Popular insistence upon prosecuting George W. Bush stems from the faulty assumptions that 1) our political and economic systems function in the general interest, and 2) the crimes of the Bush administration are an isolated violation of those systems.
"Now, that man over there -- he's the prosecuting attorney -- and he couldn't be happier today. He's a happy man today, because today he's going after a judge [President]. And if he gets him -- if he gets him -- he's gonna be a STAR. He's gonna have his name in this month's 'Law Review' -- centerfold -- 'Lawyer of the Month'.
"Now, in order to win this case, he needs you [the jury], naturally. And you're all he's got, believe me. So he's counting on tapping that emotion in you which says 'let's get somebody in power'. 'Let's get a judge' [President]
"However these proceedings are not about that. These proceedings are here to see that justice is done. And justice, as any reasonable person will tell you, is the finding of the truth. And what is the truth, today?"- Advertisement -
As Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) goes on to explain, the "truth" is that someone has been abused (raped, tortured), and that the intention of justice is "to see that the guilty people are proven guilty and that the innocent are freed -- Simple isn't it?"
"Only we have a problem here. Do you know what it is?
"Both sides wanna win. We wanna win. We wanna win regardless of the truth, and we wanna win regardless of justice, regardless of who's guilty or innocent -- Winning -- is everything."- Advertisement -
In his big finish, Pacino exclaims: "That man there -- [Dubya] -- that man there is a SLIME! If he's allowed to go free, then something REALLY WRONG is going on here!"
This memorable scene from "And Justice For All" comes to mind every time I see an article or hear a speech about prosecuting George W. Bush -- and the people who write those articles are right. I certainly appreciate their sentiment. Al Pacino is right. They're all right about the abuse and the rape and the torture and the law -- and they're even right about the "slime". But does being "right" actually change anything?
"What is the truth, today?"
The "truth" is that we live under a political and economic system designed to support the interests of less than half of a percent of the total population, and to hell with everybody else. Capital ownership "wins" and the rest of us lose because we dropped out of the wrong vaginas.
So which is more important: 1) that George W. Bush -is- a "slime", or 2) that "something really wrong is going on here" -produces- "slime" like George W. Bush? Which problem demands more attention, the system itself or its defective products? By reducing this to a question of quality assurance in production we are forced to ask; what kind of a system produces "slime" like George W. Bush? Can such an obviously failed system be revised ("reformed"), or must it be replaced altogether? Has the time finally come for us to withdraw our consent to be governed by criminals? If so, how can we prohibit our political and economic systems from hatching intolerable "slime" like George W. Bush in the future?
I should pause here to explain I am not at all opposed to prosecuting George W. Bush. But how likely is the success of that mission within the same crooked system that generated, perpetuated and now fiercely protects him? Good luck with that. Our broken system leaves we, the people, with no recourse in this matter. There is no ballot box on this issue. There is no referendum. The "decider" has spoken. There will be no prosecution of George W. Bush, now or ever. It's time for every "American" to understand the grave implications of this reality, and begin to respond accordingly.
I realize that "Arrest Bush" and "Prosecute Bush" and "Impeach Bush" seem far more exciting and sensational than boring stuff like "Fix The Damn System". But the profound waste of resources seems an unjustifiable distraction from the root of the problem. As long as the energies of brilliant "progressives" are tied up in attacking George W. Bush, those people won't spend any time thinking about building a new system that doesn't generate criminals like "Dubya" or enablers like Obama. Rather than challenging the status quo, this melodramatic obsession with prosecuting George W. Bush seems to actually support it.
The President of the United States is not an agent or a servant of the people and we do not live under a "democracy". So it seems silly to approach the problem from that naive perspective. As an agent and a servant of capital, the President is obviously not bound by the democratic process or even by the law. As such, pleading or reasoning or negotiating with him seems utterly pointless -- let alone "prosecuting" him. Agents of capital don't honor petitions or pay any attention to protests and marches unless those efforts present a viable threat to the interests of the owners of capital. This was the genius and the courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In addition to his nonviolent approach, he also knew where to grab them and how to yank. Sadly, this also happens to be the reason he's dead. I rest my case.
Meanwhile, agents of capital are very happy when we invest all of our time and energy in pursuits other than in building a new system that might inherently prohibit their crimes. As Rob Kall reminds us, Bill Clinton failed (refused?) to investigate and prosecute Bush Sr. for his Iran Contra illegal dealings. Moreover, President Bush Sr. actually pardoned everyone who had been found guilty of their crimes in that affair. Meanwhile, after a street in Odon, Indiana was renamed to "John Poindexter Street", Bill Breedan (a former minister) stole the street's sign in protest of the Iran-Contra Affair. He claimed that he was holding it for a ransom of $30 million, a reference to the amount of money given to Iran to transfer to the contras. He was later arrested and confined to prison, making him, as satirized by Howard Zinn, "the only person to be imprisoned as a result of the Iran-Contra affair."