(republished at Dear Dirty America)
“They wouldn’t lie to me, would they?” former president George Bush Jr asks his butler, Menlo, after the latter read aloud a recent news article about Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh calling the entire story of the Osama bin Laden raid “one big lie.”
Menlo often reads the news to Bush Jr, who likes to sit back in his comfy chair in front of his fireplace and sip a piña colada with two splashes of Coors light in it. Bush admits some of the news stories stick with him long after his servant has finished reading them. Like when he heard of whistleblower Bradley Manning changing his name to Chelsea after having been sentenced to thirty-five years in prison for leaking an enormous cache of military secrets to Wikileaks.
“How can a guy become a girl,” he’d wondered, and shrugged his shoulders. “If you’re one gender, that’s your gender. I’m not going to wake up one morning and tell Laura and the girls that they’ve got a new female to contend with. If you’re a boy, you’re a boy,” Bush said.
Today, the former president is shaking his head so vigorously he nearly spills his drink in his lap. “One big lie?” he asks Menlo. Bush Jr glances behind him, at the mantle above the fireplace, where a large jar holds suspended a pink and brown human heart. The heart of a terrorist, originally presented to President Obama by the head of the special forces crew, JSOC, who raided, shot, and killed the number one bad guy in modern American history.
“If Hersh thinks it’s fake, then what’s in that jar?” Bush says, smirking. “His body might be floating around the sea, but I got his soul locked up tight and pickled with formaldehyde. Maybe that journalist should take a pilgrimage out to Texas to see that little American memento.”
After the 2011 bin Laden raid, a triumphant and smiling President Obama re-gifted the heart to the former president. It was a way to heal old wounds and assuage some of the fiery things Obama had said about the Bush administration on the campaign trail. Some called it morbid and grotesque while other Americans regarded it as a spoil of war.
The heart handed to Bush, accompanied by a private ceremony in the former president’s backyard, seemed to solidify the fact that the Obama administration would not prosecute or even alter the criminal acts of the previous administration, such as torture and fabricating evidence to invade sovereign countries.
Upon Bush Jr’s request, the servant reread the passage about Hersh calling the bin Laden raid a lie:
…or the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.
Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an “independent” Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. “The Pakistanis put out a report, don’t get me going on it. Let’s put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It’s a bullshit report,” he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.
“I don’t know how anybody can lie about something like that,” Bush says, and points to the jar again. “I’ve got the proof.”
[photo by Eric Draper]