By Marc Ash
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 04 August 2003
Headline, front and center, Wednesday July 30 2003:
"Bush takes 'Personal' Responsibility for State of the Union Remarks."
What does that mean?
Does that mean that George Tenet was lying when he said he was responsible? Or does it mean that George W. Bush was personally responsible for deciding that Tenet would lie? Apply the same standard to statements made by Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. Does it mean that Bush now admits what is clearly obvious, that he knew the Niger reports had no merit but insisted on using them anyway, over the objections of the intelligence community and his senior staff? Or is that a touch more personal responsibility than he had in mind?
We started a war; in fact, we launched the first "pre-emptive" full scale military action in U.S. history. The very intent of the statements Mr. Bush is now taking personal responsibility for, was to mislead. Those statements were delivered to the nation before a fully assembled Congress for the purpose of justifying war. The State of the Union Address is a constitutionally-mandated duty. An invasion of a sovereign nation on these terms is clearly a violation of international and U.S. law. Does "personal responsibility" mean that Mr. Bush is personally responsible for the slaughter of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians? Or is Mr. Bush personally responsible for the deaths of 285 U.S. American and British soldiers? Both?
Responsible for profits?
I think we can find a higher degree of personal responsibility if we shift our focus. Let's have a look at the war profits. Is Mr. Bush personally responsible for making his associates in the defense industry wealthier than our ability to comprehend? His father is a principal in the largest, most profitable defense industry investment firm the world has ever known, The Carlyle Group. Is Mr. Bush personally responsible for lining Carlyle's pockets with billions in U.S. tax dollars? Is Mr. Bush personally responsible for the Halliburton Corporation's exclusive contract to pump Iraq's oil? Is Mr. Bush now taking personal responsibility for the jail-break, free-for-all, get-rich-quick-bonanza, mega-money-laundering-swindle that is the Development Fund for Iraq?
Is personal responsibility a public relations slogan, or are there ramifications for those who are personally responsible? What is the downside for Mr. Bush if he is really held responsible? 285 men and women of the US. and British armed forces have given their lives so far for this wanton military profiteering. You can bet that they were personally responsible. The Iraqi people are personally responsible; their suffering is unimaginable. Does any of this really matter as long as a Republican-controlled Congress refuses to take any action to challenge Mr. Bush, no matter what the charge is? Is Mr. Bush today effectively beyond the reach of U.S. law?
When Mr. Bush says he is personally responsible, does he really mean that ultimately you and I will be?