The Bush Team: Time for Jail?
I won’t waste any time on debating whether the President, VP Cheney, Defense Chief Rumsfeld, “Scooter,” or any of another five to ten (mostly Neocon) officials in the Bush administration are guilty of crimes. They are.
Rather, I think it is more interesting to continue the very serious conversation about which exact crimes they have committed, who has committed them, and what kind of punishment they may expect to receive, a process that will begin hours (not days) after they relinquish power.
I want to say one quick thing about Obama’s comments on this, echoing Paul Krugman in today’s NYTimes: a) Obama would be making a huge mistake, despite the short-term advice being given him by inside counselors (the top one the son of an Israeli terrorist) about letting the Neocons and other criminals get off the hook; and, b) it isn’t up to him.
This latter view is worth pursuing:
Who cares what Obama decides to do about Bush? Excuse me, but I just could not care less. When criminals break the law, we don’t ask candidates-to-be if we should prosecute. I would suggest that ANY comments by the Obama team indicating a lack of will to prosecute would, of itself, be worth examining as being in some way accessory.
In other words, Obama: on this subject, please shut up. We are not interested in your first big mistake: not prosecuting the most evil and dangerous villains ever to misuse power in the U.S. government.
Therefore, regardless of the Obama political calculations, we should be resolved, as we have in past similar situations (Iran Contra, Watergate) to put these crimininals to trial.
There are so many crimes, it seems almost impossible to list them; I certainly won’t try to here, but will leave it to experts in each department and field to do so. Krugman says he has counted six different departments wherein crimes were committed; that seems too small a number, but it does not matter.
Here is a simple question: who is responsible for nearly a million civilian deaths in a faked war? There was never, ever a need for an Iraq war; and that statement will stand the test of history. Given its truth, we should not be talking about the few thousand GI deaths as the cost of the war, but should recognize that the United States, without cause or any particular aggression on Iraq’s part, and without any proven concern for its own safety, did cause the deaths of between 600,000 and 1,000,000 civilians in that country.
Let’s see now, is Dick Cheney ready to stand up and pay for this? Exactly how, Mr. Cheney, are you planning on doing that?
One million civilian dead.
And then we have the increasingly-correct pattern I have discovered about the entire Bush administration: it was about nothing smaller or larger than regular old Texan self-dealing. If you are familiar with Texas political history, self-dealing is kind of like getting up in the morning. But, for the rest of us in the Union, self-dealing is unethical and often illegal.
The story of the Bush administration will fall into prosecutorial parts, all of them very large, and all of them worth the effort of pursuit and conviction:
1. Killling of Innocent Civilians. With no cause, and based upon lies and deception, the Bush administration invented a war which led directly to the deaths of about 1 million civilians. Welcome to Hell, boys. If the reconstituted Justice Department doesn’t get you, Satan surely will. I’m glad y’all are so religious, that’ll be worth five points.
2. Self-dealing. Richard Clarke noted your map showing an Iraq already divided between oil companies nine months before you declared war. In fact, self-dealing is the single term that describes the entire Bush time in office. Everything the Bush folk did was, in some way or other, self-dealing. Specifically, historians will be working for years to figure out how you managed to milk $3T (trillion) out of taxpayers and transfer it to – – well, that is the interesting question, isn’t it? Did it all go to Cheney, since he was the real president most of this time, and he retained real financial connections to Halliburton, and Halliburton got most of the money?
But that is being way too simple about all of this. Let’s just assume that, starting with Enron, Kenny Boy Lay, and moving through Cheney’s top-secret energy committee meetings, on into the Iraq War, you used every opportunity, not to serve your country, but to serve your friends. With $3T in cash. Oww! Gee, some large number of people are SURELY going to jail on that one. $10B in cash missing in boxes in the first weeks of the Iraq War, and today, maybe $350B missing so far, with so much more still undiscovered — WOW! George, there is no other word for this kind of theft from the taxpayer other than, well, breathtaking.
Don’t worry. We will find it. And we will find your fingerprints, and those of your self-dealing Texas pals, eventually. It might take three or four years, but we have time.
3. Perverting the Justice Department, and Justice, itself. Others have written eloquently about this; it was, generally, mirrored in the EPA, and in other government agencies. I personally think your goofy AG Gonzalez will serve time, and many of his mis-guided screwballs will also go to jail. Mssr. Yoo is first in line for writing 8th grade level deceptive opinions on why torture etc. was legal. Other appointees made for purely political purposes will come next.
In a brief not-quite summary: in addition to killing millions of innocent civilians without cause, self-dealing trillions of dollars to Halliburton, KBR, and your own family, and doing your best to destroy the Rule of Law and Bill of Rights in this country, there remain thousands of other, smaller, but also important, crimes, for which you
The Defendants, civilians
George W. Bush
Unnamed John Does in the Justice Department
Unnamed John Does in the EPA
Unnamed John Does in the other departments of government
Are hereby charged to answer, on the xxth of February, at XXXX in Washington, DC.—-
The world is watching, and, more importantly, so is the nation. Even more important, so are the criminals who did these really, really horrible things.
This prosecutorial decision is not up to the Obama Transition Team. This is about breaking the law.
Krugman says that, without punishment, you will continue doing what your Dad did in Iran Contra. BTW, George, I did in fact notice that your very first act in office was to extend the secrecy of your father’s archives, beyond their usual time coming public. So: Iran Contra. Daddy started it, You continued it.
I think Krugman is right: if no one is punished for the most flagrant and greatest violation of U.S. laws in history by (illegally?) elected politicians, how can we go forward? How can the world, knowing that the Z Team is just waiting, in reserve, to come back onto the field and do it all over again?
Neither the country, nor the world, can afford it; nor can we afford even the doubt about it.
We need to be clear: when you intentionally, flagrantly, break the law, we will come after you. Even if you are or were an elected official.
That is the most well-loved aspect of America, and it is the part of America we most want to keep.
So, Mssr. Obama, please don’t discuss this publicly at any greater length. If I wanted you to be the person who decided whether the law mattered or not, I would have voted for you as the Decider, instead of as the President.
Put some steel in that backbone, and get used to having it there. Your widest road to failure is paved with having no personal stand. We all like Henry Clay when it comes to geographical compromise. None of us would espouse the same approach to murder, or abrogation of the Bill of Rights.
The Bush Team is going to jail, and one hopes, quite soon. Of course, then we’ll have to face the ultimate self-dealing question: Can a President pardon himself and all of his self-dealing friends for crimes in the future, for which they have yet to be charged?
The answer is no, but I have no doubt he, and they, will try. They have already proved to us that they have no personal shame.