The Bush Legacy

Stephen Lendman

George W. Bush has said he has no regrets with his presidency,
declaring that he is "comfortable" with his legacy...

Throughout his tenure, media scoundrels were largely supportive. They ignored his 2000 electoral theft. In 2004, they did so again. They backed his imperial wars. They turned a blind eye to police state injustice. They ignored torture on a global scale. They mischaracterized the measure of the man.

Early on, the New York Times praised his "new gravitas." It was days after he attacked Afghanistan. It was premeditated lawless aggression. It was two weeks before he signed the Patriot Act.

Times editors called him "confident" and "determined." He showed "statesmanship." "It was heartening to hear him say" America will fight in Afghanistan "as long as it takes."

They ignored an imperial war planned long before 9/11. They called him "a leader whom the nation could follow in these difficult times." They're comfortable with his legacy. Two recent articles feature his new presidential library and museum. More on them below.

Bush's true legacy reflects underachievement, sadism and lawlessness. His dark side emerged early on. As a young boy, he enjoyed blowing up frogs for sport. He progressed to replicating it on nations. He had problems with alcohol and drugs. As Texas governor, he presided over more executions than any other state executive since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. His close aids said he enjoyed killing. He abused others for his own amusement.

He was born into wealth and power. His family dynasty goes back four generations. It's connected to America's military-industrial complex. George H. Walker and Samuel Prescott Bush were its founding fathers. They created a criminal enterprise. Walker was a St. Louis financier. SP Bush was a major Ohio industrialist. He became a close Herbert Hoover advisor. Bush's grandfather, Prescott, was a Wall Street investment banker. Over a century ago, the Bush family was connected to John D. Rockefeller, later with various Wall Street firms, as well as US intelligence since WW I. Strong ties to wealth and power define it. Its members include a former US senator, two governors, a congressman, vice president, CIA director and two presidents.

During WW II, Prescott was a Union Banking Corporation director. The firm represented German industrialist Fritz Thyssen. It traded with the enemy. It bought and shipped millions of dollars worth of gold, oil, steel, coal, and US Treasury bonds to Germany. Doing so supported the Nazi war machine. Prescott's Brown Brothers Harriman did business with Hitler. It did so until its assets were seized in 1942. Trading with the Enemy Act charges were filed.

Prescott wasn't alone. Rockefeller's Chase Bank and Standard Oil, Ford, General Motors, IBM, and other major US corporations had no political or ideological problem doing business with Nazi Germany.

Before he became president, GHW Bush was involved in numerous criminal activities. As Gerald Ford's CIA chief, he suppressed knowledge of the Agency's involvement in coups and assassinations of foreign leaders. As vice president, he was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. He helped get GW elected Texas governor.

His record was deplorable. In return for generous political contributions, he supported the state's worst polluters. He lobbied for a national radioactive wast dump. He lied saying it was mostly for x-rays and other hospital waste. He solicited nuclear power waste from other states. He corrupted Texas' environmental standards. He did so to accommodate corporate friends. He permitted industrial pollution, air toxins, and hazardous wastes. He acted secretly. He stripped municipalities of local control over land use and environmental protections. He let state parks languish in decay and disrepair. He was staunchly pro-business, anti-civil rights, and uncaring about public needs. Close aides considered him untrustworthy.

He served two presidential terms. He did so without being elected. In 2000, he lost to Al Gore. Not according to America's Supreme Court. It annulled the popular vote. It stopped the Florida recount. It highjacked the electoral process to install him.

Election 2004 was worse. Kerry won. Bush got a second term. He did so with electronic ease. Corporate controlled electronic voting machines manipulated his illegitimate "reelection."

Throughout his tenure, he waged war on humanity. He called imperial wars liberating ones. He ignored rule of law principles. He mocked democracy. He made torture official US policy. He suppressed civil liberties for our own good.

He targeted Muslims, Latino immigrants, and others. He did so for political advantage. He built Homeland Security mass detention camps. He deployed paramilitary enforcers on US streets.

He waged war on dissent. He furthered social decay at home. He institutionalized spying and police state repression. His war on terrorism was a scheme for world dominance.

In his first State of the Union address, he declared war on a "terrorist underworld (in) at least a dozen countries." They ranged from "remote jungles and deserts (to) centers of large cities."

He asked "all nations (to) heed our call and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own." He said "(i)f they do not act, America will."

He designated North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil." He falsely claimed their "weapons of mass destruction posed a grave and growing danger."

His Bush Doctrine declared war on "terrorist" states, as well as on others harboring or aiding them. His 2002 and 2006 National Security Strategy (NSS) usurped a unilateral right to wage preventive, preemptive, and proactive wars against perceived enemies (real or invented).

He sought unchallenged control of global energy and other resources. He targeted key regions. They include the Middle East, Eurasia, Latin America, Africa and the Arctic.

He lied saying "(w)e may face no greater challenge from a single country than Iran." His 2006 National Space Policy embraced unchallenged control.

He ignored rule of law principles. He abandoned restrictive treaties. He militarized more than the rest of the world combined. He rescinded the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. He did so to develop biowarfare weapons illegally.

He renounced the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act. It prohibits the development, production, and stockpiling of bacteriological and toxic weapons. At the time, Francis Boyle said doing so made "a catastrophic biowarfare or bioterrorist incident a statistical certainty."

He established a homeland police state apparatus. Repressive national security and war on terrorism became imperial priorities.

He usurped unconstitutional "unitary executive" power. Chalmers Johnson called it "a ball-faced assertion of presidential supremacy dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo."

He signed secret presidential findings. He issued military orders, presidential directives and executive orders. He established unprecedented continuity of government powers. Doing so violated constitutional restraints.

His "ownership society" transferred trillions of public and private dollars from millions of ordinary Americans to corporate giants and super-rich elites. He waged war on labor. He stripped workers of bargaining rights. He targeted the nation's most vulnerable. He did so shamelessly.

He authorized warrantless spying. He trashed other constitutional protections. He subverted justice. He did so to defend privilege. He waged global war on humanity. He headed America on a fast track toward tyranny.

On April 23, CODEPINK headlined "Don't Let Bush Get Away With Murder!"

Thousands are "converging in Dallas, Texas for the dedication of the Library named for George W. Bush, including President Obama, former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush." "Local laws and barricades will keep any dissent miles away from the celebration. Help us raise voices globally to say 'Justice is Overdue.'" "We attempted to say it in the Dallas Morning News after a 30+ page supplement ran in their Sunday edition, but our ad was rejected." "Join CODEPINK, Vets for Peace and the Backbone Campaign’s Thunderclap during the official ceremony to share the ad, celebrate free speech and express your desire to have Justice for All."

Separately CODEPINK's co-founder Jodie Evans and Charles Davis headlined "Bush's Legacy Ought to Be on Trial - Instead, It's Put on Display," saying:

He "presided over an international network of torture chambers and, with the help of a compliant Congress and press, launched a war of aggression that killed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children." "However, instead of the bloody details of his time in office being recounted at a war crimes tribunal, the former president has been able to bank on his imperial privilege - and a network of rich corporate donors that he made richer while in office - to tell his version of history at a library in Texas being opened in his name."

On April 25, he'll dedicate his $500 million George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Doing so reinvents a war criminal. It whitewashes his criminal legacy. Who said crime doesn't pay?

On April 15, The New York Times headlined "With Grandchild and Library, a New Chapter," saying:

"For a former president, it does not get much better than this." Since leaving office, he's "remained largely removed from the spotlight."

On April 25, he'll host four past presidents and other dignitaries. He told the Dallas Morning News he has no regrets.

"I'm comfortable with what I did," he said. "I'm comfortable with who I am. Much of my presidency was defined by things that you didn't necessarily want to have happened."

He, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and other rogue neocons made them happen. Imperial war plans predated his incumbency. 9/11 became the pretext for waging them.

On April 20, The Times headlined "Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide," saying:

His Presidential Library and Museum reflects "his eight years as president and six as governor of Texas." It'll "be turned over to the National Archive and Records Administration, while the former president will retain control of a public policy institute that promotes his priorities." "As president, he rarely had a chance to rest given the endless cascade of crises as visitors will experience in the Decisions Points Theater." He hopes to "enhance the reputation of a president who left office with historically low approval ratings, but he denied that was his goal." "I don't view the post-presidency as burnishing any legacy," he said. "I view it as living life to the fullest. The challenge when you're a former president is how do you use your God-given talents?"

He's a multimillionaire. He earns up to $200,000 per speech. The 1958 Former Presidents Act authorizes generous lifetime benefits. His annual pension is $200,000. He receives "suitable office space, appropriately furnished and equipped," as well as a small staff. It's in Dallas. It's 8,000 square feet. Rental cost last year was $401,000. Travel, postage and other expenses are paid for. In FY 2012, he received $1.3 million. He gets lifetime Secret Service protection. He's rich enough to pay all costs himself. His war criminal record doesn't matter. America honors its worst.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He has devoted his time and efforts to progressive causes and organizations, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. His efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. He also co-hosts The Global Research News Hour, gives occasional public talks, and appears frequently on radio and at times television. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. Also visit his blog and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening. His new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" can be ordered HERE. He can be reached at

Image: © N/A. Photo: AP. URL:


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