The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder is a call to action. A man of 73, in the wake of years spent creating his masterwork, 2007's Reclaiming History about the Kennedy assassination, has constructed his case with the passion of an idealistic college student. Surely the rest of us are capable of catching one last wave of Bush & Co. outrage. We do want to see Bush brought to justice, don't we?
RW: On July 25 you appeared on a panel before the House Judiciary Committee with the likes of Dennis Kucinich and Elizabeth Holtzman to examine the "imperial presidency" of George Bush. When you appeared at the Great Mind Series in Los Angeles, it was reported that you said of Committee Chairman John Conyers, "He's completely behind what I'm doing here." Do you think summoning you to speak was Conyers's way of shifting attention from impeachment to a process with a better chance of success?
VB: Conyers called me up and said he read the book and liked it very much. This was before there was any mention of the hearing. Then I got the invitation. So I spoke to his assistant and I said I'm not an authority on impeachment. I'm only talking about prosecuting George Bush for first-degree murder. Everyone there was talking about one of two things: executive power and constitutional limitations or impeachment, and I was talking about murder. So they knew in advance.
Though they didn't say it, they may have expanded the hearings for me. I'm just saying that I told them that I was not coming back there [to Washington from L.A. -- Ed.] to talk about the subject matter of the hearings. Although, certainly, if you're talking about the basis for impeachment -- high crimes and misdemeanors -- murder obviously qualifies as one. They may have very well felt that what I was saying obviously did apply.
I tried to simplify for the hearing. I didn't have much time. The difficulty always is it takes more time to figure out how to convey your message when you only have a short period of time. [Here Bugliosi cites the famous saying attributed to either Pascal, Voltaire, or Mark Twain: "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I've written a long one instead." -- Ed.]
They're telling me I've got five minutes -- tell me what's in your book in five minutes. It took me more time to figure out how I was going to do that then if they said I had a half hour. I tried to compress it into five minutes, which was not easy at all. But I got some good stuff in there.
I want to make it very clear. I definitely believe that Bush should be impeached. There's no question about that. It's just that I'm not satisfied with impeachment, him not spending one day in the county jail, continuing to enjoy himself. I don't see any real justice there.
But impeachment isn't too likely because of a couple of things: One, the time element. Two, Nancy Pelosi, doing what Democrats do so well, is not in favor of impeachment and she's the speaker. That makes it almost insurmountable when you have the speaker against it. Three, impeachment would be good even if it's not successful. Anything to stain the record of this terrible human being.
You can't get a conviction on impeachment because you need two-third vote of the Senate and, as you know, the Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Still, I'd like to see an impeachment at least. But the notion that would be enough for what he did is something that I don't agree with.
RW: You're not working in opposition to Congressman Kucinich, who introduced articles of impeachment against Bush, are you?
VB: No, absolutely not. I agree with everything Dennis says. But, again, impeachment alone is too good for George Bush.
RW: You also said to the Judiciary Committee: "It would greatly dishonor those in their graves who paid the ultimate price because of this war were you not to refer this case to the Department of Justice." Does the go-ahead for a prosecution start with Conyers and his committee?
VB: No, it doesn't start there. This is just one way to get this case going and it's the least likely. If they did it, then a criminal investigation would commence. The attorney general in Washington DC, that would be the best way. If anyone does anything -- I have to be candid with you -- it's unlikely that any one of the 93 federal attorneys would begin criminal proceedings without getting the consent of their boss in Washington, the attorney general. And that's why, realistically, on a federal level, there is only one person who would ever bring criminal charges against Bush and that's the attorney general.
I want to point out that the burden that has to be met when referring a case to the attorney general's office is very low. All that's required is that there be a quote reasonable unquote suspicion that a crime has been committed. Surely, there's a reasonable suspicion here that Bush took this nation to war under false pretenses. The attorney general's office can't prosecute him now but they can commence the investigation immediately. Then once he leaves office, at that point they can file charges. But there's only one attorney general and it's a highly politicized office.