The opinions and assertions expressed in the following article are those of Vincent Bugliosi and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of anyone at the Santa Monica Mirror.
As L.A. County District Attorney, Vincent Bugliosi successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials. One of those cases, the Charles Manson murders, led to his book Helter Skelter, the best-selling true crime book of all time. But Bugliosi sought publication for his newest book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, publishers shunned him.
“They said, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Bugliosi told the overflow crowd at Santa Monica Main Library. “They were frightened.”
Eventually, Vanguard Press published Bugliosi’s too-hot-to-handle book, and, despite a “media blackout,” it has reached number seven on the best-seller list. Word of mouth is bringing people out to hear him talk about his “proposal,” and Bugliosi, with rapid-fire delivery and carefully timed humor, gave the Library audience a detailed outline of his “blueprint for justice.”
Bugliosi began with the argument that Bush knowingly lied to the American public about the imminent danger allegedly posed by Saddam Hussein in order to convince the public, and Congress, that it was necessary to go to war with Iraq.
“Saddam Hussein was not an enemy of America. He was an enemy of George W. Bush and his father. There was not a speck of a connection between Hussein and 9/11.
“Why wasn’t he a threat? Because he wanted to live. When you want to live, you don’t attack the United States of America.”
While the case that Bush took us into war on false pretences has been made in other books, Bugliosi’s is the first book to advocate specific action. He believes that Bush can be indicted, if one or more prosecutors have the courage to do so.
This would not be likely to happen on the federal level, but Bugliosi has sent copies of the book to attorneys general in all 50 states, and is hoping to interest local district attorneys.
“The real overriding legal issue is that if Bush went to war in self-defense, then all the killings in Iraq were legally justifiable. But if [the order to go to war] was [based on] a lie, then the killings were unlawful – and therefore, murder.”
But, he noted, it can be argued that Bush didn’t personally “kill” anyone. Neither did Charles Manson, but Bush, like Manson, can be held liable on the basis of what is legally known as the “vicarious liability theory.”
“If a conspirator causes a third party to commit an act, then he is responsible for that act,” Bugliosi explained. He cited Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as possible co-defendants in the Bush case. “Bush, Cheney, and Rice knew that going to war with Iraq would result in American casualties.” In invading Iraq, Bush caused the Iraqis to fight back, thereby causing the deaths of over 4,000 Americans, many of them only 19 or 20 years old.
Bugliosi admitted that, while as a prosecutor, he is required to be impersonal, in the case of George W. Bush, he feels personal anger at the man.
“No one has done anything to George Bush!” he said. “All that Bill Clinton did was have consensual sex and he was savaged by the media. But no one does anything about Bush at all.”
What angers Bugliosi most is that there have been numerous public statements by the President about how he is “having a good time” and is in “a great mood,” while young people are dying in Iraq.
TV and radio shows have generally refused to let Bugliosi talk about his book, but he is encouraging people to get the word out by writing to media outlets and urging them to give his plan coverage, as well as writing to attorneys general and district attorneys. He believes that a grassroots effort may eventually bring about a real prosecution of Bush once the President is out of office.
“I may not succeed,” he says. “But I won’t be satisfied until I see that man in a courtroom.”