Bush: War Criminal?

So argues Andrew Sullivan in this post.

Thinking about that charge (which I’m actually going to not argue for/against for now), I think some context and playing a what if game is helpful.  What if the charge Sullivan lays down is true.

Sullivan compares it to Watergate, but that is a very poor analogy I think.

Better analogies (in order of their presidencies):

Dwight Eisenhower.  Ordering the assassination of the Iranian Head of State [Mosaddeq] (via CIA) to protect American and British oil interests.

John F. Kennedy.  Bay of Pigs.  His “cowboy” diplomacy and his brother’s meddling with the CIA, wrecking the institution and dangerous naivety (which almost ended in nuclear holocaust)

LBJ:  Using the Gulf of Tonkin incident as a fabricated means to escalate the Vietnam War.

Richard Nixon.  The illegal (and immoral imo) bombings/war of Cambodia and Laos.

Ford: Support for the Indonesian annexation of East Timor–military aid to the dictatorship of Suharto.

Carter:  His covert action of supporting the mujihadeen in Afghanistan.  Also sales to the Indonesian dictatorship.

Reagan:  The illegal (for sure) act of selling arms to the Iranian Ayatollahs in the Iran-Contra deal.   The support for right-wing death squads in Latin America.  (Contras).

Bush I:  The horrific and brutal sanctions regime on Iraq post the first Gulf War

Clinton:  Continuation of the sanctions regime in Iraq.  The denial of military aid to Rwanda to prevent genocide.  (Though to be fair, that was as much to do with the then non-interventionist voice of Sen. John McCain and the Republican Congress’ opposition to Clinton–that black mark belongs to both camps).

Bush II:  Policy of torture.   The brilliant selling of a pre-determined war (Iraq).

So I would say Bush’s policies have been on the level of these destructive actions.  Very destructive, but he is not the uber-monster, at least as compared to the last 60 years worth of presidents, sometimes portrayed.  This is a bloody, dark sinful list.  The Presidency and the history of Cold War US Policy (and post Cold War policy) is a bloody dark mess.

Politics recall is like sausage.

Published in: on December 22, 2007 at 6:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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