How deplorable is ISIS? (Or is it ISIL? I never know which.) Put it this way, Al-Qaeda, brutal terrorists in their own right, long ago disassociated themselves from ISIS. I’m paraphrasing, “Those guys are freeakin’ nuts.” (Okay, that’s slightly more than paraphrasing.)
The latest from the ISIS thugs is their Internet “hit list” of 100 American military officers sent out through social media to their followers advocating death to those named. But there’s a point that is seemingly lost when discussing ISIS brutality, that is if there hadn’t been an Iraq War there’d be no ISIS. (One more “parting gift” from George W. Bush that keeps on inflicting.)
As brutal a dictator as Saddam Hussein was, he never would have allowed ISIS to take root. The fact is, because Hussein was a secularist, Bin Laden and other Islamic fundamentalists hated him more than they did Bush.
That’s why when Bush and the neo-cons suggested we needed to fear an alignment between Hussein and radical Islam, it was absurd on its face. And yet, shockingly, many of Jeb Bush’s recently announced “foreign policy advisors” were those very neo-cons who worked for W! Three words: Heaven help us.
We seem to never learn the lessons of war. An example was revealed in the 2003 Academy Award Documentary, “The Fog of War.” As part of a continuing peace effort with Vietnam, President Clinton sent former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to Hanoi to meet with his then-Vietnamese counterpart.
McNamara was stunned when his counterpart asked, “Do Americans ever read history books?” The man elaborated, “You fought the Vietnam War fearing we’d become an ally and puppet of China. But if you’d ever read a history book you’d know we were mortal enemies for over a thousand years.” (Much like the Sunis and Shias have been fighting for 1400 years.)
Another Bush parting gift was how the Iraq War elevated Iran into power broker of the region. Bush labeled Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” and yet overthrowing Saddam was just what the Ayatollahs dreamed of.
Saddam acted as a buffer to Iran. In fact, it’s theorized that he maintained the ruse that he had stockpiles of WMDs to intimidate Iran. Thanks to W. they’re not intimidated anymore.
Didn’t anyone in the Bush administration ponder what if the war failed as miserably as it did? Colin Powell doesn’t get a free pass because of his lame testimony at the United Nations, which he laments will be in the first paragraph of his obituary.
I’m reminded of the warnings of two iconic American Generals in their Farewell Addresses, albeit 176 years apart. George Washington warned us about “the peril of foreign entanglements,” while Dwight Eisenhower warned us about “the military industrial complex.” Apparently we have two centuries of collective wax in our ears.
If you agree with the essence of what I’ve written or, even more importantly, if you think I’m full of it, I want you to watch a free documentary. And you can do it streaming on your computer.
If you have a Santa Monica library card, go to smpl.org. In the search box type “The Prosecution of an American President.” You’ll be taken to a link where the movie is “available instantly on Hoopla.” It’s free and there are never any late fees because the stream is only good for three days. (Our Main Library should consider a “Jack Neworth Wing” from all my late fees.)
Hoopla started in Santa Monica last August. It’s amazing and technologically simple. (If I can do it, trust me, it’s simple.)
“The Prosecution of an American President,” is based on former Manson Family Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.” As it happens, I reviewed it in the Daily Press in 2008.
According to an appreciative Bugliosi I was “the only mainstream journalist in America” to have done so. (“The New York Times” wouldn’t even take his ad.) Bugliosi saw me as a crusading journalist and somehow I’ve never been able to convince him otherwise.
The documentary is directed by David J. Burke and Dave Hagen and is written by Bugliosi, a three-time best-selling NY Times author. (At 7,000,000 copies sold, “Helter Skelter” is the #1 True Crime book of all time!) “The Prosecution of an American President” is available on Amazon and wherever DVDs are sold.
But the simplest and quickest way to see the movie is by going to the library website, where it’s instantly available via Hoopla. (Along with hundreds of terrific movies and TV shows.) So first watch the documentary and then, if you’re so inclined, you can email me that I’m full of it. Unless you agree with me. In which case, as Hardy said to Laurel, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.”
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth and twitter.com/jackneworth and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.