Saturday, December 1, 2018

Had it with the Hagiography

I spent most of the day away from all sorts of media, being preoccupied with my volunteer gig all morning and with work all afternoon, but I did catch snippets of commentary regarding the death of George H.W. Bush at the age of 94. Most of the coverage was sickeningly anodyne- even so-called 'liberal' pundits and Democrats were talking about how 'civil' Bush the Elder was- not as clumsy or random as a Trump, an elegant Republican for a more civilized age. I say 'balls' to all that... the guy was a bad egg, bad for America, bad for the world. I am relieved that one pundit, Medhi Hasan of The Intercept, has written an article critical of Bush 41, that I am not alone in my rancor.

First of all, Bush 41 was Reagan's right-hand man, and probably wielded much of the presidential power while Reagan was slipping into dementia. Bush was the keynote speaker at my college graduation, and I have vivid memories of a distraught woman running up the aisles screaming 'Asesino!', referencing the Reagan administration's heinous Latin American policies, until security dragged her off, still screaming. I was young, I wasn't very political at the time, but this was a woman unprotected by my white male privilege.

Bush was comfortable using racism to further his political ends, with the Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis being a textbook example of stocking racialized fears while portraying Democrats as 'soft on crime'.

The first Gulf War was largely based on propaganda, depicting Iraqi soldiers as vile creatures who pulled Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and left them to die. While Saddam Hussein was truly a despicable creature, it seems as if he had been set up by the Bush 41 Administration when envoy April Glaspie told him that the United States had no position on Arab-Arab disputes. The fact that this followed upon years of Republican administration apparatichiks selling chemical weapons to Iraq while simultaneously selling weapons to Iran, Iraq's bitter foe in an eight year long regional war- while playing both sides in a conflict against each other for personal game makes for a great thriller, it makes for a shitty foreign policy. Gulf War One was the fount from which much of our current global shitshow sprang- it inspired the rise of Al Qaeda, immiserated Iraqis for a decade, and set the stage for the even worse sequel. In one particularly cruel twist in the First Gulf War, the US government encouraged the mainly Shiite Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq to revolt against Saddam Hussein, but gave them no support.

The litany of Bush's missteps, crimes, and atrocities has been ignored by the mainstream media, which is content to run the sanitized version of his tenure in the government. As Driftglass has often noted, liberals are cursed with memory... I can't forget living through the Bush years, especially watching the news media covering the war as if it were a sporting event (I vividly remember watching the initial airstrikes on Baghdad while drinking a beer in a bar and thinking, 'Weird, I guess we're at war now.').

Oddly enough, the people who seem to be most critical of the Bush hagiography are the QAnon loons, who ignore the man's actual crimes and accuse him of being an elite pedophile and the killer of JFK... I guess that Bush's 'New World Order' is still catnip to conspiracy whackaloons. I imagine that, if I were to delve deeper into their cesspool, there would be far-right trolls claiming that this frail 94 year old had been executed for his 'Deep State' crimes (these idiots believe that John McCain was executed by a military tribunal).

Enough of the conspiracy-mongering, I think I'll end this post with the guy who had the last word on HW and his 'thousand points of light' nonsense:

Sometimes, it takes a Canadian to tell it like it is about these here United States.


bowtiejack said...

This really needed to be said. I had the same reaction you did. Thanks.

Bea said...

As you know, he was also a proponent of Reagan's bullshit trickle-down economics.

I had a sort of hateful art collage featuring Bush hanging in my apt. back in 1990. My mother's conservative husband found it 'offensive'. Well, I found HW offensive.

Al said...

There have been three Gulf wars that the United Snakes has been involved in. Gulf War I was the Iran-Iraq War. Gulf War II was the invasion of Kuwait and Gulf War III was the invasion of Iraq. The USS Stark was hit by two Iraqi Exocet missiles killing 37 US sailors and the US shot down an unarmed Iranian airliner killing 290 passenger and crew in Gulf War I. I know that this sounds trivial but I think it gives one a better perspective on our ongoing horror show in the Mideast.

StringOnAStick said...

Thank you for saying all this, and I second your comments.

I paid a lot of attention to the Contra crap as a head student, that whole mess was my first lesson in just how venal political leaders can be.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I'm glad to hear from everybody how sick they are of this beatification BS!

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

two words - clarence thomas