Media feed us pap on certain occasions, such as the death of a former president. Passing of George H. W. Bush at age 94 offers an example. Let’s go straight for this president’s obvious impact on our history. George W. Bush would not have reached the White House, if Ronald Reagan had not promoted his father to vice-president.
Neither father nor son made good presidents; we have had none worse than Bush the younger. You cannot really hold H. W. responsible for his son, but I do. Families are families. If the Bush family had never inflicted itself on our country’s history, the United States has a different, distinctly superior heritage. To begin with, we could have done without the Iraq war. Some say George W. wanted to fight there because Saddam insulted his father.
Remarkable in the mainstream encomiums is silence on the relationship between the Bush family and the Saudi royal family. You are judged by the company you keep, in private life and in politics. Why do we not judge the Bush family in light of the friendship and alliance they formed with the Saud family? Because we are ignorant of it? Because we think the Sauds aren’t such bad people after all? Like a deadly spider, the current crown prince says to his guest, “Come into our consulate for some paperwork, Mr. Khashoggi, so we can torture you to death.”
If the Bush family had never inflicted itself on our country’s history, the United States has a different, distinctly superior heritage.
Again, you can’t hold the Bush family responsible for Khashoggi’s murder. Over the span of generations, you can hold the Bushes responsible for the way the U. S. security state, President Trump in particular, responds to events like that. Our eagerness to give the Saudis a pass, from oil price manipulations, to 9/11, to assistance in Yemen and excuses about Khashoggi all date to the close relationship we have formed with that country’s royal family. Has that relationship been good for our country? The results speak for themselves. George H. W. Bush was a key architect of this failed and corrupt alliance.
Saudi Arabia has not increased U. S. influence or power in the region. Subtract money, oil, and Iran from the relationship, and we have no grounds for this alliance. We can get oil from our own Permian Basin. We can sell weapons to numerous other suckers. We have other allies to counterbalance Iran. Yet we have this tighter than tight relationship with Saudi Arabian rulers that goes way back. The shameful response to Khashoggi’s murder shows how far moral degradation can take you, if you do not care how bad you look.
Somehow the Bush family managed to insinuate its relationship with the Saud family into American foreign policy.
Somehow the Bush family managed to insinuate its relationship with the Saud family into American foreign policy. We now have a security state that eagerly excuses Saudi assassins who torture a Washington correspondent – a hit team that does not even care the Turks can hear every scream, or monitor the sound of saws as they carve up the corpse. Who dreamed of carrying out a noisy, gruesome murder in a consulate, without debugging the place first? In fact, with sensitive, wireless listening devices to conceal anywhere, who dreamed of executing a journalist in a consulate?
No one has ever figured out a way to divorce family politics from international or domestic politics. Personal relationships always underlie what we see happen on the surface. Curious though is how happily we pretend these largely invisible influences do not exist, even when the patriarch of a powerful family dies. Typically, you look back to see what the patriarch left us. In place of true recollection, the encomiums say, “Bush loved life, and wanted to experience all of it.”
House of Bush, House of Saud, by Craig Unger