Should we really blame George W. Bush for the staggering costs, in dollars and lives and so much else, of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Of course we should.

He claims to be “the decider,” and here, in the only instance of which I am aware, he is correct. After Enron stole billions of dollars and ruined thousands of lives, we rightly focused our blame on the Chief Executive Officer. The government of the United States has stolen trillions of dollars and ruined millions of lives, and we rightly turn our outrage toward the Commander in Chief.

He tries to hide behind lofty ideals like “democracy” and catchy slogans like “the war on terror” and cold threats like “you’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists” and fake piety like “there is a war between good and evil and God is not neutral between them.” These are all lies, and he knows it. The invasion of Iraq was not an accident; nor was it an inevitable consequence of forces beyond the Executive Office’s control. It was a deliberate decision, undertaken in the full knowledge that it could not possibly cost less than several thousand lives.

Think about that. He made the decision. In fact, he pushed it hard. He bullied it through. He and his cronies ruthlessly beat down anyone who didn’t want to go along. He wanted it badly. He wanted badly to go in there and kill thousands of people. He looked at the pros and cons and he decided that all those people being killed, and all their families bereft, and all their homes and businesses and cars and streets and neighborhoods and markets and parks and playgrounds ruined — he decided that all that was worth it, to accomplish… um, what exactly? We don’t even know, because he has never admitted it!

But his motivations and rationalizations, whatever they may be, don’t even matter (unless the judge takes them into account in his sentencing), because unprovoked war is pretty much evil by definition. Intentional, selfish, hubristic aggression is the canonical image of immorality.

Note that warmongers want us to think of “war” as a special case, somehow independent of personal, every-day ethics. Somehow when people maim or kill others “in a war” it’s not wrong the way, say, murdering someone in the course of jacking their car would be wrong. This is of course not true. This is of course a lie. This is of course a message designed to mislead us, designed to deliver us into the spider’s web, designed to buy our consent to murder and mayhem on a scale never, ever seen in even the worst neighborhoods in peacetime. The word “war” doesn’t make it OK. The word “war” makes the murders even more evil, because there is deceit operating there to legitimize and therefore to perpetuate the atrocities.

George W. Bush has lied to us every single day for his entire professional life. George W. Bush has unilaterally started at least two major international conflicts, destroyed two sovereign nations, stirred up hatred toward the United States all over the world, and murdered at least half a million people in Iraq alone. There is no one in the world who represents a more terrifying threat, a more “clear and present danger” to civilization. He must be stopped, and then he must be tried, and then if I am not greatly mistaken he should be put in jail for the rest of his life. Certainly this seems like the absolute minimum punishment he could possibly deserve, but my concern is not with punishment. Truly civilized people are not interested in revenge, merely in preventing further harm. I would not want him killed or tortured, merely confined.

However, I do recommend that he not be allowed to publish. We have heard far too many of his poisonous opinions. Let him be, forevermore, silent and impotent and alone.

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