Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book Review: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi.

Somewhere Vincent Bugliosi is frowning.

Famed prosecutor of Charles Manson, Mr. Bugliosi spends considerable pages in The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder excoriating President Bush for smiling in photos while the Iraq war rages.

Mr. Bugliosi might have blown a blood vessel if he saw the pictures of Bush smiling with U.S. Olympians in Beijing last week. I'm thinking specifically of the one with the U.S.'s vaunted beach volleyball team, Misty May and Kerri Walsh. If you haven't yet seen it, "google" it.

It's difficult to ascertain whether Mr. Bugliosi actually believes that President Bush can or will be prosecuted in federal or state courts for selling the Iraq invasion under false pretences, leading to the deaths of U.S. citizens from every state, as he advocates in this book. Bugliosi revealingly concedes in his end notes: "It may turn out that no state or federal prosecutor may be willing to prosecute Bush for murder...." (Emphasis in original.)

I don't think it's remotely possible anyone will; after all, Congress won't impeach or even commence impeachment proceedings. Therefore, I submit it's more of a literary device for the former prosecutor, who has lately taken to writing political books, to lay out his grievances against the current occupant of the White House in the structure of a prosecution.

As an action-movie trailer with Stallone or Arnold might say, "This time it's personal."

Here's a sampling: "What George Bush and his accomplices did is so monumentally base, so extraordinarily wrong, dishonorable, and criminal, that I'm not gifted enough as a writer to describe it. In view of the ghastly, incalculable consequences of their act and the greatness of their sin, it would take a Tolstoy, a Shakespeare, a Hemingway to give people an illuminating glimpse into the darkness of their souls."

Mr. Bugliosi's not just angry with Bush. The book is filled with George Carlin-esque rants against "pathetic liberal TV personalities like Charlie Rose, Ted Koppel, and George Stephanopoulos--physiological marvels who are somehow able to sit erect in front of a camera without a spine," among others. He even takes on the American public, which he calls "the Walking Dead," whose "memory last[s] as long as a breath upon a mirror."

The book's strength is not its legal analysis (which goes outside California law where Mr. Bugliosi amassed a sterling prosecutorial record [winning 105 of 106 felony trials, including 21 murder convictions without a loss]), but Mr. Bugliosi's laying out of the facts. He has assembled voluminous research reminding the reader precisely what was said and known about Iraq's "imminent threat," its purported possession of WMD, and the purpose of the invasion. It's enough to make one cynical--perhaps even angry. And Bugliosi's anger burns on nearly every page. Best to follow this one with something sunny from your summer reading list.

UPDATE: Here are links to Bush-May-Walsh pictures:

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