George H.W. Bush Dies, Trump Declares Dec 5 a Holiday, Markets Closed

George H.W. Bush died. Trump declared a "national day of mourning". And the unjustified accolades pour in.

National Day of Mourning

Accolades Pour In

That's just a sample. Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a lengthy supportive statement on friendship, service, and love.

The Intercept offers a more sobering view.

The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush: War Crimes, Racism, and Obstruction of Justice

Please consider The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush: War Crimes, Racism, and Obstruction of Justice.

THE TRIBUTES to former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday aged 94, have been pouring in from all sides of the political spectrum. He was a man “of the highest character,” said his eldest son and fellow former president, George W. Bush. “He loved America and served with character, class, and integrity,” tweeted former U.S. Attorney and /#resistance icon Preet Bharara. According to another former president, Barack Obama, Bush’s life was “a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.” Apple boss Tim Cook said: “We have lost a great American.”

“When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms,” as my colleague Glenn Greenwald has argued, because it leads to “false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts.” The inconvenient truth is that the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush had far more in common with the recognizably belligerent, corrupt and right-wing Republican figures who came after him — his son George W. and the current orange-faced incumbent — than much of the political and media classes might have you believe.

Facts matter. The 41st president of the United States was not the last Republican moderate or a throwback to an imagined age of conservative decency and civility; he engaged in race baiting, obstruction of justice, and war crimes. He had much more in common with the two Republican presidents who came after him than his current crop of fans would like us to believe.

  1. He ran a racist election campaign. The name of Willie Horton should forever be associated with Bush’s 1988 presidential bid.
  2. He made a dishonest case for war. Thirteen years before George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to justify his invasion and occupation of Iraq, his father made his own set of false claims to justify the aerial bombardment of that same country.
  3. Then there is the fabrication of intelligence. Bush deployed U.S. troops to the Gulf in August 1990 and claimed he was doing so in order “to assist the Saudi Arabian Government in the defense of its homeland.” As Scott Peterson wrote in the Christian Science Monitor in 2002, “Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated… that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.” Yet when reporter Jean Heller of the St. Petersburg Times acquired her own commercial satellite images of the Saudi border, she found no signs of Iraqi forces; only an empty desert.
  4. He committed war crimes. Under Bush Sr., the U.S. dropped a whopping 88,500 tons of bombs on Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, many of which resulted in horrific civilian casualties. In February 1991, for example, a U.S. airstrike on an air-raid shelter in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad killed at least 408 Iraqi civilians. According to Human Rights Watch, the Pentagon knew the Amiriyah facility had been used as a civil-defense shelter during the Iran-Iraq war and yet had attacked without warning. It was, concluded HRW, “a serious violation of the laws of war.”
  5. He refused to cooperate with a special counsel. The Iran-Contra affair, in which the United States traded missiles for Americans hostages in Iran, and used the proceeds of those arms sales to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua, did much to undermine the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Yet his vice president’s involvement in that controversial affair has garnered far less attention. “The criminal investigation of Bush was regrettably incomplete,” wrote Special Counsel Lawrence Walsh, a former deputy attorney general in the Eisenhower administration, in his final report on the Iran-Contra affair in August 1993.
  6. He escalated the racist war on drugs. In September 1989, in a televised addressto the nation from the Oval Office, Bush held up a bag of crack cocaine which he said had been “seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP.” Yet a Washington Post investigation later that month revealed that federal agents had “lured” the drug dealer to Lafayette Park so they could make an “undercover crack buy in a park better known for its location across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House than for illegal drug activity” (the dealer didn’t know where the White House was and even asked the agents for directions). Bush cynically used this prop — the bag of crack — to call for a $1.5 billion increase in spending on the drug war, declaiming: “We need more prisons, more jails, more courts, more prosecutors.”

That's a more complete assessment of George H.W. Bush. And for that, we have a "national day of mourning".

Why should we have to wait until someone is dead?

We should charge people with war crimes when they are alive.

His son was much worse.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (44)
No. 1-22
Stuki
Stuki

I wonder if the newspeakers will call Trump "humble" too, when he dies..... He'd probably consider it an insult..

Fact of the matter is, all leaders are self promoting scum. They wouldn't win the big price if they weren't. The guy with almost no scruples about doing what it takes, will always lose to the one with none at all. Stalin was no different than Jefferson. Except Jefferson had the insight to recognize this, hence attempted to, a priori, limit how much damage he, and others of his ilk, could cause; once he weaseled, bakstabbed and lied himself into the much sought after position of scumbag in chief.

Jojo
Jojo

Did Trump do this because he is hoping for the same when he dies? Me, I hope to spit on Trump's grave one day.

2banana
2banana

Any white guy in any role in government is a racist. Those are the modern standards.

Any minority in government can not be a racist. That is the rule.

No matter what they do.

Mish will never call for the arrest, trial and jailing of obama.

No matter if his war crimes are much, much worse.

"Hey, I am pretty good at killing people...:

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Number 1: George W Bush and Dick Cheney

Next is difficult

Obama, Trump, George H Bush, LBJ, and Hillary are all guilty or war crimes.

I would prosecute them all. Drone policy alone is sufficient.

Apologies from 2banana accepted in advance. Repeating this comment, the first seems to have vanished. MIsh

gregggg
gregggg

Just another John McCain asbestos casket moment.

hmk
hmk

You guys would write the same thing about the pope or Jesus. Never fucking happy. He was an honorable man and a true patriot. I believe he did what he thought was best for the country, not a self obsessed arrogant POS like most of his successors. The desert storm war article leaves out a few important points. One is that Sadam was given the chance to withdraw before the conflict was initiated. Even though initially he was given the green light prior to the invasion the situation must have changed afterward. It doesn't make sense otherwise. You cite one article like that is the only side of the story. There are always two sides and unfortunately most people are to ignorant to realize that.

Top-GUN
Top-GUN

"Read My Lips... NO New Taxes"

Ted R
Ted R

Don't hold back Mish. Tell us what you really think. LoL.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

"Yup, it is ridiculous to list nearly all recent US presidents to be war criminals. "

That asinine comment is precisely why the military war complex exists and why perpetual war is likely.

JL1
JL1

Saddam asked from US about what is their view on Iraq's relationship with Kuwait. This was after Kuwait and Iraq were both pumping oil from the same oil field that is partially in Kuwait and partially in Iraq.

The incompetent and clueless US official stated that it is strictly between Iraq and Kuwait and US will NOT get involved.

Saddam took this as a sign he could invade Kuwait. After all Saddam was USA's golden boy having attacked Iran and killed lots of Iranians and getting US arms to do it and keeping the Iran-Iraq war going for about 10 years.

Rumsfeld even went to give Saddam a hug in Baghdad because USA was so pleased Iraq was fighting Iran and killing lots of Iranians.

Before Saddam started gassing Kurds in North Iraq after they had a rebellion and wanted their own country Iraq had been using those same chemical weapons to gas Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war.

Reagan and George H. W. Bush were as happy as can be while Saddam was killing massive numbers of Iranians and waging an about 10 year war on Iran.

Also remember that Reagan was the original amnesty president and Reagan's 1986 amnesty to millions upon millions illegals made tens of millions of other illegals come to USA after 1986 since they heard that millions had gotten amnesty and thought another amnesty would be just a matter of time and in the meantime all their kids born in USA would get birthright citizenship and policy since Reagan has been that if a kid has gotten birthright citizenship his parents also get to stay in USA.

George H. W. Bush was involved in all of these policies and it is likely that since Reagan had Alzheimer soon after presidency that it was already affecting him in late 1980's and therefore George H. W. Bush was probably the one who said that amnesty is a good idea to Reagan and controlled him.

JL1
JL1

Obama's droning of people was clearly a war crime.

Also giving guns to Free Syrian Army that ended up with ISIS is another clear war crime.

Obama also let ISIS run their operations freely and fund their caliphate since under Obama ISIS oil shipments to Turkey were NOT bombed. Trump started bombing them and Caliphate collapse started.

Also attacking Libya and killing Gaddafi another war crime (although it was a French fighter jet that bombed Gaddafi's convoy when he was trying to escape Libya).

Gaddafi really should have given money to Clinton Foundation and a nice birthday president to Bill Clinton instead of funding Sarkozy's presidential election campaign in France.

Sarkozy killed Gaddafi because his son had threatened to reveal the funding and Sarkozy was still thinking about running for a second term.

In the end Sarkozy lost to Hollande.

Sechel
Sechel

I'm a huge George H fan. More so now than when he was President. He gets huge credit for winding down the cold war. He helped free Eastern Europe from the USSR and his famous Chicken Kiev speech if we had heeded it might have avoided the fighting between Russia and Ukraine. He understood the world geo stage better than just about anyone and wisely never entered Baghdad because he knew he didn't want to occupy it.

Adding the clean air act, anti-gun regulation, arms reduction treaties. he may be one of our most successful presidents, and certainly our most successful one term president.

Sechel
Sechel

Willie Horton is nothing compared to Donald Trump's dog whistling. Perhaps it wasn't right but at least its only a mark and not the definition of Bush's character

conscript
conscript

A longtime resident of Massachusetts. The W. Horton event was not about race. It was about Massachusetts messed up liberal penal system. We have corrupt judges as well today. I read The Intercept piece and the Horton argument is defective.

Guinny_Ire
Guinny_Ire

Not one comment on George Bush and a New World Order. That's his biggest crime.

truthseeker
truthseeker

Mish I have made the assumption that as a libertarian you did not support George H. Bush’s “just war” known as “Desert Storm” to free Kuwait from the invasion and occupation of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. Trying to understand a libertarian’s view on what constitutes a just war, I have just finished reading a good deal of information on all this and I am more confused than ever, so I can only say that a libertarian’s view on this whole thing is at best ambiguous. I would say that from my point of view, what America and its allies accomplished here was about the best we could hope for as far as a just war is concerned. We did everything we possibly could to avoid civilian casualties, and when we had Iraq’s troops on the run all bunched together on the main road back to Baghdad, we backed off to allow them safe passage knowing that humiliation was enough punishment and the honorable thing to do. So I don’t think you are giving Bush any credit for this most successful operation at all as we even then brought over our Texas firefighters, the only men in the world able to get Kuwait’s wells back on line. Lastly the whole world got to see, including all of us back here at home, our unbelievable super sophisticated weapon systems working with such precision, It most certainly increased our security don’t you think?

Sechel
Sechel

NAFTA was begun under Reagan, negotiated under Bush 41 and enacted under Clinton. Can you imagine anything like that going on today?

truthseeker
truthseeker

Mish I stopped too soon! Do you remember when the 100 hour Desert Storm war was over? How could any American forget how proud and united we all were? It was not exactly Bush’s overall approval rating, but 92% of Americans approved of the President’s decision to fight to free Kuwait from Saddam’s invasion. Remember Bush had to fight all the democrats who looked pretty silly after what took place. Also Saddam made himself an easy target. When we started to make our move Saddam torched all of Kuwait’s wells, and then opened Kuwait’s storage facilities allowing oil to pollute the whole area where the big tankers were loaded. Being a Marine, I remember reading how excited these young Marines were as they had been trained to fight and were ready to storm the beaches and kick ass! Several times they began to load up to leave the ship only to back off, so that when they found out they were being used as decoys, were so disappointed. Norman Schwarzkopf and our other guys knew Saddam had his top fighters, the republican guard, waiting for us with this trap so we had a totally different strategy in the KTO-that’s the Kuwaity Theater of Operations. I mention all this because Bush was the commander in chief who had the responsibility to place all our top military leaders in the right position. In hindsight looking back people think the whole operation was a slam dunk so any general with any experience could get the job done-Bullshit! Being a military man himself helped Bush make the right decisions. So much criticism here about the man I’m just trying to give him some support!

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

A Libertarian view is inconclusive IMHO. We were indeed asked by Kuwait to help.

I am not sure we have all the facts. That's a problem.

I blasted H, but he is far better than W. None of the recent presidents deserves any accolades. You have to go back to Eisenhower for genuine praise.

And maybe I do not even have those facts, but at least he seemed anti-war and even warned about it.

I am not a hard-core Libertarian. I believe the government has a legitimate role but it is very limited.

Hard-core Libertarians are actually anarchists. I am not an anarchist.

Libertarians have no united view on abortion. Religion gets in the way. I support right-to-choose. Many don't.

You are asking about consensus when none exists. I thank you for a thoughtful question.

Mish

Cocoa
Cocoa

Bush was the duffer and had to clean up, in a dignified manner, all of Reagan's Alzheimer induced bullshit...including running the Soviet Union into the dirt(and the US economy into massive debt.) If this was handled by, let's say W or Trump, we would all be dead by now. Clinton ruined the relationship between Russia and the US by propping up that clown Yeltsin which led to autocrat Putin(KGB.) Clinton and W dancing on the grave of the Soviet Union. Sure he was an insider and technocrat-big deal...not like Clinton who did massive amounts of damage by cajoling unions and letting the banks go hog wild

Tengen
Tengen

Boy did this thread spring back to life! It seems many here are looking at Bush through the prism of a past America, before they knew how corrupt it was. Back in HW's day probably none of us knew what the country would become. I even attended a big rally of his in '88 when my mom pulled me out of school to see him at an airfield. We got there ridiculously early so I was way up front. The select few of us in the hangar yelled "BUSH" and paused while the mass of people outside yelled "QUAYLE". This went on for a while and sticks in my memory. Little did I know back then the dark path we were already on.

It's true that HW did fewer awful things than his successors, but a big part of that was his relatively brief time in office. He was Deep State to the core (along with the rest of his family) and to my knowledge has never opposed the bankers and MIC run amok. He never had anything near an Eisenhower moment of clarity.

My two least favorite things about Bush are the path we took sanctioning the Iraqis after Desert Storm, which were meant to KEEP Hussein in power and cruelly punished the Iraqi people. He was also part of Russia's transition from the Soviet system to the cesspool of corruption known as the Yeltsin era, where their leader drank himself into a stupor while the nation crumbled. Rather than seize the moment to bring Russians into the fold, we stuck their noses in their own failure, a la the Germans after 1918. A real opportunity was missed there.

edwinsharp
edwinsharp

I don't know if this is a good news or a bad one. After all he was an old man and his time was approaching soon and his son is to follow him soon and meet their creator now.