By Mike Talavera
Today, the United States government declared a national day of mourning for one of its most infamous imperialist criminals, George H. W. Bush. A former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, vice president to Ronald Reagan, and one-term 41st president, Bush was also the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush, who carried on his projects of exploitation against the masses of the world, particularly in the Middle East.
The funeral for Bush Sr. was held this morning in Washington, D.C. The Federal Reserve, bond markets, the New York Stock Exchange, and many other federal and state offices were closed so the imperialist ruling-class could take time to honor one of their own.
Revered by his fellow bourgeoisie, Bush Sr. has contributed greatly to the creation of their gravediggers, inciting the masses who he bombed, incarcerated, and exploited over his lifetime.
From birth, Bush Sr. was groomed to be a loyal servant of his class by his capitalist, arms-dealing elders, and he has set up his offspring, politically and financially, to continue the imperialist crimes he so readily committed against the people of the world.
At an early age, Bush Sr. understood the bourgeois devotion to finance capital demonstrated by his family’s patriarchs. His father, Prescott Bush, and maternal grandfather, George Walker, aided the re-armament of Nazi Germany in their management of the Union Banking Corporation, a relation that has sparked numerous conspiracy theories but also has base in fact.
Despite his branding as a Texan, Bush Sr. hailed from Connecticut and was a graduate of Yale University. It wasn’t until he was 24 that he moved to Midland, Texas to try and claim a stake of the oil and gas boom. In 1951, he and partner John Overby received $350,000 ($3 million inflation-adjusted) from Bush’s father and uncle to start their own oil drilling business.
Through his family connections, Bush Sr. secured various government posts, eventually serving as the director of the CIA in 1976, where he oversaw Operation Condor, a longterm anti-communist strategy to back political repression and state terror throughout Latin America.
Five years later, he would begin his term as vice president under Ronald Reagan. In this position, Bush Sr. would chair a special task force to deregulate the economy, act as an ambassador to intimidate the Soviet Union into reducing its arms, oversaw the Iran-Contra affair and the invasion of Grenada, laid the building blocks for modern counter-terrorism operations, and un-apologetically defended U.S. crimes abroad.
In 1988, when the USS Vincennes fired a missile at Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 passengers, Bush Sr. said that he would, “never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”
While running for president in 1988, the Bush-Quayle campaign saw no limit to using racist dog-whistles and fear-mongering to garner votes. Bush Sr. pandered to white supremacy by running the infamous ‘Willie Horton’ ad, which painted his opponent Michael Dukakis as giving free passes to incarcerated Black men.
Upon election, Bush Sr. wielded his executive power to unleash further oppression against the masses. Spurring the ongoing “war on drugs,” he waved a bag of crack cocaine in his first state of the union address, saying it had been, “seized a few days ago by drug enforcement agents in a park just across the street from the White House.”
In actuality, the Drug Enforcement Agency had set up the deal by luring 19-year-old Keith Jackson to Lafayette Park, who, according to the agent who set him up, didn’t know even how to get to the White House. He served 8 years of a 10 year sentence thanks to this shameless case of entrapment for Bush Sr.’s reactionary agenda. Jackson was just one of the millions of oppressed black, Chicano, and working class people who would be funneled into the state’s dungeons thanks to the 41st president.
From there, alongside Dick Cheney as his Secretary of Defense, Bush Sr. embarked on four years of further machinations against the people. In 1989, he invaded Panama, sending 24,000 US troops who leveled entire areas of Panama City and killed an estimated 3,000 people, mostly civilians. Done under the pretense of serving an arrest warrant to Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega on charges of drug trafficking, the venture is now widely acknowledged to be another case of imperialist regime change.
The AIDS crisis was also ripping through the country during Bush Sr.’s presidency. Those affected by it, the LGBT community in particular, remember the 41st president for his cruel indifference to taking on the disease which had infected a million people and was killing thousands. In 1992 ACT UP, a LGBT group fighting the AIDS crisis, led an action where loved ones of AIDS victims spread the ashes of their fallen family and friends on the front lawn of the White House.
More than any of his other crimes, Bush Sr.’s greatest atrocity was his launching of the Gulf War in 1991, the shock of which still reverberates in the region today. The military intervention would trigger a chain of events that would culminate in the US occupations of Afghanistan and then Iraq, costing millions of Iraqis, Afghans, and others their lives.
This blood-stained and troubled history has sealed Bush Sr.’s place in the line of greatest villains of the people, but it has not stopped the bourgeois media from praising this monster for his so-called partisanship. Seen as a more likable Republican than President Donald Trump, Bush Sr.’s nostalgic memory has swooned those from the left and right who put appearances above reality.
This short-lived infatuation will expire soon enough. Only in the moribund context of imperialism could a mass murderer be made out to be a kindhearted politician. This rose-tinted image of Bush Sr. will fade into nothingness, and the imperialists and reactionaries who follow his example will suffer the consequences of his actions.