FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Former President Bush Involved with Donation to Group with Terrorist Connections

OK, perhaps the headline stretches the truth a bit. But being a good American, I’m simply following the lead of my president.

Here’s what actually happened: On Saturday I gave a talk on the news coverage of current President Bush and the Iraq War at a conference on presidential rhetoric at Texas A&M University in College Station. One of the conference co-sponsors was the Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the honorarium I received came from “The Associates of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.”

So, it was sort of like former President George H.W. Bush paid me for my talk, kind of.

When I returned to Austin, I signed the check over as a donation to the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, a local group I work with. At Third Coast we consider ourselves part of the growing movement to dismantle the U.S. empire, focusing on efforts to resist war, militarism, racism, and corporate domination. Many consider such groups to be, if not terrorists, perhaps fronts for terrorists, or at least sympathetic to terrorists.

That’s what Attorney General John Ashcroft seems to think. In December 2001 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he addressed people who criticized the U.S. government’s response to 9/11: “Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies, and pause to America’s friends.”

So, Third Coast is sort of like a terrorist group, kind of.

Therefore, George H.W. Bush was involved with a donation to a group with terrorist connections. Sort of, kind of.

Now, some may want to criticize me for contorting the facts to fit a political agenda. That is, some might want to accuse me of lying. But I don’t think it is fair to criticize me for simply adopting the standards of our highest officials in Washington. The headline doesn’t distort the truth to any greater degree than the pronouncements of Bush administration officials, as they try to squirm their way out of pre-war lies that are becoming more difficult to dodge given post-war problems in Iraq.

First, let me explain that much of the information on which I based my statements came from our intelligence agencies. If I was wrong, it was an intelligence failure. I’ve appointed an independent commission to investigate. The report will be out in a year or so.

Second, let’s be precise about my statement: I didn’t say George H.W. Bush gave a donation to a terrorist group. All I said is that he was involved with a donation. He certainly was involved; if he hadn’t been president, there would be no presidential library with his name on it and no Associates of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation — and that was the name on the check I received. I also didn’t say Third Coast was a terrorist group. All I said is that they have terrorist connections. It’s certainly true that people involved in Third Coast oppose the U.S. wars and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we know the terrorists also oppose those wars and occupations — that’s a connection of some kind.

Now, you may want to press me, suggesting that I’m just trying to weasel out of responsibility for a lie, looking for technicalities to cover my nefarious intentions. My response?

Let’s look back at President Bush’s December 2003 interview with ABC Primetime’s Diane Sawyer, who questioned him about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Sawyer reminded the president that administration officials before the war had said they knew Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons — not just the intent to acquire them or programs to produce them, but actual prohibited unconventional weapons.

Bush’s response? He avoided the question.

Sawyer tried again: “But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still …”

Bush: “So what’s the difference?”

Sawyer continued to try to get Bush to address her question, but he refused.

“Diane, you can keep asking the question. I’m telling you I made the right decision for America,” Bush said.

So, I’m taking my cue from our Glorious Leader. To those who want to claim that my headline was not the real truth but a carefully crafted statement that shamelessly manipulated some small kernel of truth to create a false impression, I say: What’s the difference?

My goal was to highlight that the people running this country have taken the art of creative lying and propaganda to new heights. If we are going to be something more than spectators in a political spectacle — if we are going to be real citizens in a functioning democracy — it’s important for us to come to terms with that, and to learn to combat it.

If I had to be a little, well, let’s say creative with the facts to do that, I’m telling you I made the right decision for America.

ROBERT JENSEN is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of “Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity.” He can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu.

 

More articles by:

Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. He is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully (Counterpoint/Soft Skull, fall 2015). http://www.amazon.com/Plain-Radical-Living-Learning-Gracefully/dp/1593766181 Robert Jensen can be reached at rjensen@austin.utexas.edu and his articles can be found online at http://robertwjensen.org/. To join an email list to receive articles by Jensen, go to http://www.thirdcoastactivist.org/jensenupdates-info.html. Twitter: @jensenrobertw. Notes. [1] Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, 3rd ed. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996), p. 106. [2] Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986). [3] Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, edited and with a revised translation by Susan McReynolds Oddo (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2011), p. 55.

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail