December 6, 2018

Things the media forgot to mention about George HW Bush

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now - The media honored Bush and his legacy, focusing on Bush’s years of service, from his time in the Navy during World War II to his call as president for a kinder, gentler America. But the focus of the media’s coverage has largely glossed over, or even ignored, other parts of Bush’s legacy, from his expansion of the racist so-called war on drugs to his reluctance to tackle climate change, famously saying, quote, “The American way of life is not up for negotiation,” unquote. It was also George H.W. Bush who nominated and continued supporting future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas even after Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill. Internationally, the ramifications of Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East are still being felt. In 1991, Bush launched the Gulf War in Iraq.

U.S. forces devastated the Iraqi civilian infrastructure and killed an unknown number of Iraqi civilians. On February 13, 1991, the U.S. bombed an air-raid shelter in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad. Four hundred eight civilians were killed. Some Iraqi relatives of the dead later sued Bush and his defense secretary, Dick Cheney, for war crimes. While the Gulf War technically ended in February of 1991, the U.S. war on Iraq would continue for decades, first in the form of devastating sanctions, then in the 2003 invasion launched by George H.W. Bush’s son, President George W. Bush, the 43rd president. Thousands of U.S. troops and contractors remain in Iraq today.

President Bush’s invasion of Iraq came just over a year after he sent tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of aircraft into Panama to execute an arrest warrant against its leader, Manuel Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. General Noriega was once a close ally to Washington and on the CIA payroll. During the attack, the U.S. unleashed a force of 24,000 troops equipped with highly sophisticated weaponry and aircraft against a country with an army smaller than the New York City Police Department. An estimated 3,000 Panamanians died in the attack. Last month, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on Washington to pay reparations to Panama over what was widely seen as an illegal invasion.

In one of his last acts in office, President George H.W. Bush granted pardons to six former Reagan officials who were involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, when the Reagan administration secretly sold arms to Iran to help raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras despite a congressional ban on providing aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. Bush was never held liable for his role in the scandal. The ex-CIA director claimed he was, quote, “out of the loop,” even though other participants and a paper trail suggested otherwise.

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