Whitewashing the (original) moral leper
Except for those without a cable TV connection, few among my generation will forget this line from CNN reporter Bernard Shaw: “The skies of Baghdad have been illuminated”. They were the first words that announced to the world, the beginning of George HW Bush’s mass murdering adventure in Iraq.
That was January 1991. For months (or was it years?) afterwards, Bernard Shaw’s announcement was the signature advert for America’s ace satellite station.
But that wasn’t the first time in history that the skies of Baghdad had glowed. The first time, it was illuminated with the light of learning and knowledge championed by the Abbasid Caliphs, and kept alive by novel institutions like the Bayt-al-Hikmah. That was several centuries ago.
When, as president of the United States, George Bush Snr sent fiery missiles across Iraqi skies, killing hundreds of thousands because it suited his aims, he had no idea that the same fire will boomerang and consume him. Yet, that was what happened. George HW lost his second term bid for no other reason that his Iraqi misadventure.
We heard this on the authority of his rival (during the presidential debates) and successor, Bill Clinton that the Gulf War was the sole handiwork of George HW Bush, and that if he had not orchestrated the crisis that led to the war, there would never have been a Gulf War at all. Clinton called this manoeuvre ‘Iraq-gate.’
But long before Bill Clinton’s confirmation of this conspiracy, many news media in the Western World had disclosed the real reason Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait and why the US was ‘forced’ to go and liberate Kuwait.
It all began, according to them, the day President Bush Snr, sent a top-ranking state department official (some say it was Susan Rice) to tell Iraqi President Saddam Hussain, that the Kuwaitis were stealing Iraq’s oil behind his back, and getting richer at his expense. Saddam reportedly asked the official what to do and her famously reported reply was:
‘We have no mutual defence agreement with Kuwait.’ Meaning that since the US had signed no treaty to defend Kuwait against external aggression, Saddam was free to take any measure he deemed necessary, in order to punish Kuwait.
Saddam knew what that meant, he himself was an American ally, because all reports about his rise in the Iraqi political sphere, attributed it to his being a CIA agent. He quickly prepared his troops and on the 2nd of August 1990, he invaded Kuwait and declared it to be 19th province of Iraq. This show of force was necessary not only because Kuwait needed to be a taught a lesson but because after his eight-yearlong war with Iran, Iraq was cash-strapped and needed to pay a pile of foreign debt.
Saddam Hussain did not know what hit him, when a day after his annexation of Kuwait, George HW Bush, his former boss at the CIA, turned around and ordered him out of Kuwait or he would be dealt with. Of course Saddam refused to leave, could not even believe the Americans were serious, I mean weren’t they the very people who showed him evidence of how the Kuwaitis were robbing him blind? So he remained belligerent and in Kuwait; and the rest is history.
I was forced to recall all this when I heard world leaders, past and present, falling over themselves to say what a great statesman George Bush Snr was and what a good political loser he was because he lost amiably to Clinton.
Not only did Bush Snr shed tears, on stage, when he bade farewell to America, in front of his children and grandchildren, he also left a note on his table at the Oval office that effectively said what a sour loser he was.
The note simply said ‘Wake me up in 1996 and tell me it was all a bad dream.’ The CNN spent that whole day showing this note, which was stuck to a table-top calendar on the American president’s table. Though I was a busy bank staff then, I couldn’t help re-reading and memorising it at the end. So where is the amiable statesman here?
For all intents and purposes George Bush Snr was more like the North Koreans labelled him.
While he was still president of the United States, they paid him a special tribute at a big hotel in Pyongyang. His face decorated a large doormat that every hotel guest had to match on while working into the lobby. And they named him ‘A moral leper.’
Now this is more like what George HW Bush was, when he held sway as America’s president. All those platitudes and sweet epithets that have been used to describe him, by political allies and foes alike, are all attempts to whitewash a mass murderer whose negative exploits in the Middle East are still being felt.
For all intents and purposes George Bush Snr was more like the North Koreans labelled him
That his son came and added to the pains and misery of Iraqis and other parts of the World, by stage-managing the September 11th 2001 terror attacks, did not surprise many. Grand deception and luring others to war, for their selfish ends obviously runs in the Bush family. Indeed his own father Prescott Bush was reputed to be Adolf Hitler’s banker. Whether as owner or CEO of the bank, Prescott was supposed to have lent a hand to Hitler during the second World War.
So with a father who aided and abetted a mass murder in Europe and benefitted immensely from it, should we be surprised that he planned and orchestrated the killing of Iraqis in his thirst for their oil? And that his own son launched an all-out war with no limit of time or territory, in pursuit of oil and gas reserves in Afghanistan, free oil in Iraq, in Libya and anywhere else that their lust for the black gold takes them?
Yes, so-called world leaders might rejoice in whitewashing his memory and calling the hero that he wasn’t, the rest of us will remember George HW Bush as the moral leper and bloodthirsty mass murderer that he was.
Late George Bush