Anglosphere Blues: The Hellish Stink of the 'Special Relationship'

George Monbiot and Vincent Bugliosi deliver themselves of some hard truths about the degenerate governments of Great Britain and the United States. Monbiot sheds no tears for the dying husk of the "New Labour" project, which has produced Britain's "most right-wing government since the Second World War," headed by "a cabinet of war criminals." Stateside, Bugliosi, the famed prosecutor, calls for George W. Bush to be tried for murder – and, once convicted, to be shown the same kind of "mercy" he bestowed when signing 152 death warrants as governor of Texas.

(Continued after the jump)

First up, Monbiot offers an excellent precis of the evidence against New Labour and its leaders, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown:

One fact alone should disqualify this government from office: we have a cabinet of war criminals. The Nuremberg tribunal characterised a war of aggression as "the supreme international crime". It is not just that Britain's Labour government launched and sustained an unprovoked war, it also sabotaged all means of achieving a peaceful resolution. In April 2002 it helped the Bush administration to sack José Bustani, the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, in order to prevent him settling the dispute over Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. In two separate offers before the invasion, Saddam Hussein agreed to meet the terms the US and Britain were demanding. But they slapped him down and concealed his offers from their electorates…

Labour appears to be prepared to meet any demand the Bush administration makes, however outrageous. In 2003 the government signed a one-sided extradition treaty, permitting the US to extract our citizens without producing prima facie evidence of an offence. In the same year the defence secretary announced that he would restructure the British armed forces to make them "inter-operable" with those of the United States, ensuring for the first time in British history that they became functionally subordinate to those of another sovereign power.

Labour's foreign policy is as unethical as Margaret Thatcher's. It provides military aid to the government of Colombia, whose troops are involved in a campaign of terror against the civilian population. It granted an open licence for weapons exports to the government of Uzbekistan, and sacked the British ambassador when he tried to draw attention to the regime's human rights abuses. It has collaborated with the US programme of extra-judicial kidnapping and imprisonment, left our citizens to languish in Guantánamo Bay, and made use of Pakistani torture chambers in seeking to extract testimony from British suspects. Until 2005 it tied its foreign aid programme to the privatisation of public utilities in some of the world's poorest countries…

The proportion of the British population in prison has risen by a fifth since the Tories left office. Today Britain locks up 151 out of every 100,000 people. The Chinese judiciary, by contrast, which is notorious for its willingness to bang up anyone and everyone, jails 119 people per 100,000; Burma imprisons 120; Saudi Arabia 132. The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, passed in 2005, contains clauses that permit the police to ban any demonstration, however peaceful. It is one of a long series of bills the Labour government has passed that restrict the right to protest….

The citizen has been re-regulated; business has been deregulated. Last year deaths caused by serious injuries at work rose by 11%: a predictable result of the sacking of 1,000 staff at the Health & Safety Executive and a 24% reduction in workplace inspections….

Labour has shifted taxation from the rich to the poor, cutting corporation tax from 33% to 28% and capital gains tax from 40% to 18%, and introducing a new entrepreneurs' relief scheme, taxing the first million of capital gains at just 10%. ..While vigorously prosecuting benefits cheats, it has allowed tax avoidance, mostly by the very rich, to reach an estimated £41bn. Inequality today is slightly worse than it was when Labour took power in 1997…

Above all, the Labour government has destroyed hope. It has put into practice Thatcher's dictum that "there is no alternative" to a market fundamentalism that subordinates human welfare to the demands of business. Labour has created a political monoculture that kills voters' enthusiasm, and has delayed electoral reforms that would have given smaller parties an opportunity to be heard. All we are left with is fear: the fear that this awful government might be replaced by something slightly worse. Fear has destroyed the Labour party, but people keep supporting it in trepidation of letting the other side win.

Save this government? I would sooner give money to the Malarial Mosquito Conservation Project.

All of this sounds dreadfully familiar to American ears; although the inequality, the incarceration rate, the shredding of the safety net, the deterioration of public infrastructure, the coddling of the wealthy – and the culpability for war crimes on a vast scale – are even worse in the former colonies than in old benighted Blighty. (Whoo-hoo! We're Number One! USA! USA!) And although this rancid replay of imperial Rome was not built in a day, nor by one man or one party, we have to start somewhere in reclaiming the Republic, and Bugliosi offers a most apt beginning: prosecuting George W. Bush for murder. Bugliosi rightly decries all those who acknowledge the fact that Bush led the nation into war on false pretenses – but fail to take the next step; i.e., call for Bush to face justice for this flagrant crime:

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me about the belief of many that George Bush lied to the American public in starting his war with Iraq is that the liberal columnists who have accused him of doing this merely make this point, and then go on to the next paragraph in their columns….. Let's look at the way some of the leading liberal lights (and, of course, the rest of the entire nation with the exception of those few recommending impeachment) have treated the issue of punishment for Bush's cardinal sins. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote about "the false selling of the Iraq War. We were railroaded into an unnecessary war." Fine, I agree. Now what? Krugman just goes on to the next paragraph. But if Bush falsely railroaded the nation into a war where over 100,000 people died, including 4,000 American soldiers, how can you go on to the next paragraph as if you had been writing that Bush spent the weekend at Camp David with his wife? For doing what Krugman believes Bush did, doesn't Bush have to be punished commensurately in some way? Are there no consequences for committing a crime of colossal proportions?

Al Franken on the David Letterman show said, "Bush lied to us to take us to war" and quickly went on to another subject, as if he was saying "Bush lied to us in his budget." Senator Edward Kennedy, condemning Bush, said that "Bush's distortions misled Congress in its war vote" and "No President of the United States should employ distortion of truth to take the nation to war." But, Senator Kennedy, if a president does this, as you believe Bush did, then what? Remember, Clinton was impeached for allegedly trying to cover up a consensual sexual affair. What do you recommend for Bush for being responsible for more than 100,000 deaths? Nothing? …But why, Senator Kennedy, do you, like everyone else, want to give Bush this complete free ride?

The New York Times, in a June 17, 2004, editorial, said that in selling this nation on the war in Iraq, "the Bush administration convinced a substantial majority of Americans before the war that Saddam Hussein was somehow linked to 9/ 11, . . . inexcusably selling the false Iraq-Al Qaeda claim to Americans." But gentlemen, if this is so, then what? The New York Times didn't say, just going on, like everyone else, to the next paragraph, talking about something else.

In a November 15, 2005, editorial, the New York Times said that "the president and his top advisers . . . did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections." But if it's "obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans" in taking them to a war that tens of thousands of people have paid for with their lives, now what? No punishment? If not, under what theory? Again, you're just going to go on to the next paragraph?

I'm not going to go on to the next unrelated paragraph.

Indeed he does not. Bugliosi calls for Bush to subjected to the full measure of the law he has so egregiously flouted:

If the charges are true, of course Bush should have been impeached, convicted, and removed from office. But he deserves much more than impeachment…[If] the president takes the country to war on a lie where thousands of American soldiers die horrible, violent deaths and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, even babies are killed, the punishment obviously has to be much, much more severe. That's just common sense. If Bush were impeached, convicted in the Senate, and removed from office, he'd still be a free man, still be able to wake up in the morning with his cup of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice and read the morning paper, still travel widely and lead a life of privilege, still belong to his country club and get standing ovations whenever he chose to speak to the Republican faithful. This, for being responsible for over 100,000 horrible deaths?* For anyone interested in true justice, impeachment alone would be a joke for what Bush did….

If Bush, in fact, intentionally misled this nation into war, what is the proper punishment for him? Since many Americans routinely want criminal defendants to be executed for murdering only one person, if we weren't speaking of the president of the United States as the defendant here, to discuss anything less than the death penalty for someone responsible for over 100,000 deaths would on its face seem ludicrous…

Indeed, Bush himself, ironically, would be the last person who would quarrel with the proposition that being guilty of mass murder (even one murder, by his lights) calls for the death penalty as opposed to life imprisonment. As governor of Texas, Bush had the highest execution rate of any governor in American history: He was a very strong proponent of the death penalty who even laughingly mocked a condemned young woman who begged him to spare her life ("Please don't kill me," Bush mimicked her in a magazine interview with journalist Tucker Carlson), and even refused to commute the sentence of death down to life imprisonment for a young man who was mentally retarded (although as president he set aside the entire prison sentence of his friend Lewis "Scooter" Libby), and had a broad smile on his face when he announced in his second presidential debate with Al Gore that his state, Texas, was about to execute three convicted murderers.

In Bush's two terms as Texas governor, he signed death warrants for an incredible 152 out of 153 executions against convicted murderers, the majority of whom only killed one single person. The only death sentence Bush commuted was for one of the many murders that mass murderer Henry Lucas had been convicted of. Bush was informed that Lucas had falsely confessed to this particular murder and was innocent, his conviction being improper. So in 152 out of 152 cases, Bush refused to show mercy even once, finding that not one of the 152 convicted killers should receive life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Bush's perfect 100 percent execution rate is highly uncommon even for the most conservative law-and-order governors.

That's because he's a bloodthirsty little creep who can only feel like a "man" by controlling – and killing – other people. It's entirely appropriate that the only death row inmate he ever pardoned was a confirmed serial killer. Regardless of the facts of the case – and he certainly showed no great concern for facts or mitigating factors in the 152 judicial killings he carried out – Bush obviously recognized a blood brother in Lucas.