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  • December 12th, 2018

The too-often ignored legacy of George H. W. Bush

We will never learn the real lessons if we do not face up to the true legacy of departed American presidents.

While many argue it is impolite to speak ill of the dead, we agree with Peter Certo at the Institute for Policy Studies that an honest assessment of the legacy of America’s 41st President, George H. W. Bush, is not only a good idea but downright essential for democratic accountability. Referencing Panama, other CIA intrigues during the Cold War and the many U.S.- inflicted horrors of the first Gulf War, he writes:

Personally, I believe these acts are crimes that should be atoned for and never repeated…. Taking a rare opportunity to scrutinize them publicly seems more conscientious to me than observing even a well-intentioned silence after their architect’s passing.

 For the full article, see: It’s Good to Argue About Dead Presidents (ips-dc.org, 5 December 2018).

Mehdi Hasan, writing in The Intercept, goes further in his examination of the “ignored legacy” of Bush Senior, particularly American war crimes in the first Gulf War. He writes:

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…. U.S. bombs also destroyed essential Iraqi civilian infrastructure — from electricity-generating and water-treatment facilities to food-processing plants and flour mills…. to create postwar leverage over Iraq.

By January 1992, Bush’s so-called “good” Gulf War had caused the deaths of 158,000 Iraqis, including 13,000 immediate civilian deaths and 70,000 deaths from the damage done to electricity and sewage treatment plants.

See: The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush: War Crimes, Racism and Obstruction of Justice (Mehdi Hasan, theintercept.com, 1 December 2018).

And for an unsettling foreshadowing of the second Iraq war, waged by George Bush Junior, see:

The First Iraq War Was Also Sold to the Public Based on a Pack of Lies (Joshua Holland, BillMoyers.com, 27 June 2014). Holland writes:

The first Gulf War was sold on a mountain of war propaganda. It took a campaign worthy of George Orwell to convince Americans that our erstwhile ally Saddam Hussein — whom the US had aided in his war with Iran as late as 1988 had become an irrational monster by 1990.

There was, of course, one very important difference between the 1991 and the 2003 American-led military intervention in Iraq. The first was authorized by a UN Security Council Resolution and the second was not.

While some at the time believed this was a precedent that might constrain future unilateral military action by the USA, the second — illegal — American-led intervention in Iraq proved this to have been an illusory hope.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (George H.W. Bush)

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