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Bush’s Crimes in Baghdad Have Parallel in US, UK

Bush’s Crimes in Baghdad Have Parallel in U.S., U.K.

By Sherwood Ross

What’s left of what passes for law in America is eroding rapidly. The latest scandal in Totalitarianville is the admission by Robert S. Mueller III March 9th his FBI had improperly used the Patriot Act to spy on individuals and businesses. Three days earlier, I. Lewis Libby Jr., a top aide of Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying to the FBI and a grand jury in compliance with his White House masters’ orders to defame the opponents of their illegal war of aggression against Iraq.

See how it works? High government officials break the law by lying to the FBI and the FBI breaks the law by misusing the Patriot Act. Is there anybody at the top in D.C. who’s not a criminal? Asked for comment on Libby’s conviction, President Bush, replied, “I was sad for a man who had worked in my administration, and particularly sad for his family.” So that’s the word from the biggest law-breaker of them all, regret for the terrible suffering Mr. Libby’s family will have to endure. When the verdict was announced, Liddy’s wife broke down in the court room.

Yet, how does her “suffering” compare with that endured by the people of Iraq, 650,000 or more of whom have been slaughtered with the help of her war-making husband with the innocent nickname “Scooter” at the behest of his bosses Cheney and Bush? On the same day as the Liddy verdict, the New York Times reported suicide bombers and gunmen killed at least 109 Shiite pilgrims and wounded more than 200 as they traveled to a religious festival. Will Mr. Bush apologize for that massacre, an outcome of the war he started? Or will he apologize to Ikhlas Thulsiqar as she sobs in a Sadr City hospital March 9th because U.S. troops as part of his “surge” opened fire on her car, killing her husband and two young daughters and wounding her son?

Of course, the military may claim it was all a mistake but there’s no mistake the U.S. is in Iraq because Bush lied to the American people the way his loyal Scooter lied to the grand jury. Meanwhile, back home, The Times reports a surge of another kind: “Violent Crime in Cities Shows Sharp Surge, Reversing Trend.” Seems violent crime “rose by double-digit percentages in cities across the country over the last two years,” the paper reported, particularly in “murder, robbery and gun assaults.”

“There are pockets of crime in this country that are astounding,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, is quoted as saying. His report indicts the spread of drugs, gangs, high poverty, and “easy access to guns and a willingness, even an eagerness, to settle disputes with them, particularly among young people.” Yes, in a nation whose president sets an infamous example for settling disputes with radioactive ammunition, napalm, bunker busters, cluster bombs, and white phosphorus, don’t be surprised if America’s belligerent youth also take the law into their own hands.

In some very odd ways, crimes in Baghdad have their parallel in USA. Chris Magnus, chief of police of Richmond, Calif., said, “I go to meetings, and you start talking to some of the people in the neighborhoods about who’s been a victim of violence, and people can start reciting: ‘One of my sons was killed, one of my nephews,’” he said. Magnus added, “It’s hard to find people who haven’t been touched by this kind of violence.” Yes, and you can knock on any door in Baghdad and hear the same litany.

In Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Robert Duffy, a former police chief, opined, “There’s a direct correlation between the kids who drop out of our high schools and who get involved in selling drugs and who end up in homicides.” Which begs the question: “Why is USA pouring billions into building schools, etc., in Iraq when millions of American children, including not a few in Rochester, are dropping out and getting into trouble with the law?” Why has the U.S. built secret prisons in Poland and around the world when it has 2-million prisoners of its own it can’t control, can’t educate, and can’t rehabilitate?

Things are no better, either, in America’s Coalition ally Great Britain. The Times reports life in Wythenshaw, UK, is characterized by “a breakdown in families, an absence of respect for authority, the prevalence of drugs, drunkenness, truancy, vandalism and petty criminality” and that this ailment is “common across Britain.” A million Londoners may have taken to the streets to protest Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to make war on Iraq, but he was too clever by half to heed them. Instead, he began pouring their tax dollars into Iraq in 2003, the same year 35% of British children aged 10 to 15 reportedly were victims of crime. Indeed, why should one criminal care what other criminals do?

Back in 1962, Whitney Young of the National Urban League called for a “Marshall Plan” to rehabilitate America’s ghettoes. That plea, as all subsequent pleas since then, went unheeded, and Mr. Blair, too, has also found better places than in depressed UK to spend his taxpayer’s dollars. The result is that green gold pours into the coffers of military-related contractors who build weapons while the public, desperately in need of good jobs, good schools, good housing, and honest opportunities to earn a buck, wallows in a sea of red ink, being bled alive for a war they don’t want. That’s true in America and it’s true in UK. In both countries, the rule of law is being violated from the highest levels on down.

The Anglo-American Empire is sliding into a dark valley of spreading lawlessness as it attempts to crush its heel on the faces of the inhabitants nations that refuse to surrender their oil wealth at bargain-basement prices. Bush’s indifference to the suffering of the people of New Orleans is akin to his response to the suffering of the people of Iraq. He can’t get it right at home and he can’t get it right abroad.

Everywhere, on his watch, whether in Rochester, N.Y., or Baghdad, Iraq, there is a spreading underclass of miserable humanity being destroyed by pillage and theft, by a White House that steals their taxes and kills their children. And the pity of it all is that it doesn’t have to be. Yeah, I feel bad for Liddy’s family; I feel worse, though, for millions of others, for the victims being killed, and the victims being robbed to kill them. But that's how it is in the Empire of Lies.


(Sherwood Ross is a Miami, FL-based reporter and columnist. Reach him at sherwoodr1 @

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