About that Country you Destroyed: A Letter to George W. Bush

(By Ralph Nader)

George W. Bush Presidential Center
PO Box 560887
Dallas, Texas, 57356

Dear Mr. Bush:

A few days ago I received a personalized letter from your Presidential Center which included a solicitation card for donations that actually provided words for my reply. They included “I’m honored to help tell the story of the Bush Presidency” and “I’m thrilled that the Bush Institute is advancing timeless principles and practical solutions to the challenges facing our world.” (Below were categories of “tax-deductible contributions” starting with $25 and going upward.)

Did you mean the “timeless principles” that drove you and Mr. Cheney to invade the country of Iraq which, contrary to your fabrications, deceptions and cover-ups, never threatened the United States? Nor could Iraq [under its dictator and his dilapidated military] threaten its far more powerful neighbors, even if the Iraqi regime wanted to do so.

Today, Iraq remains a country (roughly the size and population of Texas) you destroyed, a country where over a million Iraqis, including many children and infants (remember Fallujah?) lost their lives, millions more were sickened or injured, and millions more were forced to become refugees, including most of the Iraqi Christians. Iraq is a country rife with sectarian strife that your prolonged invasion provoked into what is now open warfare. Iraq is a country where al-Qaeda is spreading with explosions taking 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 lives per day. Just this week, it was reported that the U.S. has sent Hellfire air-to-ground missiles to Iraq’s air force to be used against encampments of “the country’s branch of al-Qaeda.” There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before your invasion. Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were mortal enemies.

The Bush/Cheney sociocide of Iraq, together with the loss of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers’ lives, countless injuries and illnesses, registers, with the passage of time, no recognition by you that you did anything wrong nor have you accepted responsibility for the illegality of your military actions without a Congressional declaration of war. You even turned your back on Iraqis who worked with U.S. military occupation forces as drivers, translators etc. at great risk to themselves and their families and were desperately requesting visas to the U.S., often with the backing of U.S. military personnel. Your administration allowed fewer Iraqis into the U.S. than did Sweden in that same period and far, far fewer than Vietnamese refugees coming to the U.S. during the nineteen seventies.

When you were a candidate, I called you a corporation running for the Presidency masquerading as a human being. In time you turned a metaphor into a reality. As a corporation, you express no remorse, no shame, no compassion and a resistance to admit anything other than that you have done nothing wrong.

Day after day Iraqis, including children, continue to die or suffer terribly. When the paraplegic, U.S. army veteran, Tomas Young, wrote you last year seeking some kind of recognition that many things went horribly criminal for many American soldiers and Iraqis, you did not deign to reply, as you did not deign to reply to Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son, Casey, in Iraq. As you said, “the interesting thing about being the president” is that you “don’t feel like [you] owe anybody an explanation.” As a former President, nothing has changed as you make very lucrative speeches before business groups and, remarkably, ask Americans for money to support your “continued work in public service.”

Pollsters have said that they believe a majority of Iraqis would say that life today is worse for them than under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. They would also say George W. Bush left Iraq worse off than when he entered it, despite the U.S. led sanctions prior to 2003 that took so many lives of Iraqi children and damaged the health of so many civilian families.

Your national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, said publically in 2012 that while “the arc of history” may well turn out better for post-invasion Iraq than the present day violent chaos, she did “take personal responsibility” for the casualties and the wreckage. Do you?

Can you, at the very least, publically urge the federal government to admit more civilian Iraqis, who served in the U.S. military occupation, to this country to escape the retaliation that has been visited on their similarly-situated colleagues? Isn’t that the minimum you can do to very slightly lessen the multiple, massive blowbacks that your reckless military policies have caused? It was your own anti-terrorism White House adviser, Richard Clarke, who wrote in his book, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror, soon after leaving his post, that the U.S. played right into Osama bin Laden’s hands by invading Iraq.

Are you privately pondering what your invasion of Iraq did to the Iraqis and American military families, the economy and to the spread of al-Qaeda attacks in numerous countries?

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader

P.S. I am enclosing as a contribution in kind to your presidential center library the book Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions by Clyde Prestowitz (2003) whom I’m sure you know. Note the positive remark on the back cover by General Wesley Clark.

Mirrored from Commondreams.org

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20 Responses

  1. Blu Roze

    Nader needs to write a letter to himself and take responsibility for placing that silver platter in gw’s hands. Maybe he’s forgotten that split vote.

    • Is what Nader wrote here in any way wrong? And of course that “split vote” was the WHOLE reason Bush inherited the presidency, right? How well has the two-party (sic) system done in steering the ship of state, in directing the direction of our Empire, again? (And no, I didn’t vote for Nader, I felt as you do at the time, or Bush either.)

  2. Speaking all elite again? And sending books with no pictures? You could have just said:
    “fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
    I wonder if it wasn’t meant for Bandar bush, which has way more greasy money and a friend in need is a friend indeed.

  3. Hey Ralph Nader–if it hadn’t been for you, Bush Jr. would never have been president in the first place!

    • It was in the end the Supreme Court that halted further Florida recounts. A number of subsequent studies, by, e.g., UPenn, UFlorida, and the National Opinion Research Center at U/Chicago, all conclude that had the recount been allowed to go forward Gore would have been the likely winner.

      Fairness and Accuracy in the Media has been a critic of media outlets for not reporting sufficiently on these studies and their outcomes. My sense at the time, too, was that, as usual, the Dems fell down on the job in fighting for and protecting their supporters and constituency (surprise surprise!); the Republicans, because they are all about power and nothing but, were of course going to fight tooth and claw to steal this one, right down to stacking the deck with elite operatives posing as Joe Six-Pack protesters, such as John “I Stole Wilford Brimley’s Moustach” Bolton.

      Nader might deserve some blame, but it is the feckless nature of the Democratic party, that plays a weak parent to the Republicans’ screaming brat, that is largely to blame.

    • Yah, it had nothing to do with Supreme Court appointments and decisions, or the effect of money and mental manipulations, or vote-stealing, or a bunch of other stuff including, and this is my own observation of course, that Gore just did not really want to be president of all the planet… There’s nearly infinity posts and comments on the ‘net blaming FLORIDUH, my residence, for the outcome of the election. Nader did not help, of course, a vain sally in several senses, but then neither did Ross Perot from the other side of the Overton Window… Not that we have had an actual “Choice, Not An Echo,” for many decades… link to amazon.com

  4. It was a light in the dimness that Nader ran. Anyone who analyzed logically knew to vote for Nader in this entrenched 2 party system could be political or world sucide.

    That doesn’t mean Nader should not have run, however. With the election results close as Hell, we can also thank the careless and the high minded, who don’t believe in voting. Nader, and those who casted votes illogically or not at all, can be forgiven. At the time, I thought Bush was too dumb to do much harm. We don’t always know.

    Bush, though, can never be forgiven for the lies leading to the bloody Middle East debacle after 9/11. Good to hear from Nader, good to read his bitter answer to the Bush ruinous legacy.

  5. Nader needs to accept his personal responsibility for what happened. Actions have consequences, and his self-serving, narcissistic, presidential bid put Bush in power. Hey Ralph, do you see a difference now?

  6. I think blaming Mr Nader for Bush becoming president is over looking that Gore would have won Florida if not for the Supreme Court. Certainly you cannot blame Ralph Nader for what happened in Ohio 2004. So let it go.

    What Mr Nader is pointing to now, about Iraq, is something worth repeating. God only knows how busy the Bush people are at this very moment rewriting history to their own benefit. So, the more we write as Mr Nader did here the more the record will bear for the true history of what happen in our time.

    • There would have been no chance for the Supremes to dabble in politics as they did had Nader not run his, and I repeat a correct adjective, narcissistic presidential bid. Yes, the Supremes did a terrible, political thing (and it appears that Sandra Day O’Connor has repented to some degree), but without Nader, it would not have happened.

      So don’t blame the Supremes primarily. Blame Nader first, because he gave the Supremes the opportunity to misbehave.

    • Let it go, indeed. It’s true that Nader’s decisions to run third party campaigns were triumphs of principle or ideology over common sense, but his career seen as a whole is admirable.

  7. Bush. Cheney. Guilty. Liars. All we do is cry about it. Moan about it. Cheney keeps on replacing his heart. Bush keeps on laughing, smirking, and snorting. It’s sickening. But who cares?

  8. Anyone can run for president as long as they meet the criteria. Blaming Nader for the Bush presidency is like blaming the sun for setting and causing darkness. Bush won because we have a country of people that voted for him and a supreme court that is now politically corrupt.
    The people voted into office represent the best this country and can produce and the best the voters can think to vote for. No one seems to want to face the reality that the government we have is a result of the best this country can produce in terms of politicians and what the voters wanted. This applies to both Democrats & Republicans – 2 sides of the same shit coin.

    • “Blaming Nader for the Bush presidency is like blaming the sun for setting and causing darkness.”

      The sun doesn’t have a choice. Nader did. He had many choices. Among them, he chose to concentrate his appearances and money in the last weeks of the campaign not in states where he might get the most votes, like Massachusetts, Vermont, or Washington, but in states where he had the greatest chance of flipping the election to Bush.

      “Bush won because we have a country of people that voted for him and a supreme court that is now politically corrupt.”

      The American people voted for Al Gore by more than half a million votes. The installation of George Bush was carried out against the expressed will of the American voters.

  9. David, you say Democrat/Republican are just two sides of the same [dirty] coin and in lots of way I agree. Except, Republicans are more apt to halt stem cell research or slash library funding and, in this example, destroy massive world regions in wars. Not a gung ho politics fan by any means, I agree, most of it stinks. But studies have shown if most everyone voted in the USA, the election results would most likely be democratic everytime. As in not Bush. Could my highbrow know-it-all left leaning friends and my apolitical left leaning friends convince themselves to vote next time?

  10. Nader is the opposite of a narcissist. Blaming a lost election on someone with greater integrity who ran against you is a funny thing. I think Gore should accept the blame for his loss. But Nader should be proud that he was the better candidate and that he continues to expose the corrupt electoral system.

    • “Nader is the opposite of a narcissist.”

      You’ve never read anything from the people who used to work for him, have you?

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