Akin to an updated Fahrenheit 9/11 minus the occasional humor, Dave Hagen and David J. Burke’s The Prosecution of an American President advocates the notion that former president George W. Bush should be tried for the murder of every Iraq War casualty. Based on a book by—and heavily featuring—famed attorney Vincent Bugliosi, who is best known for successfully prosecuting Charles Manson, the argument is simple: If Bush deliberately misled Congress into approving the invasion of Iraq, then he is legally and personally responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. The evidence—or lack thereof, as we’re talking WMDs here—is arguably there, but its presentation is so unabashedly one-sided that the doc is problematic even when the facts and figures check out. Bugliosi is a persuasive speaker whose biography is not that of a crackpot or wing nut. An extended sequence finds the attorney explaining his argument to students at UCLA, but enough of the legalese is either shaky sounding or impossible to prove that it’s easy to call into question. Ultimately, though, the merits and flaws of his position are less important than the fact that Hagen and Burke are cheering him on rather than merely observing or reporting on him.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 3, 2012