Why We Shouldn’t Look the Other Way On Bush’s Iraq War Crimes

Donald Rumsfeld is this generation’s Robert McNamara.

Over 12 years after overseeing and helping to design the 2003 invasion of Iraq - the former secretary of defense is now re-writing his own role in the invasion.

In an interview with “The Times” of London Rumsfeld called the Bush administration’s approach to Iraq “unrealistic.” He was referring specifically to the Bush administration’s goal of toppling a dictatorship and building a model democracy in the Middle East – and he said “I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories. The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words.”

The statement is stunning considering that Rumsfeld, along with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, was one of the biggest architects and cheerleaders of the invasion that destabilized the region and provided fertile ground for ISIS and other extremist groups to begin their current reign of terror in the region.

But like Robert McNamara did 30 years after Vietnam - Rumsfeld is admitting that the war may not have been such a good idea.

But Rumsfeld isn’t going as far as McNamara did –McNamara admitted that the Vietnam War was “wrong, terribly wrong.”

Rumsfeld’s not saying that the war itself was wrong – he’s just saying that he didn’t think it was possible to rebuild Iraq as a democracy. And that’s still more than Bush or Cheney have admitted.

Which raises the question – why hasn’t anyone prosecuted Bush and Cheney for the 4,500 American soldiers murdered in Iraq?

It’s possible – as former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi pointed out on this show last year – take a look.

Why does it have to be a local district attorney? Before he passed way this weekend - Vincent Bugliosi presented the case against George W. Bush in a book called “The Prosecution of George W. Bush” and a documentary called “The Prosecution of an American President.”

In his presentation he outlines why the Obama administration can’t be expected to charge Bush or Cheney for war crimes – and it goes back to a precedent of pardoning set by Gerald Ford.

Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon in September 1974 - less than a month after Nixon resigned. And Clinton opted not to prosecute Reagan for the Iran-Contra affair – among other crimes. And now 40 years after Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, the precedent has been set that the standing president simply ignores the crimes of his predecessor.

Or as Barack Obama put it in 2009 before he even officially took office: “we need to look forward, as opposed to looking backwards.”

In other words, the Obama administration is simply looking the other way on Bush’s war crimes.

It’s absurd to say that holding criminals accountable for murder is “looking backwards;” by that logic, no criminals should ever be tried for crimes they’ve committed. And even though ISIS and the current bloodshed in the Middle East are a direct result of Bush’s failed attempt at nation building, the fact that Obama has encouraged Americans to look the other way means that the architects of the war can rewrite their own roles in the disaster.

Like Donald Rumsfeld saying that he never supported the idea of building a democracy in Iraq. Rumsfeld may be distancing himself, but Bush and Cheney are still remorseless and still guilty.

Which is why Vincent Bugliosi was right - we need ‘some courageous prosecutor’ to demand justice and to charge George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their lies and the murders of 4,500 American soldiers and over half a million Iraqis.


Jim Oberg 9 years 1 week ago

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign
of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a
thousandfold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers ... we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
--Alexander Solzehnitsyn

cccccttttt 9 years 1 week ago

While the Bush/Cheney actions in Iraq are morally disgusting, doubt any president will

initiate legal action against a previous administration:

1. Usually more pressing problems for the country to deal with.

2. They want immunity for their own grim decisions from the next president.


PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 9 years 1 week ago

I have read Vincent Bugliosi's book and I agree with his theorty wholeheartedly. There is a reason that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and others will never travel outside of the country again, unless it is a short trip to Canada or a remote island. These fugitives would be arrested and tried for war crimes. They did their dirty deeds for the most vile reasons for oil, for money. The deaths of American and allied armed forces did nothing to make our nation safer. The deaths of the several hundred thousand Iraqi citizens was likewise unnecessary. Sure Saddam Hussein might still be alive and dictator of Iraq, but it is not our business to topple governments we do not like. Shame on George W. Bush. He should be in the docket having his lawyers explain his actions.

delster's picture
delster 9 years 1 week ago

The citizens of the US are guilty of the ultimate sins of ommission. We are all somewhat guilty for our compliance. Everytime we make a purchase at the gas pump or elsewhere.

How can the people of this nation or the world validate democracy and justice by the actions that have taken place ? How will we measure justice for our citizens when we allow international war criminals to escape justice ? We scarificed our credibility, and any positive diplomaticve progress through these actions. Few care ! Nothing has jeopardized Americas security and sovreighnty more that this. For a suposedly Christian nation, few if any religious organizations have openly discouraged the wars or encouraged their young men and women to avoid serving in these wars. I believe we will ultimately pay a horible toll for our actions and our denial.

ChristopehrCurrie's picture
ChristopehrCurrie 9 years 1 week ago

Near ALL of the stated objectives for G. E. Bush's military invasion of Iraq were proven unrealistic for decades before Bush's invasion began. The borders of Iraq were deliberately created (artifically) by Great Britain and France to break up the major ethnic/religious groups in that area (so that British oil companies could more easily control the oil resources in that area by playing those ethnic groups off against each other thereby avoiding any united oppostion). The entire existence of Iraq has been one bloody story after another. As in the former Yugoslavia, only a ruthless dictator could effectively maintain control under those circumstances. Like G. W. Bush, Obama's attempt to maintain those unrealistic borders is a HUGE (BLOODY) MISTAKE!

Iraq should be allowed to break up into three separate countries along its ethnic/religious lines, and if one or more of those three contries decide to merge with a neighboring country having the same ethnic/religous bankground, then let that happen! In either case, the resulting countries will be in a far better position to effectively deal with the ISIS radicals in their respective borders. All the Obama Administration is accomplishing now is to pepetuate the anarchy created by those unrealistic Iraqi borders.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 1 week ago

How ironic is it that the people who claimed their mission was to spread democracy to the Middle East, are the very ones that are busy destroying it here.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 1 week ago

stopgap -- There is no irony. They do not want democracy here or there. It is all just propaganda.

Legend 9 years 1 week ago

G W Bush said multible times that he was bringing Democracy to the middle east. But all of his allies in the middle east were non Democracies. Also we are not a democracy. The Republican Party is a Fascist Party.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 9 years 1 week ago

You are not wrong!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 9 years 1 week ago

Sorry! What makes you think these criminals self impose house arrest in America?

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 9 years 1 week ago

Sorry! I can not get to a concept of ethnic or religious stuff that ought to make a difference to humanity

We are all the same!!!

We are killing each other over this BS... don't you realise?

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 1 week ago

chuckle8 - In retrospect, I guess "ironic" was a poor choice of word to use in this instance. I didn't know the English-word-definition police were on duty today.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 9 years 1 week ago

Shit! I reply and it turns out as a comment!

How does this thing work here???

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 1 week ago

Damn right we shouldn't look the other way! In addition to all the senseless death, these illegal wars will ultimately end up costing trillions that instead could have been spent on education, healthcare, infrastructure, and all manner of social safety net programs.

Of course that would also rank us up there with the happiest countries in the world, places like Denmark and Norway. Instead, despite being the richest country on the planet, we rank only 15th, and "trickling" further downward every year.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 1 week ago

stopgap -- I wasn't trying to be a word police. I was just trying to emphasize that W was lying every step of the way.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 1 week ago

Thom, I respectfully disagree on one point: that the Obama administration “can’t be expected” to prosecute our former (unelected) president as a war criminal because of a precedent of pardoning set by Gerald Ford, that gutless wonder. It is not a precedent worth preserving. Obama and his administration simply lack the courage and conviction to do so, just as Clinton did in the case of Reagan’s crimes. When I heard Obama’s platitudes about “looking forward, not backwards” I wanted to puke. I said it then as I repeat it now: This is not the kind of leadership we need.

I also disagree with CT (post #2) that we’ve “more pressing problems” to deal with. War crimes are a very serious matter. They cause more death and destruction than any other crime I can think of. Failure to prosecute such criminals sends the message to future such criminals that they can expect to repeat these horrific offenses with impunity, which guarantees more of the same. At least Solzehnitsyn (post #1) gets it right!

I am generally opposed to the death penalty. But nothing would please me more than to see Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz (sp?), Rove & Rice face a firing squad for their murderous rampage, which was all for nothing.

By the way delster, I agree with most of your points, but I accept no personal responsibility whatsoever for my dependence on fossil fuel. In today’s world, driving is a necessity not a choice. We never chose to be dependent on fossil fuel; it has been forced down our throats. It’s pointless to guilt-trip ourselves for something over which we’ve no control… especially living under this fascist oligarchy. Where are the alternatives, and the infrastructure to support them?! Until these exist, and are available to more of us than just the very rich, I reject any suggestion that we are “responsible” for a status quo that existed before we were even born. The only thing we can do is vote for candidates who support alternative energy sources, for utilities as well as transportation.

Bernie Sanders for president!!!!! Or just more of the same. It’s really that simple.

Delster makes the point that few if any religious organizations have openly discouraged their young members to participate in these ridiculous wars. I’m proud to say that the Unitarian Church I grew up with was a robust exception. Not only did our minister speak out openly (and powerfully!) against these wars on a regular basis; our church had a subgroup whose function was to counsel and support those young men choosing to opt out of serving in Vietnam, the so-called “draft dodgers” of that time. Prior to that, during the McCarthy era of the 1950s, our minister refused to sign a declaration of loyalty to maintain the church’s tax-exempt status; he fought it all the way to the Supreme Court and WON.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 9 years 1 week ago

I recently found, at a garage sale, the book The I Hate Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice... Reader, which should be renamed the The Truth About Dick Cheney...Reader.

In this book there is an article (among many other worthy articles) , "Dick Cheney's Song of America," by David Armstrong, published by Harper's Magazine in October of 2002 (you may be able to find it online). In the article, Cheney's "Plan," has been around for a while, published in early 1993 in unclassified form as the Defense Planning Guidance draft of 1992. The Plan is for the United States to rule the world and to get there unilaterally. Well worth the seek and find and read and too detailed to write about with justice here.

I don't understand why people don't see that this Plan and the actions of Cheney, et al., cooked up years before 9/11, and 9/11 aren't related. 9/11 was the perfect--horrible--action needed to put their Plan in place. All logic points to 9/11 being either an inside job or allowed to happen. The bigger the lie, the more people believe it.

How these dastardly people get away with the crimes they have is the United States' shame and a subversion to ALL that in humane and human.

garytull's picture
garytull 9 years 1 week ago

Sunshine always make the best disenfectant. Bush, Cheney , Rice and others should be prosecuted! No question. Our country is desperately in need of it (in so many ways). As of now, we have already lost the respect of neighboring European countries. War crimes can not be ignored and swept under a rug.

Like a thorn embedded deep in one's foot. If not treated, will become infected, get worse and become a serious health threat. Bush/Cheney war crimes, unchecked, represent big health problems for the U.S.

Stella Jane's picture
Stella Jane 9 years 1 week ago

Maybe NO ONE but old women remember the GAG RULE issued by Buush. The ONLY THING HE SAID on first day in office. To PREVENT HELP to women who needed medical help for fibroids. NOW WE are still GAGGING here in NoAmerica.

MORE WOMEN died from AIDS than Men from WAR 1984 - 2014 RIP

Check out the CDC statistics, ONLY PEOPLE who are in Big pHARMA approved and created CLINICAL TRIALS get counted! Almost all are MEN, making the statistics look like GAY MEN created the problem, fueling haters every day.

And it is ALREADY a huge health threat, over 60% of our youth getting STD and the "shots" give 25% the std who never had it before. Imagine how terrifying and vulnerable it is to be a young woman, with no protection and no support.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 1 week ago

I still wish you guys could get your head around how great it would be for Obama to pardon Cheney, W, Paul Bremmer etc. The prez has that kingly power to pardon people. He should pardon them of the most horrible crimes he can come up with. I don't think anything can stand in his way which is the reason this idea is so great.

PaulHosse's picture
PaulHosse 9 years 6 days ago

Should we? Yes. Will we? No. Reason? "The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic"---Joseph Stalin.

samsnead 9 years 6 days ago

Giving dumbya, dick, rummie, wolfie, et al, a pass on prosecution is tantamount to admitting that the Nazis were tried at Nuremberg for losing the war and not for their war crimes. the dumbya cabal should be glad to account for themselves at a war crime tribunal. After all, like the told us so many years ago to justify domestic surveillance, "if you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about".....Well it's time these bastards start living up to their words.

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