Via -The Intercept, audio interview and transcript
The United States is now in the midst of a grotesque canonization of one of its imperial saints, George Herbert Walker Bush. This week on Intercepted: an honest memorial service for an unrepentant warmonger who dedicated his life to militarism, war, coups, regime change, and the lies of “American exceptionalism.” Jeremy Scahill details the crimes of Bush, the sick propaganda of the corporate media memorials, and the trail of blood, death, and tears Bush leaves behind. Independent journalist Arun Gupta covers decades of Bush, from his time at the helm of the CIA to the presidency. Gupta discusses Bush’s support for Manuel Noriega and his eventual invasion of Panama, the pardoning of Iran-Contra criminals, the dirty wars in Central America, the support for Saddam Hussein, and the launch of the Gulf War. Acclaimed Iraqi poet and scholar Sinan Antoon describes his life under the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Saddam, the horrors of the Gulf War, and how Bush’s destruction of Iraqi civilian society led to the rise of ISIS.
Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted. I’m Jeremy Scahill coming to you from the offices of The Intercept in New York City. And this is episode 76 of Intercepted.
Peter Alexander: As the sun set over Washington Monday, President Bush’s coffin arrived at the capitol. A hero’s welcome heralded by cannons and a 21-gun salute.
JS: The national religion of the United States is American exceptionalism, and we are now in the midst of a grotesque canonization of one of its imperial saints: George Herbert Walker Bush. And right now, at this moment, every media outlet in this country, every politician, Democrat and Republican, is engaged in collective eulogy based on lies — lies about who Bush was, lies about his policies, lies about the mass-killing he oversaw during his life at the highest levels of power in the U.S. government.
George Herbert Walker Bush was in unrepentant war criminal who spent the overwhelming majority of his life making the world a worse place, a more dangerous place, and he leaves behind a global trail of tears, of bloodshed, of death and destruction. His legacy can be seen in the poverty and corruption of Central and Latin America. It can be seen in the never-ending killing fields of Iraq. It can be seen in the international criminals that he pardoned after Iran-Contra and the systematic violence of the so-called War on Drugs. This legacy can be seen in the scourge of AIDS, the presence of a sexual harasser, Clarence Thomas, on the Supreme Court who in a sick irony of history replaced Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice, and a noble man. George Herbert Walker Bush came from a powerful family, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth to a father who cozied up to Nazis, who desecrated the grave of the indigenous leader Geronimo and whose businesses contributed to the imperial agenda to force the poor of the world into indentured servitude for the powerful. This is the eulogy that George Herbert Walker Bush should be receiving this week. Instead, we have this:
Newscaster: Throughout his long life, George Bush was admired as a man of decency, modesty, and uncommon achievement. Values that to the end, reflected what was most important to him, his family.
George H.W. Bush: I just want to get up into heaven and I don’t get there by bragging on myself. My mother told me that years ago.
Newscaster: George Herbert Walker Bush today is being remembered as a great man and as a gentle soul.
Newscaster: The 41st president honored today not just as a statesman, but as a father and neighbor. The Houston Symphony paying tribute to his love of colorful socks.
JS: The U.S. and international news media are engaging in sick propaganda. Leave the stories about how classy Bush supposedly was, how cool is marriage was, how he built a father-son relationship with Bill Clinton, how he was nice to Barack Obama, how he always wore those funny socks — leave all of that to the family in their private memorials. But for the rest of us, the rest of the world, we must remember that his incalculable crimes were committed in public, from the highest chambers of power, in the most dominant nation in the world. The accounting for his crimes should also be done in public. But no, we’re told we have to have respect. We’re told that it’s not the time to discuss any of this. We’re told that we must pretend that he was not a mass murderer with so much blood on his hands.
You know what? Donald Trump doesn’t even have enough time left in his life to commit even a fraction of the international crimes that Bush carried out during his decades in power, whether it was at the helm of the CIA, or as vice-president, or as president. Not even close. Journalist today believe that they’re so brave in calling out Trump’s lies, in investigating his real estate deals, in probing his associates. And yet none of them have the spine to accurately describe the well-documented, indisputable crimes committed by George Herbert Walker Bush. What we’re witnessing is a powerful media class and an elite political class whitewashing the life of a man who used his various positions not to make the world better, but to wage unthinkable wars, to undermine democratic movements, to kill innocent people, to orchestrate coups and invasions. And the reason this doesn’t happen, that we don’t talk about this, is because it’s a sacrilege in the religion of American exceptionalism.
When an unarmed young black man is shot dead by the police, the media is often flooded with stories about how they were troubled kids, or they had criminal records, or they had used drugs, or they had run-ins with the law. The pictures used in these stories are often ones where these dead, black men are presented as thugs or scary. Journalists probed the life of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner. News organizations did everything in their power to smear these people in death with absolutely no regard for their families. No respect for their humanity. If George Herbert Walker Bush was treated the same way as these black men, it would take months of non-stop, 24/7 coverage to even begin to describe the tip of the iceberg of the unforgivable deeds that George Bush committed. Why? Because he committed his crimes as president of the United States and the nature of his crimes was imperial. He did it with bombs, and tanks, and invasions, and coups.
In watching the gross hagiography on display this week, I’m reminded of the quote from Voltaire: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore, all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” That is who George Herbert Walker Bush was: a man who killed in large numbers to the sound of trumpets. And that’s why all of these powerful news organizations, all of these Democrats and Republicans are engaging in willful lies, intentional whitewashing. It’s sickening to watch all of this and to remember the countless lives that this man was responsible for ending across the globe. ...
Full audio interview and transcript at The Intercept