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Editorial George HW Bush's bloody service to US imperialism ultimately failed

THE death of former US president George Bush Snr is marked in the mainstream media by unending obsequies. No less an arbiter of manners and morality than Donald Trump paid tribute to his “essential authenticity, disarming wit and unwavering commitment to faith, family and country.”

Servile complaisance and deference; fawning over power is the hallmark of the bourgeois press but — confronted with the evil done —  we are not bound by the convention not to speak ill of the dead.

Lest we forget, Bush Snr was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

He demonstrated his fealty to the noble ideals of public service by subverting congressional restrictions on the CIA and the Pentagon funding of a Contra army against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

This was a scheme to secure the release of US hostages held in Iran that entailed Israel secretly shipping arms to Iran — then subject to an arms embargo — with the US replenishing Israel’s arsenal. The proceeds of this operation were to fund the counter-revolutionaries in Nicaragua.

The chicanery involved in this covert operation by the secret state was too much even for the US Congress. Fourteen officials were indicted, 11 convicted and all were pardoned by Ronald Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush.

Bush was director of the CIA for a very short period in 1976 and 1977. He was the US Establishment’s safe pair of hands charged with putting some order into a post-Watergate organisation that was reeling from a succession of scandals involving assassination schemes, illegal domestic spying, drug experiments and a string of whistleblowing incidents by insiders.

His back story — upper-crust New England aristocracy, distinguished war service, Yale-educated oil industry executive and a career including envoy to China and Richard Nixon’s ambassador to the UN — fixed him firmly inside the circles of power. A key Republican Party apparatchik, it was he who delivered the coup-de-grace that led to Nixon’s resignation.

It was on his watch that the CIA subverted Michael Manley’s progressive Jamaican government, covered up the Washington assassination of a former Chilean ambassador to the US and spent the best part of $25 million backing the subversion — in alliance with Israel and apartheid South Africa — of the MPLA government in Angola.

This catalogue of crimes is but minor operations for the US security state. The principal task for much of the last century was countering the influence of world socialism and this entailed check-mating the USSR.

Bush Snr’s stewardship saw this escalate to dangerous proportions. While seasoned intelligence experts saw that the Soviets craved peace and security above all and merely sought military parity, Bush favoured a hawkish tendency that exaggerated the USSR’s military capacity and which led to increased military expenditure to the benefit of arms and aerospace profits.

When Saddam Hussein took a nod-and-wink as US sanction to recover Kuwait and its oil assets, Bush launched an overwhelming military offensive but left the Iraqi dictator, a US asset in the strategy to isolate Iran, in power.

He again demonstrated his unreliability as a partner when the US invaded the US client state of Panama after its narco-president Manuel Noriega went rogue.

Harold Pinter, in his 2005 Nobel Prize speech, said: “The United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as ‘full spectrum dominance’.”

A lifetime in the service of imperialism was wasted. The consequence of Bush’s strategies is an unsustainable US debt crisis as it becomes clear that the existential threat to capitalism comes from capitalism’s own contradictions and the popular resistance that these engender.

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