The Bushes’ ‘Death Squads’

George H.W. Bush was laid to rest on Wednesday but some of his murderous policies lived on through his son’s administration and until this day, as Robert Parry reported on January 11, 2005.

How George W. Bush Learned From His Father

By Robert Parry
Special to Consortium News

By refusing to admit personal misjudgments on Iraq, George W. Bush instead is pushing the United States toward becoming what might be called a permanent “counter-terrorist” state, which uses torture, cross-border death squads and even collective punishments to defeat perceived enemies in Iraq and around the world.

Since securing a second term, Bush has pressed ahead with this hard-line strategy, in part by removing dissidents inside his administration while retaining or promoting his protégés. Bush also has started prepping his younger brother Jeb as a possible successor in 2008, which could help extend George W.’s war policies while keeping any damaging secrets under the Bush family’s control.

As a centerpiece of this tougher strategy to pacify Iraq, Bush is contemplating the adoption of the brutal practices that were used to suppress leftist peasant uprisings in Central America in the 1980s. The Pentagon is “intensively debating” a new policy for Iraq called the “Salvador option,” Newsweek magazine reported on Jan. 9.

The strategy is named after the Reagan-Bush administration’s “still-secret strategy” of supporting El Salvador’s right-wing security forces, which operated clandestine “death squads” to eliminate both leftist guerrillas and their civilian sympathizers, Newsweek reported. “Many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success – despite the deaths of innocent civilians,” Newsweek wrote.

Central America Veterans

The magazine also noted that a number of Bush administration officials were leading figures in the Central American operations of the 1980s, such as John Negroponte, who was then U.S. Ambassador to Honduras and is now U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.

Other current officials who played key roles in Central America include Elliott Abrams, who oversaw Central American policies at the State Department and who is now a Middle East adviser on Bush’s National Security Council staff, and Vice President Dick Cheney, who was a powerful defender of the Central American policies while a member of the House of Representatives.

The insurgencies in El Salvador and Guatemala were crushed through the slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians. In Guatemala, about 200,000 people perished, including what a truth commission later termed a genocide against Mayan Indians in the Guatemalan highlands. In El Salvador, about 70,000 died including massacres of whole villages, such as the slaughter carried out by a U.S.-trained battalion against hundreds of men, women and children in and around the town of El Mozote in 1981. 

El Mozote massacre. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Reagan-Bush strategy also had a domestic component, the so-called “perception management” operation that employed sophisticated propaganda to manipulate the fears of the American people while hiding the ugly reality of the wars. The Reagan-Bush administration justified its actions in Central America by portraying the popular uprisings as an attempt by the Soviet Union to establish a beachhead in the Americas to threaten the U.S. southern border.

[For details about how these strategies worked and the role of George H.W. Bush, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.]

More Pain

By employing the “Salvador option” in Iraq, the U.S. military would crank up the pain, especially in Sunni Muslim areas where resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq has been strongest. In effect, Bush would assign other Iraqi ethnic groups the job of leading the “death squad” campaign against the Sunnis.

One Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Perhmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with discussions,” Newsweek reported.

Newsweek quoted one military source as saying, “The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving the terrorists. … From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation.”

Citing the Central American experiences of many Bush administration officials, we wrote in November 2003 – more than a year ago – that many of these Reagan-Bush veterans were drawing lessons from the 1980s in trying to cope with the Iraqi insurgency. We pointed out, however, that the conditions were not parallel. [See’s “Iraq: Quicksand & Blood.”]

In Central America, powerful oligarchies had long surrounded themselves with ruthless security forces and armies. So, when uprisings swept across the region in the early 1980s, the Reagan-Bush administration had ready-made – though unsavory – allies who could do the dirty work with financial and technological help from Washington.

Iraqi Dynamic

A different dynamic exists in Iraq, because the Bush administration chose to disband rather than co-opt the Iraqi army. That left U.S. forces with few reliable local allies and put the onus for carrying out counterinsurgency operations on American soldiers who were unfamiliar with the land, the culture and the language.

Those problems, in turn, contributed to a series of counterproductive tactics, including the heavy-handed round-ups of Iraqi suspects, the torturing of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and the killing of innocent civilians by jittery U.S. troops fearful of suicide bombings.

The war in Iraq also has undermined U.S. standing elsewhere in the Middle East and around the world. Images of U.S. soldiers sexually abusing Iraqi prisoners, putting bags over the heads of captives and shooting a wounded insurgent have blackened America’s image everywhere and made cooperation with the United States increasingly difficult even in countries long considered American allies.

Beyond the troubling images, more and more documents have surfaced indicating that the Bush administration had adopted limited forms of torture as routine policy, both in Iraq and the broader War on Terror. Last August, an FBI counterterrorism official criticized abusive practices at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more,” the official wrote. “When I asked the M.P.’s what was going on, I was told that interrogators from the day prior had ordered this treatment, and the detainee was not to be moved. On another occasion … the detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night.”

Despite official insistence that torture is not U.S. policy, the blame for these medieval tactics continues to climb the chain of command toward the Oval Office. It appears to have been Bush’s decision after the Sept. 11 attacks to “take the gloves off,” a reaction understandable at the time but which now appears to have hurt, more than helped.

TV World

George W Bush as an infant with father George HW Bush at Yale University. (George Bush Presidential Library)

Many Americans have fantasized about how they would enjoy watching Osama bin Laden tortured to death for his admitted role in the Sept. 11 attacks. There is also a tough-guy fondness for torture as shown in action entertainment – like Fox Network’s “24” – where torture is a common-sense shortcut to get results.

But the larger danger arises when the exceptional case becomes the routine, when it’s no longer the clearly guilty al-Qaeda mass murderer, but it is now the distraught Iraqi father trying to avenge the death of his child killed by American bombs.

Rather than the dramatic scenes on TV, the reality is usually more like that desperate creature in Guantanamo lying in his own waste and pulling out his hair. The situation can get even worse when torture takes on the industrial quality of government policy, with subjects processed through the gulags or the concentration camps.

That also is why the United States and other civilized countries have long banned torture and prohibited the intentional killing of civilians. The goal of international law has been to set standards that couldn’t be violated even in extreme situations or in the passions of the moment.

Yet, Bush – with his limited world experience – was easily sold on the notion of U.S. “exceptionalism” where America’s innate goodness frees it from the legal constraints that apply to lesser countries.

Bush also came to believe in the wisdom of his “gut” judgments. After his widely praised ouster of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in late 2001, Bush set his sights on invading Iraq. Like a hot gambler in Las Vegas doubling his bets, Bush’s instincts were on a roll.

Now, however, as the Iraqi insurgency continues to grow and inflict more casualties on both U.S. troops and Iraqis who have thrown in their lot with the Americans, Bush finds himself facing a narrowing list of very tough choices.

Bush could acknowledge his mistakes and seek international help in extricating U.S. forces from Iraq. But Bush abhors admitting errors, even small ones. Plus, Bush’s belligerent tone hasn’t created much incentive for other countries to bail him out.

Instead Bush appears to be upping the ante by contemplating cross-border raids into countries neighboring Iraq. He also would be potentially expanding the war by having Iraqi Kurds and Shiites kill Sunnis, a prescription for civil war or genocide.

Pinochet Option

There’s a personal risk, too, for Bush if he picks the “Salvador option.” He could become an American version of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet or Guatemala’s Efrain Rios Montt, leaders who turned loose their security forces to commit assassinations, “disappear” opponents and torture captives.

Like the policy that George W. Bush is now considering, Pinochet even sponsored his own international “death squad” – known as Operation Condor – that hunted down political opponents around the world. One of those attacks in September 1976 blew up a car carrying Chilean dissident Orlando Letelier as he drove through Washington D.C. with two American associates. Letelier and co-worker Ronni Moffitt were killed.

With the help of American friends in high places, the two former dictators have fended off prison until now. However, Pinochet and Rios Montt have become pariahs who are facing legal proceedings aimed at finally holding them accountable for their atrocities.

[For more on George H.W. Bush’s protection of Pinochet, see Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

One way for George W. Bush to avert that kind of trouble is to make sure his political allies remain in power even after his second term ends in January 2009. In his case, that might be achievable by promoting his brother Jeb for president in 2008, thus guaranteeing that any incriminating documents stay under wraps.

President George W. Bush’s dispatching Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to inspect the tsunami damage in Asia started political speculation that one of the reasons was to burnish Jeb’s international credentials in a setting where his personal empathy would be on display.

Though Jeb Bush has insisted that he won’t run for president in 2008, the Bush family might find strong reason to encourage Jeb to change his mind, especially if the Iraq War is lingering and George W. has too many file cabinets filled with damaging secrets.

This is how this article originally appeared on Consortium News.

The late investigative reporter Robert Parry, the founding editor of Consortium News, broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His last book, America’s Stolen Narrative, can be obtained in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

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47 comments for “The Bushes’ ‘Death Squads’

  1. Ottmar Straub
    December 13, 2018 at 13:35

    We do not need to talk about such dark people – they are so very wrongly educated that we should know what they embody. It is extreme hipocrisy ruling the public discourse in the states and the society needs people like Trump to project their darkness. What a dangerous country – it is darker than Germany was under Hitler and still nobody stops it – we have hope that people wake up but there is a way to go.

  2. December 10, 2018 at 13:44

    One day, Donald Trump will die. He’s 72 now and eats McHagenDaas for breakfast with a straw. Do the math.

    On that day, I am now certain – after the whitewashing of Ronald Reagan, John McCain, George HW Bush, etc etc – we will celebrate Donald Trump in the same way. We’ll all say, “What a great man you were, Charlie Brown!” and the flags will fly, and the newpapers will shout it out, and Oprah will take a stick of Juicy Fruit from Jack Nicholson in the front pew.

  3. December 10, 2018 at 11:29

    “…a Soviet beachhead in the Americas?” You mean like the same “American beachhead around the border of Russia in the Ukraine?”

  4. Truth First
    December 7, 2018 at 20:38

    “America’s innate goodness frees it from the legal constraints that apply to lesser countries.”
    There is no more ‘lesser’ country than the USA. Countries that overthrow democracies, kill millions of innocents, export killing machines to anyone with the cash and allow torture both at home and abroad are certainly lesser countries and the USA is at the top of that list!!

    • Josep
      December 10, 2018 at 03:59

      Indeed. This notion of “innate goodness” could more or less explain America’s isolation from other Western nations (such as its resistance to the metric system or its policies towards Israel), as well as its inability to address real issues such as the lack of proper healthcare or paid maternity leave. So not only is it a danger to people in other countries, but it’s also a danger to its own citizens too.

  5. James Baker
    December 7, 2018 at 16:32

    The crazy is thick in this comment section. What is wrong with you people?

    • Skip Scott
      December 7, 2018 at 16:44

      Not THE James Baker!

      BTW- We forgot to drink the Kool-Aid. Probably seems a little weird to a “Blue Pill’er”.

    • mike k
      December 7, 2018 at 17:57

      I hope you are not ‘the’ James Baker, because if you are, you are probably scheming to send us CN commenters to a CIA gulag somewhere!

    • ML
      December 7, 2018 at 18:03

      You are what is part of “crazy,” buddy. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what is wrong with YOU.

  6. C. Noone
    December 7, 2018 at 11:58

    I met John Negroponte in the 1980s, and had the bad luck of seeing his dark side. It was frightening. His death squad activities in Central America and tarnished reputation here equals a man without a conscience and without a home. May he and GHWB (and all the others) rot in hell.

    Rest in peace Robert Parry.

  7. December 7, 2018 at 05:19

    The fastest way to login to Hotmail

  8. December 7, 2018 at 03:41

    Clearly guilty al Queda leader? Bush the younger decided to take the gloves off after 9/11, which was understandable? Robert Parry seems lacking in skepticism, & is weak in physics. The Bushes & their whole cabal pulled off an egregiously obvious false flag on 9/11. He took advantage of the bloodthirstiness of gullible Americans to try to justify torture. Osama bin Laden was a CIA asset whom the FBI didn’t even charge with 9/11. He was the fall guy.

    • December 10, 2018 at 11:32

      Well, they needed the torture to get the admissions for 911, which were then conveyed to the media and published to Americans to bolster the preposterous 911 story.

  9. dave
    December 7, 2018 at 02:13

    the decisions were quite obviously mage by the real acting predident, dick cheney whom i call the OP, operating president
    W was the classic “useful idiot” a dumbshit extrodinaire so cherished by his secretive PNAC jew israeli american handlers(except cheney, rumsfeld, and good ‘ol jeb bush) for his ignorance and stupidity
    a beautifully descriptive term coined none other by the founder of jewish communism, karl marx

  10. Mike Lamb
    December 7, 2018 at 00:34

    Will there be a South Park episode in which Saddam greets George H.W. Bush in Hell and shows him the place already set out for his son George W.”

  11. PJB
    December 6, 2018 at 22:29

    Here is perhaps the best eulogy to GHWB available:

    • Ort
      December 9, 2018 at 17:25

      FWIW, I’m no fan of GHW Bush– or Hillary Clinton, for that matter.

      But I can’t get past the lurid, juvenile Photoshopping of their faces into horror-movie monsters, as seen in the thumbnail for this video– it seems to be popular on YouTube videos as an eyeball-grabbing cheap trick.

      Yes, I “get” that they are real, live horror-movie monsters. Even so, I find those visuals to be a case of over-egging the blood pudding. It’s excessive, and off-putting.

  12. robert e williamson jr
    December 6, 2018 at 21:11

    I’m very pleased to learn that the dishonor of 41 & 43 is being “jawed about”! Just don’t neglect the deep state and their arms of the government, the congressional lobby and CIA.

    How true Mike K!

    And let us remember 43 could still be tried for war crimes, that is of course unless the Deep State bankrupts the world’s economy first!

  13. mike k
    December 6, 2018 at 21:10

    Are there any of our “great leaders” who are not mass murderers? Why is that? Think about it.

  14. Darby
    December 6, 2018 at 20:52

    Thank you so much for setting the record straight. Too bad the mainstream media is continuing it’s deaf, dumb and blind rendition of journalism and the disinterested public all become flesh eating zombies

  15. December 6, 2018 at 17:31

    Not to detract from the importance of the article’s substance, but I have never been convinced that Bush, Jr. ever made a decision while he was in The White House, nor have I ever seen evidence that he did. He seemed much more the figurehead, a leader in name only. This is not to suggest that he never signed a decision document; he did so repeatedly. But time and again, the decisions seem to have been made by others in his administration.

    • Skip Scott
      December 7, 2018 at 16:33

      I think he was subservient to Dick Cheney. W has that “pinched brow” look of someone who is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

  16. K Lee
    December 6, 2018 at 16:12

    I always wondered why JFK, Jr. called his magazine “George”. Here’s a very interesting and well done excerpt from the documentary, Dark Legacy:

    Oil Tycoon, CIA Chief, President: George H.W. Bush Was The Epitome of American Empire

    “In conclusion, it seems fair to say that George H.W. Bush was one of those American leaders who was so aligned with the ‘elite’ – since birth – that he was unable to appreciate the cares of ordinary people, both at home, abroad and on the battlefield. This description comes close to explaining Washington’s approach to foreign policy.”

  17. December 6, 2018 at 15:14

    Both Bush”s have received their weekly paychecks on the public dole. George H.W. Bush was on the public dole since age 16 until the day he died at age 94. Thank God we taxpayers don’t have to pay him anymore.

  18. Al Pinto
    December 6, 2018 at 14:05

    The article states, quote:

    “Though Jeb Bush has insisted that he won’t run for president in 2008, the Bush family might find strong reason to encourage Jeb to change his mind, especially if the Iraq War is lingering and George W. has too many file cabinets filled with damaging secrets.”

    Well, there’s no Bush in the White House for the last ten years and yet, the war in Iraq and other places is still lingering. No matter who is in the WH, the MIC and war mongers keep it going. Presumably, the “file cabinets with secrets” had been emptied long time ego….

    PS: The intent isn’t exonerate the Bushes, rather to show that the POTUS matters not…

  19. George Collins
    December 6, 2018 at 13:31

    I recognize Bob Parry’s great contributions including the outing of Bush mischief from the treason of the October Surprise to the stigma of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Haven’t reasonable people long noted that torture leads only to the evidence that torturers are damnable outlaws who ought to be redressed under applicable law?

    My first quibble with Bob was his, IMO, relatively tame criticism of Obama, who waffled over torture, normalized death by drone, that contrasted with his excoriation of W. Bush. His comment a pragmatic compromise: in effect Obama was the horse we rode in on.

    I winced today on reading that W’s decision to take the gloves off in torture matters might have been “understandable”, at least right after 9/11.

    That begs asking Bob about the national reticence to really inquire of Bush, Cheney, Rummy, those in charge of security at the airports and WTC and what Poppy’s role was in meeting with the Carlyle Group. Last I knew the FBI was not seeking Osama bin Laden for 9/11.

    I’m not suggesting that Bob Parry was not among journalism’s greats, as Ray McGovern once counseled when I was carping.

    In the background I’m listening to services in Houston where the music blasting Onward Christian Soldiers and worthy war criminals have been eulogizing. The cliche that none of us is perfect does not excuse our remiss in not calling out our nation’s classless barbarity and those who orchestrate it.

    If they are tight with God, what kind of God is theirs?

  20. GMC
    December 6, 2018 at 11:35

    Robert Parry was laid to rest over 1 year ago while Geo. Bush was laid to unrest { hopefully}. But Mr Parry will live on because he was on the righteous side of we the people of the World.

    • December 6, 2018 at 13:34

      Oh, how I wish that were true.

      But that really isn’t how the world works.

      We had John McCain and G W H Bush dying and receiving such effusive praise and showy honors, you wouldn’t recognize the men from the words.

      And remember Shakespeare’s admonition on good men, ‘The good is oft interred with their bones.”

  21. SoTexGuy
    December 6, 2018 at 11:26

    Bush did not need Jeb in office to hide his secrets or continue his murderous campaigns and programs.. Obama did just fine.. and so is Trump.

  22. Bob Van Noy
    December 6, 2018 at 10:13

    The rot is deep and cannot be overlooked or forgotten.

    Thank you CN for reminding me why I found this site years ago. Robert Parry was a superb Journalist true but he also was an outraged moralist as well. Hue crimes had been committed and were continuous, somebody had to stand up and no one stood taller than Robert did.

    I’m going to provide a link that describes the life of David Valentine another investigator who was and is screaming at America to pay attention to the Crimes committed by their government. You will see the beginnings of War Crimes and you will see a reference to “Operation Phoenix” the formalization of corrupt warfare…

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 8, 2018 at 14:39

      *Huge crimes had been committed…

  23. vinnieoh
    December 6, 2018 at 09:59

    Of course we owe Robert Parry admiration for all of his investigative reporting, but posting this from 2005 gives a chance to compare what Perry said then and the shape of things now. Myself, I never considered little Georgy Bush anything more than a political commodity chosen by the neocons to be a compliant front man for the real brains (and fists) behind the scenes. Indeed, his tenure as Governor of Texas was an obvious disaster, and I’ve seen it written that he didn’t even want to be governor or President, and was more or less pressed into service. He was a political commodity – a brand name – that the Republican/neocon establishment just could not afford not to merchandize.

    So, unless Mr. Parry uses “Bush” as shorthand for the cabal actually pulling the strings, he was off the mark there. It should also be obvious by now that the invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq was just the opening ploy of the broader campaign to: simultaneously bring the ME region into more permanent US orbit and to crush any national entities hostile to Israeli expansionism. I have characterized the 21st century US Oil War as the consolidation by the victors of the cold war the spoils of the ME. It is/was a PNAC wet dream. Only, as the authors of the PNAC document understood, the window of opportunity to seize this initiative and consolidate those spoils was small and ephemeral, and despite the inertia of the MIC sliding off a cliff, that window has indeed closed.

    The ghouls, murderers/ideologues, and kleptocrats that are now the face of “America” can and will continue to inflict much death and destruction around the world. They neither know nor believe in anything else. But it is equally true that US hegemony will increasingly exist only in their own wishes, or more accurately, their memories.

    • Rohit Parikh
      December 6, 2018 at 10:41

      As soon as you say “Myself, I never considered little Georgy Bush ” you reveal your prejudice and make yourself unreliable as a witness. I have to admit that I did not read any further even though much of what you said might have been correct.

      • vinnieoh
        December 7, 2018 at 15:30

        I take your reply to mean that it is only, or mainly, partisan party (Democrat) alignment that colors my opinions? I’m not really sure if that is what you meant. True that I come from a family of voting Democrats and have voted Democrat almost entirely. It’s also true that juvenile name-calling isn’t the best way to advance an observation or comment to be taken seriously.

        But it’s also true that GW Bush was/is at best mediocre in every way. It seemed apparent to me in 2000 that whomever the R’s nominated would likely be the next POTUS, and so I began reading everything I could about him, to know what to expect. He was disinterested in politics, let alone governance, and had to be herded by his family and associates to run for anything. With the Bush name he was a political commodity the R Party just could not ignore (and we witnessed the same belief acted on by the D’s in 2016, though HRC is the embodiment of political ambition.) GW wasn’t the force behind anything and it was because he was so compliant and disinterested that made him so reliable to the neocons. An absolute tool. But, there I go again.

        I go back and read what I wrote before and during the 2003 Iraq war, to see how my thoughts then hold up to subsequent events. If I got some of it right, I’m sure that Bob Parry’s investigative reporting had a lot to do with it. This is the fourth presidential term since that war was begun and nothing has changed. Either perpetrating or aiding and abetting, the US continues to wreck havoc in the ME, with the predictable effects spreading outward. This is no mistake and GW Bush has not the brains to credit here.

        Before the Iraq invasion I downloaded a copy of the PNAC 2000 document and read the whole thing several times. It was a veritable playbook for the direction the US was then taken, and continuing through Obama and into Trump. The global posturing, the capture of increased military spending, the weapons to be built, and yes even that reference to “a new Pearl Harbor” that would probably be necessary to get the public to swallow it. Interestingly, it was also reported I recall, that Dick Chaney tried to get GHW Bush (near the end of his term) to adopt an earlier draft, but that Bush refused. Perhaps put that with the understanding that Eisenhower spoke about the growing power of the MIC only as he left office, when it was already too late. But who knows? Unlike the son, I believe his father knew exactly what he was doing.

        One thing I did write meant for somebody’s eyes other than my own was a letter to Ted Kennedy, and then to every sitting Senator, dated October 29, 2002, begging them not to authorize this war:

        “This conflict is worse than folly. I believe that at the very least: the situation in the Middle East will be much worse and not better; world opinion will solidify against Americans and American policies; terrorist organizations and activities will be strengthened, not weakened; we will be bankrupted into the unforeseeable future. At the worst, this act of aggression could plunge humanity into global conflict the likes of which previous human experience will not have prepared us. Lest these concerns seem selfish and self-centered, I do not wish to again see American sons and daughters slaughter innocent civilians from the safety of our high-tech weaponry, and all for the true purpose of expanding the corporate oligarchy.

        Now is not the time to remain silent for the purpose of political expediency. While representative democracy still exists between these shores it is time to rein in a chief executive and his cabal who are apparently in the throes of a consuming blood-lust. I have considered myself and have voted Democrat all of my life (I’m 50 years old), and I must say that I am disgusted that most of the elected Democrats in Washington have been struck mute on this issue. No reasonable person who is fully contemplating the consequences of what is about to happen could come to the conclusion that any good is going to come from this. I believe, despite the gaudy and superficial manifestations of popular American culture, that this country is populated by reasonable people, and our elected representatives should consider the consequences of remaining mute and cowardly as George II leads us into a national disgrace and disaster.

        History, if indeed there be anyone left to record it, will justly lay the blame for this catastrophe at our feet. Please sir, I implore you, do everything in your power to stop this from happening.”

        • Skip Scott
          December 7, 2018 at 16:39


        • Gregory Herr
          December 8, 2018 at 10:57

          For those of us with a bit of memory and situational awareness–an understanding of players and prerogatives–the consequences of invading and occupying Iraq in 2003 were clearly something to be avoided. We knew the powerbrokers didn’t “mean well” nor care one whit about the people of Iraq. We knew about the war crime destructions of 1991, the no-fly zones and continued intermittent bombings of the Clinton years, and the dreadful economic sanctions. We knew Saddam was a secular Baathist disassociated from the type of “terrorism” Uncle Sam likes to gin up and exploit–and that his “weapons” capabilities were weak tea. But then, some of us contemplate consequences from a reality- and ethically-based perspective. Apparently, others don’t. Particularly the powerbrokers who knew damn well what the war would do to people–but cheered the “consequences” because profit and geopolitical power games are the concern here.

          What Ted Kennedy did right was to oppose the war. But sadly, Kennedy bought into (at least publicly) the need to “disarm” Hussein. He also bought into the “threat” of Al Quaeda. Had Kennedy posited the truth that Hussein was not a threat, his ground would have been that much firmer.

  24. December 6, 2018 at 09:52

    “It appears to have been Bush’s decision after the Sept. 11 attacks to “take the gloves off,” a reaction understandable at the time but which now appears to have hurt, more than helped.” Perhaps correct. But it’s not a statement that I could ever make. I’m very, very clear on my relationship with the American Empire. It has one job to do – depart.

    • George Colllin
      December 6, 2018 at 13:36

      Arby, I should have read your comment before preparing mine…You were shorter, better.

  25. Sally Snyder
    December 6, 2018 at 09:39

    Here is an article that looks at America’s greatest failure in Afghanistan:

    Washington seems to be incapable of understanding that there are always unintended consequences to its nation-building exercises.

  26. mike k
    December 6, 2018 at 08:30

    “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones…” Bush left us with evil “gifts” that keep on giving…..

  27. Don Bacon
    December 6, 2018 at 00:03

    Bush also came to believe in the wisdom of his “gut” judgments. After his widely praised ouster of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in late 2001, Bush set his sights on invading Iraq. Like a hot gambler in Las Vegas doubling his bets, Bush’s instincts were on a roll.
    Both of them were a bilateral effort, with Dems like Gore and Biden fully on board, pursuing the revenge for 9/11 and the Clinton Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.

  28. December 5, 2018 at 23:37

    A typo still worthy of correction in the archive – “Perhmerga” was intended to be “Peshmerga”

  29. Jeff Harrison
    December 5, 2018 at 18:36

    It is interesting how the US always shouts “The Rule of Law, The Rule of Law” until we have to comply with the rule of law.

  30. Jay
    December 5, 2018 at 17:52

    “Many Americans have fantasized about how they would enjoy watching Osama bin Laden tortured to death for his admitted role in the Sept. 11 attacks. ”

    I’m sorry, and I respect Parry generally, but back in 2001 early 2002, no one I knew believed that “confession video”. There was the hair dye problem, and there was the separate poetry problem.

    • December 6, 2018 at 12:34

      Jay – That’s the same observation I came to after reading the article. That is the only critique I’d have.

      Mr. Parry outlines for all who have the integrity to face it the complete and utter amorality of U.S. military and intelligence agents and policy, an observation that applies as well to the oligarchs who pull the puppet strings on such sordid operations.

      Having traveled as a human rights observer to Nicaragua (1990), El Salvador (1992) and twice in the late 1990’s to Colombia, I’ve personally witnessed not only the torture scars and dead bodies produced in mass by our “policies,” but also the horrific intergenerational psychological trauma that scars the victims to this day.

      Today’s societal fractures, drugs, violence, gangs, poverty and refugees are directly linked to the policy of amoral oligarchs in the U.S. supporting amoral oligarchs in Latin America, always against the best interests of the people both here in the U.S. and in those nations we continue to plunder in Latin America.

      December 6, 2018 at 13:28


    • George Collins
      December 6, 2018 at 14:00

      My recollection is there was obvious discrepancy between the physiology of the purported Osamas, clones trotted out for interviews, by the CIA?, for propaganda purposes and the real Osama, who reportedly was likely long dead of Marfans disease, until brought to life again by Obama in Abbottabad.

      The same spook dog and pony show, with assist by Cloak & Dagger Brennan, seemed applicable to the old man, patsy?, murdered by Seals, it seems, and with high praise, for Obama’s political enhancement. Imagine, Obama a courageous hero for purportedly bravely killing an undisclosed old man, vicariously, with Seal assistance?

      Having heard Obama perform “Amazing” grace, I’m wondering if his seeming recovery from wretch disgrace has been aided and abetted by Trump’s beastly behavior.

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