Maddow’s ‘Hubris’ and Bush’s Hubris

A long-time reader reminded me that I was going to watch Rachel Maddow’s documentary “Hubris [{long subtitle]” based on the eponymous book David Corn and Michael Isikoff, and wondered what I’d think.

maddow documentary

Little Green Footballs has it neatly segmented to watch from the MSNBC feed.

Long-time readers might also note that I’ve been writing about this since before I ever blogged. 

Here’s a letter from 2003:


June 19, 2003
Eugene Register-Guard
Letters in the Editor’s Mailbag

A question of war crimes

After 80 days, it’s time Americans confronted a grave question: If no weapons of mass destruction are found, then members of the Bush administration are guilty of war crimes.

The U.S.-sponsored United Nations Charter, Chapter 1, Article 2, states: “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members.” And “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

Saddam Hussein was evil, but we had no lawful right to depose him. These are our American values.

In the 1945 Nuremberg Trials, there were four counts, and one, if not two, are applicable here. Count one: conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and count two: waging aggressive war, or “crimes against peace.” When it was argued that the court had no jurisdiction, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, lead prosecutor, rejoined, “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated.”

Remember that in the near year of spin leading up to this war the term “regime change” was never used until 48 hours before the war began: because such a war would have been unlawful.

If war crimes have been committed (thousands are dead), those who screamed about the “rule of law” in 1999 better step up to the plate, else there is no such “rule.”


Notice that torture, rendition and the rest don’t enter into it. We invaded a country that posed no threat to us. The evidence (and the usual suspects are whining that Rachel’s documentary is simplistic or doesn’t do this or that, etc. — well, try fitting the long con into Iraq into forty minutes and see how many blipverts you need to complete that task with all due diligence. THEN see if anybody can understand it) is clear, as is our national agreement to pretend not to see the elephant in the room.

nobody expects the spanish_inquisition

The guys who invented “waterboarding”

Come on America! I KNOW you’ve successfully ignored the homeless in America since 1983. But can we REALLY ignore the murder of 108,000 (low ball) human beings for NO JUSTIFIED REASON?

Oh, and if Saddam Hussein was the target, how do you explain the pitiful marksmanship that leaves a hundred thousand dead as collateral damage?

A blind man with a sawed-off shotgun could have done as good a job.

Oh, and here is America’s proud moment, a foreign lynching:


Saddam Hussein hanging 30 December 2006

I will not remain silent and share the guilt and shame. Here’s a spooky precognitive letter:

Letters in the Editor’s Mailbag

August 8, 2003

War was just a necktie party

Steve Williams’ defense of the lynching of Saddam Hussein (letters, Aug. 1) mirrors the near-universal screech of the “rule of law” crowd these days. “Saddam was bad – ergo the ends justify the means.” Nothing could be further from the “rule of law.”

Remember, we were the ones who spent much of the 20th century trying to legitimize international law. We were the party who spent nearly a year attempting to obtain legitimate authority to engage Saddam Hussein (to “disarm” him, not to depose him!). And we, us, the good ol’ U.S.A., were the party who tried to hide behind a phony “coalition of the willing” to legitimize an action that cannot be characterized honestly as anything other than a lynching.

Lynchings are illegal, no matter how bad a guy the lynchee is. This diabolical spin that being against the war equals being in favor of Saddam Hussein would be laughable, were it not so forcibly advanced by the same hypocrites who wailed, squawked and pounded their chests for the “rule of law” when their case was, at best, a technicality, and their motives were demonstrably the opposite of the Simon-pure righteousness they so endlessly and loudly espoused – and still espouse.

We began by attempting to murder Saddam in cold blood in an undeclared war, and we conclude by playing “wanted: dead-or-alive” sweeps. But, really, it was a necktie party and remains a vigilante’s approach to law.

Again, we see that the so-called “rule of law” only applies to non-Republicans. Impeach Bush.



I have been against the war from before the beginning, when that was a very unpopular stand to take. But let me remind you instead of what truly bothered me at the end of 2003, the first year of the Iraq War and second year of the Afghan War …

Letters in the Editor’s Mailbag

December 28, 2003

Land of the free no more

Since all we liberals do is whine, I’d like to offer a constructive suggestion instead. This letter isn’t protesting the sudden invocation of a high terror alert during the busiest travel time of the year – all without actually giving the average citizen anything to do except to be afraid.

And this letter isn’t to complain that while Saddam Hussein was famously getting his tonsils examined by a U.S. Army doctor, President Bush was signing into law the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which greatly and stealthily expands domestic surveillance powers in a fine-print rider to a little-noticed, mostly classified appropriations bill.

I’m not complaining, even though Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, objected that “the stealth addition of language [is] drastically expanding FBI powers to secretly and without court order snoop into the business and financial transactions of American citizens. These expanded internal police powers will enable the FBI to demand transaction records from businesses, including auto dealers, travel agents, pawnbrokers and more, without the approval or knowledge of a judge or grand jury. This was written into the bill at the eleventh hour over the objections of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

No, I’d just like to offer a friendly suggestion. Let’s change our venerable national anthem from the outmoded “Land of the free and home of the brave” to the more modern and trendy “Land of the subjugated and home of the terrified.”


And, of course, SO much has changed since then.

So, thanks Rachel for pointing out the clear facts of the historical record. And, no thanks to the endless nitpickers. Nor to the intentionally amnesiac, nor those who still live in a fantasy world constructed for them by the political equivalent of  carnival barkers.

I hope that someone other than history will pay attention, but we’re too busy burning down the house to much notice that the gas has been left on.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.


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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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