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
No. 1-22
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.

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.

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

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

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!

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