Thursday, May 29, 2008

High crimes

Crime books are an interesting breed. They come in all varieties: fiction, nonfiction, faction and speculative. The latest in the latter comes from an unlikely source: Vincent Bugliosi.

L.A. County District Attorney prosecutor Bugliosi came to fame with his prosecution of the Charles Manson case and followed it with its retelling in Helter Skelter, one of the bestselling true-crime titles of all time.

Today is the official release date of Bugliosi's The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, whose title alone can't go unnoticed. In it, Bugliosi puts forth the case that Bush should go on trial for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers who lost their lives fighting in Iraq. Bugliosi's evidence: that the war was sold to America under false pretenses and that it has needlessly cost the lives of 100,000 Iraqis, caused the U.S. to be seen as the villain in a world, and cost the American people trillions of dollars to wage it ... with no end in sight.

The book sounds fascinating; and while the publishers say Bugliosi presents a non-partisan argument, you can't help thinking that the book's title is totally inflammatory. Coming on the heels of former National Coordinator for Security and Counter Terrorism Richard A. Clarke's Your Government Failed You and ex-Press Secretary's Scott McClellen's What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, this can't be a good week, tome-wise, for Dubya et al. (Not surprisingly, current Press Secretary Dana Perino said of McClellen's book, “We are puzzled.”)

If all this gets lost in spin this weekend as Fox News focuses on an incredulous Karl Rove and as right-wing talking heads bemoan the fact that New York State will recognize gay marriages made outside its borders, don't be surprised. News media has no attention span and, as has been seen for the past few years, can be played like a violin by Pennsylvania Avenue virtuosi.

According to the Bugliosi's publisher's website, the book “outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions.”

I won't hold my breath.

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