Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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All That's Left for Bush is to Spin, Spin in the Widening Gyre
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   01/15/2009)

Surely the last fig leaf has been ripped from The Emperor Who Had No Clothes.

The ongoing death and destruction in the Gaza Strip exposes what one hopes is Bush's last great lie--made most recently in December--that great progress had been made toward peace in the Middle East.

Now George W. Bush stands exposed as the president who wrecked his country, his party, his world and ours. Destruction in Gaza is the exclamation point on the worst presidency in American history.

It ensures that Bush will be remembered not only for…

* A stolen election or two.

* Failure to protect us on 9/11.

* A war based on lies that resulted in millions of casualties and displaced persons.

* The dismantling of Iraq, instability in Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and elsewhere.

* The destruction of a dozen international treaties.

* A renewed arms race.

* Torture, kidnapping, domestic spying.

* Resumption of a cold war with Russia.

* Use of banned weapons, depleted uranium and unmanned aerial drones.

* Violations of the first amendment and other press abuses, including “free speech zones,” moles in the Washington Press Corps, intimidation of media here and in Iraq, planting lies in the New York Times, exposing Valerie Plame.

* The drowning of New Orleans while Bush went on vacation.

* Collapse of the global economy, the nationalization of ours.

* Censoring of scientists who told the truth about global warming.

* Secret energy deals. Tax breaks for the wealthy.

* Weakening the wall between church and state.

* Corruption on nearly every front—Jack Abramoff, Wall Street firms, billions not accounted for in Iraq.

* Failure to capture Osama bin Laden.

* Failure to pacify Afghanistan.

* Rollback of environmental protections, resulting in mountaintop removal, dirtier air and water, plus mining in formerly protected areas.

* And now the dismantling of Bush's so-called Middle East peace initiative.

Mainstream Media shields the public from the full catastrophe of the Bush presidency by blaming victims of Israeli aggression for their own deaths.

Which came first? Rocket attacks from Gaza or Israeli atrocities in the Gaza Strip? That's a dog chasing its tail. Most American media present the destruction in a light most favorable to Israel—and by implication Bush, Cheney and Rice. Truth scholars such as Jimmy Carter and Israeli peace groups know international journalists provide a more balanced picture. For instance Sara Roy recently documented in the London Review of Books how Israel's siege of Gaza began on Nov. 5, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip undermined the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June.

Many have documented how Israel sealed off Gaza from sources of food, medicine, fuel, parts for water and sanitation systems, fertilizer, and more, prior to the recent rocket strikes from Gaza. Not to belabor the point, I'll end there.

Yet even if you grant the pro-Israeli perspective in American media, Bush's Middle East peace initiative manifestly is just another instance of black humor, an artifact of a personality that embraces cruelty.

For some--notably Fox viewers--Bush even yet has one fig leaf left, and that's the claim that he kept Americans safe from terrorist attacks after 9/11.

Don't buy it. We've been attacked plenty. If defense of the homeland involves occupying other countries, then you must include casualties Over There. In that case, we've suffered about 5,000 deaths and tens of thousands maimed, emotionally mangled and otherwise abused Americans due to terrorist attacks, broadly defined. Those don't count? Tell that to graveside grievers.

Second, Bush's pro-violence swagger--echoed by the likes of Coulter, Hannity and Limbaugh--might've been causative in gun violence here, including several slaughters. That's not terror? Tell that to members of Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.

Third, there's little evidence that terrorists in Afghanistan planned additional attacks against America after 9/11. Bin Laden's stated reason for attacking the West was to drive infidels out of Saudi Arabia. He won the war, from his perspective, when we removed troops from that country and found ourselves bogged down in unending wars elsewhere.

Fourth, the cost of such “safety” has been far too high. The price tag includes economic collapse, natural catastrophes, a tattered Constitution, environmental decline, a breakdown of the International Order and more. Who can doubt Bush made all of them worse with his so-called War on Terror?

Some of us knew as early as 2001 that Bush was a disaster for our communities, our republic and our world. That's why we did all we reasonably could to prevent his many crimes. History vindicates us.

Bush and all who supported him stand exposed for their complicity.

Despite bias and blind spots in media coverage, the stench of death from the Bush Administration pervades the news.

All that's left for Bush--to alter a phrase from Yeats--is to spin, spin, spin in the widening gyre as his blood-dimmed tide continues to be loosed upon Gaza, the Middle East, the world….