Every national politician, from top Republicans to Bernie Sanders, and every sector of the corporate media, is using George H.W. Bush’s death to praise the 41st president as if he were a great leader of the people and a wonderful human being.
But Bush’s sordid history shows he was a war criminal abroad and an enemy of the people at home.
We’ll present the facts about that later. First we should answer this question: Why are the ruling-class politicians and media showering him with eulogies even beyond those usually thrown at dead presidents?
It’s because Bush Sr. was both a member and a loyal servant of the U.S. ruling class, and a hardened Cold Warrior in office when the Soviet Union came apart. For this timing alone, the U.S. imperialist ruling class recognizes him as one of their heroes.
Bush Sr. was himself from an aristocratic ruling-class family, the son of a senator and of New England wealth, who added to his wealth by grabbing oil money in Texas. He then ran for office and served Republican presidents as both United Nations envoy and head of the CIA (1976-77), vice president when Ronald Reagan was president (1981-89) and elected president from 1989-93.
Bush Sr. shares responsibility for all the devastating crimes of U.S. imperialism in the post-World War II period. He shares guilt for the tens of millions of people killed in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and dozens of smaller U.S. military interventions and bloody coups of that period.
Bush Sr. is being lauded partly because his style contrasts with the current occupant of the White House, whose foul comments dirty the air and the internet and expose the ugly face of U.S. imperialism.
But while 41 didn’t make the kind of openly misogynist comments the current president can’t seem to repress, Bush Sr. was a serial sexist groper. Eight women who got within arms’ reach recently exposed that habit. In politics, his misogyny took the form of support for Justice Clarence Thomas.
While he usually kept his ruling-class racism and bigotry off mic, Bush Sr. used an historically racist ad in his 1988 presidential campaign — the Willie Horton ad with its openly white supremacist rhetoric — to defeat Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis.
As vice president in the 1980s and then president, Bush Sr. presided over the government’s criminal negligence during the AIDS crisis. Basketball star Magic Johnson resigned from the National Commission on AIDS in September 1992, citing the Bush administration’s refusal to act. AIDS activists consider Bush Sr. responsible for tens of thousands of deaths.
He also pursued the racist so-called War on Drugs, quadrupling the prison population by criminalizing millions of young men and women of color.
In December 1989, he ordered the bombing and invasion of Panama, killing 3,000 Panamanians and destroying that country’s sovereignty.
In January 1991, Bush Sr. ordered the bombing of Iraq. Forty-two days of war destroyed much of the civilian infrastructure in Baghdad and other cities. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died.
With Bush Sr. as commander in chief, U.S. rockets purposely struck a civilian shelter in Amariyah on Feb. 13, 1991, killing 409 civilians, including many children. Later, after the Iraqis had effectively surrendered, U.S. planes trapped thousands of troops fleeing from southern Iraq and wiped them out on what became known as the “Highway of Death.”
Bush Sr. had earlier, in August 1990, begun sanctions against Iraq that in the years to come, under the Bill Clinton administration, would lead to the early death of half a million Iraqi children and twice that number of adults.
In the 1990s the Iraqis kept a portrait of Bush Sr. painted on the floor outside the entrance to the top Baghdad hotel, where his face would be regularly walked on. They hated him — for good reason.
More crimes could be added to this list. What’s here is enough, however, to expose the eulogies as lies and propaganda.
Bush Sr. was the epitome of the well-bred ruling-class assassin.
He and his entire class are war criminals and enemies of the people.