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Celebration in Texas Opens New Library for “War Criminal”

Common Dreams – Jon Queally

George W. Bush Presidential Center opens on the campus of the Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Responding to the fawning morning coverage of the opening of the George W. Bush presidential library in Texas Thursday, independent journalist Jeremy Scahill mocked the cable news outlet MSNBC by tweeting:  

very smart of the GW Bush library to buy all of this ad time on MSNBC today.

“This is such a singular moment,” said MSNBC’s David Gregory in the interlude between the presentation of the First Ladies and the subsequent introduction of President Obama and the former US presidents: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter. “It’s not just pomp and circumstance,” Gregory said as the US Army band rolled drums and the trumpets blared.

The Pledge of Allegiance followed.  Shortly thereafter, former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice took the podium to deliver a series of introductions.

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews set the frame for the network’s coverage by saying, “No one wants to talk about Iraq on a day like this.” Instead Matthews repeated time and again, what people really wanted to know was what Obama and former first lady Barbara Bush, seated next to one another on stage, were chatting and giggling about.

As the ordered ceremony continued—with each former President taking turns with a few remarks—anti-war activists proved Matthews wrong by utilizing the official #bushcenterhashtag to voice their opposition to the Bush legacy and calling the former president a ‘war criminal':

The library, officially called the George W. Bush Presidential Center, is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and was designed to honor—critics argue ‘to re-write’—the legacy of the former US president whose administration led the country into two foreign wars, opened the Guantanamo Bay prison camp as a way to avoid judicial oversight of detainee treatment, initiated rendition and torture programs within a global network of CIA-run black site facilities, oversaw the creation of a vast national surveillance apparatus, and ushered in the largest financial crisis of the modern era.

Outside the event, more than 200 peace activists protested behind police barricades against what they called Bush’s “crimes against humanity”.

In an interview with USA Today earlier this week, George W. Bush repeated what he has often said about his legacy by remarking, “I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.”

For many, however, that judgement deserves no further delay.

Asked in an interview to suggest what the world should remember about the Bush legacy, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange responded by saying:

A good place to start would be laying out the number of deaths caused by the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. At Wikileaks, we documented that from 2004-2009, the US had records of over 100,000 individual deaths of Iraqis due to violence unleashed by that invasion, roughly 80% of them civilians. These are the recorded deaths, but many more died. And in Afghanistan, the US recorded about 20,000 deaths from 2004-2010. These would be good facts to include in the presidential library.

And perhaps the library could document how people around the world protested against the invasion of Iraq, including the historic February 15, 2003 mobilization of millions of people around the globe.

And Common Dreams contributors Jodie Evans and Charles Davis write on Thursday:

George W. Bush presided over an international network of torture chambers and, with the help of a compliant Congress and press, launched a war of aggression that killed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. However, instead of the bloody details of his time in office being recounted at a war crimes tribunal, the former president has been able to bank on his imperial privilege – and a network of rich corporate donors that he made richer while in office – to tell his version of history at a library in Texas being opened in his name.

Kill a few, they call you a murderer. Kill tens of thousands, they give you $500 million for a granite vanity project and a glossy 30-page supplement in the local paper.

They concluded:

Bush’s legacy is reflected not in his library, but in the regular bombings that rock Baghdad, killing dozens at a time. The Connecticut blue blood turned straight talkin’ Texan is of course welcome to tell his side of the story. That’s only fair. But let him do it at the Hague.

Last month, on the tenth anniversay of the start of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, wounded Iraq war veteran Thomas Young, who remains in hospice waiting to die, wrote an open letter to Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney which included:

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Ending his letter, Young wrote to Bush:

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Back in Texas on Thursday, just as Bush closed his remarks at the library’s opening ceremony, a tear caught his eye and he swallowed a sob as he returned to his seat. There was no apology for the war, the many deaths, or torture. There was no confession or acknowledgement of sin or error.  The military band rose to perform “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah”as the other presidents, their wives, and the crowd sang and applauded.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/25-5

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3 Responses to Celebration in Texas Opens New Library for “War Criminal”

  1. diggerdan says:

    Yea bush said ” I did what I did and ultimately history will judge “. Well maybe then they aught to say that to all of the people in jail and prison and let them all out so that “ultimately history can judge” How about that!!! Just think of all that money that they spent on that so called bush library that was from the tax payers – would they be the same if bush had to pay for it himself – this is just another thing given to that f`er by the tax payers. Yep they should all be sitting in some prison makin` license plates and breakin` rocks damn it. bush is just a common simple war criminal and all those others that support that bastard are accomplises and co-conspirators.

  2. …war criminals….and traitors..all of them….every member of the American Leadership from the moment they blew JFK’s head off…impeach them all retroactively….charge and convict them all…wives…kids…brothers, sisters.. anyone who benefitted.from the war crimes and treason…then hang all of them after they are convicted….pigs…pigs and war criminals that is what they are….pigs….

    RJ O’Guillory
    Author-
    Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family

  3. Patriot Joe says:

    Not much to remember about ‘figure head’ GW Bush except he allowed a homosexual prostitute open access to the WH and the fact W appeared to be mentally retarded. He was just the latest ‘clown’ installed by the jewish banksters through another phony election.

    Look at what we have now…

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