British journalist explains exactly why fans were enraged by Ellen DeGeneres' friendship with George W. Bush: ‘He was one of the most destructive presidents in modern American history’

British journalist explains exactly why fans were enraged by Ellen DeGeneres' friendship with George W. Bush: ‘He was one of the most destructive presidents in modern American history’
U.S. Department of Energy

Although Ellen DeGeneres has long been a champion of liberal and progressive causes, the Hollywood star has drawn some criticism from the left this week for being open about her friendship with former President George W. Bush. DeGeneres has stressed that while she has strong political disagreements with Bush, she likes him as a person. But British journalist Mehdi Hasan, in an article for The Intercept, stresses that the problem with Bush isn’t that he has conservative beliefs — it’s that he is a “war criminal.”


After photos of DeGeneres socializing with Bush 43 at a Dallas Cowboys game went viral, she explained, “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them.” And Hasan observes that DeGeneres’ comment “won her praise from everyone from CNN’s Chris Cillizza to the right-wing National Review to Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon to Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.”

Hasan also notes, “I’m an admirer of Ellen, who has been a champion of refugees and a supporter of Muslims.”

But Hasan quickly adds that none of that erases Bush’s actions as president during the 2000s.

“Ellen’s specific argument in defense of her friendship with the former president is both nonsensical and offensive,” Hasan stresses. “No one is suggesting that she shouldn’t be pals with a conservative or a Republican. Bush’s beliefs are irrelevant here; his actions are what matters.”

Hasan goes on to explain why he considers Bush such a disaster on foreign policy.

“He was one of the most destructive presidents in modern American history — a man who has never been held to account for a long litany of crimes, misdeeds and abuses of power committed during his two bloodstained terms in office,” Hasan emphasizes. “The reason ‘43’ should be treated as a pariah is not because he is a Republican or a conservative, but because he caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people and tortured hundreds of others.”

Hasan elaborates, “Ask the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The so-called War on Terror, launched by Bush in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, has since killed around 250,000 civilians in those three countries, according to a landmark Brown University study in 2018.”

Hasan also cites “the 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians massacred by U.S. troops in Haditha in 2005” and the “more than 4200 U.S. troops who were killed in Iraq.”

When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein, neocons claimed that Hussein was working with al-Qaeda — which was absolute nonsense. Hussein was a brutal dictator, but he was also a secularist — and Islamists like al-Qaeda and the Taliban saw him as an “infidel” who was pro-western and unfaithful to Islam.

Bush 43, Hasan recalls, “falsely claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein was working with al-Qaeda. He has never apologized for these falsehoods.”

Hasan is also critical of former First Lady Michelle Obama, who in November 2018, described Bush as “a beautiful, funny, kind, sweet man.”

“George W. Bush is not a ‘kind, sweet man,’” Hasan writes. “There is nothing ‘beautiful’ about him. He was a monster as governor of Texas and a monster as president of the United States…. This slow but steady rehabilitation of the former president and the whitewashing of his manifest crimes cannot be left unchallenged.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.