Vincent Bugliosi, the L.A. district attorney who became famous for successfully trying Charles Manson for murder and subsequently writing the best-seller, Helter Skelter, has written an explosive new book that not only lights a fuse under our criminal justice system but challenges the next attorney general of the United States to blow the Bush administration to smithereens.
The book is called The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, and Bugliosi– who has never been accused of mincing his words (or being an advocate for liberal causes)– makes a thorough and compelling case against George W. Bush and his inner circle of advisors, who helped him sell the war in Iraq to the American public.
The major premise of Bugliosi’s case against Bush is that the former Texas governor, who unapologetically executed more death row inmates than any other governor in the country (and joked about killing one of them), intentionally lied and deceived the American public while he was president about the reasons for going to war in Iraq, which has caused the deaths of over 4,000 U.S. servicemen and women and over a 100,000 Iraqis.
But how can Bush be prosecuted and convicted of murder if he personally did not kill anyone? Bugliosi asks, and then answers his own question: “…it is not necessary for a criminal defendant to have physically committed a murder to be guilty of it. For example, I convicted Charles Manson of the seven Tate-La Bianca murders even though he himself did not participate in any of the killings, nor was he present at the time.”
Interesting comparison. Bush and Manson– two twisted sociopaths who revel in death and destruction. But Bugliosi goes further: “I was able to obtain this conviction because of the vicarious liability rule of conspiracy, which provides that each member of a conspiracy is criminally responsible for all crimes committed by his coconspirators… Necessarily, (Bush) conspired with certain members of his inner circle, coconspirators like Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice.”
That’s the ticket! Send them all up the river! The whole lot of them! Of course, the question immediately arises: If Bugliosi is so convinced a prosecuting attorney could get a conviction for murder against Bush and company, why hasn’t an attorney already brought charges against them?
Bugliosi gives us the simple answer: It is generally accepted by legal scholars that while still in office, the president and vice president are protected from criminal prosecution by the Constitution as interpreted by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers.
In other words, the only way to bring criminal charges against the president or vice president is to first impeach them and remove them from office. But thanks to the spineless Democrats in Congress, Bush and his partners in crime have escaped impeachment and continue on their merry way, telling more lies and sending more soldiers to their deaths in Iraq. Perhaps the new revelations by Scottie McClellan about the lies of Bush and Cheney will finally get the Congress to act on impeachment, although I wouldn’t count on it.
In any case, once Bush and Cheney are out of office, they are no longer immune from prosecution. And as soon as this happens, Bugliosi claims the next U.S. Attorney General would be the most logical person to charge them with the crime of murder and bring them to trial, but he adds that any state attorney general can do the same– as long as the state in which he or she presides has soldiers who have died in Iraq.
The question is, who will have the guts to do it? If it were up to private individuals or citizen action groups, there would be a line long enough to circumvent the planet Jupiter, but for a federal or state attorney general, i.e., a pragmatic politician with a career at stake, to bring charges against a former president, who represents the most powerful business interests in the country, is another story. It would take an exceptional individual, someone courageous and smart and unflappable, someone willing to stand up to the right-wing hate machine that inevitably would bring up every piece of dirt they could find on that person and do everything in their power to intimidate him or her.
In short, it would take a hero or a saint. And even if an attorney general were willing to rise to the challenge and get a conviction of murder against Bush, would the next president allow the conviction to stick, or would he or she pardon him? For example, if McCain wins the presidency, we can almost assuredly count on a quick pardon of George W. and friends, the same way old man Bush pardoned Cap Weinberger and the rest of his pals who carried out the Iran/Contra affair.
What about if Hillary became president? Would she let Bush and company off the hook? One would hope not, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she pardoned them, since she was willing to play ball with the Bush administration from the beginning, not to mention her newfound alliances with Rupert Murdoch and Fox News.
And Obama? He would be the most likely of the three to let the conviction stick. But even he would be under enormous pressure to show mercy. Haven’t they suffered enough! Where is your Christian charity? I thought you were an uniter, not a divider! Blah… Blah… Blah…
To say the least, it would be a real test of character for him, and a decision that would be discussed for decades, if not centuries. Let’s hope someday in the near future he has that decision to make. If not, it means that George W. and his gang were never brought to trial and they got away with everything– including murder.