Kirkus Review (PDF)

“A provocative, readable indictment for our time.”

A sharp prosecution against the former president for the disasters of 9/11 and the Iraq War.

As Christopher Hitchens did with Henry Kissinger, so Markoff does with George W. Bush—without the literary flair, granted, but with every bit of the righteous indignation. In the manner of a prosecuting attorney, Markoff serves a brief that enumerates three kinds of actionable offense. The first is that Bush was criminally negligent in ignoring intelligence, from the moment he entered office in January 2001, that terrorists were mounting an imminent assault on the U.S. homeland. By way of evidence, the collective body of which is drawn from 600 annotated sources, Markoff analyzes the 379 speeches Bush gave between his first inauguration and Sept. 10, 2001, to show that Al-Qaida and/or Osama bin Laden turn up precisely zero times while Saddam HusseinIraq, and/or some combination of nuclear and chemical threats appear 143 times, oil another 41 times. “The numbers above,” writes the author, “seem at least close to courtroom proof that George W. Bush was far more interested in Hussein and Iraq’s oil than the risks to our country from Al-Qaida and bin Laden so often communicated to him.” Markoff’s second charge is that Bush—no puppet of Dick Cheney’s or some other master, he insists, but instead “an enthusiastic participant”—criminally wasted American blood and treasure in going to war with Iraq, at a direct cost of 4,400 American dead and $2 trillion, to say nothing of American wounded and psychologically shattered, along with untold numbers of Iraqi casualties. Bush’s authorization of torture and rendition for torture constitutes the third charge. Throughout, Markoff restrains himself from hyperbole and rhetorical flourish, at least until the very end of the book, when he asks, pointedly, “Did he think he was above the law or did he care?” His answer, that we’ll likely never know, does not diminish his characterization of the offenses as “reckless, dishonest, and tragically unnecessary.”

A provocative, readable indictment for our time.

Sept. 26, 2020

David P. Barash, professor of psychology emeritus, University of Washington; most recent book — Threats: Intimidation and its Discontents (Oxford University Press, 2020)

“Because of the dangers, outright vileness and genuine lunacy of the Trump years, it is all too easy for us to forget the many crimes of George W. Bush, who in many people’s eyes has begun to look downright benign by comparison. But don’t be bamboozled! W was not only a disastrous president but a genuine (if unindicted) criminal. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of Steve Markoff, the lesser Bush’s many malefactions are at last combined and cataloged in one easily accessed and highly readable format. It’s not a pretty story, but it is definitely an important one, focusing on three major arenas: criminal negligence, direct complicity in torture, and a sickening array of war crimes (both of omission and commission). Read it and weep? Yes. But also read it and be informed about the crimes of the Perpetrator-in-Chief. All the better to be empowered, my dears, to act upon that crucial post-Holocaust determination — Never Again!”

September 2020

Pierce O’Donnell, constitutional lawyer and author of In Time of War: Hitler’s Terrorist Attack on America

“Steven Markoff’s The Case Against George W. Bush is a meticulously documented indictment of President George W. Bush’s criminal dereliction of duty in failing to protect our country from the foreseen 9/11 terrorist attacks, manufacturing justification for invading Iraq in the pursuit of oil, and committing war crimes in approving, and then lying about his authorization of, illegally torturing captives in the so-called War on Terror. With almost 600 sources from government reports and documents, eyewitnesses, and reputable scholars and journalists, Markoff skillfully lays out his case in the best tradition of a brilliant prosecutor. As I savored his compelling narrative, it felt like I was once again reading transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials. If we want to avoid a similar future assault on our historic commitment to humanitarian values, The Case Against George W. Bush is required reading.”

August 2020

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