thread claiming that Bush did not lie to the world about Iraq.

Here is a transcript of the full thread by Fleischer:

The Iraq war began sixteen years ago tomorrow. There is a myth about the war that I have been meaning to set straight for years. After no WMDs were found, the left claimed “Bush lied. People died.” This accusation itself is a lie. It’s time to put it to rest.

The fact is that President Bush (and I as press secretary) faithfully and accurately reported to the public what the intelligence community concluded. The CIA, along with the intelligence services of Egypt, France, Israel and others concluded that Saddam had WMD. We all turned out to be wrong. That is very different from lying.

Continue reading→

Trump Or Cheney? NYT Asks “Who’s The Real American Psycho?” by Maureen Dowd

Trump doesn’t have the blood of millions on his hands, although that doesn’t mean he won’t. From Maureen Down at the New York Times via zerohedge.com:

The NYT’s Maureen Dowd appears to have had enough of the hyperbole, hyper-short-memories, and hyped up virtue-signaling from the establishment. Reflecting on Adam McKay’s new movie “Vice” with Christian Bale playing Dick Cheney, Dowd gently nudges America back from the edge of the divisive Midterms to remember that much evil has come before…

Donald Trump is running wild – and running scared.

He’s such a menace that it’s tempting to cheer any vituperative critic and grab any handy truncheon. But villainizing Trump should not entail sanitizing other malefactors.

And we should acknowledge that the president is right on one point: For neocons, journalists, authors, political hacks and pundits, there is a financial incentive to demonize the president, not to mention an instant halo effect. Only Trump could get the pussy-hat crowd to fill Times Square to protest Jeff Sessions’s firing.

We make the president the devil spawn and he makes us the enemy of the people and everybody wins. Or do they? To what extent is lucrative Trump hysteria warping our discourse?

Trump may not be sweaty and swarthy, but he makes a good bad guy. As with Nixon and Watergate, the correct moral response and the lavish remunerative rewards neatly dovetail.

Even for Washington, the capital of do-overs and the soulless swamp where horrendous mistakes never prevent you from cashing in and getting another security clearance, this is a repellent spectacle. War criminals-turned-liberal heroes are festooned with book and TV contracts, podcasts and op-ed perches.

Those who sold us the “cakewalk” Iraq war and the outrageously unprepared Sarah Palin and torture as “enhanced interrogation,” those who left the Middle East shattered with a cascading refugee crisis and a rising ISIS, and those who midwifed the birth of the Tea Party are washing away their sins in a basin of Trump hate.

The very same Republicans who eroded America’s moral authority in the 2000s are, staggeringly, being treated as the new guardians of America’s moral authority.

They bellow that Trump is a blight on democracy. But where were these patriots when the Bush administration was deceiving us with a cooked-up war in Iraq?

Michelle Obama has written in her memoir that she will never forgive Trump for pushing the birther movement. Yet the Pygmalions of Palin, who backed Trump on the birther filth, are now among the most celebrated voices in Michelle’s party.

The architects and enablers of the Iraq war and Abu Ghraib are still being listened to on foreign policy, both inside the administration (John Bolton and Gina Haspel) and out. NeverTrumper Eliot Cohen wrote the Washington Post op-ed after the election telling conservatives not to work for Trump; Max Boot, who urged an invasion of Iraq whether or not Saddam was involved in 9/11, is now a CNN analyst, Post columnist and the author of a new book bashing Trump; John Yoo, who wrote the unconstitutional torture memo, is suddenly concerned that Trump’s appointment of his ghastly acting attorney general is unconstitutional.

MSNBC is awash in nostalgia for Ronald Reagan and W.

So it’s a good moment for Adam McKay, the inventive director of “The Big Short,” to enter the debate with a movie that raises the question: Is insidious destruction of our democracy by a bureaucratic samurai with the soothing voice of a boys’ school headmaster even more dangerous than a self-destructive buffoon ripping up our values in plain sight?

How do you like your norms broken? Over Twitter or in a torture memo? By a tinpot demagogue stomping on checks and balances he can’t even fathom or a shadowy authoritarian expertly and quietly dismantling checks and balances he knows are sacred?

McKay grappled with the W.-Cheney debacle in 2009, when he co-wrote a black comedy with Will Ferrell called “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W Bush.” In the Broadway hit, Ferrell’s W. dismissed waterboarding as a Bliss spa treatment and confided that he had once discovered Cheney locked in an embrace with a giant goat devil in a room full of pentagrams.

When McKay was home with the flu three years ago, he grabbed a book and began reading up on Cheney. He ended up writing and directing “Vice,” a film that uses real-life imagery, witty cinematic asides and cultural touchstones to explore the irreparable damage Cheney did to the planet, and how his blunders and plunders led to many of our current crises.

With an echo of his Batman growl, Christian Bale brilliantly shape-shifts into another American psycho, the lumbering, scheming vice president who easily manipulates the naïve and insecure W., deliciously played by Sam Rockwell. While W. strives to impress his father, Cheney strives to impress his wife, Lynne, commandingly portrayed by Amy Adams.

Before we had Trump’s swarm of bloodsucking lobbyists gutting government regulations from within, we had Cheney’s. Before Trump brazenly used the White House to boost his brand, we had Cheney wallowing in emoluments: He let his energy industry pals shape energy policy; he pushed to invade Iraq, giving no-bid contracts to his former employer, Halliburton, and helping his Big Oil cronies reap the spoils in Iraq.

The movie opens at Christmas, but it’s no sugary Hallmark fable. It’s a harrowing cautionary tale showing that democracy can be sabotaged even more diabolically by a trusted insider, respected by most of the press, than by a clownish outsider, disdained by most of the press.

After a screening of “Vice” Thursday, I asked McKay which of our two right-wing Dementors was worse, Cheney or Trump.

“Here’s the question,” he said.

“Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? I’d rather have a maniac with a meat cleaver after me, so I think Cheney is way worse. And also, if you look at the body count, more than 600,000 people died in Iraq. It’s not even close, right?

Why Presidents Campaign on Peace but Rule by War, by Joey Clark

There is a huge embedded constituency in Washington that cuts across many parts of the government that promotes war. From Joey Clark at theantimedia.org:

I hope we will soon stop simply damning war presidents as hypocrites and killers so we may take the time to see the complex reasons why presidential peace candidates continue to become warmongers.

As a candidate, George W. Bush promised a humble foreign policy.

But as president — especially in reaction to the violent and tragic imperial blowback of 9/11 — humility gave way to hubris. War was not only waged against Bin Laden’s terror network and the Taliban in Afghanistan but also globally against all Terror, a campaign that somehow led U.S. forces to topple a tyrant in Baghdad only to ignite and invite more terror to a fight amongst the rubble.

As a candidate, Barack Obama railed against Bush’s wars of “choice,” promising peace in Baghdad, Kabul, and beyond.

But as president, Obama’s peace prize and campaign promises gave way to more wars of choice.Though Obama “ended” the war in Afghanistan, leaving thousands of troops stationed there, he escalated the Afghan war first. Obama pulled out of Iraq only to topple Gaddafi in Libya. He attempted to topple Assad in Syria only to jump back into Iraq once again to take on ISIS — no doubt an enemy of the United States but an enemy also interested in toppling Assad in Syria. He fought both sides of the same war, inflaming the conflict further. His expanded use of drones is also well documented.

As a candidate, Donald Trump railed against the Bush and Obama wars, including Afghanistan, as an utter waste of American blood and treasure — treasure and manpower that should go to “America First.” Candidate Trump didn’t shy away from saying he would bomb the shit out of ISIS, but his candidacy did seem to suggest a change in direction to a more ‘realist’ and ‘transactional’ approach to foreign policy as opposed to Bush’s overt hubris and Obama’s covert idealism.

To continue reading: Why Presidents Campaign on Peace but Rule by War

Does Bush Have Afterthoughts? by Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts asks an interesting question, one for which we’ll probably never know the answer. From Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

Recently I learned from a feature article in a print magazine that George W. Bush, as Jimmy Carter and Winston Churchill did, has taken up painting. Among Bush’s subjects are 98 war veterans from Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who suffered traumatic injuries. Some of the portraits were reproduced in the magazine, and they are good. Three months ago 98 portraits were published in a coffee table book, Portraits of Courage, the proceeds from which are donated to the Bush Center.

I have wondered if Bush feels responsibility and remorse for the deaths and injuries of so many people. I have wondered if he knew at the time or even now that he was fighting wars for Israel.

Israel’s efforts to annex southern Lebanon have been blocked by Hezbollah, a militia supplied by Syria, Iran, and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. This is why these countries were on the list of countries to be invaded prepared by the Zionist neoconservatives who controlled George W. Bush’s administration.

It is certainly conceivable that Bush was manipulated by his neocon National Security Council, neocon Department of Defense, neocon State Department, and his vice president. Presidents only know what their advisors tell them. I have wondered if afterward when Bush admitted that there were no weapons of mass destruction he thought he had been manipulated.

I have also wondered if Bush was part of what many believe to be the 9/11 inside job pulled off by Dick Cheney, Israel, and the neoconservatives occupying the government’s high offices. I don’t think he was for these reasons: (1) his expression when told by the Secret Service of the attack does not show any pre-awareness, (2) he had been moved far out of the way on 9/11 to a distant children’s school and was not present on the scene to issue orders inconsistent with the plan, (3) had he been part of the plot, he would have been present to show presidential leadership during the crisis, and (4) he was not allowed to testify alone or under oath before the 9/11 Commission. He had to be chaperoned by Dick Cheney.

To continue reading: Does Bush Have Afterthoughts?