I suppose Laura Bush will go to her grave defending her husband’s presidency and the decisions considered criminal by most of the world. In her book, “Spoken From the Heart,” the former first lady describes how competently George handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, by flying over, rather than walking beside, the shell-shocked. After all, had he been on the ground, face-to-face with the despair, his entourage would have prevented necessary supplies from arriving. “He did not want one single life to be lost because someone was catering to the logistical requirements of the president,” Laura reasons. Of course, we know the REAL story. The recipient of George’s compassion was revealed when he spoke about Trent Lott, whose beach house was a casualty of nature. Bush said he looked forward to sitting on the porch when the house was rebuilt.
In “Spoken From the Heart,” Mrs. Bush provides a glimpse into the agony she felt after flying through a stop sign at an intersection, plowing into another car, and killing a young man, Mike Douglas, a popular student at her school. This was/is a life-changing event, a tragedy for Laura and her family, the victim’s family, and for the community. Yet, despite Laura’s acknowledgement of the guilt she felt, she offers a litany of explanations for the wreck and the death. It was dark. The stop sign was small. And, yes, she even tells us that the car she hit was a make and model investigated for a rollover problem. I can almost hear, “Sorry for your loss, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas, but, really, if Mike had been in a safer car.” One that could have withstood Laura’s negligence.
Remind you of anyone? Someone who offered excuse after excuse to justify the killing and maiming of now more than a million Iraqis and Afghans? Someone whose criminal choice has resulted in the deaths of nearly 6500 coalition troops? Someone whose decision has caused a multitude of amputees, brain injured, and post-traumatic stress disordered military men and women? Someone who said we don’t torture—while we were? Yes, this someone is Laura Bush’s husband George—the man her memoir exalts and protects.
Thanks to Laura Bush’s husband, we can add this recent news, which comes as no surprise, to the list of Bush atrocities: suicide attempts among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, men and women George W. shoved down war’s inferno, are on the rise. In 2009, there were 1868 attempts with 94 deaths.
And there’s the reported increase in birth defects in Iraq, also no surprise. This horror is a result of weapons banned by international law. Weapons used by the USA, while delivering “freedom” and “democracy.”
Way to go, Laura Bush. Booyah! For a tale whose purpose isn’t just to make more money for the moneyed but to polish an image tarnished by carnage. And back to that 1963 carnage in Midland, Texas: Mrs. Bush says she tries not to think of it. That’s the way she “ultimately coped” with it. “Because there wasn’t anything I could do.”
I wonder if that’s the way Laura deals with the pain her husband has unleashed on military families, victims of US imperialism, as well as the people whose land we’ve occupied, also victims of US imperialism.
Laura Bush writes that she lost her “faith for many, many years” after the wreck that killed Mike Douglas. Shouldn’t she have lost faith in a husband who fabricated evidence to invade countries for resources he coveted and who chose death for so many? I guess not, since she, like George, is a talented sidestepper. The perfect couple—flying through life’s intersections with no regard for human life.
“Spoken From the Heart” will not rest on my bedside table. But, then, neither will the book Michelle Obama most certainly will pen when she defends the criminal actions of her husband, the Bush clone, who is continuing domestic and foreign policies that consign so many to hopelessness. And death.
Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com