Written by Vincent Bugliosi
(A Book Review by Jack Neworth)
As his time in office winds down George Bush speaks of retirement wistfully. He looks forward to playing golf, cutting brush and “replenishing the coffers” (his words) with lucrative speaking fees. I don’t imagine he’s given any thought to standing trial for murder. Former Los Angeles District Attorney, Vincent Bugliosi, has given it a lot of thought.
In his controversial, new book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” Bugliosi cites a litany of examples of Bush’s deceit in taking the U.S. to war in Iraq. Methodically, he outlines the case for holding Bush criminally liable for the deaths of over 4000 American GIs and 100,000 innocent Iraqis. Nancy Pelosi may have taken impeachment off the table, but Bugliosi has a different table in mind, a courtroom defense table.
Before you automatically dismiss his theory, keep in mind Bugliosi prosecuted 106 felonies in L.A. County and won 105. He tried 21 capital cases and won all 21. He candidly states that at 73 years of age he’s not about to tarnish his hard-earned reputation. But in our legal system no one is above the law, and for Bugliosi that includes the president.
Bugliosi has authored three number one best selling books and won three Edgar Allan Poe awards. His greatest fame, however, came from prosecuting the Manson family, the book of which, “Helter Skelter,” sold seven million copies. This latest book has sold 130,000 copies (no small feat in hard cover.) And yet none of the mainstream media has interviewed him. (Or even taken his advertising dollars.)
Opponents have called Bugliosi many things but “frivolous” or “unprepared” probably were not among them. Neither would “partisan.” He supported McCain in 2000 and freely bashes liberals throughout the book. (“How do they sit up straight without the benefit of a spine?”)
Step by step, Bugliosi outlines the case that Bush, in a conspiracy with others, knowingly and deliberately lied us into the war. For example, on October 7, 2002, he told the American people that Sadaam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that he could unleash upon us or give to terrorist organizations. He indicated an attack could take place “any day.” Six days earlier, however, in the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) 16 different intelligence agencies clearly stated that Sadaam was NOT an imminent threat. It suggested only if we attacked Iraq might Sadaam be inclined to use those weapons. (Which, as it turns out, weren’t there in the first place.)
While we have heard many of these arguments before, when Bugliosi takes it into the courtroom it changes the dynamic radically. He spent hundreds of hours researching jurisdiction. Murder charges could come from the federal Attorney General, or from any of the 50 state attorney generals or from any of hundreds of D.A.’s within whose district a soldier lived and then died in Iraq.
As for “intent” to commit murder Bugliosi gives the example of a drunk driver who has no intent to kill someone. However, his reckless behavior reveals his intent. Bush, in a conspiracy with Cheney, Rove, Rice, Rumsfeld, etc., recklessly lied us into war in spite of the evidence and all could be subject to criminal prosecution.
Among the most compelling sections of the book occurs when Bugliosi hypothetically puts Bush on the stand in cross-examination. With a skillful series of penetrating questions, he backs Bush into a corner where either answer points to his guilt.
While the mainstream media has ignored Bugliosi, if you go to YouTube and type: “Bugliosi Bush” there are numerous interviews. Bugliosi hopes that because of the book at least one D.A. in the country will have the courage to indict Bush and the others. To that end he offers pro-bono help of his time and advice.
Bugliosi realizes getting Bush in a criminal courtroom is a longshot. But he notes that in Chile it took 30 years to bring Pinochet to justice. He reminds us there is no statute of limitations for murder.
In 2005 Bush told reporters, “Laura and I are having the time of our life.” Unfortunately for thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of dead and wounded, there hasn’t been such joy. The inside covers of Bugliosi’s book are poignantly filled with photos of GI’s who died in Iraq because, in Bugliosi’s legal opinion, of Bush’s criminal behavior. “Somebody has to pay,” he says.
Bugliosi does not advocate congressional hearings or impeachment. He recommends waiting until after Bush leaves office and then trying the case in a court of law. In a nation of laws, he thinks it proper to let a jury decide on the guilt or innocence of George W. Bush on the charge of murder. I imagine he might think it fitting if Bush’s post-presidency brush cutting was as part of a chain gang.