Washington (GPA) – George H. W. Bush may be dead but his legacy from his many years at the highest levels of US government lives on.
Former President George H.W. Bush has passed on, but much like any political figure who squirms their way to the top of the D.C. ranks, the elder Bush committed international crimes in everything he touched. From his humble beginnings as the son of Nazi collaborator Prescott Bush, George Sr. was bred for the exact type of ‘greatness’ and he didn’t disappoint.
Bush Sr. had his beginnings as a senator (which implicates him in US crimes right off the bat) and as the US ambassador to the United Nations but he quickly moved up. His time as a senator was short-lived, however, but he quickly moved on to much more devilish endeavors. From his time as CIA director to his tenure as Vice-President for Ronald Reagan to his apex of power as a one-term President, regardless of what the Western media may say, George Herbert Walker Bush has a legacy of violence which we will lay out here from his days in the CIA on.
Director of Central Intelligence
Since his death on Saturday, the media in the US has been painting Bush Sr.’s time as Director of Central Intelligence as a period of “reform” inside The Company. Unfortunately for outlets like The Washington Post and the old Grey Lady, The New York Times, this isn’t the truth. In reality, although Bush may supposedly clean up the abuses exposed in the Church Committee (which exposed the CIA, FBI, NSA’s and other intelligence agency abuses throughout the Vietnam War era including operations like COINTELPRO), in reality, Bush Sr.’s time at the CIA cleared the deck for a leadership that would permit the kinds of abuses that became standard under the Reagan regime, which used this “new” CIA to the full extent.
The major case that demonstrates just what Bush’s tenure at the CIA was really about is that of Marcos Orlando Letelier.
Marcos Orlando Letelier was a true statesman – unlike Bush – who had served under the left-leaning popularly elected Chilean President Salvador Allende as the Chilean ambassador to the United States. While this is a respectable position, he didn’t serve the government of Chile for long and lost his position when the military deposed Allende.
Following the removal of Allende, Letelier was forced to flee Chile and soon found himself in Washington D.C. where he became a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). While at the IPS Letelier spent most of his time denouncing the “Chicago Boys” who had helped General Dickhead Pinochet set up an economy ripe for extortion by neoliberal profiteers on Wall Street.
These denouncements of the new fascist regime in Chile soon caused tension due to Pinochet’s deep connections to Washington (and the CIA). In the end, this resulted in Letelier’s assassination by car bomb right in the middle of Washington D.C. in Sheridan Circle, one of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods.
Much like the current investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the media was angry about the murder of Letelier but the CIA under Bush wasn’t concerned. At the time the official line from the CIA was that the Chilean intelligence agencies and police were not involved with the assassination, saying ““The [Central Intelligence] agency reached its decision because the bomb was too crude to be the work of experts and because the murder, coming while Chile’s rulers were wooing U.S. support, could only damage the Santiago regime.”
While you could dispute what time of bomb a secret police organization would use to murder a dissident this still overlooked a majority of the facts, which were obscured by the CIA. It later came out the CIA had known the Pinochet Regime was behind the murder of
This later turned out to be a complete lie and it turned out to be absolutely evident to the CIA. Letelier was murdered by the underlings of Pinochet and George Bush Sr. definitely knew, and this would set a pattern for when the elder Bush had his hands on power again.
Vice-President to Ronald Reagan
While George Bush may not have been needed during the Carter Regime the supposed “dove” President laid the foundation for the foreign policy of the Reagan Regime and George Bush Sr. was there to help keep this machinery running.
One major aspect of Carter’s foreign policy that carried over to the Reagan Regime was the support for the ‘Afghan rebels’ fighting the ‘Soviet occupation’. While Carter may have started the funding for the groups that would later evolve into the Taliban, it was Reagan and Bush who pumped a shot of adrenaline into the veins of the “Afghan resistance.” This resistance quickly evolved into the murderous Taliban which would plague Bush Sr. through his time as President.
Beyond this greatest hit, Bush also aided Reagan in his numerous interventions in Latin America. Wherever there was a democratically elected government or a popular uprising in Washington’s “backyard,” Reagan and Bush’s fingerprints were always all over violent right-wing neoliberal movements and dictators.
One standout group from this era is the Contras in Nicaragua who carried out a decades-long campaign of violence and terrorism against the Sandinista government and their supporters. While the Contras started out as real losers it was the “reformed” CIA stepping in 1981 that taught them the art of terror and revived the militia.
There was soon a problem, however, as these new tactics being used by the Contras definitely made for bad optics back in Washington. Under pressure from US voters, the Senate put an end to funding the Contras but that didn’t stop Reagan, George Bush or his old pals in the intelligence deep state.
Covert operations to arm the Contras were expanded and instead by the National Security Council (NSC) under Oliver North who used arms sales to Iran and a series of Swiss bank accounts to get money to Nicaragua. This was all pinned on North once it became public in the Iran-Contra hearings but most people have little doubt Reagan likely knew what was going on. Coincidentally – much like Bush – North now regularly appears on television news as an “expert” and “analyst” and is lauded for his “service” to the country.
The Iran-Contra affair also revealed massive amounts of cocaine coming out of Central and South America with aid from the NSC and CIA. Oliver North himself was alleged to have been in contact with Panamanian President drug lord Manuel Noriega. Both Noriega in Panama and the Contras in Nicaragua used drug profits to fuel their operations, with full knowledge of the United States.
On top of this, most of this cocaine was going into the US, with help trafficking it from elements within the CIA. This helped fuel the crack epidemic of the mid-1980s which Reagan responded to with draconian laws such as mandatory minimum sentences which put crack users – typically poor inner city African Americans – in prisons for decades longer than those caught with powder cocaine.
This was all done in the name of the Reagan doctrine, from Afghanistan to El Salvador, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, Argentina and Honduras, anyone who was “anti-communist” could get cash, arms or training at the notorious School of the Americas where the worst butchers in Latin America were trained.
There were further policies and actions of Reagan that Bush also supported and carried on into his presidency. This includes the bombing of Libya, Reagan’s backing reactionary forces in the Lebanese civil war, the downing of an Iranian passenger flight, and the support for the apartheid regime in South Africa even in the face of opposition in the House of Representatives which overturned a veto by the President.
Bush as President
Following eight years of bloodshed and crime with the Reagan regime, Bush got the nod from the GOP to run for President himself. Bush managed to win the general election and soon began cementing his own legacy.
Beyond just continuing to support the host of right-wing regimes originally installed by Reagan, George Bush soon embarked on foreign policy ventures of his own. Most notable among these is the first war on Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Despite the Reagan regime having no problem helping Saddam wage war against Iran prior to Bush’s time as President, the previous CIA asset allegedly “went rogue” and invaded Kuwait. While there is some debate on whether there was some confusion if the Iraqi invasion was mistakenly seen as having US approval due to some comments made by then-diplomat April Glaspie it was soon denounced by Bush who ramped up the war machine for Desert Shield and Storm.
The one problem Bush did have was that most Americans didn’t give a shit about who controlled Kuwaiti oil fields. It was in reaction to this that Bush also ramped up the war machine to lie his way into invading Iraq, which may sound familiar to followers of George Bush Jr.’s career.
Most egregious of these lies, hands down, was the testimony of Nayirah who was sold to the US media as an impartial party in the war in Kuwait. In her testimony, Nayirah described scenes of Iraqi soldiers dumping babies out of incubators in Kuwaiti maternity wards.
This story, much like 2003’s WMD narrative turned out to be entirely false. On top of that Nayirah turned out to be the daughter of Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the US, although this was not disclosed at the time of her testimony.
There were multiple other lies including the idea that Saddam was at the helm of an Iraq that was an Arab-expansionist power set on conquering the Middle East. This, and the idea that Saddam’s military was nearly invincible (which obviously wasn’t the case) was used to sell the war to Americans. This all turned out to be bunk but it launched decades of literal and economic war on Iraq until the re-invasion of 2003.
On the economic front, Bush is also responsible for years of misery caused by his introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This trade deal, which was later solidified by Bill Clinton, ingrained the type of neoliberal capitalism that deindustrialized the United States and ravaged the Mexican economy.
All of the things mentioned in this piece either happened under Bush’s direct authority or while he was serving in some of the highest positions in the US government. Over thirty years of bloodshed and economic hell were unleashed by Bush and his compatriots (and later carried on by his idiot sons). So the next time someone tries to tell you to honor the elder Bush for his “civility” or something like that, let them know all the horror this “civil” man was responsible for.