Nothing says United States of Amnesia quite like the rehabilitation of George W. Bush.
Articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even the Guardian eagerly reported Bush’s recent speech with its implicit criticisms of Trump as a hopeful sign of resistance from the responsible Republican right.
There’s a big problem with this analysis.
Trump isn’t an aberration. He represents a distinguishable line of continuity with all previous American presidents since WWII, where the chief-executive has been granted extraordinary powers over a vast corporate empire.
The corporate media cannot and will not go there. US history must be Disney-fied and any deviation censored in the ongoing campaign to bathe it in the soft, warm glow of American exceptionalism.
For instance, the New York Times article allowed Bush to state, without correction, this whopper–“Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets, from the strength of democratic alliances, and from the advance of free societies.”
As Alfred McCoy demonstrates in his recent book, In the Shadows of the American Century, this is a remarkable case of projection. Instead of advancing free societies and promoting democracy, the US has a 70 year history of destroying free-societies and deterring democracy.
“A list of examples would perhaps begin with the 1953 British and U.S.-backed coup against the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh that would install the despotic Shah in power in that country. It would certainly continue with the 1954 U.S. and United Fruit Company coup against Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected president of Guatemala (an early instance of Washington’s post-World War II “encouragement” of anything-but-free-trade); the 1960 CIA-backed coup against, and the murder of, Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba; and the 1973 military coup in Chile. An honest history would also include the active “encouragement” of societies that were anything but free, including those run by juntas, dictators, or military governments in Greece, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Uruguay, Iraq, and South Korea, to name just a few.”
The rehabilitation of W. and for all US presidents, is serious business.
All American presidents must be rehabilitated. Going further, not just rehabilitated but absolved of all the blood they spill in our name.
We have to absolve them to absolve us.
If we want to change our country for the better we need to acknowledge these uncomfortable truths about US presidents.
Otherwise, in a few years we’ll be rehabilitating Trump too