"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.


Postby admin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:11 pm

by Vincent Bugliosi
© 2008 by Vincent Bugliosi



Image Image

To the thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children who have lost their precious lives in the senseless Iraq war and to all the loved ones they left behind whose suffering will never end, with the hope that this book will help bring those responsible to justice.

Table of Contents

• Front & Back Cover
• Acknowledgments
• PART 1
o Chapter 1: Opening Up One's Eyes
o Chapter 2: Why George Bush Went to War
o Chapter 3: Prologue to the Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
o Chapter 4: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
o Chapter 5: Bush "Couldn't Possibly" Have Been Any Worse in Handling the War on Terrorism
o Chapter 6: America, Up or Down?
• A Photographic Brief
• Notes
• Index
• About the Author
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Postby admin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:11 pm

Front & Back Cover

Famed Charles Manson prosecutor and three-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Vincent Bugliosi has written the most powerful, explosive, and thought-provoking book of his storied career.

In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses -- a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.

As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi, in his inimitable style, delivers a non-partisan argument, free from party lines and instead based upon hard facts and pure objectivity.

A searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office.

Vincent Bugliosi calls for the United States of America to return to the great nation it once was and can be again. He believes the first step to achieving this goal is to bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.

Vincent Bugliosi received his law degree in 1964. In his career at the L.A. County District Attorney's office, he successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, including 21 murder convictions without a single loss. His most famous trial, the Charles Manson case, became the basis of his classic, Helter Skelter, the biggest selling true-crime book in publishing history. Two of Bugliosi's other books -- And the Sea Will Tell and Outrage -- also reached #1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list. No other American true-crime writer has ever had more than one book that achieved this ranking. His latest book, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, has been heralded as "epic" and "a book for the ages."

Bugliosi has uncommonly attained success in two separate and distinct fields, as an author and a lawyer. His excellence as a trial lawyer is best captured in the judgment of his peers. "Bugliosi is as good a prosecutor as there ever was," Alan Dershowitz says. F. Lee Bailey calls Bugliosi "the quintessential prosecutor." "There is only one Vince Bugliosi. He's the best," says Robert Tanenbaum, for years the top homicide prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.'s office. Most telling is the comment by Gerry Spence, who squared off against Bugliosi in a twenty-one-hour televised, scriptless "docu-trial" of Lee Harvey Oswald, in which the original key witnesses to the Kennedy assassination testified and were cross-examined. After the Dallas jury returned a guilty verdict in Bugliosi's favor, Spence said, "No other lawyer in America could have done what Vince did in this case."

Bugliosi lives with his wife, Gail, in Los Angeles.

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Postby admin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:12 pm



What is recommended in this book is, as the title says, the prosecution of the president of the United States for murder. Although America is supposedly a free country, with freedom of speech and expression being our most cherished constitutional right, a considerable number of establishment people in this country -- including many of the biggest and most powerful publishing houses in America -- made it clear that even though they completely agreed with what I was saying in the book and recognized its potential in the marketplace, the book was something they did not want to have their name connected with. (Two law professors, liberal at that, were afraid to even look at the book. ) In other words, the publishers' fears trumped money: Having cold feet, their essential position was that the book, as one publisher put it, was "too hot to handle." I understand their position, and I don't criticize them for it. But that doesn't mean I'm impressed with them, either.

Why all the fear? It's because of what this nation has become in the last twenty years, particularly the last eight. A nation whose virulent and dangerous right wing -- the most unpatriotic of all Americans, and about whom Barry Goldwater said late in his life, "Don't associate my name with anything you do; you've done more damage to the Republican party than the Democrats have" -- has transformed us into a country where many everyday Americans, for the first time ever, do not feel 100 percent comfortable and safe. And most humans yield to fear, even curry favor with those who cause it. When you have a very decent and honorable man like Mario Cuomo being sufficiently intimidated to say, "I respect Rush Limbaugh," an uncommonly loathsome individual (if I may be so presumptuous, Mario Cuomo does not respect Rush Limbaugh. How would that even be possible?), that one example among countless others reflects the shadow of fear, no matter how small, that has now descended on a once great nation.

Out of this miasma of fear emerged a man, Roger Cooper, the publisher of this book, who loved America enough and had enough courage to step up to the plate and say, in effect, "No matter what, if America is ever to become the nation it once was, this story has to be told."

I am deeply appreciative of Cooper, a legendary figure in the book publishing world, for being the American patriot that he is and for giving my book his 100 percent support. He always provided me with whatever I needed to help make it the book I believe it is. It has been a distinct pleasure to work, for the first time in my long writing career, with him and his astute, number one publishing manager, Georgina Levitt, whose delightful British accent could charm a bird out of a tree. The two of them are professionals of the very first order, and I feel fortunate to have found a new literary home with them.

I also want to thank my superlative editor, Betsy Reed, not only for the great job of editing she did on my manuscript, but for the very judicious suggestions she made to change the tone of my writing in several places. Betsy's work ethic, coupled with her being highly intelligent and a trained observer of the American political scene, made her an ideal editor for this book.

And, of course, there is my virtual secretary; Rosemary Newton, who for years has been the person I rely on the most in the writing of my books. Always competent and extraordinarily reliable, she not only has to type hundreds of thousands of words from my less than perfect penmanship, but since I don't have a computer, in the last few years she has saved me many hours in front of the microfilm machine at the library (where I still do much of my research) by finding things for me on the Internet. I don't know what I'd do without Rosemary:

And finally, but certainly not least, I want to thank my wonderful wife of fifty-one years, Gail, who has always brought sunlight to my darkest hours, for the tremendous support and encouragement (and for sacrifices too numerous to mention) she gave me in the writing of this book. Among so many other things, we had been planning a short vacation when I finally; after twenty years, completed my magnum opus, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in early 2007. But because of the constraints of time and our belief in the importance of this new book, I didn't take one day off from my seven-day-a-week schedule before starting this book. Only my lifetime partner, who has endured so much because of my hectic life throughout the years, would accept something like this. Whatever I have accomplished in life, I owe much of it to her.

Vincent Bugliosi
March 2008


U.S. deaths in Iraq from all corners of the nation

In four years, more than 3,200 U.S. military personnel have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom


Deaths by home county, per million population

Confirmed as of March 15

Number indicates total deaths per state or territory
American Samoa 5
Guam 4
Marianas Protectorate 4
Micronesia 3
Virgin Islands 5
International/unknown 15

U.S. military deaths per year
March 20, 2003 to March 15, 2007

YEAR 1 -- 582
YEAR 2 -- 939
YEAR 3 -- 797
YEAR 4 -- 888

SOURCES: AP research; Department of Defense

The preferable venue for the prosecution of George W. Bush for murder and conspiracy to commit murder would be in the nation's capital, with the prosecutor being the Attorney General of the United States acting through his Department of Justice. This book, however, establishes jurisdiction for any state attorney general (or any district attorney in any county of a state) to bring murder and conspiracy charges against Bush for any soldiers from that state or county who lost their lives fighting Bush's war, which as you can see applies to every state in this nation. Since the date of this map, March 15, 2007, hundreds of other United States soldiers have died in the war.

The first casualty when war comes is the truth.
-- Senator Hiram Johnson (1917)
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Postby admin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:13 pm




THE BOOK YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ deals with what I believe to be the most serious crime ever committed in American history -- the president of this nation, George W. Bush, knowingly and deliberately taking this country to war in Iraq under false pretenses, a war that condemned over 100,000 human beings, including 4,000 young American soldiers, to horrible, violent deaths. That, of course, is the most serious consequence of Bush's monumentally criminal behavior. But let's not forget that, additionally; thousands upon thousands of people have suffered injuries that have disabled them for life; hundreds of thousands of humans have sustained psychic damage from the war, and literally hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people will involuntarily re-create in their mind's eye, over and over again, what happened to their loved ones. Assuming Bush's guilt for the sake of argument at this point, if what he did is not the greatest crime ever committed by any public official or private citizen in this nation's history; then I ask you, what is?

I am fully aware that the charge I have just made is an extremely serious one. But if there is one thing that I take pride in, it is the fact that I never, ever make a charge without offering a substantial amount of support for it. You may ultimately end up not agreeing with me, but you will have to concede that I offered much evidence in support of my position, something that people frequently do not do. How often, for instance, do you see an assertive, declarative caption or headline in a newspaper or magazine article, but when you read the article you find that either there is no support for the headline, or the evidence is very anemic? I don't do that. That's not my style.

Before I get into the heart of this book, The Prosecution of George W, Bush for Murder, I want to discuss some preliminary matters in this and the following two chapters. Without your consideration of these matters, I believe that what I am urging -- the prosecution of the president of the United States, yes, the president of the United States, for murder -- would be much more of a shock to your sensibilities. That inevitable shock is a burden I know I have to overcome. I am very confident, however, that I will be able to do so, and that open-minded people will agree that in this book I set forth the legal architecture that authorizes Bush's prosecution and, more importantly; I present evidence against Bush that proves, beyond all reasonable doubt, that he is guilty of murder.


If Winston Churchill said something about World War II, and a bum in a Bowery gutter said something quite the opposite, whom would you believe? There's really only one answer to that question, and it's not the one that 99 percent of people would reflexively give Winston Churchill. The only proper answer to the question is, I'd have to hear what they had to say: This is obviously true since we know that just as a wise man can say something foolish, a fool can say something wise. Now, if neither Churchill nor the bum had weighed in on the issue yet and you were asked, "Who is more likely to say something intelligent about the matter?" the obvious answer would be, "Churchill."

What are we talking about here? We're talking about the fact that most people see what they expect to see, what they want to see, what they've been told to see, what conventional wisdom tells them to see, not what is right in front of them in its pristine condition. The reason I'm going to spend a little time on this phenomenon is that the reader's opening his eyes to reality is a necessary predicate to his accepting the revolutionary conclusions and recommendations I set forth in this book.

I am not, as the Los Angeles Times said of me, an "American master of common sense." Indeed, to be perfectly frank with you, I don't even feel I'm a particularly bright person. But at least in my professional life (I go through my private life blindfolded) I seem to naturally -- and not as a result, I believe, of any special intelligence at all -- see what's in front of me completely uninfluenced by the clothing (reputation, hoopla, conventional wisdom, etc.) put on it by others.

Let me give you a few examples of what I am talking about here. It was reported that Saddam Hussein had been responsible for the deaths of as many as 300,000 Iraqis. But when he was brought to trial in Baghdad on October 19, 2005, for his many crimes against the Iraqi people, and it was reported in the New York Times what the first crime was that he was going to be prosecuted for, I literally could not believe what I was reading. Obviously; a prosecutor wants to start his case on a strong note, and purportedly Hussein had been guilty, many times over, of murder on a grand scale -- for example, the gassing of the Kurds, the killing of great numbers of Shiites following the Persian Gulf War, the torture and murder of thousands of Iraqis in his prisons, and so on. But instead of starting out on a strong note with one of these crimes, the prosecutor was starting out on no note at all. In fact, he was starting out with no crime at all.

I called my wife over to the breakfast table where I was reading the paper and said to her, "You are not going to believe what I'm going to read to you. It is nothing short of unbelievable." I proceeded to read to her the New York Times article about what the prosecutor was alleging. The article (and subsequent media and investigative sources) said that on July 8, 1982, in Dujail, Iraq, a largely Shiite Muslim town about thirty-five miles north of Baghdad, twelve to fifteen shots were fired at Hussein in an assassination attempt as his motorcade drove out of town after a visit.

Hussein's security forces later rounded up around 800 residents of Dujail for interrogation. Approximately 400 old people, women, and children were subsequently transferred, in internal exile, for several years to a desert detention center near the Saudi border, and many were released. On May 27, 1984, almost two years later, Hussein signed a document authorizing the prosecution of 148 men (including 20 teenage boys) on the charge of being members of the conspiracy to kill him. He based his decision upon the recommendation of legal advisers who reviewed a 361-page dossier of evidence compiled against the 148. Apparently, 46 of the148 had already died from physical torture or execution by their interrogators and guards at Abu Ghraib prison, where later, under new and kinder landlords -- Americans -- we know that many Iraqis continued to be physically abused, some tortured, even killed. The remaining 102 out of the 148 men were eventually convicted and executed for the attempt on Hussein's life.

Note that if Hussein had intended to kill innocent people in retaliation for the attempt on his life, he would have killed many more people, perhaps the whole town. In fact, in a very telling statement by a man whose brothers were among those convicted by Hussein's Revolutionary Court for the attempt on his life and executed, and who rejoiced when Hussein was executed, he acknowledged that several other members of his family, after interrogation for the attempted assassination, were released from custody.

Incredibly, then, Hussein was convicted and put to death for executing those who were members of the conspiracy to murder him!! (He was not convicted of any other crime he is believed to have committed.) To repeat, Hussein was killed for killing those who had first tried to kill him.

The bottom line is that it appears Hussein did not commit the crime of murder here, and if this scenario had happened in any other country, including the United States (i.e., there was an attempt on the life of the president or prime minister of a country and the perpetrators were tried, convicted, and sentenced to life or death depending on the law of the country), it wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. Yet, remarkably, I never heard anything on radio or TV; or saw anything in any newspaper or magazine, about what I have just said here. There was total silence in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and everywhere else on this issue. Why? Because although I only saw what I was reading in the newspaper, apparently a great many others did not, seeing only what they expected to see as they read the very same words that I did. Since Hussein was a terrible tyrant who had murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, and people read that Hussein was being brought to trial for "war crimes and crimes against humanity," they just assumed he was being prosecuted for these atrocities, and what the prosecutor was doing, obviously; had to be proper and correct.

Commenting upon the sentence of death Hussein received, the New York Times said, "Hussein's horrendous crimes" against the Iraqi people deserved the death sentence. The Los Angeles Times, referring to the many atrocities against his people that Hussein had committed in the past, said that Hussein was sentenced to death "for one of the massacres" of his people, "a crime against humanity." The reliably silly Christopher Hitchens said, "Hussein was convicted of massacring the inhabitants of a Shiite village, Dujail, in 1982." (Dujail, in 1982, was a town of some 78,000.)

The trial of Hussein was just another example of people only hearing the music, not the lyrics, of human events.

Another example, this one from the past, concerns the Czech tennis great Ivan Lendl. In the early years of his sterling career, Lendl was a quitter. If things were going well, he'd steamroll over his opponents, but if they weren't, oftentimes he'd give up. In the finals of one U.S. Open years ago, he was facing Jimmy Conners, who doesn't know what the term "give up" even means. At some point in the match, Lendl stopped running after balls that were any meaningful distance away from him and lost ingloriously to Conners. What Lendl did angered me. How dare Lendl give up? He's in the finals of one of the most important tennis tournaments in the world and he wasn't giving it his all? Even if he didn't personally care, didn't he owe it to the millions of people watching the event on TV? And if he didn't even care about them, didn't he at least owe it to the great game of tennis?

After the match I went to the courts to play: I was still upset and voiced my displeasure with Lendl to no fewer than four or five of the players at the court who had also seen the match, saying that Lendl should be suspended and barred from playing in any sanctioned tennis tournament for at least a year. None of them knew what I was talking about. They hadn't noticed anything unusual about Lendl's performance at all. And the reason, of course, is that these were players who, like me, are willing to crash into a fence to retrieve a ball. And that's where nothing is at stake other than to satisfy our small mind's atavistic desire to win. If we will knock ourselves out in a meaningless practice match, obviously when you're playing Jimmy Conners in the finals of the U.S. Open, you'll kill yourself to win, right?

My tennis colleagues simply didn't see what happened in the Conners-Lendl match. They saw what they expected to see. The next day not one of the accounts of the match I read in the newspapers mentioned Lendl's sorry and inexcusable performance, and there was no mention of his having sustained any injury during the match that would have caused it. I was happy to read, in an edition of Sports Illustrated a month or so later, that tennis greats Pancho Segura and Bobby Riggs, who were courtside during the match, were disgusted by Lendl's performance. (It should be mentioned that during the middle and latter parts of Lendl's career, he developed into one of the grittiest, most tenacious and competitive players on the tour, always persevering till the bitter end.)

Just within the past decade or so, this tendency of mine to see what is in front of me in its pristine condition -- which certainly is not unique to me -- has caused me to hold beliefs at odds with the vast majority of Americans. One example is the criminal trial of O. J. Simpson. Before my book on the case, Outrage, came out, the widespread belief was the one set forth by Newsweek in its September 30, 1996, issue: "It is accepted wisdom now that prosecutors lost the criminal trial virtually the day the predominately African-American jury was sworn in." In other words, as pundit after pundit said or implied, the not guilty verdict was solely the fault of the terrible jury, certainly not that of the prosecution. For example, Jeffrey Toobin, who covered the trial for the New Yorker, said, "It is difficult to imagine how else Marcia Clark [who was, per Toobin, "at times brilliant"] might have tried her case. There appears to have been no one thing the prosecution could have done ... that would have changed the result in this case. The result, it now seems, was preordained." Influencing all of this was the implied assumption that since the two lead prosecutors were chosen out of a large staff to try this high-profile case, and since they seemed to be intelligent and articulate, they must have been competent. But the reality,taking place right in front of everyone's eyes, was that they could hardly have been more incompetent.

In my book Outrage, I point out with example after example after example that, as bad as the jury was, the prosecution was even worse, their incompetence being almost unprecedented. Newsday wrote: "Is everybody in America wrong but Bugliosi? Well, he makes a darned conclusive argument that this is so." The New York Times said, "Bugliosi puts the blame where it belongs." The Los Angeles Times said, "No one who reads Outrage will ever again believe that the most publicized acquittal in the history of American jurisprudence was solely the result of juror prejudice or the machinations of unscrupulous defense attorneys. The D.A. and the prosecutors have been called before the bar of justice."

Consider one more example. When Paula Jones's lawsuit against President Bill Clinton reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997 and Clinton asked the court to postpone the civil trial to the end of his term, virtually the entire country, including the major liberal newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, opposed Clinton's request, invoking the mantra "No one is above the law." (But Clinton wasn't asking that he be given immunity from the civil lawsuit. All he asked for was a routine continuance.) And when the court eventually denied Clinton's request and ruled that Clinton had to go to trial during his term, again, virtually the entire country agreed with the court's opinion. As an article in the New Yorker noted, the Supreme Court opinion "drew wide praise for reflecting the bedrock American principle that no one is above the law." Papers throughout the land applauded the court's decision. Just two among many examples. Los Angeles Times: "A unanimous Supreme Court has ruled, correctly; that a president has no constitutional claim to temporary immunity." New York Daily News: "When all is said and done, history will remember that the court held that the president is first and foremost a United States citizen, subject to the law like everyone else."

Many papers lamented the decision, saying it was unfortunate and would harm the presidency; but said that the court had nonetheless ruled correctly. This sense that the ruling was unfortunate but the court was nevertheless correct was a view articulated by a great many, including lawyers, law professors, and columnists. Just three examples. An editorial in the National Law Journal said that the Supreme Court's decision "holds dangers for the U.S. presidency and for the U.S. political system itself," but concluded that the "court's ruling" in the case "makes legal sense." Walter Shapiro, political columnist for USA Today, wrote that what the court's ruling portended for the president "should make us all feel a little embarrassed to be Americans" and "no president deserves the humiliation of this lawsuit." But, he added, "I have no quarrel with the Supreme Court decision. The principle that no one, not even a sitting president, should be above the law is embedded in our legal system." Harvard Law School constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe also bought into this nonsense. In the September 1997 edition of George magazine, after "lamenting" the fact that the president might be forced to trial by the court's decision, he added that he nonetheless "agrees with the court's ultimate conclusion ... It is a basic axiom of our government that no one is above the law, not even the president, and it follows that no special privileges should attach to whomever holds that august office."

The case I made in my book No Island of Sanity (the only book ever written on the Supreme Court decision) for the proposition that the Supreme Court should have granted President Clinton's request to postpone the Jones trial until the end of his term was such that not only did the reviews in the New York Times and Washington Post agree with No Island (in direct conflict with the position others in their paper had taken earlier), but to my knowledge not one conservative scholar who has read the book disagreed. [1] In the Jones case, the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, displayed staggering judicial incompetence that people brighter than I never saw.

The court's unanimous decision in the Paula Jones case (if 50 million people say a foolish thing, it's still a foolish thing) was not only devoid of all common sense, but violated the court's own fundamental legal principles. Whenever the court, any court in the land, is confronted with a situation where a valid private interest is in conflict with a valid public interest -- in this case, Paula Jones's interest in having her case brought to trial immediately (i.e., during the president's term), and the right of the nation's citizens to have a full-time president, one that can carry out his duties running the country without the enormous distraction of a private lawsuit -- the court must, as it had been doing (I cite many cases in No Island) for over two centuries, balance the interests to see which interest is the most important and should prevail. For whatever reason, the court strangely, one could almost say mysteriously, did not balance the interests in the Paula Jones case. If it had, what conceivable argument under the moon could possibly be made for the proposition that Paula Jones's individual right to proceed to trial, right in the middle of the president's term, outweighed and was more important than the right of 270 million Americans to have their president be undiverted and undistracted in the performance of his duties? Whether we like a particular president or not, he works every day on national and international issues that affect all of our lives. The reader should know that under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940, even during peacetime, a buck private going through basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, whose principal challenge is to learn how to assemble and disassemble an M-16 rifle, is legally entitled to a postponement of any civil action against him to the end of his active duty so that he can devote all his energy and attention to his duties. But the president of the United States, who has the most important and demanding job on earth, is not? What previously recognized form of logic would allow this?

I wrote in No Island (at a point in time when the case was scheduled to be tried in Little Rock, Arkansas, and before it was settled out of court by Clinton) that "I can easily foresee the trial igniting such a vast and deafening media explosion by the world press, and the situation getting so out of hand because of sensational allegations and new and damaging revelations that the president has to respond to, that he might become more than substantially distracted by the lawsuit. Rather, he will be ... consumed by his political survival." Reviewing No Island in USA Today, Tony Mauro wrote: "Six days before Monica Lewinsky became a household name, famed Los Angeles lawyer Vincent Bugliosi turned in a book manuscript that foresaw it all." Again, I'm not the brightest person in the world, but a two-year-old should have been able to see the terribly dangerous situation and precedent the court was establishing by its decision in the Jones case, and all lawyers should have seen the court was simply wrong in the ruling, which violated a well-known and universally accepted principle of constitutional law. I view the Supreme Court, in the Jones case, like a driver who causes a massive accident on the freeway, and then drives on, looking at the pileup in the rearview mirror.

In a syndicated column, social historian Gary Wills, in referring to the Supreme Court's decision in Jones v. Clinton, wrote: "Vincent Bugliosi was right." He didn't say: "Those who disagreed at the time with the Supreme Court's decision were right," because there did not appear to be any "those." I say this not to boast, but to make a larger point. In this book, I will be asking the reader to give the lie to Thoreau's dictum that "it is very difficult to see what is right in front of one's eyes." This will be particularly true when I set forth the legal basis and the evidence that support my contention that President Bush should be prosecuted, in an American courtroom, for first degree murder arising out of his war in Iraq.

How the above is all relevant is that if any reader finds it intellectually incongruous, and therefore difficult to accept, that a president of the United States could actually do what I strongly believe George Bush did in leading this nation to war, because, well, one would simply never expect (i.e., seeing what you expect to see) a president of the United States to do such a thing, I say you will be falling into the same unthinking trap that so many humans do. You have to disabuse yourself of any preconceived notion you may have that just because George Bush is the president of the United States he is simply incapable of engaging in conduct that smacks of great criminality. Because if you take that position, a position that has no foundation in logic, you're not going to be receptive to the evidence I set forth in this book, nor to the commonsense inferences I draw from that evidence.

For those who want America to one day be the great nation it once was, it can hardly do this if it doesn't take the first step of bringing those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.



[1] The Supreme Court ruling led to the Monica Lewinsky matter (President Clinton's denial, under oath, that he ever had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, took place at a deposition in Jones's lawsuit against the president), which grievously wounded the Clinton presidency to Al Gore's substantial detriment, which he compounded by distancing himself from Clinton during his campaign, Gore hardly using Clinton, an excellent vote getter, in the vote-getting effort. Most observers feel that had it not been for the Lewinsky scandal, Gore would have won the extremely close election. And it follows that we would not have had the runaway insanity of the Iraq war.
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Postby admin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:14 pm


BEFORE WE BRIEFLY REVIEW in this chapter the reasons George Bush has given for going to war in Iraq, one fact, so easily lost amidst the rubble of the conflict and the trillions of words written about it, should not be forgotten. Although the first Bush administration as well as the Clinton administration viewed Iraq as a troublesome menace, no one was talking about actually going to war with Iraq before Bush started talking about it. Indeed, even if someone had come forward (like an Iraqi defector) and said Hussein had plans to attack America or help someone else do so, his words would have been met with immense skepticism and ultimately disregarded, since on their face they would make little sense. But not even one person told us this. It all started with Bush and his people creating something out of nothing. To repeat, before Bush, there was nothing. And yet we went to war.

Although Bush said he went to war because Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country, not everyone believes this was Bush's motivation. Of those who don't, none seem to be too confident about why Bush went to war. The reasons speculated range from oil and politics (getting congressional authorization to go to war to help his party win the 2002 midterm elections; certainly, once the war started, exploiting the war to keep the nation in a constant state of fear to his political advantage) all the way to Bush getting even with Hussein for having, he said, "Tried to kill my dad at one time [1993]." Regarding the latter, in the book Hubris by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, the authors write: "That Bush was citing the incident nine years later to explain his current policy made some members of Congress uncomfortable. House Majority Leader Dick Armey later said he had 'just cringed' when he read about the president's comment. 'Wow,' he remarked to his wife, 'I hope that's [emphasis in original] not what this is all about."' Some even say the motivation for war was part of a Bush family drama in which Bush was trying to one-up his father by completing the job Bush Sr. failed to do -- remove Hussein from power in 1991 -- at the time of the Persian Gulf War. Whatever Bush's reason was, it was not a good reason. This brief chapter only deals with the main reasons he and his supporters have given for the war.

And as noted, we all know that the principal reason George Bush gave for invading Iraq in 2003 was that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and this posed an imminent threat to the security of this country because he might use these weapons on us, or furnish them to terrorists who would. We also know that Iraq had no such weapons of mass destruction, having disposed of virtually all of them (the extremely small number not being destroyed, if any, being inadvertent) and terminated its effort to build a nuclear bomb in 1991 at the conclusion of the Gulf War. (Whether or not Bush and his people flat-out lied when they said many of the things they did about Hussein's WMD, or simply stretched the truth, or cherry-picked by only furnishing Congress and the American people information that supported their position, not that which undermined it, will be discussed later in this book.)

Although the drumbeat for war because Hussein supposedly had WMD was so loud that it completely dominated the airwaves and the papers, Bush and his people, to gild the lily; did occasionally mention, in more of a parenthetical way, that apart from the issue of whether Hussein was a threat to the security of this country, we should free the Iraqi people from Hussein's despotic rule. That would allow them to have free elections and determine their own destiny. But we all know that America would never have bought Bush's war if that had been given as the main reason for invading Iraq. After all, if that was a sufficient reason for America going to war, during the past seventy-five years alone America would have been fighting in wars in all corners of the globe, every day of every year. We would have been fighting in, among many other places, Russia, China, and Cambodia. And at this very moment in time we'd be fighting in places like Darfur, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, etc. I mean, even Paul Wolfowitz, a chief architect of the Iraq war, acknowledged to Vanity Fair that helping the Iraqis achieve freedom from Hussein was "not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale [that] we did it."

To illustrate the virtual insanity of such a policy of our fighting other peoples' wars and sacrificing thousands upon thousands of young American lives to give freedom to the people of other nations, let's say we invaded Russia in 1950 (as we invaded Iraq in 2003) to free the Russian people from Stalin's tyrannical rule. After losing hundreds of thousands of our soldiers in a terribly brutal war, we finally manage to topple Stalin from power, after which we track him down and put him on trial in Moscow for crimes he committed against the Soviet people. After Stalin is convicted and executed, we try to see to it that Russia has free elections, and then we come home (only to next invade China to free the Chinese people from Mao, and so on). If this sounds crazy to you, it's because it is.

In his 2006 Memorial Day column, New York Times writer Bob Herbert asked his readers (obviously, mostly those who had always been in favor of the war), "Before you gather up the hot dogs and head out to the barbecue this afternoon, look in a mirror and ask yourself honestly if Iraq [or any other country living under despotic rule] is something you would be willing to die for." The honest answer, of course, is no. And this has to be particularly true where, as with Iraq, most Iraqis quickly came to view us not as liberators but occupiers, and indeed, a January 2006 World Opinion poll showed that close to half of all Iraqis actually approved of deadly attacks on American soldiers.

To remind the reader, after it was determined that Iraq had no WMD, the Bush administration immediately tried to shift this very incidental reason for going to war (liberating the Iraqi people so they could have free elections) into the main justification for the war, and it's surprising how many supposedly very bright Americans, in fine Pavlovian form, went along with this. When the Iraqis had their first national election on January 30, 2005, and long after it was confirmed Iraq had no WMD, political satirist Jon Stewart, although, to his credit, not forgetting at all about the "whole weapons [of mass destruction] thing," said, in reference to the elections as being justification for the invasion, that "Bush [may have] been right about this all along." And looking back, liberal columnist Michael Kinsley wrote that Bush's invasion of Iraq "was worthy in theory: to liberate a country from a dictator, perhaps [1] to find and destroy some dangerous weapons." Perhaps? Michael, where were you living in the lead-up to the Iraq war? A bank vault? A Himalayan monastery?

In fact, because it was virtually the sole reason given by Bush in his march to war, the only reason given by Congress in its October 11, 2002, joint resolution authorizing war was national security, nothing else. The resolution read: "The president is authorized to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq ... " And in Bush's report to Congress on March 19, 2003, the day the war began, he spoke of nothing else but Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and our national security. There wasn't even a hint or mention of any other motive for war.

While all this was going on, it became the conventional wisdom among conservatives everywhere that finding no WMD in Iraq was immaterial because the real, unstated reason the Bush administration had for invading Iraq was not just to overthrow Hussein and establish democracy in Iraq -- but a democracy that would spread like April flowers throughout the Arab world, thereby eliminating the threat of terrorism on our shores by Islamic extremists like those who attacked us on 9/11. And, indeed, this may very well have been the intent of Bush and his batch of neoconservative zanies like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. There are those who believe that Wolfowitz was suggesting this very thing when he indicated to Vanity Fair, in an article published in its May 2003 edition, that WMD, which Wolfowitz said he believed Hussein had and were a real concern, were not (repeat, not) the main, overriding reason for invading Iraq. Remarkably, he said, "The truth [the truth? You mean, the American people weren't told the truth?] is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on [settled on?] the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason [for the invasion]." Wow!!

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the main, though unstated reason Bush invaded Iraq was to spread democracy throughout the anti-American Arab world (a reason, as indicated, for going to war in Iraq that was never given by the Bush administration at the time of its buildup to war), there is a monumentally serious problem with this that I haven't seen mentioned, one that the many Republicans who spout this theory don't seem to be in the least troubled by.

Apart from the wholly unrealistic and fanciful notion of changing the political culture of the Arab world to our liking, if Bush's real purpose for invading Iraq was to ignite a restructuring of the Middle East by giving birth to democracy in Iraq, he obviously would have no right to keep this motivation for such a war a secret from the American people. It would seem, in a hypothetical situation, that a president might be justified in taking the country to war without the informed consent of the people only if the immediate security of this country were at stake (which it wasn't here) and, for whatever reason, it was to the country's benefit that the president not tell the country's citizens his true reason for going to war. But although this justification for war is entertainable in theory, I can't even imagine what that situation would be.

Granted, once a war commences, the necessities and exigencies of war dictate that many secrets be kept from the people for purposes of national security. As Churchill, taking it a step further, observed, "During war, the truth has to be protected by a bodyguard of lies." But before the decision is made to go to war, the American people deserve to know and have to be informed why their sons are being asked to shed their blood on foreign soil, and asked if they agree that such a venture is necessary to this nation's security. One shouldn't go so far as to assert that in all cases a majority of Americans have to voice their approval for war, but with the exception of the hypothetical situation noted above, in all cases the nation's citizens have to be informed of the reasons for war. Particularly in a nation like America whose roots were at the town hall meeting level, where everyday citizens gave their input on the important decisions of government.

So if, indeed, the reason for the war in Iraq was to spread democracy throughout the Mideast, how is it possible that Bush and his people had the tremendous audacity not to tell the American people this?

Further, if we assume that the many conservative Republicans who say the real reason behind the Iraqi invasion was to spread democracy in the Middle East are correct, aren't they thereby admitting that Bush lied to the country when he told Americans the principal reason we were invading Iraq was because it had weapons of mass destruction and hence was an imminent threat to the security of this country?

Returning to the main reason (for virtually all intents and purposes the only reason) Bush and his people gave the American people for going to war in Iraq -- that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which he might unleash or give to someone else to unleash on America any day- -- let's look at just some of the many statements from Bush and his people assuring Americans that Hussein did, in fact, have WMD, and if we didn't attack right now, Hussein might attack us first. As you are reading these statements, keep the following things uppermost in your mind:

1. These are statements by the Bush administration that were directly responsible for the majority of Americans finally becoming convinced that invading Iraq was the right thing for America to do.

2. Without the approval of this majority of Americans, there is a decent chance that Bush would not have gone to war. Indeed, that was the very reason why Bush and his people made the statements -- to get the support of the American people.

3. Because of the war induced by these statements, over 100,000 American soldiers and Iraqi civilians lost their lives, and many thousands of others have been physically or mentally disabled for life.

4. All of these statements, without exception, have been proven to be completely false.


September 12, 2002 (Address to United Nations): "Saddam Hussein continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. The first time we may be completely certain he has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, he uses one ... [Iraq presents] a grave and gathering danger."

October 7, 2002 (from Cincinnati, Ohio, Bush's first address to the nation on the Iraqi threat. Bush piled it on so heavy that the devil himself, much less an American family sitting in front of the TV set in their living room in Dubuque, Iowa, would have had a hard time fighting back fear): "Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gasses and atomic weapons ... Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and to the world. The danger is already significant ... If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons? ... Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States ... Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group ... [This] could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints ... Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and ... the instruments of mass death and destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network ... Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud ... Saddam Hussein ... has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon ... Saddam Hussein must disarm himself, or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him ... [Hussein is] a great danger to our nation ... We refuse to live in fear ... We will secure our nation, protect our freedom."


January 28, 2003 (State of the Union address): "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production ... Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction ... Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. [Alone, this suggests Bush is saying the threat is not imminent, nothing that has to be dealt with now. But his very next words quickly dispel this inference.] Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? ..."


March 6, 2003 (National press conference): "Iraqi operatives continue to hide biological and chemical agents to avoid detection by inspectors. In some cases these materials have been moved to different locations every 12 to 24 hours ... Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country, to our people, and to all free people ... I will not leave the American people at the mercy of the Iraqi dictator and his weapons ... I see a gathering threat. I mean, this is a true, real threat to America."


March 17, 2003 (Bush's address to the nation two days before he invaded Iraq): "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised ... Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed ... When evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth ... Responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now."


March 19, 2003 (speech to nation announcing that the invasion of Iraq had begun): "The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder ... We will meet that threat now ... so we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities."



August 26, 2002 (speech to Veterans of Foreign Wars): "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing hem to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us ... We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons ... Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."


September 8, 2002 (Meet the Press): "We do know, with absolute certainty, that Hussein is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon." [2]



September 8, 2002 (CNN): "We do know that [Saddam] is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon ... We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."



February 5, 2003 (address to UN Security Council): "The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction pose to the world ... There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more ... Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons ... We have more than a decade of proof that Saddam Hussein remains determined to acquire nuclear weapons ... Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort, no effort, to disarm ... [and] are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction."



September 18, 2002 (House Armed Services Committee): "We do know that the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons."


September 19, 2002 (Senate Armed Services Committee): "No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein and Iraq."


At the time that all of the above false statements were made, there was no credible evidence that Saddam had any more weapons of mass destruction than you or I had in our backyard. What we do know is that at the time, Hussein, pen in hand, was consumed not by the thought of attacking America (after all, he was a hell of a lot more sane than President Bush), but by completing his fourth novel, Get Out, You Damned One, a third-rate piece of pulp fiction about "a greedy schemer who plots to overthrow the sheik of a tribe with the help of a powerful enemy aiming to conquer and annihilate all Arabs but is ultimately defeated by the sheik's daughter with the help of an Arab warrior." The first page of the manuscript (later published in book form) was signed by Hussein and dated March 18, 2003, the day before Bush invaded Iraq.

Whether the Iraq war was the second-biggest blunder in American history (behind Vietnam) or the biggest crime ever committed by an American president will be discussed in a succeeding chapter.



[1] Unless otherwise indicated. emphasis by italics in quotations in this book has been added by the author.

[2] And oh yes. Although not quite qualifying for the "Why George Bush Went to War" list of quotes, how can one fail to mention this quote of Cheney, the Old Testament prophet, on NBC's Meet the Press on March 16, 2003, just days before the war: "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators ... I think it will go relatively quickly, [in] weeks rather than months." The Iraq war, of course, has already gone on longer than our participation in the Second World War!
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Part 1 of 2



AS ADULTS, most of us have learned that there are consequences in life for our misbehavior. If George Bush, as I believe, took this nation to war in Iraq on a lie, causing catastrophic repercussions on a scale far larger than the attacks of 9/11, what should we, as a nation, do about it? As of the publication date of this book, apparently nothing. Indeed, and remarkably, there hasn't even been any investigation of Bush's conduct, nor has one even been seriously proposed, [1] In the chapter that follows this one, I will make my own small contribution to "doing something about" what has happened. But before I do, I want to talk in this prologue about the thousands of young American men and women who paid for Bush's conduct with their irreplaceable lives, because if these men and women were not in their cold graves, I obviously would not be recommending what I do in the next chapter. I also want to discuss how the author of these deaths, George Bush, has comported himself through the horror of it all.

My anger over the war in Iraq, some will say, is palpable in the pages of this book. If I sound too angry for some, what should I be greatly angry about -- that a referee gave what I thought was a bad call to my hometown football, basketball, or baseball team, and it may have cost them the game? I don't think so.

Virtually all of us cling desperately to life, either because of our love of life and/or our fear of death. I'm told there is a passage in a novel by Dostoyevsky in which a character in the story exclaims, "If I were condemned to live on a rock, chained to a rock in the lashing sea, and all around me were ice and gales and storm, I would still want to live. Oh God, just to live, live, live!"

So nothing is as important in life as life and death. We fear and loathe the thought of our own death, even if it's a peaceful one after we've outlived the normal longevity. We fear not only the loss of our own lives, but the lives of our parents and sisters and brothers, as well as our relatives and close friends. We don't think of our children too much in this regard because our children, in the normal scheme of things, are supposed to outlive us. When they die before us, the already hideous nature of death becomes unbearable. And that's when they die a normal and peaceful death from illness. If the death is from an accident, like a car collision, the death of the child, if possible, is even more unbearable.

So one can hardly imagine the gut-tearing pain and horror when the only child of a couple, a nineteen-year-old son, call him Tim, the center of his parents' lives, whom they showered with their love and lived through vicariously in his triumphs on the athletic field and in the classroom, and who was excited as he looked forward to life, planning to wed his high school sweetheart and go on to become a police officer (or lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc.) dies the most horrible of deaths from a roadside bomb in a far-off country, and comes home in a metal box, [2] his body so shattered that his parents are cautioned by the military not to open it because what is inside ("our Timmy") is "unviewable." (To make the point hit home more with you, can you imagine if it was your son who was killed in Iraq and came home "unviewable" in a box? Yes, your son Scott, or Paul, or Michael, or Ronnie, Todd, Peter, Marty, Sean, or Bobby.)

No words can capture the feelings, the enormous suffering, of Tim's parents. But I think we can say that among a host of other deep agonies, they will have nightmares for the rest of their lives over the horrifying image of their boy the moment he lost his life on a desolate road in Iraq. As a mother of a soldier who died in Iraq wrote in a May 17, 2004, letter to the New York Times: "The explosion that killed my son in Baghdad will go on in our lives forever." She went on to say that "seared on" her soul are the "screams and despair" of her family over the loss of her son and the "sound of taps above the weeping crowd at the grave site of my son."

Just as Tim's young life ended before he really had a chance to live, so did the lives of thousands of other young men in the Iraq war. Not one of them wanted to die. As one wrote in his diary before he was killed in the battle of Fallouja: "I am not so much scared as I am very afraid of the unknown. If I don't get to write again, I would say I died too early, I haven't done enough in my life. I haven't gotten to experience enough. Though I hope I haven't gone in vain." In letter after letter home by young men who were later killed in combat in Iraq were words to the effect, "I can't wait to get back home and to start my life again."

All of the young men who died horrible and violent deaths in Bush's war had dreams. Bush saw to it that none of them would ever come true. It is impossible to adequately describe all the emotions and the magnitude of the human suffering that this dreadful war has wrought. But we can at least begin to comprehend the enormity of it by looking briefly at some stories of those young men who paid with their lives for Bush's monumental crime.

As undoubtedly is the case with the reader's local paper, for several years now my hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times, every week without fail -- sometimes it seems every day; under "Military Deaths" -- has an obituary; or two or three, of young American soldiers from Southern and Central California who were killed in Iraq. Many had Hispanic names; almost all were very young and of limited education (only 3.5 percent of the enlisted men in the Iraqi war -- the men who, for the most part, do the fighting, the so-called grunts -- have a college degree); and virtually all appeared to come from low- income homes. There was a story in each obituary of their abbreviated lives, with reminiscences from their parents, brothers and sisters, wives, as well as girlfriends they were already planning to marry. I wish I had kept all of them, although they would number in the hundreds. A typical caption was "Army Cpl. (name), 20, Rialto; killed by a roadside bomb."

Here are a few random snippets drawn mostly from the Los Angeles Times, and a few elsewhere. Though not comprehensive, we can suppose they are representative of the others because they all tell the same story of a young life tragically cut short by the war.

"How long must I wait to go home?" Luis, 21, who was killed by a roadside bomb wrote. "How long must I wait to marry my girlfriend?" Family and friends said the thing they'll always remember about Luis is how easily he made them laugh. He'd recite favorite lines from movies or from comedian Dave Chappelle ..."He was scared because he was going to Iraq," his younger brother Eric said. "He was telling me he loved me. He was crying. He said he didn't know what to do." His fiancee was planning to surprise him with a scrapbook filled with photographs of themselves. The last page was dedicated to their planned wedding. She included cutouts of a multi-tiered cake, a tuxedo, a wedding dress, and a caption in fancy lettering, "And they lived happily ever after."


"He was just special," said his mother Maria about her son, Michael (20). "He was always there for me and his brothers and sisters. He did a lot for his family." His sister Sasha, 18, said her brother was her best friend, whom she would seek out for advice about boys and other teenage issues. "He would tell me that he would always be there for me," she added.


Guy (23) worked at a Home Depot store and joined the National Guard to help pay for his education. Just before he died, he told his mother that when he returned from Iraq his goal was to return to school and get a degree in computer engineering.


There was something sweetly old-fashioned about Lucente, who was among five Marines killed November 16 in combat in Ubaydi, Iraq. The nineteen-year-old Grace Valley resident went to church regularly, held down a job as a dishwasher, and never failed to tell his family that he loved them. "He was always giving us hugs, always telling us he loved us," his mother said.


Christopher (21) would flash his 1,000-watt smile and remind his sisters how pretty they were as he grew up in Vallejo, California. His parents, Rudy and Margarita, had been surprised in 2004 when their son, who had just turned 18 and completed high school, told them he had joined the Army. "He was afraid we couldn't pay for college," said his mother, who is a clerk at Target. "I said I'll work two jobs. You'll be able to go to college. He wanted to be a policeman someday. He talked about that even when he was younger." "I always thought I was going to be a kid forever," he wrote for his senior class commencement program.


Leon (20) and his fiancee planned to be married in December. He was thinking he might join the Los Angeles Police Department and maybe try for the SWAT squad. When he'd call home to his parents he wanted to know about his family and his neighborhood. He'd say; "That's the stuff that keeps me grounded, shows me there is something real, something to hold on to,"' his mother said. "He definitely had the heart of a lion and did your family name proud," wrote a Marine buddy to Leon's parents. Army Cpl. Jarred Speller, who was on the roof with Leon, wrote of the frantic moments after Leon was hit by a sniper as medics tried to stop the bleeding to his head. "I held his head in my hands the whole time and kept trying to tell him he was going to be okay."


Tom (23) was killed Monday near Baghdad in a grenade explosion. Like so many young men with dreams but not much money, he saw an opportunity: "The Army flashed dollar signs in their [Tom and his brother's] faces. They jumped at it," said Tom's stepfather. Tom wanted to be a school teacher. He and his wife, Paulette, were married for less than two years and had one child. "Tommy enjoyed life to the fullest," his stepfather said. "He was a good Christian boy. His life was cut short. Tommy won't be able to be anything anymore."


Nineteen-year-old Ryan was remembered by all as a "big kid" with a heart-melting smile. His "easy charm and athletic good looks -- he played baseball and football in high school -- made for no lonely Saturday nights." He was a "ladies man," said his older brother, Sean, noting the number of grieving young women at his kid brother's funeral. It wasn't just young ladies who were taken with Ryan. "Everybody I ever talked to loved Ryan," his father, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, said. Ryan's job in Iraq was to root out roadside bombs, but one he didn't see killed two of Ryan's buddies near their Humvee in Ramadi, and severely injured Ryan, with third- degree burns over most of his body He was airlifted to Germany and then Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio where he died twelve days later. His father and mother had flown to San Antonio to spend every moment at his side. He was unconscious during most of his hospital stay but had six hours of wakefulness with his family. "I think he fought to get those six hours with us," said his father. "He had a very strong will. He's missed every day" and will be "for the rest of our lives."


In classic Southern California style, Kyle loved heavy-metal rock music and fast cars, perhaps to extremes. He carried a picture of his Camaro in his wallet and had the lyrics of a Pantera song tattooed on his back. Although he was not interested in school, he was exceptionally intelligent, scoring above 150 on an Army IQ test. He taught himself to play his father's guitar at age 11. His relatives said he excelled at it. When his sister Korra Jean was killed in a car accident four years ago, he had her full name tattooed across his chest. Kyle believed in the U.S. mission in the Middle East, relatives said. During a visit home in February, his half-sister found him quieter than usual. She said he told his friends, "If I don't come home, have a raging party for me," and told her to make sure he was buried in his military uniform. Kyle was among four soldiers killed south of Baghdad when mines detonated near the Humvee they were riding in, setting it on fire. He was 23.


[Andres, a 23-year-old Army sergeant,] "turned to the gunner in his Humvee while on patrol in Baghdad on July 15, 2006, and insisted on switching seats. When his commanding officer ordered him to stay put, he said he couldn't explain why but he knew that he needed to be sitting in the gunner's seat. His orders were coming from a higher source, he said. Moments after he made the switch, a roadside bomb exploded and killed him. The other soldier was bruised but alive. That was the story of Andres' life in Iraq, always thinking of his fellow soldiers. This is why his fellow servicemen called him a "soldier's soldier," someone distinguished by his selfless regard for others' welfare above his own. There are no plaques, medals or badges that mark a soldier's soldier. "It's a distinguished phrase you don't just give to anyone," said a peer of Andres. "It's one of those things you earn. He definitely had it." Andres had wanted to return home to become a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff. He left behind a four-year-old daughter, Grace, who lived with his former girlfriend. He doted on her, spending his few weeks at home taking her to Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland. He would shower her with gifts -- lately she favored Winnie the Pooh. Besides his daughter, his survivors were his parents and five younger brothers.


Joseph, 21, was killed near Baghdad on July 25 in an ambush on his convoy. He had married his childhood sweetheart, Cori, 20, shortly before he left for Iraq the previous fall. In the weeks before his death, the soldier had been counting the days until he came home. He was looking forward to settling down with his bride. "We had saved like pack rats to get a house," Cori said. "He was very anxious to get home. We had spent a good part of his military career apart, and it was just time" to start their life together.


Raymond (21) was born six weeks early and weighed a scant three pounds. An accomplished basketball player, he graduated from Anaheim's Western High School, attended Santa Ana College, and dreamed of being a fire fighter. "He came home one ay," his mother, Willieta, said, and said to her, "I was talking to a couple of my professors and they said there was a long list for fire fighters. They said the only way I could be a fire fighter without being on the list is joining the military." Willieta begged her only child to talk to her first. "I said, Raymond, I don't object to you going into the military. I object to you going at this time." A few weeks later he signed up. Raymond loved hip-hop music, text messaging, video games and flashy cars. Someday, he said, he would buy a Cadillac Escalade or G.M.C. Yukon with the money he earned fighting in Iraq. Raymond had a big smile, a big heart, a big appetite, a big soul. The best of friends and the sweetest of sons. When he was home on leave, Raymond would buy flowers for his mom. "I want to go on," his mother said, "But I don't know. Do I even have a purpose anymore? It's hard. It's hard. It's hard."


In these obituaries we see, as indicated earlier, that most of these soldiers dying in Iraq come from very modest or low-income roots. That's why they found even the low pay scale of the military so enticing. That these young men from relatively poor families are fighting a war and dying for multimillionaires like Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and that companies like Halliburton (Cheney's former company) have made billions, yes billions of dollars off their blood in contracts, is enough to make any decent human being sick to the stomach.

What makes the sickness turn into rage is to know that Bush took these young men to war on a lie, and that when they died they thought they were dying to protect their country against those who were involved in 9/11. The additional fact that these soldiers were sent into a war zone without the equipment necessary to protect them not only increases the rage exponentially but shows exactly how little regard Bush and his administration have for those who have been willing to risk their lives fighting Bush's war. As was clear after the first roadside bombs (known as IEDs, improvised explosive devices) killed U.S. troops in their very vulnerable Humvees in 2003, military vehicles designed to withstand them were desperately needed. Yet the Bush administration was unconscionably slow in replacing the Humvees or in armoring them properly. To date, IEDs have been responsible for almost 70 percent of all American combat deaths in Iraq.

Can anything possibly be more abominable than this very rich nation sending its young men off to war without providing them with the proper equipment? If the young men dying in Iraq in Humvees were the children of wealthy CEOs, wouldn't something have been done immediately in a crash program (special contracts with multiple manufacturers, twenty-four-hour shifts, etc.) to get the necessary protection for them? In reality, a year and a half after the war started, the only Humvee armoring company in America was operating under capacity because of no new orders from the Pentagon (Newsweek, December 20, 2004), i.e., although protecting our troops should be a top priority in time of war, the Bush administration was not spending the money necessary to do so, nor insuring that more than one factory was working to get the job done. As was reported many times in the media (e.g., New York Times, October 30, 2004), the situation was so bad that American soldiers in Iraq were literally writing home and having their loved ones send requested body and armor parts for the Humvees to them.

When Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited Iraq and spoke to a group of soldiers on December 8, 2004, one of them (National Guard Specialist Thomas Wilson) stood up and publicly complained about the lack of protection the Humvees were providing them, saying that troops had to forage for "rusted scrap metal and ballistic glass that's already been shot up, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat." He asked Rumsfeld, to loud cheers from many of his fellow soldiers, why they had "to dig through local landfills" for their armor. Rumsfeld, who himself hid out at Princeton on a student deferment when it was his generation's time to fight in Korea, blithely brushed the soldier off, saying, "you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." But that terribly arrogant position would only apply if America, for instance, had been invaded by Iraq, in which case we would have to make do with what we had at that particular time. But Bush had all the time in the world to prepare for his war against Iraq. Not only was Iraq never, ever going to attack the United States, or help anyone else do so, but even if it were, it certainly wouldn't be doing so for a long time.

While young American soldiers were scavenging for their "hillbilly" armor to protect themselves in a war that only big corporations, like Halliburton, profited from, a story from the December 10, 2004, New York Times (just two days after Specialist Wilson's confrontation with Rumsfeld) was captioned "It's Inauguration Time Again, and Access Still Has Its Price -- $250,000 Buys Lunch with President and More." Can you imagine that? A quarter of a million dollars spent by the nation's very wealthy just for lunch, while young Americans, mostly from low-income families, were dying violent deaths on the battlefield in Iraq because of inadequate protection.

Although American soldiers, to this very day, continue to be killed by roadside bombs in Iraq, this, from the August 23, 2007, edition of USA Today: "The Pentagon said yesterday that it will fall short of its goal of sending 3,500 armored vehicles to Iraq by the end of the year [2007]. Instead, officials expect to send about 1,500. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said that while defense officials still believe contractors will build about 3,900 of the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles [MRAPs -- these are not armored Humvees] by year's end, it will take longer for the military to fully equip them and ship them to Iraq." This is particularly infuriating because the MRAPs that have been deployed in Iraq thus far have been very effective in withstanding the roadside bombs.

The marines requested the MRAPs (whose V-shaped hull at the bottom deflects a bomb's blast to the sides and away from the crew, as opposed to the Humvees whose flat underside takes the full force of a blast through the floor) way back in December of 2003. Yet because of bureaucratic wrangling and the original unwillingness of the Bush administration to adequately fund the very heavy and expensive MRAPs, which only take four months to manufacture, it wasn't until August of 2007, almost four years later, that a small percentage were available for combat operations in Iraq. As expected, by the end of 2007, only 1,500 of the approximately 14,000 the military requested had been delivered to Iraq.

And there is more. In June of 2004, the army told the Pentagon it needed 2,600 M1117 armored vehicles (again, not armored Humvees) for its military police. Yet the Bush administration only contracted with one company, Textron in New Orleans, and for only 1,250 vehicles. Why no more? "That's all they had the money for," Clay Moise, the Textron vice president, said in January of 2007. And this is from the administration that gave the super rich in America, those who don't need one dime from anyone, a $1.3 trillion tax break over ten years.

What about body armor? A Pentagon study in 2006 found that some 80 percent of the marines who were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2005 from upper body wounds could have survived if they had had extra body armor there. As of late 2005, over two and a half years into the war, less than 10 percent of 28,000 upper armor plates on order had reached our marines in Iraq. That the Bush administration would send young American soldiers to fight its senseless war in Iraq without adequately equipping them for combat is unpardonable and criminal.

As if all of this is not bad enough, consider what the Bush administration has done with our brave young soldiers in Iraq who managed to survive the war but were seriously wounded, many disabled for life. We all know about the subpar performance of this nation's care and treatment of these soldiers as exemplified by the scandal at Walter Reed Hospital. Dr. John H. Chiles, who was chief of anesthesiology at Walter Reed, said that America's military medical system was "underfunded [to repeat, this, from a Bush administration that gave a $1.3 trillion tax break to the super rich], understaffed and overwhelmed." To quote from an Ella Fitzgerald tune, isn't that just delovely?

About the $1.3 trillion tax break for the very wealthy in the upper one percent of our society, would you believe it if I told you that the flag-waving, red, white, and blue super patriots in the Bush administration, who want us to believe they love our troops so much more than Democrats do, actually wanted to partially fund the tax give-away on the backs of these poor soldiers dying for them and their wealthy corporate friends in Iraq? Yes, you heard me right. Although it's unbelievable, it's true. Incredibly, in July of 2003, with the base pay of a private starting at only $1,064 per month, the Bush administration decided to discontinue the $75-a-month bonus that soldiers in combat zones in Iraq were getting. The $75 was called "imminent danger pay;" or "combat pay." Bush and his people just felt this was being overly generous with the soldiers at taxpayers' expense, and in the interim budget report sent to Congress by Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defense, the combat pay was not included.

The Army Times, which is distributed widely among army personnel, immediately attacked the White House and Pentagon in editorials for their extremely selfish, callous, and outrageous position. And military families, veterans groups, and Democrats (yes, Democrats) immediately voiced their strong opposition to the Bush administration decision to cut the combat pay of American soldiers fighting in Iraq. These are soldiers, mind you, trying to survive -- on a virtual second-to-second basis in the combat zones -- deadly roadside bombs and guerilla-style attacks. Soldiers weighted down with heavy equipment and combat gear fighting sometimes in 120-degree-plus heat. And back in our nation's air-conditioned Capitol, multimillionaire Republicans in the Bush administration, most of whom were draft dodgers in the Vietnam War, wanted to cut their monthly pay by $75.00. Then-Democratic senator Joe Lieberman said that the Bush administration's proposal was "just unconscionable. The government can afford the billions they give in tax cuts to millionaires, but there's not enough to give a little something to men and women who are putting their lives on the line." Democratic representative Mike Thompson, a Vietnam War veteran, wrote a letter to Bush saying, "This is an outrageous and hypocritical affront to our soldiers who are being killed on a daily basis and to their families." Democratic senator John Edwards said, "Our military deserves every dollar they earn and more. The Bush administration should reverse itself immediately;" which is exactly what Bush and his people did, withdrawing their call for a cut in combat pay the moment they saw their proposal being met with so much opposition.

But what does Bush and his people actually wanting to cut the combat pay of American soldiers fighting in Iraq tell you about these people? Is here really anything more to say? [3]

Visiting the grave site of a relative in May of 2006, I noticed a nearby grave decorated much more than the others. When I walked over, there was a photo of a young soldier in uniform. He was "SPC Sergio" (Hispanic last name) and the headstone said "March 7, 1983 - December 25, 2005," so he was twenty-two years old when he died on Christmas day in Iraq. The inscription was "Beloved Husband, Father, and Everyone's Hero." Then a biblical reference: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith, II Timothy 4:7." On a large backboard were written the words "1-64 Armor Battalion Desert Rogers Operation Iraq Freedom 111." Many flowers and six American flags surrounded the grave site.

Like all the others, Sergio had a story, and I wondered what that story was. Also like the others, we know he had dreams he never even had a chance to try to make come true. I thought of him in the cold earth beneath me having died, as some liberal commentators have said, "for nothing."

George Bush and Karl Rove -- Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

But these liberal commentators are 100 percent wrong. Sergio and all the others didn't die for nothing. They died for nothing worthwhile, yes. But they died for something, make no mistake about that. Although there is an old Turkish proverb that whoever tells the truth is chased out of nine villages, doesn't someone have to tell the truth that 4,000 young Americans decomposing in their graves today died for the two men shown in the photo above, George Bush and Karl Rove, and their friend Dick Cheney? We know they didn't die for you and me. And they certainly didn't die for America. Since Hussein constituted no threat to this country and had nothing to do with 9/11, how could these young Americans have possibly died to protect this country? Indeed, America has only been greatly harmed by the war. Not only by the loss of the 4,000 American soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq, and the 30,000 who have been seriously wounded, but we have spent over $1 trillion there that could have been used to help fix the many ills of this country (Political columnist Nicholas D. Kristof got his calculator out in July of 2007 and computed that "if we take the total eventual cost of the Iraq war, that sum could be used to finance health care for all uninsured Americans for perhaps 30 years." Indeed, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Joseph Stiglitz says that "for a fraction of the cost of this war, we could have put social security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.")

On top of all that, and to repeat what is well known, we've converted a country that was free of terrorists into one with many terrorists in it, and we've alienated almost the entire civilized world. So please don't say that Sergio and his fellow soldiers died for America.

Since we know that no American interest was being served by the war, and hence, these young men did not die for America or for you and me, whom did they die for? As ugly and grotesque as it is, the fact is that they gave up their lives to further the political interests of Bush, Rove, and Cheney. No political figures in American history ever so shamelessly exploited a war for political advantage as much as these three. Indeed, Rove built Bush's whole successful 2004 reelection campaign around the war in Iraq.

Speaking of the photo of Bush and Rove, do these two "men" look like men of real character, stature, moral strength, and dignity, the type whose word and sterling example could inspire a nation to go to war? I put "men" in quotes, because Bush is obviously not a man of stature. He's a spoiled, callous brat who became president only because of his father's good name. And Rove is a pasty, weak-faced, and mean-spirited political criminal. Neither of them are men of stature, honor, and gravitas, like many of our fine leaders of the past century such as Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, Ford, and George Bush Sr. These two are human embarrassments, and it's written all over their faces who they are. There's nothing of substance and character on the inside of either of these two "men" for their faces to reflect. These "men" refused to fight for America when it was their time to fight for this country -- Bush using his father's influence to get into the National Guard so he wouldn't be sent to Vietnam, and Rove getting a student deferment. Cheney, for his part, got five deferments, later explaining that "I had other priorities" than going to war. Nonetheless, they had no hesitation sending thousands of American soldiers to die violent deaths on foreign soil against a nation that wasn't our enemy (Hussein was only an enemy of George Bush and his father, not America -- see discussion in notes) and had nothing to do with 9/11. I repeat, because I don't want anyone to make any mistake about this, these are the men whom Sergio and other American soldiers died for.

Isn't that nice, that parents raise their son, whom they love with every fiber of their being, to die for these "men"? That their son's ashes come back in a jar from Iraq or his body is too blown into pieces to be viewed in its metal container, because of George Bush, Dick Cheney; and Karl Rove? If you say our young men didn't die for Bush, Cheney, and Rove, then whom did they die for? Hey, I'm talking to you. If you don't think they died for Bush, Cheney, and Rove, I want you to tell me whom you think they died for?

Indeed, some poor soldiers expressly said they died for Bush. Like young Mariano, who wrote his parents from Iraq a week or so before he was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, "I didn't vote for Bush, but I'll take a bullet for him." Can you imagine that? Willing to die for the draft-dodging, arrogant son of privilege from Crawford. The reason Mariano said this, of course, is that because of Bush's lies, as recently as 2006, 90 percent of our soldiers in Iraq still actually believed that Hussein and Iraq were involved in 9/11. As has been said, the epitaph that could be on the gravestone of poor Sergio and other young American soldiers who died in Iraq is "Bush Lied. I Died." Virtually all of the American soldiers who died in Iraq believed they were fighting for their country The mother of one, Cpl. Sean Kelly, said what we have heard over and over from other parents: "He was proud to be there fighting for our country." Cpl. James L. Moore had told his grandmother in a phone call home from Iraq shortly before he was killed: "Grandma, I'd rather be fighting them here than to have them come there [U.S.] to fight." The mother of Lance Cpl. Robert A. Martinez (one of ten Marines killed in combat in Fallouja in December of 2005 -- typically, they were very young ["babies" many Americans have called them], two being nineteen, three twenty, and one twenty-one) -- said her son "wanted to protect his family. He said he was doing it for us. He was a true patriot who believed in his mission and President Bush."

When Pfc. Thomas Tucker (twenty-five) called home from Iraq in June of 2006 to inform his parents he was going to be gone on a mission for a while, he left a voice mail message that included the following: "Hey, Mama. I love you. I love you too Dad ... I will be back before you know it ... I worry about you guys, too. I love you, okay. I'm going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay. I'm going to defend my country. Be proud of me." A few days later, the bodies of Tucker and fellow soldier Pfc. Khristian Menchaca (twenty-three) were found, their tattered army uniforms drenched in blood. Both had been brutally tortured and their bodies severely mutilated. One of them had been decapitated, his head sitting next to his body; his chest cut open. A video released by the insurgent group responsible for the killings shows one insurgent picking up the head while another insurgent steps on the face of the other solider. According to his family, Menchaca, who had recently married, believed completely, like Tucker, in the U.S. mission in Iraq. "My little boy," Maria Guadalupe Vasquez, Menchaca's mother, cried out at his funeral.

These words were voiced over and over by the mothers of fallen American soldiers. "Please tell me that I'm going to wake up, and this is just a horrible dream," said Marina Beyer in November 2004 as she stood in the chill outside the San Francisco airport, waiting for the body of her son who was killed in Iraq on his twenty-first birthday to arrive. "In my mind he was still my little boy." When his flag-draped container was pulled on a baggage cart into the cargo area, she broke down as she leaned against it, wailing, "No! No!"

Bush, the man former Mexican president Vicente Fox has called "the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life," insists on thrusting his audacity in our face. Since he ran away when it was his time to fight for his country, one would think, for instance, that when he speaks to audiences about all "the many brave men and women" who have died for "our freedom," he'd simply leave it at that. But he has consistently gone on to use words that one would think, if he had a conscience that served as a harness, he would purposefully avoid since they compel comparisons with his own cowardly conduct during the Vietnam War. He has a fondness for saying that these dead Americans "answered the call" and "stepped forward" to serve. (Could Bush be adding to himself, "I didn't, but hey, so what? I love America. Always have"?)

Bush even has the effrontery to use letters home from innocent young American soldiers who died in Iraq for him as evidence they died for their country, reading the letters at public events. For instance, on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in 2005, he read a letter from Sgt. Michael Evans, twenty-two, who was killed in Baghdad, to his family in case of his death: "My death," young Evans wrote, "will mean nothing if you stop now. I know it will be hard, but I gave my life so you could live. Not just live, but live free."

The outrageous nature of what has happened becomes markedly sicker when one considers the fact that many of the parents of soldiers killed in Iraq just love Bush, the man who, unbeknownst to them, was directly responsible for their son's death. When the parents of a young marine from Clovis, California, tried to e-mail their son in Iraq to give him news that Bush had been reelected, the mother said, "Jared, Bush won. Your Dad and I are so happy; but where are you? Where are you?" The parents learned the next day that Jared and his inseparable childhood friend and marine buddy, Jeremiah, were killed by the same hidden bomb near Baghdad. Jared's mother had to locate stitches in the back of her son's head in his coffin to make sure it was really her son lying before her.

Kevin Graves, whose son was killed in Iraq, told Bush in a face-to- face meeting: "It was an honor for my son to serve under you as commander in chief."

And then there are the Jennifer Hartings of the survivors' community. Harting's husband, Jay, was killed in combat in Iraq two days before she gave birth to their son. Responding to the antiwar activism of Cindy Sheehan, who lost her twenty-four-year-old son, Casey, in combat in Iraq, Harting took Sheehan to task: "I sympathize with her pain. But I think Cindy Sheehan doesn't get it," Harting said. "You can't just leave when the going gets tough. Even if tough means that soldiers are going to die." Time wrote that "Harting thinks that instead of protesting, Sheehan should take solace in knowing that a soldier's job is to follow the President no matter what."

In talking about the horrors of the Iraq war, one of the problems is that numbers on a page are so lifeless and mean little to most people. Saying that 100,000 people have died in the war in Iraq is just a number to them. But obviously, if they could have seen, up close, the horror and carnage of all 100,000 people dying, the number 100,000 would have a totally different meaning to them. As New York Times columnist Bob Herbert put it: "The extent of the suffering caused by the war seldom penetrates the consciousness of most Americans. For the public at large, the dead and the wounded are little more than statistics. They're out of sight, and thus mostly out of mind." That wouldn't be so, he says, if they, for instance, could "imagine a couple of soldiers in flames, screaming, as they attempt to escape the burning wreckage of their vehicle hit by a roadside bomb."

On September 29, 2006, I caught on CNN a young Iraqi man, in bone-deep pain, sobbing into the camera over what had happened to his mother. In the sweep of the civil strife in Iraq caused by Bush's war -- in which the Shiites and Sunnis have been slaughtering each other in great numbers -- he related that his mother had gone into a nearby grocery store where a gunman from a rival sect had shot her five times, killing her on the spot. Her son cried on TV that "I picked up her brains in my hand."

Is that personal enough? Multiply, if you can, this horror by the thousands upon thousands of Iraqi citizens finding their father, son, sister, husband, or wife dead on the street, their bodies usually mutilated, the victims often beheaded.

These are just some of the captions on the hundreds upon hundreds of articles I read the past several years chronicling the horror of the war in Iraq:


I am very convinced (based on conversations with right-wing Republicans and liberal Democrats alike on this) that these almost daily reports in the newspapers of war fatalities in Iraq mean nothing to the overwhelming majority of right-wing Republicans, and even some Democrats, most of them not even bothering to read the short articles. This is the typical response I got, mostly from right-wing Republicans, when I asked them if they became sad or depressed when they read articles in the paper like those above that people were dying horrible deaths in Iraq: "No, not really." "But what if, for instance, you read that a hundred innocent Iraqi citizens, even children and babies, were blown up and killed in a market or mosque in Baghdad. You don't feel anything at all about something like this?" "No, this is what happens during war." But when I learn of such things I am affected by all of them, since I reflexively convert the number of fatalities in my mind into the reality of real human beings -- young American soldiers (as well as Iraqi civilians) whose lives were brutally cut short -- and imagine the horror of their loved ones when they hear from one of the military representatives at their door the worst and most dreaded news they will ever hear in their lives: "On behalf of the secretary of defense, I regret to inform you ... "

Some parents don't just scream out in their home upon hearing the news of the death of their son. The Baltimore father of Staff Sgt. Kendall Watersby sobbed in the streets of his neighborhood. Holding up a picture of his marine son, he said, "I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here. This is the only son I had, only son." (Young Watersby, twenty-nine, himself had a ten-year-old son who lost the only father he would ever have.)

Another father in Hollywood, Florida, overcome with grief, anger, and incomprehension, after crying out on the street and calling out, to his twenty-year-old son, "Alexander, Alexander, this is not happening," picked up a hammer and started smashing things in the van that had transported the three marines who brought him the terrible news. He then grabbed a propane torch and a five-gallon can of gasoline and set fire to the van, badly burning himself in the process to the extent of $53,000 in hospital bills. "I miss him every day that goes by," he says of his son. "I wake up and I think of him."

Some survivors can't even bear to hear the news. When the army messenger came to the door of the home in Los Angeles where the wife of army sergeant Evan Ashcroft was staying with her father, to tell her of Evan's death, Evan's wife, Ashley, stayed upstairs. "I was on the floor, screaming," she said. "I didn't want to let them tell me."

And when a soldier dies, it of course isn't only his immediate family that endures great pain and suffering, but also his extended family of cousins, uncles, nephews, nieces, even very close friends.

Then there are the great numbers of American soldiers who don't lose their lives in battle, but their arm or a leg (many times both; some all four limbs), even their eyes and eyesight. Or they come back with injuries that maim and shatter. Or they are severely burned, crippled, or paralyzed -- disabled for life.

And there's the much greater number of Iraqi veterans who sustain psychic damage from the war that will torment them for the rest of their lives. Many will probably end up, like many Vietnam veterans, as street people. Though just as real, these are the more hidden wounds of battle that have destroyed everything from marriages to careers. A March 1, 2006, report from the Journal of the American Medical Association said that more than a third of the soldiers returning home from the war in Iraq have sought treatment for mental problems including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Can you imagine trying to erase from your mind something that, as a soldier said, was "the worst thing I ever saw in my life," the last view of his close buddy who was killed in combat? "My friend didn't have a face," he said. And if you are a sensitive human being, can you actually kill another human being without killing a part of yourself?

The photos in this book attempt to capture, as much as it is possible, the enormity of what Bush has done -- and so far has gotten away with. With respect to the photos of American soldiers who have died in Iraq, in looking at them, let me quote a Cleveland mother who lost her son Augie in Iraq: "It's not faceless Marines fighting the war. Augie fought it. We want people to see Augie's picture and say 'Damn, that could have been my kid."'


How has George Bush reacted to the hell he created in Iraq, to the thousands of lives that have been lost in the war, and to the enormous and endless suffering that the survivors of the victims -- their loved ones -- have had to endure?

I've always felt that impressions are very important in life, and other than "first impressions," they are usually right. Why? Because impressions, we know, are formed over a period of time. They are the accumulation of many words and incidents, many or most of which one has forgotten, but which are nonetheless assimilated into the observer's subconscious and thus make their mark. In other words, you forgot the incident, but it added to the impression. "How do you feel about David? Do you feel he's an honest person?" "Yeah, I do." "Why do you say that about him? Can you give me any examples that would cause you to say he's honest?" "No, not really; at least not off the top of my head. But I've known David for over ten years, and my sense is that he's an honest person."

I have a very distinct impression that with the exception of a vagrant tear that may have fallen if he was swept up, in the moment, at an emotional public ceremony for American soldiers who have died in the war, George Bush hasn't suffered at all over the monumental suffering, death, and horror he has caused by plunging this nation into the darkness of the Iraq war, probably never losing a wink of sleep over it. Sure, we often hear from Bush administration sources, or his family, or from Bush himself, about how much he suffers over the loss of American lives in Iraq. But that dog won't run. How do we just about know this is nonsense? Not only because the words he has uttered could never have escaped from his lips if he were suffering, but because no matter how many American soldiers have died on a given day in Iraq (averaging well over two every day), he is always seen with a big smile on his face that same day or the next, and is in good spirits. How would that be possible if he was suffering? For example, the November 3, 2003, morning New York Times front-page headline story was that the previous day in Fallouja, Iraq, insurgents "shot down an American helicopter just outside the city in a bold assault that killed 16 soldiers and wounded 20 others. It was the deadliest attack on American troops since the United States invaded Iraq in March." Yet later in that same day when Bush arrived for a fund-raiser in Birmingham, Alabama, he was smiling broadly; and Mike Allen of the Washington Post wrote that "the President appeared to be in a fabulous mood." This is merely one of hundreds of such observations made about Bush while the brutal war continued in Iraq.

And even when Bush is off camera, we have consistently heard from those who have observed him up close how much he seems to be enjoying himself. When Bush gave up his miles of running several times a week because of knee problems, he took up biking. "He's turned into a bike maniac," said Mark McKinnon in March of 2005, right in the middle of the war. McKinnon, a biking friend of Bush's who was Bush's chief media strategist in his 2004 reelection campaign, also told the New York Times's Elisabeth Bumiller about Bush: "He's as calm and relaxed and confident and happy as I've ever seen him." Happy? Under the horrible circumstances of the war, where Bush's own soldiers are dying violent deaths, how is that even possible?

In a time of war and suffering, Bush's smiles, joking, and good spirits stand in stark contrast to the demeanor of every one of his predecessors and couldn't possibly be more inappropriate. Michael Moore, in his motion picture documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, captured this fact and the superficiality of Bush well with a snippet from a TV interview Bush gave on the golf course following a recent terrorist attack. Bush said, "I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you." Then, without missing a single beat, he said in reference to a golf shot he was about to hit: "Now watch this drive."

Before I get into specific instances of Bush laughing and having fun throughout the entire period of the inferno he created in Iraq, I want to discuss a number of more indirect but revealing incidents that reflect he could not care less about the human suffering and carnage going on in Iraq, or anywhere.


1. The first inkling I got that Bush didn't care about the suffering of anyone, not just those dying in Iraq, was from an article in the September 22, 2001, New York Times just eleven days after 9/11. Though 3,000 Americans had been murdered and the nation was in agony and shock, the man who should have been leading the mourning was, behind the scenes, not affected in the tiniest way. The article, by Frank Bruni, said that "Mr. Bush's nonchalant, jocular demeanor remains the same. In private, say several Republicans close to the administration, he still slaps backs and uses baseball terminology, at one point promising that the terrorists were not 'going to steal home on me.' He is not staying up all night, or even most of the night. He is taking time to play with his dogs and his cat. He is working out most days." So right after several thousand Americans lost their lives in a horrible catastrophe, behind the scenes Bush is his same old backslapping self, and he's not letting the tragedy interfere in the slightest way with the daily regimen of his life that he enjoys.

In fact, he himself admitted to the magazine Runners World (August 23,2002) that after the Afghanistan war began: "I have been running with a little more intensity ... It helps me to clear my mind." (In other words, Bush likes to clear his mind of the things he's supposed to be thinking about.) Remarkably finding time in the most important job on earth to run six days a week, Bush added: "It's interesting that my times have become faster ... For me, the psychological benefit [in running] is enormous. You tend to forget everything that's going on in your mind and just concentrate on the time and distance." But even this obscene indulgence after 9/11 and during wartime by the man with more responsibility than anyone in the world wasn't enough for Bush. He told the magazine: "I try to go for longer runs, but it's tough around here at the White House on the outdoor track. It's sad that I can't run longer: It's one of the saddest things about the presidency." Imagine that. Among all the things that the president of the United States could be sad about during a time of war, not being able to run longer six days a week is up there near the top of the list.

A New York Times article not long after 9/11 (November 5, 2001) reported that Bush had told his friends (obviously with pride) that "his runs on the Camp David trails through the Maryland woods have produced his fastest time in a decade, three miles in 21 minutes and 6 seconds." USA Today (October 29, 2001) reported that Bush used to run 3 miles in 25 minutes and now he was "boasting to friends and staffers" about his new time, and was "now running 4 miles a day."

So with his approval rating soaring to 90 percent in the wake of 9/11 -- and with his being the main person in America whose job required that he be totally engaged every waking hour in working diligently on this nation's response to 9/11 -- Bush, remarkably, was working diligently on improving his time for the mile. I ask you, what American president in history, Republican or Democrat, would have conducted himself this way?

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Postby admin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:17 pm

2. One thing about Bush. He's so dense that he makes remarks an intelligent person who was as much of a scoundrel as he would never make. They'd keep their feelings, which they would know to be very shameful, to themselves. On December 21, 2001, just a few months after 9/11 -- a tragedy that shocked the nation and the world in which 3,000 Americans were consumed by fires, some choosing to jump to their deaths out of windows eighty or more stories high -- Bush, who could only have been thinking of himself, told the media: "All in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me." He said this because that is exactly the way he felt. What difference does 9/11 make? I'm president. I love it, and Laura and I are having a ball.

Indeed, on January 20, 2005, right in the midst of the hell on earth Bush created in Iraq -- when the carnage there was near its worst and American soldiers and Iraqi citizens were dying violent deaths every day -- Bush, referring to himself and his wife, told thousands of partying supporters at one of his nine inaugural balls: "We're having the time of our life." Can you even begin to imagine Roosevelt in the midst of the Second World War, Truman during the Korean War, or LBJ and Nixon during the Vietnam War, saying something like this?


3. Does it not stand to reason that if Bush were suffering over the daily killings and tragedy in Iraq, he would be working every waking hour to lessen the mounting number of casualties as well as find a way to satisfactorily end the terrible conflict? I mean, as president, that's what you'd expect of him, right? Isn't that his job? Yet we know that although Bush is still in office, he has already spent far more time on vacation than any other president in American history. For instance, by April 11, 2004 (he was inaugurated January 20, 2001), he had visited his cherished ranch in Crawford a mind-boggling thirty-three times and spent almost eight months of his presidency there.

Although the office of the presidency follows the president wherever he goes twenty-four hours a day, and at least some part of every day on vacation, no matter how small, was spent by Bush attending to his duties as president, we also know that Bush's main purpose when he goes on vacation, obviously and by definition, is to vacation, not work. CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, who travels with Bush and keeps track of such things, told me that as of January 1, 2008, in Bush's less than seven years as president, he had visited his ranch in Texas an unbelievable 69 times, spending, per Knoller, "all or part of 448 days on vacation there." As amazing as this is, Bush also made, Knoller says, 132 visits to Camp David during this period, spending "all or part of 421 days there," and 10 visits to his family's vacation compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, spending "all or part of 39 days there."

So the bottom line is that of a total of approximately 2,535 days as president, most of them during a time of war, Bush spent all or a part of 908 days, an incredible 36 percent of his time, on vacation or at retreat places. Hard to believe, but true. Nine hundred and eight days is two and a half years of Bush's presidency. Two and a half years of the less than seven years of his presidency in which his main goal was to kick back and have fun. You see, the White House digs, with a pool, theater, gymnasium, etc., weren't enjoyable enough for Bush. He wanted a more enjoyable place to be during his life as president. [4]

My position in life is infinitely less important than Bush's, yet during the above same period of Bush's presidency, I not only worked much longer hours every day than Bush, I worked seven days a week, never took one vacation, and only took three days off to go to the desert with my wife to celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary. If it had not been for the anniversary, I wouldn't have even taken those three days off. I realize I take working to an extreme, living by the clock each day, always looking up to see how much time I have left, working from morning to morning (retiring usually around two in the morning and starting my day at ten in the morning). Still, it is striking to consider that in seven years, I took 3 days off and Bush, the president of the United States, took 908. Even Americans who lead a more normal life than I, even fat-cat corporate executives, haven't taken anywhere near the time away from their work that Bush has. Indeed, I think we can safely say that even though Bush has the most important and demanding job in this entire land, he has irresponsibly taken far more time off from his job to have fun during the past seven years than any worker or company executive in America!!! Is Bush, or is he not, a disgrace of the very first order?

What does this incredible amount of time that Bush spends away from work show? Well, it shows that Bush is a very lazy person, and an irresponsible one. But it also reveals something that has had much more serious consequences for this nation, something I have never heard anyone say before. What I strongly believe (without absolutely knowing) is that this man has no respect or love for this country. I'm not saying he hates it, but he has no particular love for it. Why do I say this? It is obvious that Bush's knowledge of information and events is shockingly low. Even many of those who support him find it very difficult not to acknowledge this reality. For instance, Bush supporter and neoconservative Richard Perle said that the thing that "struck me about George Bush is that he did not know very much." Perle was being kind.

Now let's take you, the reader, and assume for the sake of argument that in terms of knowledge you're like Bush. If you were thrust overnight into the office of the presidency of the United States, the most important job on earth, and you knew your decisions could affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, what would you do if you were a responsible person who loved this country? There's really only one answer to this question. You'd knock yourself out working feverishly to learn as much as you possibly could so you could do as good a job as president as you were capable of doing. You'd do this because you love your country and because your sense of responsibility to it would compel you to do it. Yet Bush, knowing nothing, does the exact opposite, spending, as we've seen, well over one-third of his two terms on vacation or at Camp David or his family's retreat at Kennebunkport, Maine. He prefers to run the most important country on earth not by reading up on what he needs to know, but by lazily relying on what his gut tells him and on what communication he can manage with his God. [5]

When Condoleezza Rice was Bush's national security adviser, she said her boss operated by "instinct" and it was her job to "intellectualize his instincts." My neighbor has instincts on things, too, Ms. Rice. Shall we make him president and you can do the same thing for him as you did for George?

Bush's determination not to extend himself in any way is so pronounced that even though he apparently has no sense of where major countries of the world are situated on the globe in relation to each other, he did not have enough concern to even bother looking at a map before attending an international summit that Russian president Vladimir Putin was hosting in Strelna, near St. Petersburg, Russia, in July of 2006. While a tape recorder was recording without Bush's knowledge, after saying to Putin that he intended to go back home that afternoon, he asked Chinese president Hu Jintao, seated next to him: "Where are you going? Home? This is your neighborhood. Doesn't take too long to get home?" When Hu said his flight to Beijing was eight hours, Bush said: "Me too."

Bush has so little sense of responsibility to his country that a November 5, 2001, New York Times article by a reporter covering the White House beat said that when Bush was elected president, unbelievably, unbelievably, "the plan had been for him to spend nearly every weekend at the Texas ranch, with the White House serving as a kind of Monday to midday Friday pied-a-terre [a term normally used to refer to a small dwelling for temporary use, as an apartment maintained in a foreign city] away from what was really home," his ranch house in Crawford, Texas. In other words, the office of the presidency required the inconvenience each week of taking Bush away from where he really wanted to be, but he wasn't going to let the presidency interfere too much with his lifestyle. Again, unbelievable, unbelievable.

I believe that Bush has no strong sense of responsibility to his country because, I maintain, he doesn't love America. His sense of responsibility to his country is so remarkably poor that not only is it well known he doesn't read any reports from those in his administration, so his aides only give him short, one or two-paragraph summaries of lengthy reports, but he frequently doesn't even read these summaries. In his book about Paul O'Neill, Bush's former Treasury secretary, the journalist Ron Suskind writes: "O'Neill had been made to understand by various colleagues in the White House that the president should not be expected to read reports. In his personal experience, the president didn't even appear to have read the short memos he [O'Neill] sent over." This was compounded by the fact that when O'Neill would meet with Bush, "Bush did not ask any questions." Bush, the man with the bumper-sticker mentality, had no interest. So little interest, in fact, that he doesn't even read newspapers. "I glance at the headlines just to get kind of a flavor for what's moving," he told Fox News. Obviously, America has a president who is a man of considerable substance, depth, maturity, and intellectual curiosity. Playboy editor James Kaminsky told USA Today: "It's appalling to think that the man who runs the country somehow finds time for a long gym workout each day but can't muster up the intellectual curiosity to peruse the newspaper." And David Kay, the CIA's first chief weapons inspector for the Iraq Survey Group following the defeat of Hussein's regime, said about Bush: "I'm not sure I've ever spoken to anyone at that level who seemed less inquisitive."

I ask you. Is this the attitude and conduct of someone who feels that as president he has a great responsibility to his country?

So the flag-waving Bush who wears an American flag pin on his lapel, and patriotism on his sleeve, someone who even John Kerry, his presidential opponent, said loved America, probably has no love for this country at all. Whether I am right or not, I am quite confident that there is enough evidence for the above proposition to be worthy of consideration.

In my work as a trial lawyer and author of nonfiction books, I find that when I start out with a sound premise, as I believe the above to be, subsequent events and other revelations virtually always just fall into place with the premise, fortifying my original assumption. Very briefly, here are a few that support my premise about Bush. Perhaps the clearest way one can show one's love for one's country is by being willing to die for it. The first President Bush, President Kennedy, John McCain, John Kerry, and so many others were willing to do that and became war heroes. But we know that the flag-waving phony, Bush, wanted no part of fighting in any American war, so he joined the Texas National Guard, which was the way in those days to avoid fighting in Vietnam. And it wasn't because he was against the Vietnam War. In fact, he is on record as saying he supported it. But consistent with my premise, Bush was unwilling to show his love for his country by putting himself in harm's way for it. He chose to flee in the opposite direction for the friendly skies of Texas. But then again, and in all fairness to Bush, there was always the threat of an invasion from Oklahoma he might have to repel. I mean, Texas and Oklahoma do take heir college football rivalry pretty seriously.

When this issue arose in his run for the presidency in 2000, Bush and his campaign staff successfully deflected most of America's attention away from the fact that he ran away from the Vietnam War by lowering the bar so far that an ant would have had difficulty crawling under it. The only legitimate question, they said, was whether Bush had "fulfilled his military obligation." And surely enough, well-known Democratic liberals such as James Carville and Michael Moore actually got suckered into this obvious ploy by accepting it as the main issue, answering that they did not believe Bush had done so, instead of zeroing in on the only fact that was relevant -- Bush hid out from the war. Carville, thinking he was making a point on cable TV with his conservative sparmate, Tucker Carlson, began reciting the evidence that Bush hadn't fulfilled his military obligation in the National Guard. Carlson cut him off midway and said on behalf of his feckless opponent: "Let's get on to something else. We all know Bush joined the National Guard to avoid fighting in Vietnam."

Moore, whose film Fahrenheit 9/11 suffered from a lack of credibility (e.g., in addition to taking things out of context, according to Moore we went to war in Afghanistan to pave the way for securing an important natural-gas pipeline, and he even vaguely suggested that Bush invaded Iraq to destroy it so Bush's wealthy corporate friends could get richer by rebuilding it), wasn't any better. For example, not only didn't Moore (who was trying, in his movie, to hurt Bush in the latter's campaign for the presidency against John Kerry) do the obvious by contrasting Bush with Kerry by noting that Kerry was a genuine war hero, but remarkably, the biggest point he made about Bush was not that he ran away from the war in Vietnam but, are you ready, that Bush "failed to take a medical examination" while in the National Guard in Texas. I couldn't believe Moore's ineptitude. The Republican Party could say appropriately about Moore (a good man who has his heart in the right place): "With enemies like Michael Moore, who needs friends?"

On the issue of Bush running away from the Vietnam War, I should add that not one member of the hapless media who covered Bush thought to ask, when questioning him about his National Guard service, the only question that was relevant: "Mr. President, why did you prefer to join the National Guard over regular military duty?" There is no way that Bush could have answered that question without sounding exactly like what he was -- a draft dodger who was afraid to fight in the war. Someone who only wanted to wave the flag, not fight for it. Yet this terrible hypocrite urged John McCain in 1992, before the latter was going to speak for George Sr. at the Republican National Convention: "You've gotta hammer Clinton on the draft-dodging."

Another good example showing that Bush has no love or respect for his country is the blatant cronyism he has practiced in his federal appointments. A Time magazine inquiry in 2005 found that "at top positions in some vital government agencies," Bush had put "connections [to him] before experience." One of the most well known, of course, was his appointment of his friend Michael Brown to head up FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the organization that received an F-minus for its handling of Katrina. It turned out that Brown had absolutely no experience to qualify him for such an important job. But hey, he did have experience working on the rules for Arabian horse competition. It's okay to appoint a friend if they are qualified. But Bush couldn't care less if they're qualified. Why? Because I believe he has no respect or love for the country he leads. My God, until there was a storm of protest, Bush even nominated his personal aide and close friend from Texas, Harriet Myers, to sit as a justice on the United States Supreme Court! Not only didn't she have one day of judicial experience (not by itself a disqualifying factor), but she didn't excel in law school or the practice of law. So she had never distinguished herself in any way in the legal profession, being the most ordinary of lawyers. How can you possibly appoint someone like this to the highest court in the land? You can if you have no respect or love for your country.

Another, perhaps even better piece of evidence establishing that Bush has no love for his country is that he places loyalty above everything else. He never fires anyone he likes and is close to, even if they've done a terrible job. There are many examples of this, but the best one is that of former CIA director George Tenet. We have conclusive evidence that Tenet's CIA failed the nation on 9/11. By definition, if it hadn't, and had intercepted the foreign conspiracy, 9/11 wouldn't have happened. Inasmuch as Tenet had thereby proved himself to be unable to adequately perform his duties as the CIA director, obviously (that is, if you love your country), Bush should have let Tenet go. And doubly so when Tenet's CIA was 100 percent wrong in assessing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq war. But Bush not only idn't fire Tenet, whom he liked and became good friends with, he never even showed any irritation with him. Instead, Bush vigorously defended Tenet and ended up giving Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom on December 14, 2004, the highest civil award that can be granted to an American citizen. But you see, Bush was much more interested in what he (Tenet) was doing for him (i.e., the friendship, camaraderie, and loyalty they had for each other) than in what Tenet was doing for America. "George [Tenet] and I have been spending a lot of quality time together," Bush said on September 26, 2001, in giving Tenet a vote of confidence when the CIA director was being urged to resign by critics.

Of course, the ultimate act by Bush showing a lack of respect and love for this country is leading this nation into a deadly war in Iraq for no justifiable reason at all. I said earlier that while Bush may not love America, he never hated it. But Bush's lying to the people of America to lead them into war shows an absolute, utter contempt for the American people. The son of privilege and entitlement has so little respect for the average citizen that he felt they weren't entitled to the truth, even though he was going to fight his war with the blood of their children.

Although I went off on a tributary about Bush not loving America, all of the above goes to the issue being addressed here that if Bush cared at all about the enormous suffering and horror in Iraq, he would be devoting his every available moment to stop or lessen it. We know he hasn't done this.


4. Another example of Bush not truly caring about the enormous suffering he has caused is that he went about deciding to go to war in the first place with apparently nary a concern for the consequences. Former lieutenant general Gregory Newbold, a three-star Marine Corps general, was being magnanimous to Bush when he said Bush's decision to invade Iraq "was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results." The first part of what Newbold said is undoubtedly true, but I believe he errs when he attributes Bush's behavior simply to his lack of experiencing war himself. My sense is that the reason for Bush's behavior is much deeper. After all, other presidents, without having experienced war, never acted remotely the way Bush did.

Bush not only went to war with a swagger, he wanted war, was looking forward to it. Hearst White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who has been covering the White House since 1960, almost half a century, said of all the presidents she has known, Bush was the only one who "wanted to go to war." Bush was so eager to go to war that according to author Bob Woodward, Bush told him that he never even bothered to ask Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld if he should do it. He said he knew Cheney was gung-ho and "I could tell what [Powell and Rumsfeld] thought. I didn't need to ask them their opinion about Saddam Hussein or how to deal with Saddam Hussein." Has it ever happened before in American history that a president has gone to war without seeking the advice of his own secretary of state and secretary of defense as to whether he should do it? "I'm a war president," Bush told TV host Tim Russert on February 8, 2004. "I make decisions here in the Oval Office with war on my mind."

Televangelist Pat Robertson, a friend and supporter of Bush, met with Bush right before the war and expressed some misgivings he had about it. But Bush would have none of it. Robertson said Bush "was just sitting there, like, 'I'm on top of the world,"' which stunned Robertson.

No other American president in the last century (perhaps ever) wanted to go to war. In FDR's America, Japan attacked the United States on December 7, 1941, and four days later Germany declared war on the United States. So FDR can't be cited one way or the other on this issue. But no one in their right mind would ever in a thousand years suggest that FDR would have acted like Bush did.

We also know Eisenhower would not have. Recall his saying that "when people speak about a preventive war, tell them to go and fight it." And there's no evidence that Truman was looking forward to and wanted the war in Korea.

We know that before his assassination in 1963, which was before the war escalated in Vietnam in 1965, JFK ordered that 1,000 of our military advisers be sent back to America from Vietnam by the end of that year. Although there is a spirited division of opinion as to whether, if JFK had lived, he would have gone to war in Vietnam (my view is that he would not have), both sides to the debate agree that he did not want to go to war in Vietnam. He was very opposed to it. But that is not the equivalent of saying he wouldn't have gone to war if he felt the situation eventually called for it. What JFK would have ended up doing, of course, is lost to history. But it is a calumny to even mention Bush's name in the same breath as JFK's on this issue.

With respect to LBJ, contrary to popular belief, LBJ was an extremely reluctant warrior in the Vietnam War, only yielding to hawks in his administration a year and a half after JFK's assassination. But the evidence is incontrovertible that he tried, for a long time, to avoid war with Ho Chi Minh. As to whether he cared about U.S. troops dying, the transcript of a May 27, 1964 (before the Vietnam War), White House tape-recorded conversation between LBJ and Senator Richard Russell of Georgia shows LBJ speaking about the "little old Sergeant who works for me ... He's got six children, and I just put him up as the United States Army and Air Force and Navy every time I think about making this decision [about going to war]. Thinking about sending that father of those six kids in there ... just makes the chills run up my back." LBJ would later tell his close aide Jack Valenti that reading the casualty reports from Vietnam was "like drinking carbolic acid every morning."

And Nixon ran for president in 1968 on a platform of ending the war in Vietnam, promising to bring "peace with honor."

President Clinton, though being urged on by people like John McCain and Colin Powell to put troops on the ground in Kosovo, regurgitating the old military bromide that you can't win a war from the air -- foot soldiers have to march forward on terra -- didn't want to lose any American lives, which would inevitably have happened on the ground. So the Vietnam draft dodger proved all the military experts wrong by conducting the war against the Serbs entirely from the air and won the war without the loss of one American soldier's life.

Even Bush's own father didn't "want" to go to war in the Persian Gulf. The Reverend Billy Graham says, "I tell the story about being with President Bush the night before the Gulf War began ... He didn't want to go to war. And I haven't talked to any president yet who wanted to go to war."

Contrast the Reverend Graham's talk with Bush Sr. with the Reverend Pat Robertson's conversation with Bush where he said Bush was "on top of the world" over the upcoming war. Nothing else is needed to distinguish George Bush Sr., a decent man, from his son, but before we move on, one more example is fitting. In a letter to his children a month before the Persian Gulf War, Bush Sr. wrote that ordering American troops into combat "tears at my heart." And on the evening of January 16, 1991, the opening night of the Persian Gulf War, George Bush Sr. expressed his terrible disquietude in his tape-recorded diary before he addressed the nation at 9:00 p.m.: "I have never felt a day like this in my life ... My lower gut hurts ... and I take a couple of Mylantas ... I think of what other presidents went through. The agony of war." Here's how our current president felt about the "agony" of war around 10:00 p.m. on the evening of March 19, 2003, minutes before he would address the nation to inform it the Iraq war had begun. As aides were applying makeup before his televised speech, he pumped his fist and told an aide: "Feel good."

In other words, Bush, "on top of the world," felt just wonderful about launching a high-tech war of destruction and death which his people obscenely titled "shock and awe."


5. British prime minister Tony Blair told members of his Labour Party about receiving letters from those who lost sons in the Iraq war and blaming him for it. He added: "Don't believe anyone who tells you, when they receive letters like that, they don't suffer doubt" about whether the deaths of British soldiers were worth it. When reporter-author Bob Woodward referred Bush to those remarks by Blair, Bush responded, "Yeah, I haven't suffered doubt." Woodward, incredulous, asked Bush: "Is that right? Not at all?" Bush replied: "No."

If Bush cared at all about the enormous human toll and suffering taking place in Iraq, how would it be possible for him to never once say to himself, "God, this is just terrible what's happening over there. I hope I didn't make a mistake," or something like that?

If George Bush really and truly cared about the loss of thousands of young American lives in Iraq, and that of over 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives, and was sensitive in the tiniest degree to the feelings of the victims' survivors, how could he have possibly dismissed all the violence and bloodshed in Iraq by predicting it will someday be viewed as "just a comma" in the history of Iraq's struggle for democracy (CNN, September 24, 2006)? Can you imagine how a father and mother who lost their only son in Bush's war, and whose remains came back to them "unviewable" in a box, must have felt to hear the one who sent their son to his death in a foreign land say, in effect, that he was just a part of a comma?


6. For some reason, although the death of Iraqi civilians in the war is always distressing to me, I take the reports in the paper of American soldiers being killed in Iraq harder. But there is no rational reason for this, since the Iraqi people want to live just as much as we do and take the loss of their loved ones just as hard. All of them, like American soldiers who die, are innocent victims of Bush's war.

In a question and answer session after a speech in Philadelphia on December 12, 2005, Bush was asked how many Iraqis had died so far in the war. "I would say 30,000, more or less," he said. There wasn't the faintest hint in his voice conveying pity, sorrow, pain, regret, or anything. And the reason is that none of these things were inside of him. He was just uttering a number, nothing more, nothing less, like 30,000 barrels of oil, or paint, or oranges. Thirty-thousand human beings in their graves, many of whom were young children and babies, solely because of him, and it couldn't have been more obvious that he couldn't have cared less.

What is the source for a human being like Bush being so, well, inhuman? I don't know, but certainly one's mother cannot be discounted in any search for the source. In an appearance on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, when Bush's mother, Barbara, was asked about the horrible carnage of war that was scheduled to start the next day with her son's invasion of Iraq, Mrs. Bush unbelievably responded: "Why should we [talk] about body bags, and deaths, ... I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him [her son] suffer?" Can you imagine that? Absolutely no concern for young Americans (let alone Iraqis) getting killed. Her only concern was that she didn't want her son to suffer over these deaths. As we've seen, she needn't have worried about that.

Bush has often said he is more like his mother than his father. For a further insight into the soft and very sensitive Mrs. Bush, recall how, following Katrina, she visited the Astrodome in Houston on September 5, 2005, and said that given the fact that the evacuees from the hurricane who were being put up inside the arena were "underprivileged anyway," things were "working out very well" for them. Barbara, apparently, didn't realize (or didn't care) that poor black people didn't want their lives to be totally disrupted, nor to lose forever the warm familiarity of their homes as well as most of their possessions (such as family photos and personal letters) any more than she and her very rich white friends from River Oaks (the correct address in Houston) would have.


7. On July 2, 2003, in response to a question about the military situation in Iraq, the reader will probably recall that Bush said, "There are some who feel the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring 'em on." Can you imagine that? The media, who can always be counted on to do a minimum of thinking, naturally missed the main point in attacking Bush for the remark, focusing in on how "ill-advised" and "reckless" it was because it could provoke the enemy. But it's just conjecture whether his macho, Joe Six-Pack remark would deter the enemy, or cause them to take Bush up on his invitation. Because it's just conjecture I only gave a moment's thought to it. But two things were not conjecture, and I never saw where the media talked about them. One is that the remark couldn't possibly have been less presidential. I can't even conceive of any other American president talking this way. But what instantly angered me was that this punk who hid out during the Vietnam War, and who is now safe and sound here in America being protected by the Secret Service, dared to issue a challenge to the enemy to attack American soldiers. There's only one translation for his "bring 'em on" remark. "Come on and attack us. You'll kill some of our soldiers, but we'll kill more of yours." How dare this wimpish punk invite the enemy to kill American soldiers?

In December of 2005, Bush said, "To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge. America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins as long as I am your commander-in-chief." (Now, I personally would run, as I have, if I were in your shoes. But you and America won't.)


My view from the foregoing is that in Bush we're dealing with an extraordinarily callous, arrogant, self-centered person. The above examples, I believe, demonstrate that Bush does not have much concern at all for the American and Iraqi blood that flows every day in Iraq. For the deaths, burnings, beheadings, screams, and suffering that he has caused. That it is something that probably hasn't caused him a moment of distress. But let's go now to some examples that testify to the fact that he could hardly have cared less by showing he actually had fun and enjoyed himself throughout the hell he gave birth to. That while thousands of young Americans have been blown to pieces by roadside bombs, and thousands upon thousands of Iraqi civilians, including children and babies, have been brutally killed, and thousands of American mothers and fathers have fallen to the floor or couch, screaming and crying out at the news that their son had been killed in Iraq, this small man of privilege has had a smile on his face through it all. He has lived life to the fullest, bicycling, joking with friends, eating hot dogs and blueberry pie, virtually always appearing to be in good spirits.


1. In the photo section of this book are just some of the photos that appeared regularly in the newspapers of Bush smiling broadly throughout the last five years of the war. Not just smiling broadly, but whenever there was a photo of Bush and six or seven other people all smiling, who is seen smiling the most? You guessed it. George Bush. Look at photos of FDR during the Second World War, Truman during the Korean War, and LBJ and Nixon during the Vietnam War. Nearly always the photos of their faces reflected the grimness of the wars. It was a very serious time, not time for fun and laughter. But while the horrors of the war in Iraq continued on a day-to-day basis for the past five years, and the death toll continued to mount in an ocean of blood, Bush laughed and smiled his way through the entire war, right up to the present time. The very wide smiles on his face, almost by themselves, tell the entire story.


2. As American soldiers were dying violent deaths in Iraq in August of 2005, Bush was on vacation bicycling with the biggest of smiles on his face at his Crawford ranch in Texas, seemingly without a care in the world. Reporters covering Bush spoke of how much he seemed to be enjoying his bike riding, and he confirmed it. "There's a great sense of exhilaration," he said, "riding a bike up a hill. It is fun. It brings out the child in you. I hope to be biking for a long time. I love the outdoors. Biking provides a sense of freedom." As thousands of humans were dying horrible deaths in Bush's hell in Iraq, at the very same time, far away at his ranch in Texas, he told reporters biking with him: "This is a chance for me to show you a little slice of heaven, as far as I'm concerned."

So we know that Bush, right in the midst of the horror he created, was having a ball. At a time when so many people, including children and babies and American soldiers, were being killed in Iraq, for a president to be playing like a kid on his bicycle sent a very frivolous message. And it showed a total lack of sensitivity and compassion for those American parents who were not going on a vacation themselves because their son was in harm's way in Iraq, or they had already lost him to the war. You think about things like this if you care about the suffering of others, don't you?


3. In April of 2004, four American workers for a security company were ambushed and killed in Fallouja by a mob that burned their bodies and then dragged them through the streets. The mob then hung two of the charred corpses from a bridge over the Euphrates River. Several news crews filmed the horror. (Fifteen miles away, five American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb.) Just hours after the gruesome pictures were shown in the United States and around the world, Bush, instead of canceling his appearance, showed up at a $2,000-a-plate Republican fund-raiser in an affluent Washington, D.C., neighborhood "all smiles," per the media. One would think that even the coldest heart would be affected by what had just happened, but unbelievably, Bush never said one word about the grisly murders of four Americans earlier in the day. He did, however, crack several jokes to the well-heeled Republican donors, which they laughed heartily at over their elegant lunch.

Back at the White House, presidential spokesman Scott McClelland told reporters that Bush had denounced the acts as "horrific, despicable attacks," cheap, meaningless words that Bush's press department perfunctorily drafted. One thing we most likely do know. What had happened to the four Americans in Iraq was not horrific enough to have had the slightest effect on Bush, who had much more important things to do -- telling jokes, eating a great lunch, and having fun with his wealthy Republican friends. Even if Bush insisted on going to the fund-raiser and telling his jokes, couldn't he have had the decency to at least start out his speech with a concerned, pained look on his face and a brief reference to the tragedy? But there was nothing. Just smiles and jokes and good food.

All this took place while the survivors of the four Americans in North Carolina were crying out in agony over what happened to their loved ones. Bush has taken coldness, vulgarity, crudeness, and self-indulgence by an American president or any high public figure in American history to previously unimaginable heights.


4. Speaking of Scott McClelland, the day in April of 2006 that he resigned from his position, Bush said, "Some day Scott McClelland and I will be in our rocking chairs talking about the good old days." The good old days? A Freudian slip? No, McClelland was with Bush for three years (2003-2006) of the Iraq war, and to Bush, looking back, these will be the "good old days" because Bush, by all appearances, enjoyed every day during the war. There was a lot of fun and joking back at the White House through it all.


5. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, though no one would quibble over a few days of vacation time here and there for Bush, when antiwar activists started complaining in 2005 about Bush taking his five-week summer vacations right in the midst of the war in Iraq, listen to what Bush had to say: "I think the people want the president to stay healthy." But it's preposterous to believe that without a five-week vacation Bush's health would suffer. At Bush's relatively young age, and with his excellent health, he could easily have taken a much shorter vacation. In fact, if the situation had warranted, he could have worked seven days a week with his advisers on how to satisfactorily end our involvement in the Iraq war, and still have done well healthwise throughout his term in office. I'm seventy-three and have been working seven days a week for many years, and I'm still able to run around the block. More importantly, I'm not responsible to anyone but my family. Bush is responsible for running the most powerful nation on earth. When you say, Mr. Bush, that you're at the ranch for your health, that is a g-d-lie. You were down there for five weeks because you wanted to have five weeks of fun and enjoyment.

Bush went on to say, "It's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life." In other words, no sacrifices. (Ask 1,000 politicians if they'd be willing to give up a balanced life if they were given the job of president. At least 998 out of a 1,000 would not only say yes, but "I'll work fifty days a week, if that's possible, and what part of my body do you want me to give you, my left leg or my right arm?") [6] Bush continued, "I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so." Translation: "I'm not going to knock myself out on this job. I want to have fun and enjoy myself, too. You know, you only live once." But Mr. Bush, the teenagers and young men you sent to fight for you in Iraq have no time for fun and pleasure, being at risk of being blown up twenty-four hours a day. And those thousands who have died will never have one second of fun ever again.

In a June 28, 2005, speech at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Bush said what he has said many other times: "Amid all this violence [in Iraq], I know Americans ask the question, Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it." This is easy, of course, for Bush to say, since other people are dying. Although Bush feels that thousands of young American soldiers being killed in Iraq is a worthwhile sacrifice, we've seen that he doesn't believe he himself (or any of his rich friends) should have to sacrifice in any way at all. In fact, remarkably, Bush hasn't asked anyone, anyone at all in America to do so. In every other major war this nation has fought, the whole nation was expected to help in some way, either through the draft, increased taxes (always), rationing of certain products, or what have you. But in the Iraq war, though Bush has invoked the word "sacrifice" over and over in his speeches, the only people in America whom he expects to make sacrifices are the soldiers and their families. No one else. This fact hasn't been lost on the soldiers themselves, particularly when they return to America for a short respite from another tour of duty. They see a nation that is identical to the way it was before the war. As one Iraqi war veteran put it: "The president can say we're a country at war all he wants. We're not. The military is at war. And the military families are at war. Everybody else is shopping, or watching American Idol."


6. This, from Tbilisi in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, on May 9, 2005, a time when the very worst and deadliest fighting in Iraq was taking place. A newspaper article reported that Bush seemed "exuberant" upon landing in Georgia, that he was in a "good mood" as he and his wife, Laura, had a long dinner with the Georgian president. Bush loved the fare. "He didn't just eat. He ordered more food," a Georgian official said. "Great food, really good," Bush said. Bush had worked up a healthy appetite before the meal by climbing up on a street stage with Georgian dancers, proceeding to "swivel his hips, Elvis-like, in tune to blasting folk music."

Just think for a moment about Leon, the twenty-year-old American marine I mentioned earlier who had dreams of becoming a Los Angeles police officer and died in Iraq when he was shot in the head by a sniper. Recall that while his life blood was flowing out of him his marine buddy cradled Leon's head in his hands telling him he was going to be okay. At the same time that people like Leon and other young American soldiers and Iraqi women and children were dying similar, horrible deaths, a smiling George Bush was dancing on a street stage in Russia, swiveling his hips like Elvis to blaring music, just having a ball. Life is fun. And wonderful. The screams and the blood and the deaths were far, far away from Tbilisi. Bush had learned that in the previous two days eight American soldiers were killed in Iraq. But who cares? Certainly not Bush.

In a similar vein, on April 25, 2007, Bush, giving no indication that he had anything on his mind other than having fun, danced energetically and with obvious gusto and relish alongside the dance director of the West African Dance Company in the White House Rose Garden, his arms flailing in the air and his open mouth bellowing out the heavy, rhythmic African music. The previous day's New York Times had reported that nine GIs were blown up in a suicide car bombing on April 23.

Likewise (and these are just some of many examples), on January 15, 2008, with the terrible war in Iraq showing no signs of ending, Bush, on a state visit to Saudi Arabia, took a ninety-minute tour of the Saudi National History Museum. A Los Angeles Times reporter wrote that during the welcoming ceremony Bush "held a sword over his shoulder, grinning broadly and swaying to the beat of drummers. When he met with reporters early in the afternoon, he said he was in 'a great mood."'

I mean, as recently as March 4, 2008, when Bush showed up before John McCain did for a White House press conference in which Bush was scheduled to endorse McCain's candidacy for President, Bush, smiling and having fun, spontaneously started doing a soft shoe tap-dancing routine to entertain the assembled media.

This, I tell you, is a happy man.

Before moving on, we should note that Bush being so insensitive to the suffering and tragedy of others is not surprising. It's his MO. Just one example from the past. Author Frank Bruni, who covered Bush for several years for the New York Times, recounts in his not unfriendly biography, Ambling into History: George Bush, an incident in September of 1999 when Bush was governor of Texas. It took place at a memorial service at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth for seven people who had been shot to death days earlier by a crazed gunman who entered a nearby church. Bruni writes that the outdoor stadium where the memorial was being held was "a scene of eerie stillness and quiet, its thousands of occupants sitting or standing with their heads bowed." Bush, Bruni says, was seated up front, and the print reporters, including Bruni, positioned themselves as close to Bush's rear as possible. He writes: "As preachers preached and singers sang and a city prayed, Bush turned around from time to time to shoot us little smiles. He scrunched up his forehead, as if to ask us silently what we were up to back there ... At one point, when someone near our seats dropped a case of plastic water bottles and caused a clatter, Bush glanced back at us with a teasing, are-you-guys-behaving-yourselves expression, and he kept his amused face pivoted in our direction for an awfully long time."


7. Not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- the reason Bush gave for the Iraqi invasion -- was a pretty serious matter. Right? Certainly not something that Bush, of all people, should want to joke about. Wrong. At the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2004, Bush showed the audience photographic slides on a big screen of himself on his hands and knees in the Oval Office looking under furniture and behind curtains for the missing weapons. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere," he cracked to the audience. "Nope, no weapons over there, maybe over here." Here we have Bush having fun about the alleged basis for his war, a war with over 100,000 people dead. And this is funny? It was to Bush. Just another fun-filled evening for Bush as the blood continued to flow in far-off Iraq.


8. After visiting, in January of 2006, the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where American soldiers who lost their arms and legs in Iraq were being treated, Bush nevertheless was able to find cause to fashion a light-hearted joke. He told reporters: "As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself -- not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch. I was able to avoid any major surgical operation here." I mean, Bush wasn't about to let any soldiers he saw that day with one or more arms or legs missing from fighting his war interfere, not even for one moment, with his right to be funny.


9. August 13, 2005, a Saturday, Bush was enjoying his summer vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. At the start of the week on August 8, the New York Times reported that three American soldiers had been killed over the weekend, and thus far, 1,821 American military men and women had died in the war. The next day, August 9, 5 more U.S. soldiers were killed in combat, 4 by insurgent fire near Tikrit, and 22 Iraqi civilians were killed in violence throughout the country. The August 10, 2005, Los Angeles Times reported that "At least 43 Americans and 124 Iraqis have been killed by insurgent attacks over the last two weeks." The week commencing on August 15, 2005, was another typical week in Iraq. Through August 19, a period of five days, 9 American soldiers had lost their lives, 4 being killed by a roadside bomb on August 18. Among other civilian deaths during the five-day period, on August 17 three car bombs in and around a crowded bus station in Baghdad killed at least 43 people and injured 88. "The explosions began at 7:50 a.m.," the New York Times reported, "sending body parts flying across the bus terminal. Horrified survivors rushed in a wailing frenzy" from the area.

On August 13, 2005, right in the midst of all this violent death, and with hundreds of Iraqis and Americans crying out uncontrollably over the deaths of their children, parents, brothers, and sisters, and in many cases only receiving back the dismembered parts and limbs of their loved ones, and finding no way to cope with the unspeakable horror of it all, Bush, after a hearty breakfast, mapped out for reporters what his schedule was for the rest of the day: "I'm going to have lunch with Secretary of State Rice, talk a little business; we've got a friend from South Texas here named Katherine Armstrong; take a little nap. I'm reading an Elmore Leonard book right now, knock off a little Elmore Leonard this afternoon; go fishing with my man, Barney [Bush's dog]; a light dinner and head to the ball game. I get to bed about 9:30 p.m., wake up about 5:00 a.m. So it's a perfect day."

When I read those last words, I said to myself, "No, you son of a bitch -- if I may call you that, Mr. President -- you're not going to have a perfect day. Or, I should say, you're not going to have another perfect day as long as you live if I have anything to say about it. Because I'm going to put a thought in your mind that you're going to take with you to your grave. It's the least I can do for the young American boys who came back from your war in a box, or in a jar of ashes, and for the thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, children, and babies who died horrible deaths because of your war. That's the least I can do."

To fully appreciate the dimensions of Bush's "perfect day" comment, I would ask the reader, if you can for a moment, to think, really think, about how indescribably horrible it would be if your son -- the one now on the high school football team, or in college, or married and working -- had been blown up and killed in Iraq, his shattered body coming home in a box. It's so horrible a thought you can't even keep it in your mind for more than a few moments. And then imagine reading in the newspaper that the man who caused your son's death, taking him to war under false pretenses, told reporters, smiling, that he was going to have "a perfect day."

I don't know about you, but if I ever killed just one person, even accidentally, like in a car accident, I'd never have another perfect day as long as I lived. And I'm very, very confident that if any other American president had ordered the war in Iraq, and over 100,000 people died in the war, none of them, even if the war was a righteous one, would have a perfect day right in the middle of the hellish conflict. When we add to this the fact that not only was this not a righteous war, but that Bush took this nation to it under false pretenses, and over 100,000 people died directly because of it, for him to be happy and have plans to have "a perfect day" goes so far beyond acceptable human conduct that no moral telescope can discern its shape, form, and nature.

With all the death, horror, and suffering he has caused to hundreds of thousands of people, wouldn't you at least expect just a little remorse, a little depression from Bush? If you're waiting to see it, it's kind of like leaving the front porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa. "I'm feeling pretty spirited," Bush said at a December 4, 2007, White House press conference, "pretty good about life." Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that? He's turned almost the entire civilized world against us; he's cost this nation over $1 trillion with no end in sight; he's literally destroyed the nation of Iraq; and most important by far, he is directly responsible for over 100,000 precious human beings having died violent, horrible deaths, yet he says he is feeling "pretty good about life." This is simply too unbelievable for words. With all of the death, horror, and suffering he has caused, even if Bush was only guilty of making an innocent mistake in taking this nation to war in Iraq, not murder as I firmly believe, what kind of a human monster is it who could be happy with his life?

Can anything be done to bring George Bush to justice? That is what the next chapter is all about.



[1] Yet the outrageously monstrous Ken Starr (about whom longtime Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau said, "He violated every [prosecutorial] rule in the book") conducted, with federal authorization and funding no less, a seven-year, $70 million investigation of Bill Clinton's involvement in a small and losing real estate venture (Whitewater) in Arkansas fifteen years before his presidency, and finding nothing, decided to investigate Clinton's private and consensual sexual life. In the process, Starr almost destroyed the Clinton presidency, substantially incapacitated the executive branch of government, and made America a laughingstock around the world.

[2] It is not a casket or coffin, which the survivors of course later put the remains in. The military refers to the aluminum receptacle as a "transfer case," and the case is draped with an American flag.

[3] If more need be said about these absolutely shameless and hypocritical human beings, when Congress, in 2007, passed a bill providing for a 3.5 percent pay raise for U.S. soldiers, the Bush administration, which only was willing to give a 3 percent raise, said it "strongly" opposed the additional .5 percent, calling it "unnecessary" (right, like the $1.3 trillion tax break for the super wealthy), and Bush actually vetoed the bill, though he finally signed it in January of 2008 after Congress made certain changes in the language of the bill. Nothing more has to be said to make the point about George Bush and his people, but in 2007, the base pay per month (after four months) of a private in the U.S. Army fighting in Iraq was $1,301.40. Canada, not nearly as wealthy as we are, was paying its privates fighting in Iraq as part of the coalition $2,366.73 per month. For sergeants it was $1,854 (U.S.) and $4,570.53 (Canada). Isn't that remarkable? And terrible?

[4] Remarkably, during his campaign for reelection in 2004 Bush very frequently spoke of the "hard work" he and his administration were engaging in. This was the first time I had ever heard an American president speak of the "hard work" involved in his job. I have heard them speak of the immense "burden" of the office of the presidency in being responsible for the destiny and welfare of millions of people. But you see, for someone like Bush who was born on home plate and thought he had hit a home run, anything he does, any effort at all, he considers "hard work."

[5] As has been reported often, Bush said he was "called" (obviously by the Lord) to seek the presidency, and said, "I believe that God wants me to be president." And when he was asked whether he was seeking his father's advice on whether to go to war in Iraq, he responded: "you know, he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father I appeal to."

Isn't it so very reassuring that we have a president who told a Houston Post reporter on the day in 1993 that he announced his intention to run for governor of Texas that one "had to accept Christ to go to heaven"? (In other words, Jews, Muslims, and nonbelievers, among others, need not apply.) Who said on Fox News in 2004 that "I am reading Oswald Chambers' My Utmost to the Highest ... on a daily basis to be in the Word." And what is that Word? Delightful gems such as this (that help explain part of the Bush we know): To do what is right, "do not [Chambers, an obscure British Protestant itinerant preacher of the early twentieth century, is telling his pupil Bush] confer with flesh and blood, that is, your own sympathies, your own insight -- anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God." And, "Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will nearly always side with Satan ... [You] know when a proposition comes from God because of its quiet persistence. When [you] have to weigh pros and cons, and doubt and debate come in, [you] are bringing in an element that is not of God." Chambers tells Bush and his other readers that anytime they are confronted with a pressing problem, they should say "'Speak Lord' and make time to listen."

In other words, don't use your mind (the one that God supposedly gave us to think with) or those of others around you to guide you in your conduct. Do what God personally tells you to do. My God.

[6] They would say this not only because becoming president of the United States is the greatest honor that can be bestowed on a person, but because, being mature, they would realize that giving up a balanced life would be necessary. For instance, when Barack Obama was asked, before he ran for president, what thoughts ran through his mind when he thought about himself and the presidency, he answered, "That office is so different from any other office on the planet, you have to understand that if you seek that office you have to be prepared to give your life to it. How I think about it is that you don't make that decision unless you are prepared to make that trade-off."
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Part 1 of 5


The Legal Framework for the Prosecution

That the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution.
-- Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765

No living Homo sapiens is above the law.
-- (Notwithstanding our good friends and legal ancestors across the water, this is a fact that requires no citation.)

WITH RESPECT TO THE POSITION I take in this chapter about the crimes of George Bush, I want to state at the outset that my motivation is not political. Although I've been a longtime Democrat (primarily because, unless there is some very compelling reason to be otherwise, I am always for "the little guy"), my political orientation is not rigid. For instance, I supported John McCain's run for the presidency in 2000. More to the point, whether I'm giving a final summation to the jury or writing one of my true crime books, credibility has always meant everything to me. Therefore, my only master and my only mistress are the facts and objectivity. I have no others. This is why I can give you, the reader, a 100 percent guarantee that if a Democratic president had done what Bush did, I would be writing the same, identical piece you are about to read.

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me about the belief of many that George Bush lied to the American public in starting his war with Iraq is that the liberal columnists who have accused him of doing this merely make this point, and then go on to the next paragraph in their columns. Only very infrequently does a columnist add that because of it Bush should be impeached. If the charges are true, of course Bush should have been impeached, convicted, and removed from office. That's almost too self-evident to state. But he deserves much more than impeachment. I mean, in America, we apparently impeach presidents for having consensual sex outside of marriage and trying to cover it up. If we impeach presidents for that, then if the president takes the country to war on a lie where thousands of American soldiers die horrible, violent deaths and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, even babies are killed, the punishment obviously has to be much, much more severe. That's just common sense. If Bush were impeached, convicted in the Senate, and removed from office, he'd still be a free man, still be able to wake up in the morning with his cup of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice and read the morning paper, still travel widely and lead a life of privilege, still belong to his country club and get standing ovations whenever he chose to speak to the Republican faithful. This, for being responsible for over 100,000 horrible deaths?[1] For anyone interested in true justice, impeachment alone would be a joke for what Bush did.

Let's look at the way some of the leading liberal lights (and, of course, the rest of the entire nation with the exception of those few recommending impeachment) have treated the issue of punishment for Bush's cardinal sins. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote about "the false selling of the Iraq War. We were railroaded into an unnecessary war." Fine, I agree. Now what? Krugman just goes on to the next paragraph. But if Bush falsely railroaded the nation into a war where over 100,000 people died, including 4,000 American soldiers, how can you go on to the next paragraph as if you had been writing that Bush spent the weekend at Camp David with his wife? For doing what Krugman believes Bush did, doesn't Bush have to be punished commensurately in some way? Are there no consequences for committing a crime of colossal proportions?

Al Franken on the David Letterman show said, "Bush lied to us to take us to war" and quickly went on to another subject, as if he was saying "Bush lied to us in his budget."

Senator Edward Kennedy, condemning Bush, said that "Bush's distortions misled Congress in its war vote," and "No President of the United States should employ distortion of truth to take the nation to war." But, Senator Kennedy, if a president does this, as you believe Bush did, then what? Remember, Clinton was impeached for allegedly trying to cover up a consensual sexual affair. What do you recommend for Bush for being responsible for more than 100,000 deaths? Nothing? He shouldn't be held accountable for his actions? If one were to listen to you talk, that is the only conclusion one could come to. But why, Senator Kennedy, do you, like everyone else, want to give Bush this complete free ride?

The New York Times, in a June 17, 2004, editorial, said that in selling this nation on the war in Iraq, "the Bush administration convinced a substantial majority of Americans before the war that Saddam Hussein was somehow linked to 9/11, ... inexcusably selling the false Iraq-Al Qaeda claim to Americans." But gentlemen, if this is so, then what? The New York Times didn't say, just going on, like everyone else, to the next paragraph, talking about something else.

In a November 15, 2005, editorial, the New York Times said that "the president and his top advisers ... did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections." But if it's "obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans" in taking them to a war that tens of thousands of people have paid for with their lives, now what? No punishment? If not, under what theory? Again, you're just going to go on to the next paragraph?

In this book, I'm not going to go on to the next unrelated paragraph.

In early December of 2005, a New York Times-CBS nationwide poll showed that the majority of Americans believed Bush "intentionally misled" the nation to promote a war in Iraq. A December 11, 2005, article in the Los Angeles Times, after citing this national poll, went on to say that because so many Americans believed this, it might be difficult for Bush to get the continuing support of Americans for the war. In other words, the fact that most Americans believed Bush had deliberately misled them into war was of no consequence in and of itself. Its only consequence was that it might hurt his efforts to get support for the war thereafter. So the article was reporting on the effect of the poll findings as if it was reporting on the popularity, or lack thereof, of Bush's position on global warming or immigration. Didn't the author of the article know that Bush taking the nation to war on a lie (if such be the case) is the equivalent of saying he is responsible for well over 100,000 deaths? One would never know this by reading the article.

If Bush, in fact, intentionally misled this nation into war, what is the proper punishment for him? Since many Americans routinely want criminal defendants to be executed for murdering only one person, if we weren't speaking of the president of the United States as the defendant here, to discuss anything less than the death penalty for someone responsible for over 100,000 deaths would on its face seem ludicrous. [2] But we are dealing with the president of the United States here.

On the other hand, the intensity of rage against Bush in America has been such (it never came remotely this close with Clinton because, at bottom, there was nothing of any real substance to have any serious rage against him for) that if I heard it once I heard it ten times that "someone should put a bullet in his head." That, fortunately, is just loose talk, and even more fortunately not the way we do things in America. In any event, if an American jury were to find Bush guilty of first degree murder, it would be up to them to decide what the appropriate punishment should be, one of their options being the imposition of the death penalty.

Although I have never heard before what I am suggesting in this book -- that Bush be prosecuted for murder in an American courtroom -- many have argued that "Bush should be prosecuted for war crimes" (mostly for the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo) at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. But for all intents and purposes this cannot be done. (For a discussion on this matter, see notes at the end of this book.)

I want to make it very clear that, like the majority of Americans, I feel Bush "intentionally misled" this nation into war, and everything I say in this chapter is predicated on, and flows from, that belief. If my belief (and that of the majority of American people) is wrong, then I of course apologize to Bush and his people for writing this book, and Bush, knowing his innocence, has nothing to worry about. All I can tell you is that as a former prosecutor with twenty-one murder convictions without a loss, seeking and obtaining a death penalty sentence against eight of the murder defendants, I am probably in a better position than the average person to know what type of evidence is necessary to go to trial with and secure a conviction of murder. And in my opinion there certainly is more than enough evidence against Bush to justify bringing him to trial and letting an American jury decide whether or not he is guilty of murder, and if so, what the appropriate punishment should be. I am very confident that, based on the evidence I set forth against Bush on the following pages, a competent prosecutor could convict Bush of murder.

Assuming at this point (see later text for full discussion) that Bush deliberately misled this nation into war, could he be prosecuted for murder and tried by an American jury? I have been unable to find any legal reason why he could not. We all know that no one is above the law, which would, perforce, include presidents. And no federal or state murder statute says that it only applies to certain people, not presidents, or golf pros, or hair stylists, et cetera, and only if the killing is committed in certain places, like a home, or a car, out on the street, and so forth, not a battlefield.

But how, you may ask, could George Bush be prosecuted and convicted of murder when he didn't personally kill anyone? Indeed, the killings took place in Iraq. The reason is that it is not necessary for a criminal defendant to have physically committed a murder to be guilty of it. For example, I convicted Charles Manson of the seven Tate-La Bianca murders even though he himself did not participate in any of the killings, nor was he even present at the time. I was able to obtain this conviction because of the vicarious liability rule of conspiracy, which provides that each member of a conspiracy is criminally responsible for all crimes committed by his coconspirators or innocent agents of the conspirators to further the object of the conspiracy. If Bush is guilty of the murders I believe him to be, because he took this nation to war under false pretenses, he obviously did not do this all by himself. Necessarily, he conspired with certain members of his inner circle, coconspirators like Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice.

But, one might wonder, since even Bush's coconspirators didn't physically kill the victims who would be named in the criminal indictment (the 4,000 American soldiers who were killed in Iraq) -- Iraqi soldiers and civilian insurgents did -- how could he be guilty of murder under the vicarious liability rule? The reason is that if a conspirator (or anyone for that matter) deliberately sets in motion a chain of events that he knows will cause a third-party innocent agent [3] to commit an act (here, the killing of American soldiers by Iraqis), the conspirator is criminally responsible for that act. In the law, as in its well-known sense, the word "cause" means "to bring about, to bring into existence." Bush, in invading Iraq, certainly brought about the existence of Iraqi opposition, and his act caused Iraqis to kill American soldiers in much the same fashion that a person causes a gun to fire a bullet that kills someone by pulling the trigger. In fact, in the criminal law, third party innocent agents are referred to as "mere instruments" of the principal. To argue that Bush isn't responsible in this case would almost be the equivalent of a conspirator arguing, "My coconspirator never killed the victim, his gun did."

Here, the object of Bush, Cheney, and Rice was that there be a war in Iraq, which they knew would inevitably result in American casualties. And as the court said in the 1993 case of Gallimore v. Commonwealth of Virginia: "The doctrine of innocent agent ... allows a defendant not present at the commission of the crime [here, the killings in Iraq] to be convicted as a principal in the first degree if the defendant engaged in actions which caused the actual perpetrator to commit the crime as an innocent agent of the defendant." Courts have said that the innocent agent "is not an offender," and the defendant "is guilty as if he had done the act himself," the defendant, under the law, deemed to be "constructively present."

Note that it does not have to be shown that the principal wanted the innocent agent to commit the act, only that he caused him to.

In many states and federally, the innocent agent doctrine is even codified. Title 18 United States Code, §2(b) provides: "Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him ... would be an offense against the United States, is punishable as a principal."

In other words, if Bush personally killed an American soldier, he would be guilty of murder. Under the law, he cannot immunize himself from this criminal responsibility by causing a third party to do the killing. He's still responsible. George Bush cannot sit safely in his Oval Office in Washington, D.C., while young American soldiers fighting his war are being blown to pieces by roadside bombs in Iraq, and wash his hands of all culpability. It's not quite that easy. He could only do this if he did not take this nation to war under false pretenses. If he did, which the evidence overwhelmingly shows, he is criminally responsible for the thousands of American deaths in Iraq.

Apart from the vicarious liability rule of conspiracy, there is a separate and independent companion legal theory of criminal responsibility that imputes guilt to the nonperpetrator, and prosecutors routinely use it side by side, when the evidence permits, with the vicarious liability rule -- the law of "aiding and abetting."

The heart of conspiracy complicity is the agreement among the co-conspirators to commit the crime, as distinguished from aiding and abetting, whose heart is participatory in nature. In very general terms, one is guilty of a crime under the theory of aiding and abetting if he instigates or encourages the commission of the offense (in the law, to instigate is "to stimulate or goad to action, especially a bad action"), or assists the perpetrator in some way in the commission of said offense. Here, Bush clearly instigated the killing of the American soldiers by his invasion of Iraq, which is all that would be necessary, in itself, to make Bush guilty of murder under the theory of aiding and abetting. So Bush would be criminally responsible for the deaths of the 4,000 American soldiers under both the legal theories of vicarious liability and aiding and abetting.

It should be noted that Bush could only be prosecuted after he is no longer president. The U.S. Constitution itself is a little ambiguous as to just when a president may be prosecuted for his crimes. In discussing the impeachment of a sitting president, Article I, Section 3, cl. 7, provides: "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment [which is not a criminal prosecution] shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of Honor, Trust or Profit under the United States, but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, judgment, and Punishment, according to Law." The language "the Party convicted" implies that a conviction of a president by the U.S. Senate in an impeachment trial and his removal from office are a condition precedent to his being prosecuted in an American court of law for his crime or crimes committed while in office. But the language could be more explicit on this point.

However, it has always been accepted by constitutional scholars that a president cannot be prosecuted criminally while he is still in office. To discern the "original intent" of the framers on this question, one must turn to The Federalist (commonly referred to as The Federalist Papers), a collection of eighty-five essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the nom de plume "Philo-Publius" between 1787 and 1788 in support of the proposed constitution (which was of course ratified and went into effect in 1789).

In The Federalist no. 69 (essay 69), Hamilton writes at page 446: "The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office, and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law."

In other words, even if the evidence were clear that a president had committed a crime such as rape or murder, it was the position of Hamilton that he could not be arrested and prosecuted until after he was first impeached and removed from office following conviction by the Senate -- that is, until his removal he should have temporary immunity from ordinary criminal process. And this, as indicated, has been adopted as virtual law down through the years.

So after the inauguration of a new president on January 20, 2009, unless Bush's successor is outrageous enough to pardon him, he can be prosecuted, like any other citizen, for any crime he committed while president. And here, since we're talking about murder, there is no statute of limitations.

During the Watergate scandal in 1973 and 1974, although impeachment of President Nixon was contemplated, Nixon, we know, resigned in 1974 before he was impeached by the House of Representatives. After his resignation, there were calls by many that he be prosecuted in a court of law for his alleged crimes, as he could have been. President Ford obviated this by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he may have committed during Watergate. I was in favor of the Nixon pardon in that Nixon's forced resignation was more than enough punishment for the particular offenses he committed, but I certainly would not be for any Bush pardon, for obvious reasons.

Still, one might say, prosecuting Nixon for conventional crimes like obstruction of justice and illegal wiretapping is one thing. But prosecuting Bush for murder, and where the killings resulted from his taking this nation to war -- like those fought through the ages with hundreds of thousands of troops -- is quite another. It is because of this expected reaction by many to what I am proposing that I want to make one very important observation off the top. For those skeptics who say that to prosecute for murder a president who takes this country to war -- and to do so in a regular American courtroom and in the very same way that, in an adjacent courtroom, a defendant is being prosecuted for murdering a liquor store proprietor during a robbery -- is simply too revolutionary a notion to be viable, I say this. Since a regular courtroom is the only place a president such as Bush could be prosecuted for murder, if you maintain this position you therefore must be willing to say that if a president takes America to war under false pretenses (even those as base, hypothetically, as for his own personal gain), and if thousands of Americans, even 50 million Americans, die as a direct result, other than removing him from office through the impeachment process, the president should be absolutely immune from all criminal responsibility and punishment, even one day in the county jail, and he should be able to go on with his life. Unless you are willing to say this (and if you do, you're going to sound awfully foolish), then you likewise must learn to accept and live with the revolutionary notion. There is no third alternative.

So although Bush supporters can say that Bush should not be prosecuted for murder because they don't feel he acted improperly, they cannot possibly say that it is wrong for Bush to be prosecuted for murder if he did what I say he did. To say that is to admit that you have no respect for our American system of democracy. That you prefer that presidents have the same rights and protections as tyrannical dictators like Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein had. So unless you want to take this completely untenable position, you should consider the legal and logical propriety of my proposed prosecution of George Bush for murder.

As we proceed in this discussion, one has to realize that, as they say in the law, this is a case of "first impression," meaning a case for which there is no legal precedent. This is not fatal, per se, since by definition every legal precedent, on any legal situation, itself had to emanate from some case of first impression in the past standing for the proposition.

The overriding assumption here has to be that if, in fact, Bush lied to the nation in taking it to war, we all should want to find some lawful way to bring him to justice. That has to be the predisposition among all good men. It cannot be otherwise. I don't like to see anyone get away with murder, even one. And here we're talking about the needless killing and slaughter of over 100,000 human beings for which this man may be criminally responsible. Anyone who is satisfied that Bush lied to the country in taking it to war, but whose predisposition, nonetheless, is to frustrate justice against Bush is, simply put, a very bad human being. So the only proper state of mind is that if the prosecution frequently tries to do whatever it can lawfully do to overcome factual and legal obstacles to bring about justice in even an ordinary criminal case, we should be willing to move hell and high legal water to bring about justice in this case, where so much more is at stake.

Could Bush nip any prosecution of him in the bud by arguing that he could not be prosecuted for murder over the Iraq war for the simple reason that on October 11, 2002, Congress, by a joint congressional resolution, authorized him to use force against Iraq, so how can anyone treat him as a criminal for doing something he was authorized to do by Congress? The answer is that the congressional authorization is no legal defense to a prosecution of Bush for murder. Consent of the victim, though a defense to some crimes (e.g., theft, rape), is not a defense to the crime of murder. And here we're not even talking about the consent of the American soldiers in fighting a war that brought their deaths, and whose only option other than fighting was to be court-martialed. We're talking about congressional consent. But even if the argument were made that Congress, in a democracy, represents all Americans, including these soldiers, again, consent is not a defense to the crime of murder. Further, even if it were, it is boilerplate law that fraud vitiates consent. So the consent that Congress gave Bush is nullified by the deliberate misrepresentations he made to Congress in inducing it to give him its consent. I will come back to this issue later in this chapter.

And Bush's criminal conduct can't find sanctuary in the U.S. Constitution either, which, as I have explained, allows for his prosecution after he leaves the presidency. Surely Bush couldn't be heard to argue that a president is incapable of committing a crime under the U.S. Constitution -- the Constitution even shielding him from the crime of murder.

Assuming Bush lied to take us to war, and thousands of humans died as a direct result thereof, does his conduct fall within existing legal requirements for a crime and criminal prosecution in an American courtroom? Can a legitimate case for murder be constructed against him whose legal architecture will hold up and withstand judicial scrutiny?

Before I set forth the evidence that proves Bush is guilty of murder, I unfortunately first must talk about the legal elements that comprise the crime of murder, a necessarily dry and sometimes arcane discussion for which I ask your forbearance. Murder is defined as "the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought." All true crimes (as opposed to so-called public welfare offenses like selling alcohol after a certain time of day or hunting during the off-season) require two elements. The first is the prohibited act, referred to in the law as actus reus. To be a crime this act has to be accompanied by mens rea, criminal intent. The U.S. Supreme Court said in Morissette v. United States that criminal intent involves an "evil-meaning mind," variously described with respect to different crimes as "intentional," "knowing," "fraudulent," "malicious," etc. Each crime has a different mens rea. The mens rea for theft is the intent to steal, for arson the intent to burn down the dwelling of another. The mens rea for murder is malice aforethought. For there to be a crime, the commission of the prohibited act and the criminal intent (mens rea) have to concur in time.

In this case, the "act" by Bush would be his ordering his military to invade Iraq with American soldiers, 4,000 of whom have already died because of the war. If this act was not accompanied by the required intent on Bush's part, no crime would have been committed. The necessary intent that would have to be shown, as indicated, is malice aforethought, satisfied if Bush either intended to kill the soldiers by ordering them to war, or he started the war with reckless and wanton disregard for the consequences and indifference to human life. However, neither of these two states of mind would be "criminal" if they occurred under circumstances of legal justification, such as self-defense. Hence, the criminality of an act depends solely on the actor's state of mind at the time of the subject act. For example, if X intends to kill Y and does so, but he had a reasonable fear (the so-called reasonable man test) that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm at the hands of Y, there would be no criminal intent on his part since he acted in self-defense, and the killing would be called a justifiable homicide. The same act by X of intending to kill Y and doing so would be an unlawful killing, murder, if the killing were not in self-defense.

So we can say that malice aforethought exists (and hence, no self-defense) if there is an intentional killing of another (or indifference to human life) without any lawful excuse or justification. Bush's primary defense to any murder charge against him would be, as he argued to the nation, that he was conducting a "preemptive strike" on Saddam Hussein; that is, the self-defense argument -- he reasonably believed that Iraq constituted an imminent threat to the security of this country, so Bush struck first. In other words, his mind was pure. He had no criminal or evil state of mind. In a trial of Bush, the prosecution would have to show that he did have a criminal state of mind. The evidence would be the many lies he told that Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction made him an imminent threat to the security of this country, and his attempt to deceive the nation into believing that Hussein was involved with Al Qaeda in 9/11. Therefore, Bush did not act in self-defense and hence, did have a criminal state of mind. Since he had criminal intent, every killing of an American soldier that took place during Bush's war was an "unlawful killing" and murder.

Before we get into the seminal issue of whether Bush acted in self-defense, let's return, to examine in more depth, the requirement for murder of malice aforethought.

You should know that the term "malice aforethought" is a legal anachronism that everyone continues to use, while ignoring the conventional meaning of the words. "Malice" means a hatred, an ill-will for another. Though that frequently is the situation in a murder case, all legal authorities agree that no malice in the traditional sense has to be shown to secure a murder conviction, and many murders are committed without the slightest presence of hatred by the killer against the victim, e.g., a contract killing. So hatred or ill-will toward those American soldiers who died in the war, which Bush obviously never had, does not have to be shown. And the word "aforethought" is an ancient appendage to the word "malice" that has no relevance in the current criminal law. Although the word literally means the thought must precede the criminal act, in the term "malice aforethought," aforethought doesn't mean this. It only means that the malice exists at the time of the killing, that it is not an afterthought. So what does malice aforethought mean today in the criminal law? It means simply a specific intent to kill (express malice) or an intent to commit a highly dangerous act with reckless and wanton disregard for the consequences and indifference to human life (implied malice).

In most states, in order to have first (as opposed to second) degree murder there has to be not only a specific intent to kill (express malice) but this intent to kill has to be premeditated. The courts have consistently held that although a spontaneous intent to kill does not constitute premeditation, premeditation does not have to be long at all. There are cases where a period of time as short as several seconds sufficed. In a prosecution of George Bush, we're dealing with a pre-meditation to go to war that took place over months, so there is no question that there was premeditation in this case.

Implied malice (no intent to kill) will only give you second degree murder. However, some states, like Texas, do not have degrees of murder. Even a killing where there was only implied malice and no specific intent to kill can not only result in a conviction of murder (which it could in any state), but a sentence of death, which in most states can only be imposed after one has already been convicted of first degree murder.

The most common malice aforethought is a specific intent to kill. Any Bush apologist who is unfamiliar with the criminal law will undoubtedly say that even assuming for the sake of argument that Bush lied to the country to take it to war, and the war was not in self-defense, it is ridiculous to think he could be prosecuted for murder because he obviously never intended to kill anyone (other than enemy soldiers). But the criminal law dealing with murder is, unfortunately for them and particularly Bush, not that simplistic. Not only is there implied malice, which does not require an intent to kill, but in Bush's case a very credible argument could be made that in a real sense he did intend to have American soldiers killed in his war.

In a typical intent to kill (express malice) case, A picks up a gun and fires a bullet into B's head, intending to kill him. A typical implied malice situation would be where there's no intent to kill, but the act the defendant committed, which resulted in a death, involved a high degree of danger to others and the defendant's state of mind was that he was willing to take that risk -- he acted with reckless and wanton disregard for the consequences, showing an indifference to human life. For instance, a defendant killing someone while driving 100 mph in a school zone, or blowing up a building without legal cause, even though he is unaware that someone was in the building. In these two situations, and others like them, not only didn't the defendant intend to kill, but he had no way of knowing whether someone would die or not. As opposed to the implied malice situation, while Bush never specifically intended to kill any American soldier, he absolutely knew American soldiers would necessarily die in his war. Therefore, a case could be made that unless Bush intended to have a war without any casualties, which is nonsensical on its face (and an argument that would make Bush sound absurd), he did, in fact, specifically intend to have American soldiers killed.

Am I just engaging in a play on words here? I don't think so. As the court said in a 1963 Illinois case, People v. Coolidge: "Since every sane man is presumed to intend all the natural and probable consequences flowing from his own deliberate act, it follows that if one willfully does an act, the natural tendency of which is to destroy another's life, the irresistible conclusion ... is that the destruction of such other person's life was intended."

But assuming, just for the sake of argument, that a court would not accept the position that Bush did, in fact, have an intent to kill, then we are left with Bush's conduct being somewhere inbetween express malice (intent to kill) and implied malice (no intent to kill, but not caring if someone is killed). Courts create new law all the time, and I can easily see a court ruling that when a defendant engages in conduct that not only creates a situation where someone might die, but which he knows will result in their deaths, this would satisfy the intent to kill requirement of first degree murder. I mean, what difference does it make if someone intends to kill B, or doesn't intend to kill B but intends to do an act that he knows will kill B? As the expression goes, it's a distinction without substance. It would be elevating technical words ("intent to kill") over the substance and spirit of the law of murder to say there was no intent to kill in the Bush type of situation, and hence, no first degree murder. For the monumentally horrendous act that Bush committed -- taking a nation to war where there's not just one victim, but thousands -- all fair and true men have to say that whether or not Bush is guilty of first degree murder should be left up to an American jury to decide, and if they say yes, left to an appellate court to rule on the legal propriety of its verdict.

I was saying that courts (judges) create new law all the time. I can give you a perfect example dealing with first degree murder itself that will be a surprise to many lay readers. The classic type of first degree murder is where there was a premeditated intent to kill. But there's one other type of murder in all the courts of the land, both federal and state, for which many defendants have been convicted and paid the ultimate penalty of death -- the felony-murder rule. Since the law took cognizance of the fact that certain felonies were so inherently dangerous, in and of themselves, that the risk of death was high, to discourage this conduct they came up with the felony-murder rule. The rule provides that if a "killing takes place during the perpetration or attempted perpetration of certain felonies, the killing is automatically first degree murder, even though there was no malice, setting the definition of murder as the "unlawful killing of a human with malice aforethought"on its head. The main underlying felonies that are usually mentioned in statutes throughout the land are robbery (where the felony murder rule has been applied far more than in any other crime), burglary, kidnapping, arson, and rape. All that has to be shown is that the defendant had the requisite intent to commit the underlying felony. Once that is shown, and a death occurs, the ordinary requirements for first degree murder that there be malice aforethought and premeditation are dispensed with, and the robber, for instance, is guilty of first degree murder. (Many legal scholars have said that the intent to commit the underlying felony is transferred into an intent to kill; a legal fiction, of course.)

Under the felony murder rule many robbers (and other felons) have been convicted of first degree murder throughout the years not only where there was no malice aforethought, but even where the killing was accidental. A robber, for instance, was convicted of first degree murder under the felony-murder rule where, as he was leaving the store in which he had robbed the owner, he told the owner not to say a word or he'd be harmed, and fired into the ceiling to scare the owner. The shot, after two or three ricochets, pierced the head of the owner, killing him. In fact, the felony-murder rule applies even where the defendant is not the killer! There have been cases where the proprietor of the store fired at a robber, missed him and hit and killed a customer. And the robber was convicted of first degree murder of the customer.

In any event, if the law can find an intent to kill when the defendant never had such an intent, even where the defendant specifically did not want to kill, surely, in a case of first impression, a court should have little difficulty finding an intent to kill in those situations where the defendant intentionally commits an act that he knows will kill people.

As indicated, in most states, to obtain a conviction of first degree murder, a prosecutor must prove a premeditated intent to kill. However, in the federal courts, the best place to prosecute Bush, there is authority for the proposition that the premeditation necessary to constitute first degree murder does not have to be an intent to kill. It can also be a premeditated intent to do an act "without regard for the life and safety of others," which is implied malice. In the 1983 case of United States v. Shaw, the premeditation was in the form of lying in wait, but not specifically to kill, only to fire at a passing car, the defendant thereby doing an act exceedingly dangerous with reckless and wanton disregard for the consequences, though no specific intent to kill was shown. So current law would seem to authorize the first degree murder prosecution of Bush in the federal courts without the prosecution even having to prove an intent to kill.

In any event, at an absolute minimum, in the absence of a legal justification such as self-defense, Bush's taking the nation to war would constitute implied malice, that is, an intent to do a highly dangerous act with reckless disregard and indifference to human life, and hence, at least second degree murder in every state, as well as under federal law. Ironically, the case relied on in the federal courts for the best definition of implied malice in a second degree murder prosecution is United States of America v. Bush, where the court, in its words, describes the present Bush's conduct to a T. It said, "Malice does not necessarily imply ill-will, spite, hatred or hostility by the defendant toward the person killed. Malice is a state of mind showing a heart [not regardful] of the life and safety of others ... Malice can also be defined as the condition of mind which prompts a person to do willfully, that is, on purpose, without adequate justification or excuse, a wrongful act whose foreseeable consequence is death or serious bodily injury to another."

Who would argue that under the language in United States of America v. Bush we should regard as criminal someone who, knowing he is too drunk to drive, nevertheless gets in a car and drives it at night, killing someone, but not a president who deliberately lies to a country to take it to war where thousands are killed, dying violent deaths? What reason could you have for arguing this other than that you are a conservative Republican, and Bush is a conservative Republican, and therefore anything he does, even murder, is just fine with you?

As I have said, under state or federal law Bush could at least be prosecuted for second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment (only a conviction of first degree murder can carry a possible sentence of death), and that would be better than nothing. But this should only be a fallback position. Bush's alleged crime is so prodigious and on such a grand scale that it would greatly dishonor those in their graves who paid the ultimate price because of it if he were not to pay the ultimate penalty. This is why all attempts should be made to prosecute him for first degree murder.


Getting on to the most important question by far of whether Bush has a viable defense to his killings in that he acted in self- defense, as noted previously, if Bush either lied when he said Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction made him an imminent threat to the security of this country, or lied when he led Americans to believe that Hussein was involved in 9/11 -- both of which justified in the minds of Americans our going to war -- this clearly wouldn't be the conduct of a person acting in self-defense. Therefore, such a legal defense would necessarily fail at his trial.

In attempting to answer whether Bush lied about either of these two matters, we obviously have to make reference to and examine Bush's conduct and statements before, during, even after he went to war -- circumstantial evidence -- to determine what his state of mind was at the time he went to war. For those who feel a case based on circumstantial evidence is, by definition, not a strong one, let me correct a common misperception. Circumstantial evidence has erroneously come to be associated in the public mind and vernacular with an anemic case. ("Oh, that's just circumstantial evidence.") But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most first degree murder cases are based on circumstantial evidence. This is so because other than eye-witness testimony (and in some jurisdictions, a confession), which is direct evidence, all other evidence, even fingerprints and DNA, is circumstantial evidence.

We can't open up the top of a defendant's head, peek in, and say; "So that's what was on your mind at the time you engaged in the subject conduct." (Recall that a defendant's criminal intent or state of mind has to concur in time with his criminal act.) Obviously, we have to look at his conduct and his statements to infer what was on his mind. I've convicted many defendants of first degree murder based solely on circumstantial evidence by putting one speck of evidence on top of another until ultimately there was a strong mosaic of guilt. You can analogize circumstantial evidence to the spelling of a word. One letter by itself could be the first of thousands of words. But with the addition of each letter, you narrow the number of words those letters can belong to. Pretty soon there's just one word you can be spelling, and that word is guilty.

Let's first briefly look at some of the evidence (there undoubtedly is more I don't even know about which could be uncovered by a prosecutor with the power of subpoena if this matter proceeded forward legally) showing that Bush and his people lied to the country on the issue of whether Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country. (Keep in mind that if no imminent threat is shown, then Bush's defense of self-defense would be defeated. The threat has to be imminent.) I think you will see that Bush did not honorably lead this nation, but deliberately misled it into a war he wanted.

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Part 2 of 5

1. One of the strongest pieces of evidence that Bush lied to Congress and the American people when he said Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country so he could get their support for the war, is the preposterous nature of the allegation itself. Hussein, an imminent threat to America? As humorist Will Rogers would say, "That's the most unheard of thing I ever heard of." Almost a highwater mark in folly. At the time of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Hussein's Iraq, after a devastating eight-year war with Iran that had concluded just three years earlier in 1988, was proven to be extremely weak. And since then, as everyone, including Bush's father, agreed, Iraq had even become much weaker because of the economic sanctions against it resulting from the Gulf War, as well as the great number of U.S. inspections that forced Iraq to destroy most of its weapons and all nuclear facilities. Back on October 15, 2001, which is before he knowingly decided to become a pitiable water-carrier for the Bush administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the press: "Iraq is Iraq, a wasted society for 10 years. They're sad. They're contained ... "

The conclusive proof of the military weakness of Hussein's Iraq at the time of the war in Iraq was that it fell to Coalition forces in only three weeks, with only 128 Americans dying, and 44 of these by accident or friendly fire. Thousands upon thousands of Iraqi soldiers died in the very short conflict. Army major Kevin Dunlop said in the midst of it, "It's not a fair fight. We're slaughtering them." When we couple this with the fact that we know Hussein wanted to live -- and no person who was not insane (as Hussein was not) and wanted to live would even dream of attacking the United States or helping anyone else to do it -- the absurdity of Bush's contention that Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country is apparent. That alone is circumstantial evidence of the strong likelihood that he himself had to know the notion was absurd, and therefore he was lying.

Wait a minute, Bush apologists might say: True, it turned out that Hussein never had any weapons of mass destruction, but not only did virtually the entire country think he did (including many prominent Democrats in Congress), but that having them, he constituted a threat to this country. So if almost the whole country felt this way, why is it preposterous that Bush would have, too? Translation: maybe Bush and his people were as stupid as everyone else. In other words, he may have acted in self-defense, and his act was a reasonable one. At first blush, this sounds like it may have a little merit. But there's one very big difference between Bush and his people on the one hand and the rest of the nation on the other. Bush and his people were the ones who came up with this entire preposterous notion. The rest of the nation's people (more appropriately, sheeple) merely went along with it as an accepted truth. The fact that the whole argument that Hussein was an imminent threat to this country, and that we should invade Iraq, originated with Bush and his people substantially weakens the contention that they were as stupid as everyone else in buying into this absurdity. They didn't buy into anything. They invented it, and then proceeded to dress up their invention with one lie and distortion after another. (We'll examine these in detail later.)

The Bush administration has said that Bush never used the word "imminent" in describing the threat of Hussein. He didn't have to. From the context of everything he said, no other inference could be drawn but that Bush was asserting that America was in imminent danger of harm from Hussein. This is why analyst after analyst said that Bush claimed Hussein was an imminent threat. Moreover, Bush used words that meant imminent. Just a few examples: he said Iraq could act "on any given day"; that "before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger must be removed"; "Some ask how urgent this danger is to America. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time"; "Each passing day could be the one on which the Iraqi regime" gives weapons of mass destruction "to a terrorist ally"; Iraq constituted "a threat of unique urgency"; "Iraq could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as forty-five minutes." And when Bush said at a press conference on March 6, 2003: "Saddam Hussein is a threat" to our nation no less than six times (he also said: "Saddam and his weapons are a direct threat to this country"), that, by definition, meant he was an imminent threat. The word "is" means now, not in the future. If Bush intended to convey the latter, the only proper words to have used would have been "Saddam Hussein will be (or might be) a threat to America" or "in the future" or "near future." Indeed, in Bush's statement to the nation on the evening of March 17, 2003, two days before he invaded Iraq, he said, after talking about the impending war with Hussein and Iraq: "When evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice in formal declarations. And responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense. It is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now."

It should be pointed out that the very fact Bush never used the word "imminent," though certainly not conclusive, is itself circumstantial evidence of his criminal state of mind. Let me explain. Bush and his people had to know that the word everyone uses, legally and otherwise, in any discussion of self-defense is "imminent." Since the evidence is very clear that the threat from Hussein was not imminent, it is a safe assumption that they thought it would be dangerous for them to use the word because by doing so they would be more apt to be asked what evidence they had that Hussein was about to strike any day, a question they could not answer. And if they failed to answer it, it would be so much more difficult for them to later claim they were acting in self defense. So they stayed away from the word "imminent" the way the devil stays away from holy water. They chose instead to use other comparable words (like "now," "any given day," "urgent," etc.) to convey the same thought. If they truly thought they were acting in self-defense, how is it possible that not once in the many months of the buildup to war did any of them, in all their speeches and interviews, use the one word that was associated with self-defense more than any other? The one word that was the most natural and obvious one for them to use? I firmly believe it was because of a conscious effort on their part to not use the word. And this deliberate effort is just one more nugget of circumstantial evidence, which, though small, is totally compatible with all the other evidence pointing irresistibly to their guilt.


2. The fact that Bush stopped pursuing, for all intents and purposes, the person responsible for 9/11, Osama Bin Laden, by diverting most of this country's resources and military personnel to his pursuit of Hussein, who was not involved in 9/11, is circumstantial evidence that it was always Hussein whom he really wanted to go after, and 9/11was just a convenient pretext enabling him to do so. Indeed, it has since emerged from many sources that the neoconservatives in the Bush administration had been dreaming about invading Iraq for years before 9/11. Since Bush sent ten times as many troops to Iraq as he did to Afghanistan, doesn't that suggest that Hussein was much more important to Bush than Bin Laden? But how could that possibly be? The fact that Bush was willing to shirk his constitutional duty to "take care that the laws [of this nation] be faithfully executed" by all but abandoning pursuit of the person (Bin Laden) responsible for 3,000 American murders -- the one he promised to bring back "dead or alive" -- is circumstantial evidence that his passion for invading Iraq and removing Hussein from power was so strong that he would be much more likely to lie to the American people about Hussein being an imminent threat to this country.


3. It clearly appears that Bush deliberately lied to the nation in his first nationally televised address on the Iraqi crisis on the evening of October 7, 2002, when he spoke from Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Museum Center. As noted earlier, Bush told the nation that Hussein was "a great danger to our nation," either by Hussein himself using "unmanned aerial vehicles" with "chemical or biological" payloads "for missions targeting the United States" or by providing these biological or chemical weapons to a "terrorist group or individual terrorists" to attack us. Bush framed the threat as being imminent when he said this could happen "on any given day."

On October 8, the day after Bush's Cincinnati speech, and only after the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence exerted considerable pressure on him, CIA director George Tenet declassified a letter he had sent to Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate committee. The letter from Tenet -- which was signed for him by John McLaughlin, the deputy director of the CIA who was Tenet's number one deputy -- was read that day to a joint hearing of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It stated that the CIA had concluded that "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW (chemical or biological weapons) against the United States. Should Hussein conclude that a U.S. led attack [against him] could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." Clear translation: Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to the security of this country, and would not use any of his chemical and biological weapons against us unless we attacked him first; that is, he would only use these weapons in self-defense.

The media reported (very cursorily) on the matter, most noting only that the letter was declassified on October 8, 2002. It could conceivably have been written a couple of months earlier. But a source at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, told me (in a telephone conversation on March 10, 2003) that the date of the letter was October 7, 2002, and the physical letter itself was couriered to Graham that same day, October 7, before Bush's speech that night. Senator Graham's press office told me that the letter was also faxed to Graham's office at 4:27 p.m. on October 7.

Though the letter was not addressed to Bush, there can be little question that Bush received a copy of it, and even if he didn't, he certainly knew of its contents. The CIA is an agency of the executive branch of government, and the CIA director is responsible and answerable only to the president. As Thomas Powers wrote in his book, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA: "The President is the sun in the CIA's solar system. The Central Intelligence Agency and its Director serve the President alone." The Senate Intelligence Committee isn't even in the executive branch of the government, and it is inconceivable that Tenet would confide something to them that he would not to the president. No one would believe this. Also, since Tenet, who had become a close friend of the president, briefed the president every morning in the Oval Office, it is equally inconceivable that on the morning of October 7, 2002, Tenet would tell Bush that Hussein was an imminent threat to this country, and later in the day tell the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that he was not. (By the way, the White House press office confirmed to me that Tenet did brief Bush in the Oval Office on the morning of October 7. Bush left Washington on Air Force One at 5:50 p.m. that day and started his speech to the nation in Cincinnati at 8:01 p.m.)

Bush had said that with respect to going to war with Iraq: "I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence." Facts are stubborn little devils, and whatever other CIA document or documents the Bush administration might come up with to support Bush's statement to the American people on the evening of October 7, 2002, it cannot get around the fact that at the time of his speech, the very latest intelligence of the CIA about Hussein was that he was not an imminent threat to this country. And just as obviously, this CIA assessment on October 7 would not have been made overnight. It almost certainly preceded October 7 by weeks, maybe months, throughout all of which time Tenet would have been informing Bush of essentially the same conclusion he expressed in his October 7 letter.

In fact, we know it preceded October 7 by at least one week. The classified 2002 National Intelligence Estimate issued by the CIA to the Bush administration and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on October 1, 2002, sets forth the same conclusion as the October 7 letter in slightly different words. (See later text). It should be noted that this October 1 CIA report, then, also gave Bush notice, prior to his speech in Cincinnati, that the CIA did not consider Hussein an imminent threat to this nation.

So when Bush told the nation on the evening of October 7 that Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country, he was telling millions of Americans the exact opposite of what his own CIA was telling him. In other words, to further his own personal agenda, Bush lied to the country, and on the very gravest of matters concerning war and peace. And there was no way he could invoke national security as a defense for his lie. As it turned out, he didn't have to offer any defense at all. When the aforementioned memo surfaced on October 8, 2002, a few papers briefly mentioned the apparent contradiction between Tenet's letter and Bush's speech to the nation and then the matter was immediately forgotten. None of the books or articles or newspaper columns on the case since then that I am aware of focused on this matter. In other words, the media gave Bush a pass and let him get away with his monumental lie to the nation.

To summarize this all-important point, since we know, by the Bush administration's own admission, that it was relying on U.S. intelligence to form its conclusion on whether Hussein was a threat to the security of this country, and since we know that U.S. intelligence (in the form of the sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies that gave their input into the CIA's 2002 National Intelligence Estimate) told the Bush administration that Hussein was not an imminent threat, by definition Bush and his people could not have been acting in self-defense when they went to war in Iraq. That is, not if they were relying on U.S. intelligence as opposed to some Washington, D.C., fortune-teller. In other words, Bush and his gang can't have it both ways.


4. Bush, at a trial, would never, of course, admit that he took the country to war under false pretenses, not in self-defense. But as I have indicated, this can be shown by circumstantial evidence. However, we also have direct evidence of Bush and his people lying in several statements on an extremely important document, which is circumstantial evidence of their state of mind that they wanted, intended, to lie, and that was their modus operandi.

The most important prewar intelligence report that the Bush administration relied upon to justify its going to war in Iraq was the aforementioned October 1, 2002, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a CIA report that utilized the input of every intelligence agency in the federal government, such as the Defense Department's DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), the National Security Agency, etc., and was classified "Top Secret." The NIE report (titled "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction"), which was sent to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was of course kept under lock and key in a secure room. But although any member of Congress could have read the report, as set forth in Hubris, the Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraqi War, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, "Senate aides would calculate that no more than a half dozen or so members actually went to the secure room" to read it. One might ask why? One reason is incompetence, another reason is sloth. Yet another reason is that members of Congress are very busy people with many other matters to tend to, though none more important than becoming as knowledgeable as possible before voting on whether to go to war.

But one thing has to be said in defense of the many Democratic members of Congress who didn't read the report yet voted for the war, mouthing almost the same dire warnings of the Iraqi threat as Bush and his team did. (In the House of Representatives, 81 Democrats voted for the war, 126 against it; no Republican voted against it. In the Senate, 29 Democrats voted for the war, 21 against it, and only one Republican voted against it.) The Bush administration conducted many briefing sessions for congressional members in which the briefers grossly overstated and distorted the existing evidence, just as they did to the American public. How could these senators and representatives who were present at these briefings have been expected not to accept what they were being told, and say to themselves, "I'm going to try to check all this out myself"? How could these members of Congress have imagined that a presidential administration consisted of a bunch of people who were deliberately lying to them and the American public about a matter of war and peace? Since there is no prior record of such criminal conduct in American history, why would they have any reason to be skeptical about what they were being told?

As former Democratic senator Bob Graham, who was a member of the Senate at the time, said, "Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him [President Bush] to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud." Democratic senator Tom Daschle, the senate majority leader at the time, said, "Bush was telling me that Iraq had WMD and we had to move."

But perhaps most importantly, even if more members of Congress had bothered to read the classified NIE report, it would have been unavailing because we know that all of the CIA conclusions in the report that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were wrong. But the senators and representatives would have had no way of knowing this at the time. It was the responsibility of the Bush administration, not individual members of Congress, to vet all CIA documents and information for accuracy.

The 2004 report on prewar intelligence of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [4] said that the CIA's conclusions in its October, 2002 NIE classified report on Iraq's illicit weapons were "either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting." (The committee gave, as examples, the CIA saying it was its belief that Iraq was "reconstituting its nuclear program," had "chemical and biological weapons," and was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle "probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents.") Now, why would CIA professionals do something like this? The most reasonable inference, and many independent observers agree, is that the Bush administration, seeking to secure the support of Congress in using force in Iraq, was putting relentless pressure on the CIA to state as strong a case for war as they could. In preparing the NIE report, people at the agency like CIA director George Tenet, whose very job depended on the pleasure of the president, must have felt like a rope in a tug-of-war between their conscience on one side and the lying, immoral Bush administration on the other side.

But even the CIA's bloated and inaccurate conclusions in its classified NIE report weren't good enough for the Bush administration. Additionally, the classified version contained some vigorous dissents to these conclusions. When, on October 1, 2002, Democratic senator Bob Graham, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (commonly referred to as the Senate Intelligence Committee), requested of the CIA that it provide an unclassified, public version of the NIE report Graham and his committee had just received, so the American people could see these dissents and reservations, the Bush administration reportedly had its chief water-carrier, Condoleezza Rice, contact George Tenet at the CIA and tell Tenet what the American people really should see. Who won out? Graham or the water-carrier? The twenty-five-page unclassified version of the classified NIE report, titled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs" and issued by the CIA on October 4, 2002, clearly showed that the water-carrier carried more weight with the CIA than Senator Graham.

As Senator Graham told me in a conversation on November 29, 2007: "The unclassified version the CIA sent over [which became known as the 'White Paper'] not only didn't give me what I requested, they gave me a document that was nothing more than propaganda, a full-throated cry for war with no tempering information." The White Paper, issued by the Bush administration to Congress and the public to persuade them to support its rush to war, deleted the very dissenting opinions Graham wanted the public to hear. Moreover, the CIA literally changed its conclusions in a way that made them more frightening to the American public. There can be little question at all that by unstated words, or more, Rice communicated to Tenet that the Bush administration (of which the CIA, in the executive branch, is a part) wanted a stronger report, which would be the Bush administration's version of the original classified NIE report. It is inconceivable that without the intercession of Rice or some other Bush administration representative, the CIA would decide, on its own and in print, to contradict a report it had just issued three days earlier. This new version, then, was the Bush administration's version of the original classified NIE report. [5]

Let's now look at the NIE's October 1, 2002, classified report and then the Bush administration's October 4, 2002, unclassified version, the White Paper, which was presented to Congress and the American people just one week before the congressional vote authorizing the Bush administration to invade Iraq. We'll see how the Bush administration lied to the American public to make the case for war much stronger. Like typical criminals, Bush and his people left their incriminating fingerprints everywhere, showing an unmistakable consciousness of guilt on their part. But they never did so as openly and audaciously as they did with the NIE report and White Paper. Bush and his people's selective use of intelligence information and outright distortion of facts to justify going to war with Iraq would have caused even Machiavelli's jaw to drop.

Here's the evidence. When the 2002 NIE report (the original top-secret CIA classified report which the Bush administration publicly promoted as its gold standard, its main evidence for going to war) was declassified in part in July 2003 and April 2004, we learned that it said, for instance: "We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction programs in defiance of UN resolutions ... " Bush's White Paper, shown to the American public and Congress, deleted the words "We judge that" (words that clearly signified this was merely a CIA opinion) and started with the words "Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction programs ... " So essentially opinion was turned into fact by a compliant CIA operating under the heel of the gang of thugs in the White House. For those Bush apologists who say this change was not an important one, and that I'm nitpicking, I would respond -- then why did Bush and his people bother to make the change? By definition, by their doing it they revealed that they believed their change did make a difference, that it was substantive and important. There would have been no other valid reason to make the change.

Going on, the CIA's classified NIE report says, "We assess that Baghdad has begun renewed production of mustard, sarin, GF (cyclosarin) and VX." In the White Paper issued by the Bush administration to the American public and Congress, the words "We assess that" are deleted and it reads "Baghdad has begun ... "

In the classified NIE report, the words are "although we have little specific information on Iraq's CW [chemical weapons] stockpile [they had no information], Saddam probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons (MT) and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW agents -- much of it added in the last year." The White Paper issued to the American public and Congress deleted the words "although we have little specific information on Iraq's CW stockpile." It simply reads, "Saddam probably has ... "

The classified NIE report says, "We judge that Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW [biological weapons] and is capable of producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers and covert operatives." In the White Paper, the honorable and moral and ethical and patriotic and very religious people in the White House deleted the words "We judge that" and started with the words "Iraq has some lethal ... " Then, incredibly, after the words "for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers and covert operatives" in the original NIE report, the White Paper actually inserted these words that were not even in the report: "including potentially against the U.S. homeland." We're in the majors, now, folks. This is big-time deception.

How, you may ask at this point, would these thugs have the guts to change the language of an official document that they had to know at some point would become declassified? I guess for several reasons. First, by the time the NIE document was declassified, it would be long after the start of the war the Bush administration wanted so badly; Secondly, they know how completely out of it the American public (the Walking Dead) is and how they only focus, if at all, on what's happening today, their memory lasting as long as a breath upon a mirror. And finally, they know from experience that with the very weak liberal media, and pathetic liberal TV personalities like Charlie Rose, Ted Koppel, and George Stephanopoulos -- physiological marvels who are somehow able to sit erect in front of a camera without a spine -- they can literally get by with murder. After all, this is 2008, and I'm just a former prosecutor working out of a converted stall of my garage in far-off LA. Yet before this book, who has really hit these despicable human beings the way they deserve to be hit?

Continuing, the classified NIE report stated that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles called UAVs, "probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents." But in the White Paper, our friends in the Bush administration left out a footnote to this in the original NIE report that stated that the U.S. Air Force director for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance did not agree. The Senate Select Committee said that by eliminating that footnote from the unclassified version, the White Paper given to Congress and the American public "is missing the fact that [the] agency with primary responsibility for technological analysis on UAV programs did not agree with the [CIA] assessment."

The White Paper said that" all intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons." But this was a lie. The White Paper deleted the dissent of the Intelligence and Research bureau of the State Department that "the activities we have detected do not, however, add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing ... an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons."

Was anything else deleted from the classified report? Yes. The White Paper said that Baghdad, which, prior to the Gulf War in 1991 was attempting to develop a nuclear weapon, was "vigorously trying" to buy uranium from Niger to reconstitute its nuclear program. But Congress and the American people weren't told that the classified NIE report contained a dissent to this conclusion from the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which said that such claims were "highly dubious."

Likewise, the White Paper said that Hussein was purchasing high-strength aluminum tubes, which were believed to be intended for use as "centrifuge rotors" in the production of nuclear weapons. But Congress and the American people were not told that the classified NIE report contained dissents from the U.S. Department of Energy as well as the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which said that they believed the tubes were "not intended" for and "not part of" any alleged Iraqi nuclear program.

By far the most serious and inexcusable change the Bush administration made in its White Paper is that the classified NIE report said that Hussein would only use the weapons of mass destruction he was believed to have if he were first attacked; that is, in self-defense. It read: "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger case for making war. Iraq probably would attempt clandestine attacks against the U.S. Homeland if Baghdad feared [that] an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable ... " With Bush and his people desperately trying to frighten the American people into war by making them believe Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this nation, these were the very last words in the world they would want the American people to hear. So they simply omitted every one of these all-important words from the White Paper. [6]

So Bush and his gang of criminals were constantly telling Americans that Hussein constituted an imminent threat to the security of this country, but they kept the truth from the American people that their CIA was telling them the exact opposite, that Hussein and Iraq were not an imminent threat to this country. Indeed, that Iraq would only attack us if they, Iraq, were in fear of an imminent attack on them by us. How evil, how perverse, how sick, how criminal can Bush and his people be? Yet unbelievably, they got away with all of this.

I have a question for Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, who has said, "I read the National Intelligence Estimate cover to cover a couple of times." Since it was the consensus of sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies that Hussein was not an imminent threat to this country unless he feared we were about to attack him, wasn't keeping this all-important conclusion out of the White Paper so egregiously wrong that even you should have said to your gang: "you know, guys, these other distortions are bad enough. But this is going too far." What I'm saying is -- was there no level of deception beyond which you were unwilling to go in helping your boss take America to war under false pretenses? Of course, certain questions answer themselves by being asked.

Although the truth is often an elusive fugitive, what do all of the above deliberate deletions and distortions in the White Paper -- every one of which went in the same direction, to exaggerate the threat posed by Hussein and Iraq -- show very, very, very clearly? They show, unmistakably, the state of mind of Bush and his people to deliberately lie and distort the truth to further their objective of persuading the American public and Congress that it was the right thing, in self-defense, to go to war with Iraq now. With that state of mind, which we know (not think) they had, all of the many other allegations about the Bush administration's lies and distortions necessarily become more believable.

What the above also shows is that the CIA's George Tenet, Bush's personal friend, entered into a Faustian bargain and sold his agency and America out. As six former CIA officials wrote to Tenet at the time Tenet published his memoirs in April of 2007: "you helped build the case for war. You betrayed the C.I.A. officers who collected the intelligence that made it clear that Saddam did not pose an imminent threat. You betrayed the analysts who tried to withstand the pressure applied by Cheney and Rumsfeld ... Although [the] C.I.A. learned in late September 2002 ... that Iraq had no past or present contact with Osama Bin Laden and that the Iraqi leader considered Bin Laden an enemy ... you still went before Congress in February 2003 and testified that Iraq did indeed have links to Al Qaeda ... Your tenure as head of the C.I.A. has helped create a world that is more dangerous. It is doubly sad that you seem still to lack an adequate appreciation of the enormous amount of death and carnage you have facilitated."


Before we continue, let's briefly discuss a matter that infuses all of these points -- whether the Bush administration put undue pressure on U.S. intelligence agencies to provide it with conclusions that would help them in their quest for war. The Senate Intelligence Committee was split on the issue. While Republicans on the committee claimed the administration did not exert such pressure, the Democrats, though agreeing with the report's conclusion that the Bush administration never tried to coerce an intelligence agency to "change" a finding the agency had already reached in a report, did not agree with the Republicans that no political pressure had been placed on U.S. intelligence analysts by the Bush administration. Senator John Rockefeller said that the Senate committee's report "fails to fully explain the environment of intense pressure in which the intelligence community officials were asked to render judgments on matters relating to Iraq when the most senior officials in the Bush administration had already forcefully and repeatedly stated their conclusions publicly. It was clear to all of us in this room ... and to many others that they had made up their mind that they were going to go to war."

Indeed, the evidence is clear that the Bush administration did put pressure on the intelligence community. Before I present just some of the evidence, consider this. If a man told you that while he was walking down the street he saw orange trees on the block, and another said he did not, whom would you believe? Assuming neither man was crazy or lying, obviously you'd believe the man who saw the orange trees. The one who didn't could have had all sorts of reasons for not seeing the orange trees, such as not looking, or being distracted with other thoughts. But how can you refute the statement of the man who saw the orange trees?

Here, there is much, much evidence -- the witnesses who saw the orange trees -- that the Bush administration pressured the CIA and others. This is just some of the evidence.

In an interview with Good Morning America in 2004, Bush's former counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke, said that on September 12, just one day after 9/11: "The President in a very intimidating way left us -- me and my staff -- with the clear indication that he wanted us to come back with the word that there was an Iraqi hand behind 9/11." Clark explained in his book, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, that when he told Bush the day after 9/11 that the CIA was already explicit that only Al Qaeda was guilty of the attacks, Bush wasn't satisfied with this answer and insisted that he and his people look again for an Iraqi connection. "Absolutely; we will look again," he old Bush. "But you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of Al Qaeda and not found any real linkages to Iraq. Iran plays a little [with Al Qaeda], as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen." "Look into Iraq, Saddam," the president said "testily," according to Clarke.

At a meeting in August 2002 of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency on the proposed war in Iraq, Douglas J. Feith, the Pentagon's under secretary of Defense for Policy, showed up at the meeting (which several DIA analysts said was very unusual) and proceeded to criticize the CIA's failure to turn up any link between Bin Laden and Hussein. The obvious message was that he didn't want them to do likewise. (Feith at the time was running a rogue intelligence operation out of his office for the Bush administration that was dedicated to finding any real or imagined link between Hussein and Al Qaeda -- regardless of how poor the source -- to help make its case for war. A favorite source of Feith's shadow intelligence unit was the Iraqi National Congress, an Iraqi exile group headed by Ahmed Chalabi, a sworn enemy of Hussein whom the Bush administration at one time was grooming to replace Hussein when he fell, and whose "information" was sometimes flat-out fabricated.)

Robin Raphel, a twenty-eight-year veteran of the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service, said that in the buildup to war, key decisions were "ideologically based. They were not based on analytical, historical understanding." She said the invasion's timing was driven by "clear political pressure" and the atmosphere was one of apprehension, in which the Bush administration people kept close watch on others. "There were political people round and about. One had to be careful."

David J. Dunford, a Middle East specialist for the State Department who was put in charge of the Iraq Foreign Ministry right after the invasion, said that prewar in the Bush administration, "you could feel there was a drive to go to war no matter what the facts."

Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of the CIA, said that in 2003 there was significant pressure on the intelligence community to find evidence that supported a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the [Bush] administration's "hammering" on Iraq intelligence was harder than any he had seen in his thirty-two years at the agency.

Kenneth Pollack was a Clinton administration National Security official who strongly and outspokenly supported the invasion of Iraq. Nonetheless, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on June 20, 2003, which was after the war started, he said he had heard "many complaints from friends still in government that some Bush officials were mounting a ruthless campaign over intelligence estimates. I was told that when government analysts wrote cautious assessments of Iraq's capabilities, they were grilled and forced to go to unusual lengths to defend their judgments, and some were chastised for failing to come to more alarming conclusions."

In an article in the journal Foreign Affairs on February 10, 2006, retired CIA agent Paul Pillar, who oversaw CIA intelligence assessments about Iraq from 2000 to 2005, accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq. "Intelligence was misused publicly [i.e., to the American public] to justify decisions that had already been made." He wrote that as a result of political pressure, CIA analysts began to "sugarcoat" their conclusions regarding the threat posed by Iraqi weapons and about ties between Hussein and Al Qaeda.

Larry Johnson, a registered Republican and former CIA official who voted for and contributed to Bush's 2000 campaign for the presidency and thereafter became the deputy director of the U.S. State Department's Office of Counterterrorism, said that in "April of last year [2003], I was beginning to pick up grumblings from friends inside the intelligence community that there had been pressure applied to analysts to come up with certain conclusions. Specifically, I was told that analysts were pressured to find an operational link between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. One analyst in particular told me they were repeatedly pressured by the most senior officials in the Department of State."


5. Continuing on with the pieces of evidence showing that the Bush administration lied to the country when it claimed that Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country, though we obviously have no admission from Bush or his people that they cooked the books and distorted the truth to take us to war, the closest thing to an admission from an insider is contained in the famous "Downing Street Memo" from Bush's staunch ally in the war, Britain. The July 23, 2002, memo, written by Matthew Rycroft, a foreign policy aide of British prime minister Tony Blair, was not really a memo but the minutes of a meeting between Blair and members of his war cabinet on the impending Iraq war. The minutes (memo) said that Sir Richard Dearlove, the chief of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (the equivalent of our CIA), told Blair at the war cabinet meeting that, from his meetings in Washington with Bush administration officials, it was obvious that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." In other words, Bush and his gang had decided to go to war with Iraq, "so now let's fix the facts to warrant what we've already decided we want to do." This is criminal, folks, and the source for this information couldn't be more credible and reliable -- a high-level official from Bush's biggest ally in the war, the British. The Bush administration consistently twisted and distorted the truth by omitting, exaggerating, or trivializing the facts to fit its purpose.

Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of the CIA's counterterrorism unit, said during the Bush administration's relentless buildup for war: "Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level [Bush administration] pronouncements, and there is a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA."


6. The evidence of "cherry-picking" by the Bush administration in taking the nation to war, only giving the American public information that supported the Bush administration's position, never anything that refuted it or threw it open to question, could be the subject matter of an entire book.

A March 6, 2004, New York Times article, quoting several U.S. government officials, said, "U.S. Intelligence agencies and the Bush administration cited only reports from informants who supported the view that Iraq possessed so-called weapons of mass destruction. Other government officials said they knew of several occasions from 2001 to 2003 when Iraqi scientists, defectors and others had told American intelligence officers that Iraq did not possess illicit weapons." But these reports were "dismissed" because "they did not conform" to the Bush administration position. "It appears," one government official put it, "that human intelligence wasn't deemed interesting and useful if it was exculpatory of Iraq."

Here is an extremely important example of cherry-picking, and even then, the cherry was a rotten one that should never have been swallowed. The main source the Bush administration relied upon to claim that Iraq had a fleet of mobile labs (or "factories") producing biological poisons (proven by UN inspectors to be false information before the war) was an informant aptly code-named "Curveball" by his German handlers. Curveball claimed that he had actually been a part of the team that built the labs. Although Bush used "information" from "Curveball" in several prewar speeches, including his 2003 State of the Union address, and Secretary of State Powell used the same information in his address before the United Nations on February 5, 2003, and everyone agrees that Curveball's information was one of the most important pillars Bush and his administration used to justify going to war, the CIA itself never even personally interviewed Curveball, a Baghdad-born chemical engineer who sought political asylum in Germany in 1999 after earlier being fired from his job and jailed for theft.

But the biggest problem is that "Curveball" was a completely unreliable informant. Curveball's German handlers in the BND (German intelligence service), who knew him well, said that Curveball was "not a psychologically stable guy. He's not a completely normal person." Indeed, when Tyler Drumheller, in 2002 the head of clandestine services in the CIA's European division, met with the BND station chief at the German embassy in Washington, the German officer told Drumheller that Curveball, a heavy drinker, had had a mental breakdown and was "crazy. Principally, we think he's probably a fabricator." Just one example of a Curveball fabrication: In Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations he said that "an eyewitness, an Iraqi chemical engineer [Curveball] actually was present during biological agent production runs. He was also at the site when an accident occurred in 1998. Twelve technicians died from exposure to biological agents." But the Presidential Commission on Illegal Weapons noted in its 2005 report that when the alleged 1998 accident happened, Curveball "was not even in Iraq at that time, according to information supplied by family members and later confirmed by travel records."

Indeed, almost everything about Curveball seemed to be a lie. Even the name he used, Ahmed Hussein Mohammed, was a false name (true name: Rafid Ahmed Alwan). He said he graduated number one in his chemical engineering class at the University of Baghdad. But a later check of the school records revealed he finished at the bottom of his class. His childhood friends called him a" great liar" and a "con artist."

The Los Angeles Times, which interviewed five senior officials from BND, reported in its November 20, 2005, edition: "The senior BND officer who supervised Curveball's case said he was aghast" when he heard Powell use Curveball's information in his speech before the United Nations as "justification for war." [7] The official told the Times: "We were shocked. Mein Gott. We had always told them [U.S.] it [what Curveball said] was not proven ... It was not hard intelligence." It was simply a report on what Curveball told them which they forwarded on to U.S. intelligence agencies (specifically the CIA and DIA), never saying the information contained in the report was verified. Another German official told the Times: "This was not substantial evidence. We made clear [to the U.S.] we could not verify the things he said."

In a speech at Georgetown University on February 5, 2004, CIA director George Tenet confirmed what this German official had told the Times. In the process he inadvertently all but confirmed that the CIA, at the Bush administration's stated or implied behest, was knowingly distorting intelligence information. Speaking of Curveball, Tenet said his CIA had "missed the notice [obviously from the Germans] that identified" him ''as providing information that in some cases was unreliable and in other cases fabricated. We have acknowledged this mistake." But how in the world could trained CIA analysts look at correspondence and other information from German intelligence and see what Curveball is alleging but not see where the Germans are saying this source is not reliable and is a fabricator? I mean, I guess anything is possible. But how believable is this? Not at all.

In fact, in 2005 Drumheller told the Presidential Commission on Illegal Weapons that everyone in the CIA's chain of command knew about the severe problems with Curveball's credibility, and documentation on his unreliability was circulated widely within the agency. (The Times reported that Drumheller had told it the same thing.) James L. Pavitt, the CIA's deputy director of operations at the time, told the Times that "there was yelling and screaming about this guy" at the agency.

"CIA officials," the Times wrote, "now concede that the Iraqi [Curveball] fused fact, research he gleaned on the internet, and what his former co-workers [in Iraq] called 'water cooler gossip' into a nightmarish fantasy that played on U.S. fears after the September 11 attacks." Never mind. What Curveball was saying sure as hell sounded good to Bush and his people, who were gunning for war, and ready to use any information, confirmed or not, from an unreliable source or not, that could help them in their immoral and I say highly criminal marketing campaign to sell America on the Iraqi war.

The Bush administration never once shared what they knew about Curveball's lack of credibility with Congress or the American people. Indeed, there is no evidence that either Congress or the public even knew of Curveball's existence. All they knew was that the CIA said it was its belief that Iraq had biological weapons of mass destruction.

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Postby admin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:21 pm

Part 3 of 5

7. One of the most notorious instances of the Bush administration using thoroughly discredited information to frighten the American public into war was the famous Niger incident. Briefly, in Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union speech he declared that "the British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," sixteen now infamous words that have come back to haunt the Bush administration. Uranium, once enriched, can be used for nuclear weapons fuel. The country in Africa was alleged to be the former French colony of Niger, a very poor country in northern Africa. One of Niger's resources is uranium. And, indeed, the 2002 NIE said that Baghdad had been vigorously seeking to buy uranium from Niger.

The only problem was that the Niger allegation was not true. In fact, Joseph C. Wilson IV, the former ambassador to Iraq, was sent to Niger by the CIA in February of 2002 because Vice President Cheney's office wanted to know if there was anything to an intelligence report that referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake (a form of lightly processed ore) to Iraq by Niger in the late 1990s. After spending eight days investigating the matter in Niger, where he had been a U.S. diplomat in the mid-1970s, Wilson reported back to the CIA that it was "highly doubtful" such a transaction had ever taken place, and in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on July 6, 2003, he attacked the Bush administration for claiming there was any truth to the story.

Further, the Los Angeles Times reported in its December 11, 2005, edition that Alain Chouet, the former chief of the counterintelligence division of France's national spy service (Direction Generale de la securite Exterieure), had told the paper that nearly a year before Bush declared in his 2003 State of the Union address that Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Niger, his group, per the CIA's request, conducted an extensive investigation in Niger, where the uranium mines are owned and operated by French companies, and found that there was absolutely no evidence to support the claim. Chouet said his spy service furnished the CIA with this information, and when the allegation continued to surface, his unit repeatedly warned the CIA that there was no truth to it. A former CIA official confirmed to the Times that the French had, indeed, given the agency this information. The Times reported further that another French government official informed the paper that when Bush said in his 2003 address he was basing his information on a British report, French intelligence viewed the British report as "totally crazy because there was no backup for this." Nevertheless, he said, the French once again conducted an investigation, turning things "upside down" to see if there was any basis for the story, but again, they found nothing.

No wonder. The original documents making the claim that the country of Niger had agreed to sell Hussein uranium were crude forgeries. The story first surfaced in Rome, after the documents were taken (along with many other documents and items like a wristwatch, stamps, perfume, etc.) in a purported January 1, 2001, burglary at the Republic of Niger's embassy there. In late September of 2001, the documents came into the hands of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, which in mid-October sent a report on the entire incident to the CIA.

There were several indications that the documents were forged. For instance, although the main document (dated July 6, 2000) said its contents were "top secret," it was only stamped "confidential." And it bore the signature of a Niger foreign minister who hadn't served in that capacity for several years. Even the representation of Niger's national emblem was incorrect. Also, an accompanying document had the heading of an organization that had ceased to exist five months prior to the date of the document. And so on.

On March 7, 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the UN Security Council that "based on thorough analysis" his agency concluded that the "documents which formed the basis for the report of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic." Indeed, author Craig Unger conducted extensive research into the Niger incident for a 2006 article in Vanity Fair and interviewed many former CIA and DIA officials who worked for these agencies at the time, such as Melvin Goodman, a former senior analyst at the CIA and State Department; Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of operations of counterterrorism at the CIA; and Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff. Unger uncovered at least fourteen instances prior to the 2003 State of the Union address by Bush in which analysts at the CIA, the State Department, or other government agencies that had examined the Niger documents "raised serious doubts about their legitimacy -- only to be rebuffed by Bush administration officials who wanted to use them."

The Niger documents, even though they were thoroughly discredited by U.S. intelligence, were seen by Bush and his people as providing them with the opportunity to frighten and deceive the American public. The water-carrier, Condi Rice, started the propaganda campaign on September 8, 2002, when she told CNN: "There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were apparently quite taken with the mushroom cloud allusion and began using it, or variations of it, in many of their speeches to the country.

Several days before Bush's speech to the nation in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, in which he alleged that Hussein posed an imminent threat to the country, his National Security Council sent a draft of the proposed speech, which asserted that Hussein "has been caught attempting to purchase up to 500 metric tons of uranium oxide from Africa -- an essential ingredient in the [nuclear] enrichment process -- to the CIA. The CIA faxed a reply back telling the White House to delete the uranium reference, but the White House was persistent, sending another draft deleting only the 500 metric ton reference. George Tenet, the CIA director at the time, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that this time he personally called Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley (the current National security adviser) on October 7 and told him that the president "should not be a fact witness on this issue" because the "reporting was weak." The attempt to purchase uranium was removed from the draft, but as noted earlier, Bush still stuck in his speech that night in Cincinnati that Hussein "could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." And in subsequent speeches by Bush and his administration, they used the Niger reference.

Finally, the Department of Defense asked the CIA's National Intelligence Council, which oversees all federal agencies that deal with intelligence, to look into the Niger matter. On January 24, 2003, four days before the president's State of the Union address on January 28, the council sent a memo (drafted by national intelligence officer Robert G. Houdek) to the White House stating that "the Niger story is baseless and should be laid to rest."

So how did the sixteen words get into Bush's address to the nation on January 28? Everyone claims ignorance, including Condoleezza Rice. Rice -- whose very job it was as national security adviser to coordinate all intelligence from the intelligence community and present it, with advice, to the president in a cohesive manner -- while acknowledging that the Niger information was "not credible," claimed, unbelievably, that no one in the White House was aware of this until after Bush gave his address. "No one knew at the time in our circles that there were doubts and suspicions" about the Niger information, she said. "We wouldn't have put it in the speech if we had known what we know now." She says she never saw the January 2003 memo and even says, "I don't remember reading [an October 6, 2002] memo" from CIA director George Tenet which she admits was addressed directly to her that said the Niger-uranium claim was without merit. Why didn't she read it? "Because," she said, "when George Tenet says, 'Take it out,' we simply take it out. We don't need a rationale from George Tenet as to why to take it out." But Condoleezza, how would you even know what to take out if you didn't read the memo?

CIA director George Tenet did Rice one better. Although on January 27, 2003, the day before Bush's State of the Union address, he was given a draft of it at a National Security Council meeting, he claims he never read it, so did not know the sixteen words about Hussein trying to buy uranium from Niger were in it. Tenet later acknowledged in July of 2003 that his CIA, however, had "vetted" the speech, and apologized for himself and his agency. "These sixteen words should never have been included" in Bush's speech, he said.

Also in July, there was another mea culpa, this one by Stephen Hadley, Rice's number one deputy, who fell on his sword for the Bush administration. He admitted to reporters that he had read two memos the CIA sent to his office at the National Security Council on October 5 and 6 (the one on October 5 addressed to him and the one on the 6th addressed directly to Rice, a copy being sent to the White House Situation Room) before Bush's speech on October 7. Bush's chief speech writer, Michael Gerson, received copies of both memos, Hadley said. The memos, Hadley acknowledged, stated that the Niger information was no good and the reference to it should be removed. However, Hadley claimed that by the time of Bush's State of the Union address less than four months later he had forgotten about what he had read, and he took full blame for the incident. "I should have asked that the 16 words be taken out" of Bush's address, he said. Note that Hadley's admission proves the falsity (and almost assuredly the lie) of Rice's statement that prior to Bush's State of the Union speech, "no one in our circles" knew about the problems with the Niger reference. I mean, if Hadley, Rice's chief deputy at the National Security Council, and the White House Situation Room were not in Rice's circle, who was?

If you believe that Rice never read the CIA's October memo sent directly to her, and never learned, from her chief deputy Hadley or anyone else, that doubt had been cast on the Niger claim (if, during their workday, Rice and Hadley didn't discuss extremely important things like this, then what did they talk about?), and you believe that Tenet never bothered to read a draft of Bush's State of the Union address which was given him to read, and Hadley (a man known for his attention to detail), just a few months after reading about the CIA's challenging the validity of the Niger claim, had completely forgotten about it, and Bush, after seeing the Niger reference deleted from his Cincinnati speech, never asked and was told why, then you are probably the type who would believe someone who told you he had seen a man jumping away from his own shadow, that Frenchmen were no longer drinking wine.

The truth was that the Bush administration, desperately trying to find a way to include the Niger reference in Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address, finally found it by simply quoting and embracing a British intelligence report on September 24, 2002, that Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger, a report that the CIA warned the British should not be given credence. In closed-door testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in July of 2003, Alan Foley, a CIA expert on weapons of mass destruction, testified that Robert G. Joseph, a senior adviser to Rice, faxed a draft of the president's State of the Union speech with the Niger reference in it to the CIA days before the speech. Foley told Joseph that the Niger reference should be taken out. Joseph then suggested alternative language be used attributing the Niger reference not to U.S. intelligence but to the British report, and Foley assented.

Of course, you have to know (I'm being sarcastic here) that although Joseph was a chief adviser to Rice, he was running off completely on his own on this, and his superiors, Hadley and Rice, had no idea what he was up to. That is why when the entire Bush administration was later embarrassed by the erroneous Niger reference in Bush's State of the Union address, and they learned it was all Joseph's fault, he was reprimanded and fired. Right. He was not, of course, since he was only a spear-carrier for Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Hadley. And if you fire an emissary spear-carrier, you have to worry, don't you, about his spilling the beans in an expose book.

As Colonel Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, said about Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al., "They were just relentless. You would take language out" of a speech and they would find some way to "stick it back in. That was their favorite bureaucratic technique."

"All of these things," Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said, referring to the Niger nuclear threat issue, "simply were not true. The [Bush] administration knew that, but they did not share that with me or anyone else in Congress that I know of."

Because of what Bush said in his State of the Union address, America could only think that there was a strong possibility that Hussein was planning a nuclear attack on us, exactly what Bush and his people wanted them to believe to build up their claim of self-defense (a pre-emptive attack) in going to war. The information was phony and the Bush administration had been told it was phony, but Bush and his people decided to lie to the American public to drag them into a horrendous war, one in which over 100,000 people have died horrible deaths.

Has any American president, ever, engaged in such monumentally criminal and deadly activity? No. Indeed, I don't believe any other president would even have dreamed of doing such a thing.

If all of the above, enough to enrage a saint, doesn't make your blood boil, it's only because you are a bloodless wonder, and belong as a feature exhibit at the Smithsonian.


Before I move on to a discussion of the second lie Bush foisted upon the American people (that Hussein was connected with Al Qaeda and 9/11), I want to discuss another point that fortifies the conclusion that Bush's war in Iraq had nothing to do with self-defense. The question that presents itself is, Why was Bush in such an incredible rush to go to war? The UN inspectors were making substantial progress and Hussein was giving them unlimited access. So why the rush? Surely he and his advisers couldn't possibly have truly believed that Hussein would launch a nuclear attack on us any day. Everyone knew that even assuming the worst -- that Hussein was working on developing a nuclear capability -- he wasn't even remotely close to having nuclear weapons yet. As former general Anthony Zinni pointed out, if indeed Hussein was a threat, "containment [of him by inspections] was working remarkably well." So again, why was Bush acting like a child who just had to get his hands on that piece of candy?

It would be difficult to come up with better evidence than the following that Bush wanted to go to war at all costs, that he was not acting in self-defense, and he was lying to the country when he said Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that made him an imminent threat to this country. In self-defense one kills because he has to in order to survive, not because he wants to kill his assailant and is searching for an opportunity to do so. Yet it clearly appears Bush was doing the latter.

With over 100 UN inspectors swarming all over Iraq from November 27, 2002, up to March of 2003 to ascertain if Hussein had any WMD [8] and reporting that after 731 inspections they had not found anything, surely Bush had to know that Hussein wouldn't try, right under the inspectors' noses, to develop any nuclear capacity or other weapons of mass destruction to use against us, and he couldn't do so even if he wanted to since he'd be discovered. Bush also had to know that if the United Nations' inspectors ultimately confirmed that Hussein had no such deadly weapons, and the inspectors stayed in Iraq to make sure Hussein never rearmed, he (Bush) could achieve his supposed objective of eliminating Iraq as a threat to the security of this country without the draconian resort to war. Wouldn't that have been better than having thousands of Americans and Iraqis die? Yes, if your objective truly was only to insure that Iraq no longer posed a threat to this country. But no, if Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction were just a pretext used by Bush to go to war.

On March 7, 2003, less than three weeks before Bush invaded Iraq, Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector in Iraq, addressed the UN Security Council. He said that since Hussein, in a letter to Blix, had invited UN weapons instructors back into his country in late November of 2002 (almost undoubtedly because just the previous month in Bush's speech to the nation from Cincinnati, it was obvious to Hussein that Bush wanted to go to war with Iraq and he was justifying it on the allegation that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction), his inspection teams had faced "relatively few difficulties," the most notable of which was that Iraq, as it had since 1991 after the Gulf War, objected to U.S. helicopters and aerial surveillance planes flying over Iraq in the "no-fly" zones. However, Blix said, Iraq's objections to this "were overcome." He said that "at this juncture [March 7, 2003] we are able to perform professional, no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase [our] aerial surveillance."

The only remaining problem was that Iraq was unable to provide documentation on all the illicit weapons it claimed it had destroyed. Still, when it directed the UN inspectors to some of the destruction sites, many destroyed bombs were found by the inspectors upon excavation and, Blix said, "samples have been taken." Also, Blix said, "The Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials" to help ensure the "absence of undue influence." On a related matter, Blix said that Iraq contended its Al-Samoud 2 missiles were within the permissible range set by the UN Security Council. When Blix and his people disagreed, Iraq agreed to start destroying all these missiles, and Blix said that as of March 7, the date of his address to the UN, "34 Al Samoud 2 missiles, including four training missiles, two combat warheads, one launcher, and five engines, had been destroyed. [9]

Blix, a taciturn and methodical Swedish constitutional lawyer, said that "after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation there's been an acceleration of initiatives from the Iraqi side" to resolve all disarmament issues, and that these initiatives "can be seen as active, even proactive." Blix added that "no evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found" by his inspectors and "no underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found so far." How much time would it take to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks? He said that for his inspectors to absolutely confirm that Iraq had no WMD "will not take years, nor weeks, but months." He noted that even after there had been "verified disarmament" in accordance with UN resolutions, "a sustained inspection and monitoring system is to remain in place ... to give confidence and to strike an alarm if signs were seen of the revival of any proscribed weapons programs."

And Mohamed El Baradei, the chief UN nuclear inspector in Iraq who was the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the UN Security Council that "we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq."

To anyone who did not want to go to war in Iraq unless necessary, this report from Blix and ElBaradei could not have been better news. Nine hundred and ninety-nine out of one thousand people who wanted, if possible, to avoid the horror and bloodshed of a terrible war in Iraq, would have been extremely encouraged by the Blix and EIBaradei reports, and wouldn't have dreamed of invading Iraq in a few weeks. Instead, Bush ordered Blix, EIBaradei, and their inspectors out of Iraq, refusing to grant them the requested time they needed to confirm the absence of WMD.

You see, when Blix and his UN inspectors reported that they were unable to find any weapons of mass destruction anywhere in Iraq, and that within months the inspectors would probably announce they were certain no such weapons existed, in a very real sense the United Nations inspectors paradoxically became Bush's greatest adversaries, the biggest obstacle to his desire, his passion, to go to war. In other words, if the UN inspectors confirmed that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, this would have robbed Bush of his main argument for war, a war he wanted to fight at all costs. Yet when George Bush told the nation on the evening of March 19, 2003, that the war in Iraq had started, he had the breath-stealing audacity to say that "our nation enters this conflict reluctantly." He paved the way for this obvious lie by using the following identical words in speeches on January 28, February 10, and February 20, "If war is forced upon us ... " At this point, right and wrong had as much chance of surviving as a cow in a Chicago stockyard.

As Hans Blix would later say (on the Today Show, March 15, 2004) about the Bush administration: "I think they had a set mind. They wanted to come to the conclusion that there were weapons of mass destruction ... They were wrong. There wasn't anything." Earlier, on February 24, 2004, Blix told People's Daily: "The Americans and British created facts where there were no facts at all. The Americans needed [Iraq to have] weapons of mass destruction to justify war."

Obviously, even before Blix presented his findings to the United Nations on March 7, 2003, Bush and his people were already completely aware, as everyone else was, that Blix and his inspectors were not finding any WMD. So Bush and his gang came up with a new demand, one that was not only beyond the power of the UN inspectors to satisfy, but one they virtually knew Hussein would never comply with, thus guaranteeing the war Bush wanted so desperately. Since Hussein was complying with UN orders to allow UN inspectors total access, and the inspectors were carrying out their mission effectively and finding nothing, on February 28, 2003, just three weeks before the war started, Bush suddenly raised the bar for avoiding war. Although the term "regime change" normally suggests a change of leadership, new leaders, Bush had said back on October 21, 2002, that "regime change" in Iraq could result if Hussein merely gave up all his weapons of mass destruction. "If he [Hussein] were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations," Bush said, "that in itself will signal that the regime has changed." Earlier, on October 7, 2002, Bush said, "By taking these steps to disarm, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict ... Taking these steps would change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. His [Hussein's] only choice is full compliance [with the UN resolution to disarm]." In other words, if Hussein complied with the UN resolution (1441) to disarm (something it has been confirmed he had already done way back in 1991 following the Persian Gulf War), he himself could survive since, as Bush said, a regime change would have taken place through Hussein's "change." It was, per Bush, Hussein's "only choice."

But on February 28, seeing that Hussein had apparently already complied with the UN resolution, Bush suddenly said that he would only not go to war if Hussein himself departed from Iraq for good, the condition the White House war-mongers just about knew Hussein would be unwilling to comply with.

To summarize, when it became clear that the whole purpose of Bush's prewar campaign -- to get Hussein to disarm -- was being (or already had been) met, the despicable man from Crawford and his people, to save their war, came up with a demand they had never once made before -- that Hussein resign and leave Iraq.

In a speech to the nation on the Monday evening of March 17, 2003, Bush said that "Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict." Hussein stayed put, and U.S. planes started dropping bombs on Baghdad on March 20, 2003, at 5:30 a.m. Baghdad time (9:30 p.m. EST, March 19). Bush had his war, and over 100,000 people would pay for it with their blood and lives.


I would like to raise one other matter -- the effort of France to take this nation back from the brink of a catastrophic war -- before getting to a discussion of Bush's second lie.

When France (as well as Germany, Russia, China, and most other nations that were members of the UN) refused to go along with Bush's rush to war, many insipid Americans started viciously attacking France verbally, even going so far as to boycott French food and restaurants. And even after it was discovered that Hussein had no WMD and was not involved in 9/11, these meathead Americans continued their denunciation of France. But the reality is that France never opposed the notion of war with Iraq. Responsibly seeking to avoid, if possible, the inevitable horror of armed conflict, it only opposed Bush's mad and irresponsible rush to war in Iraq. Such a war, French president Jacques Chirac feared, would outrage Arab and Islamic public opinion and "create a large number of little Bin Ladens." In a joint interview with CBS and CNN in Paris on March 16, 2003, three days before Bush invaded Iraq, Chirac said, "France is not pacifist. We are not anti-American either. But we just feel there is another option, another more normal way, a less dramatic way than war. And we should pursue it until we've come to a dead end, but that isn't the case." [10]

In other words, if we did come to a dead end after exhausting all nonviolent options, then he would not oppose war as a last resort. (Earlier, on February 5, 2003, Dominique de Villepin, the silver-haired French foreign minister, told the UN, "For now, the inspection process has not been completely explored. The use of force can only be a final recourse.") What other "more normal way" did Chirac have in mind? He spelled out the obvious: "The UN inspectors have said on several occasions that it [confirming whether or not Iraq had WMD] was not a matter of years, but not a matter of days either -- that it was a question of months. Is it one month, two months? I am ready for any agreement on this point that would have the backing of the inspectors."

Literally hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis (now in their graves or otherwise disabled for life and suffering incalculably) were alive and leading normal lives at the time Chirac made this appeal to reason. But reason only visits those who welcome it. What was the Bush administration's response to Chirac's proposal for a deadline of possibly one or two months before going to war? Vice President Dick Cheney told CBS's Face the Nation on March 16, 2003, that "these are just further delaying tactics." You know, let's get on with the show, though Cheney was a no-show during the Vietnam War when it was his generation's time to fight.
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