Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger cause for making war.
"Iraq probably would attempt clandestine attacks against the U.S. Homeland if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge. Such attacks--more likely with biological than chemical agents--probably would be carried out by special forces or intelligence operatives." NIE, 10/2002 and (V. Bugliosi, pp. 104-105)
On October 4, 2002, Bush released a doctored summary of the NEI to Congress referred to as a White Paper. He left out the critical information - Iraq was deemed an imminent danger only if the survival of the regime were threatened by a U.S. attack. "Judgments" and other qualifying language in the NIE were converted to simple assertions of fact in the White Paper giving the case for war a seemingly unambiguous authority from the intelligence community.
In fact, the White Paper provided to Congress was diametrically opposed to the NIE which the White House received from the intelligence agencies on Oct. 1, 2002 and withheld from Congress. The critical trigger for an Iraqi threat to the U.S. was said to be just what Bush had proposed --.an attack that threatened the survival of Hussein's regime. Rather than securing the nation's safety, by the logic and advice of his own intelligence community, Bush put the nation at risk while concealing vital intelligence. White Paper - Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Program and (V. Bugliosi, pp. 112-116)
On October 7, 2002, Bush spoke to an audience in Cincinnati, Ohio and claimed that Saddam Hussein was a danger to the United states with his "unmanned aerial vehicles" with WMD "for missions targeting the United States" (p. 105).
This is the critical evidence. It is unambiguous. Bush knew that Iraq was not an imminent threat to the nation, yet portrayed just that to gain approval for his war. It represents only a part of the detailed and overwhelming case presented in a determined, thorough, and totally engaging narrative that Vincent Bugliosi sets out to do what he promised.
He builds an overwhelming case against George W. Bush, lays out the jurisdictional and other legal issues that make this a viable case for prosecution, and argues that presidential accountability is a fundamental requirement to restore the status of "great nation" to the United States, so damaged over the past eight years.
But there's a much broader significance to the prosecution, should it take place.
The Birth of the Public Servant
While a trial and conviction of George W Bush for murder would be an event of momentous proportions, it would pale in comparison to enduring impact due to the precedent established. Presidents could no longer offer up the lives of soldiers and civilians sent to a war that was stated for anything other than national defense or imminent danger to the country.
Although the president had rotating rationales for the invasion, that act and occupation had little to do with protecting the United States. As Bugliosi said in a recent interview with this author, over 4,000 soldiers have died "not your war or my war or America's war, but George Bush's war." The explanations offered by Bush have been discarded by all but the perpetrators and none of the financial or political motives suggested by others are acceptable justifications for the death and destruction caused.
Were there a prosecution and conviction, any future president would need to think long and hard before serving his political interests or necessities by filling the trough of financial backers and other chosen few no matter what they gave or promised. The president and his top aids would be accountable for a fundamental individual right that is obvious to us but not them: the right of each citizen to be free from death due to a president's egotistical, political, or financial desires. Presidents would no longer be able to conceal the sin of premeditated murder by draping it in the fiction of necessary losses in the service of a larger national interest. The real basis for presidential decision making would be opened up to the scrutiny of communities through their local prosecutors.
The long standing conflict between individual rights versus collective rights would be resolved as well. By having to serve each member of the public by refraining from unnecessary war making, the chief executive would need to show restraint thus eliminating the requirement for an oversized military establishment designed as an imperial presence throughout the world. The tools of diplomacy would devolve to shared interests rather than coerced solutions forced on weaker states. And this would not just be for major wars.
The United States has engaged in over 40 military incursions since World War II. Unless a president could be assured that no one soldier died, he or she would be wise to have a solid justification for defense of the nation for any military action in order to avoid an indictment carrying a hefty sentence. The president would also have the example of a convicted and sentenced ex president who was vulnerable due to nonstop lying about the rationale for war.