September 30, 2010

Which brings me in a roundabout way to my friend, tennis legend Gardnar Mulloy. He’s now in his middle nineties, and has been ranked number #1 in his age group for every decade of his adult life. He’s completely apolitical; he draws his own conclusions based upon observable facts. As a decorated veteran of World War II, he concluded that modern warfare is madness. We often played tennis during the run-up to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and afterward during the occupation’s initial phase. In crossovers, we traded thoughts about the war and the Bush Administration. These crossovers usually went beyond the regulation time limit.

Gardnar felt that what Bush Jr. was doing in the Middle East was simply insane and incomprehensible. He was at a loss to understand why it was happening and why the American people could let it happen. He may have passed on his disgust and puzzlement to his good friend, the famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, in California. The man who prosecuted Charles Manson and who never lost a murder case in his career subsequently wrote an important but under-appreciated book entitled The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

The title sounds over-the-top, but the concept is important. Can the president be held criminally responsible for his actions? Is he, in fact, accountable? Or does he possess a kind of blanket immunity in his capacity as the imperial president of the lone surviving superpower? Note that Bill Clinton had to answer a civil suit while still in office for allegedly unwanted sexual advances. Vincent Bugliosi takes the position that the rationale used for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was entirely bogus and that the orchestrated campaign of lies and disinformation emanating from the White House was presided over by G.W. Bush. All that is perfectly true, of course. Hence, according to Bugliosi, Bush Jr. should be held accountable for the unnecessary deaths of more than four thousand American servicemen and for the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian fatalities. Bugliosi explains why in legal detail.

The US military acted at the direction of G.W. Bush, Jr., absent a declaration of war by Congress, as would be normally required by the US Constitution. Bugliosi calls the results murder. You might call it malfeasance and stupidity. You might call it a conspiracy undertaken by the neocons, using G.W. Bush as a useful idiot. The fact remains that no one in the Cheney-Bush co-presidency has been held accountable for anything. Boy Wonder Obama has refused to investigate Dick Cheney and G.W. Bush for anything they did in connection with the Iraq War or for anything whatsoever related to the so-called War on Terror. The entire subject is out of bounds.

In this way”€”give it some thought”€”is Obama conveniently immunizing himself from possible war crimes that he is authorizing right now? I am thinking about the burgeoning drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan which have killed scores of innocent civilians. Our “peace prize” president has increased these targeted killings far beyond anything authorized by those two roustabouts, Bush and Cheney.

Our “peace prize” president has increased these targeted killings far beyond anything authorized by those two roustabouts, Bush and Cheney.

What does this have to do with Bill Clinton? Plenty. He is in the same boat with Bush, Cheney, and Obama. At his recently concluded Clinton Global Initiative Conference, which lasted three days and was attended by 1,300 concerned humanitarians, including a host of plutocrats and Hollywood celebrities, there was much talk about “ensuring global health” and “alleviating poverty.” All of this concern is directed at mankind situated outside the United States, in the developing or so-called Third World. As noted on the CGI website, the organization acts as “a facilitator””€”it helps match worthy projects with private funding from those individuals and corporations fortunate enough to possess spare cash. No doubt, some actual good deeds are being performed by this glitzy, grandstanding, private-sector initiative. We are talking about funding to date of over $60 billion. One is left to assume that Bill Clinton is a humanitarian as well as a great facilitator. But is one allowed to explore what Clinton did in this regard when he was president?

To keep it simple and stark, let’s stick to Iraq. If G.W. Bush can be held responsible for the untimely deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis in an unjustified and illegal war starting in 2003, then by the same token Bill Clinton, in executing his foreign policy from 1993 through 2000, can be assigned direct responsibility for the malnutrition, death, and misery of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, especially women and children, due to the economic embargo of Iraq during those eight years. This is not theory; this is a well-documented fact. Bear in mind that a full-scale economic embargo is an act of war. It is one of the reasons why Japan felt justified in attacking Pearl Harbor.


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