An American President Finds Himself on Trial

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Photo by Ken Nahoum

To some, George W. Bush, is considered a war criminal having plunged the United States into two needless Middle East wars, one in Afghanistan and the other in Iraq. The death toll is enormous on both sides and the property damage incalculable. There are those that feel George Bush was allowed to ride off into the sunset without being held responsible for what he set in motion including the rise of terrorism.

A play that opened September 29th at the Lion Theater ( under limited engagement), located at 410 West 42nd Street in Manhattan, entitled “The Trial of an American President” explores the issue of whether Bush should be held accountable. A new drama by Dick Tarlow with Bill Smith, directed by Stephen Eich and produced by Shelter Entertainment LLC and Hello Larry Ltd puts George W. Bush on trial before the International Criminal Court at the Hague where Bush is fictionally tried.

Of course there is no law that can force a US President to appear before the International Criminal Court at the Hague since while president, the real George W. Bush overturned Bill Clinton's agreement and instead deemed the United States was not under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court at the Hague and thus could not be prosecuted for war crimes.

The accused must volunteer to appear which naturally few would. However in the play's accounting, George Bush (Tony Carlin) agrees to attend the trial before The International Criminal Court prosecutor played by Michael Rogers wherein he claims he is there to face the Court in an effort to clear his name and reputation against the advice and dismay of his family and advisers. In his defense Bush repeatedly states he simply was trying to protect America and did not take his attack on Iraq lightly but rather held it in deep prayer. This, while videos play in the background displaying the terrible toll on the lives of Iraqi citizens. “It's the price one pays for victory,” claims Bush with the prosecutor responding “No, it was the price the innocent paid with their lives.”

A narrator played by Mahira Kakkar reminds the audience and a jury of 8 audience members (who are selected each night and ultimately decide the fate of Bush), what led to the War in Iraq. There was such a rush to attack Iraq after 9-11, some questioned why the Bush Administration couldn't wait until those investigating determined whether Saddam Hussein was actually developing weapons of mass destruction as the Bush Administration claimed. Fifteen members of the Security Council agreed to allow Iraq the opportunity to disarm any hidden weapons or face serious consequences. However George Bush as it turns out, pressed for military intervention setting off his attack against Iraq before the investigation was completed based on faulty evidence. Bush's rationale for his war on Iraq was that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, committing human rights violations, allowing terrorism and was in defiance of United Nation demands to comply with their international obligations. Bush insisted Iraq needed to be under a democracy. In fact, accusations of faulty evidence became the focal point of those critical of Bush's engagement in war, especially after the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies could find no evidence of links to Al-Qaeda or Iraqi weaponry as claimed by the Bush Administration. Failure to find evidence of Iraqi weapons after the US invasion led to worldwide controversy that both the Bush and Blair Administration had deliberately manipulated and misstated intelligence in order to invade Iraq and its oil fields.

Since the Iraq invasion in 2003, and as of March 2016, over 6,845 Americans have died with 174,355 documented civilian deaths including 900,000 injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the three days of the mock trial resulting in a verdict that could either free Bush or incarcerate him, three charges are addressed: The 2003 invasion of Iraq; The U.S. Military occupation of Fallujah that resulted in numerous civilian casualties; and Bush's approval of using torture.

Given the enormous loss of life and the stress on America's military many questioned both Bush and his VP Dick Cheyney's motives since contracts went to Dick Cheyney's former company Halliburton that made profits close to $9 billion. Although, Cheyney claimed he did not personally profit. Critics concede that there is no concrete evidence that Cheyney pulled contractual strings on Halliburton's behalf. Yet Cheyney refused to provide his staff's communications or actions taken in association with Halliburton. Historians allege the Bush family was heavily invested in the Carlyle Group, having made several billion from the Iraq War.

Irrespective of George Bush's protestations of anything other than stellar intentions, Bush will go down in history as the man who orchestrated the Iraqi War and destabilized the Middle East region causing terrorism to rise in the world.

Interested parties can attend the trial on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm, Wednesday thru Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm until October 15th. For tickets to “The Trial of an American President” call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200, or visit Telecharge.com.

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