::Literate Blather::
Monday, January 22, 2007
Essay: The "W" Stands for "Wicked Bad"

"But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me." —summing up his first year in office, three months after the 9/11 attacks, Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2001

History, of course, will be the final judge. And history will likely bitch slap George W. Bush down to the level of Millard Fillmore and Warren G. Harding. There’s seems to be little doubt any more that the 43rd president of the United States will be remembered as one of the worst in history.

Polls show Bush’s approval ratings sinking to historical low levels (hovering around 35 percent). Let’s forget for a moment Bush’s inability to articulate coherent thoughts, his questionable reading skills, his election year corruption in Florida, or his pandering to corporate interests.

One could argue that those blunders and beliefs are part of Bush’s flawed character – the result of being a pampered, rich boy with little interest in education. How else to explain how a wealthy 50-something managed never to travel overseas until he was elected president?

What will really topple the Bush presidency into the dustbin of history are his crimes – four of them all told (and any of them could technically be reason enough to pursue impeachment). There’s no excuse for any of them – they were outright, deliberate prevarications against all of us and together they have eroded the nation’s ethical standing and weakened our global reputation.

Here are Bush’s four primary crimes:

The War in Iraq

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

The crime: Lying and inducing the United States into war (in violation of Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 371)

Bush and his chief enabler, Vice President Cheney, lied to the American people and the U.S. Congress about the threat Iraq posed to the country. They did this to justify an illegal invasion of Iraq. The lies include, but are not limited to:

  • Iraq had a thriving nuclear weapons program and was close to building a nuclear missile
  • Iraq had 100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons stockpiled throughout the country
  • Iraq had close ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and even trained al-Qaeda agents in bomb making
  • Iraq tried to buy uranium for its nuclear weapons program from Africa

Reckless Endangerment of U.S. troops

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." —Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000

Bush and his military commanders endangered the lives of U.S. soldiers in two ways: poor planning (especially in the aftermath of battlefield operations in Iraq) and failure to properly equip soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The poor planning has been acknowledged by Bush himself. The evidence can be found in the mounting causalities in Iraq among U.S. military personnel (now more than 3,000 killed and 21,000 wounded) and Iraqi civilians (which could arguably be more than 100,000 killed). The operation has cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion.

But the real crime was sending U.S. troops into harms way without bulletproof vests or properly armored vehicles. More than two years into the war in Iraq and U.S. troops were still being forced to search for scrap metal in order to reinforce their vehicles against roadside bombs. According to USA Today, soldiers were digging through landfills in 2004 to find pieces of metal and scrap iron.


"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002

The most disturbing images coming out of the Bush presidency will be the torture photographs from Abu Ghraib. The image of the Iraqi man standing on a box with a black sheet and pointed black hood on his head and wires snaking out from his hands has a good chance of becoming the lasting symbol of the Bush administration.

Bush and his cronies have also sought to water-down the definition of torture held by the United Nations and has whisked terrorist suspects to places like Pakistan so that they may be “questioned” in nations without laws against torture.

As a result, Bush is guilty of violating the Federal Torture Act (Title 18 of U.S. Code, Section 113C) and U.N. Torture Convention and the Geneva Convention.

One could also argue that Bush is guilty of “torture” by ordering hundreds of terrorist suspects held in military prisons without being charged with crimes, without access to due process and without credible legal representation.

Spying on Americans

"I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job." — to a group of Amish he met with privately, July 9, 2004

This may be Bush’s biggest offense and the one Americans seem least concerned about. Yet our president violated the law by ordering the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance on innocent citizens without a warrant. It is required – by law (and its practically a rubber stamp process) to get a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.

Without the warrants, Bush is guilty of violating Title 50 U.S. Code, Section 1805.

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