Former US president George W. Bush claimed that despite the jaw-dropping violence unleashed by his own policies in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was left “sick to my stomach” by the January 6 raid on the US Capitol.
Admitting he “can’t remember what [he] was doing” at the time he learned Trump supporters were swarming the Capitol building, Bush told the Texas Tribune he became physically ill “to see our nation’s Capitol being stormed by hostile forces” in an interview conducted last month and published on Thursday as part of the SXSW 2021 festival.
While the vast majority of January’s demonstrators were unarmed and nonviolent, Bush insisted on referring to the demonstration as an “insurrection” in the style of much of the US media establishment, denying it was in any way “an expression of peaceful protest.”
Four participants in the pro-Trump January 6 demonstrations and one Capitol Police officer died, with three of the four protesters ruled dead by natural causes.
One protester, a female veteran of the US Air Force, was shot by Capitol Police. It remains unclear what caused the death of the Capitol Police officer who died not long after the protest.
Bush’s presidency was marked by a good deal more violence than the country saw at the Capitol demonstration. In addition to the 2,977 American civilians and first responders who died in the 9/11 attacks, the president subsequently launched two devastating wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.
Both those wars were based on phony claims Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was colluding with al-Qaeda – the terrorist group blamed for the airplane hijackings of that day – kicking off a disastrous and ever-metastasizing “War on Terror” that has yet to end.
While Taliban-controlled Afghanistan had offered to turn the 9/11 attack’s alleged ringleader Osama bin Laden over to the US if Bush stopped bombing their country and produced evidence of bin Laden’s guilt, the president infamously declined the offer, declaring “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
Instead, he pushed forward with the grueling two-decade war – the longest in US history. In addition to the direct violence, it helped flood the US with opium, a crop the Taliban had all but eradicated before the US military arrived in the country.
While ex-president Donald Trump nearly succeeded in withdrawing the 5,000 remaining US troops stationed in Afghanistan before leaving office in January, a deft maneuver by senior Pentagon brass convinced him to withdraw just half the remaining troops. Biden has shown no sign he is interested in ending the war.
While it’s not clear what kind of violence specifically upsets Bush’s stomach, 7,036 American soldiers have died in the two wars he started as of February.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more Afghanis and Iraqis have been killed in the so-called War on Terror, a conflict which has ironically caused the incidence of terrorism in the Middle East to shoot through the roof. The conflict itself has cost the US upwards of $6 trillion, permanently crippling the nation’s economy.
Hundreds of protesters who participated in the January 6th ‘Stop the Steal’ demonstration intended to disrupt the certification of Democrat Joe Biden as winner of the Electoral College vote as Trump supporters believed their candidate had rightly won a second term. The rioters have been charged with a vast array of criminal offenses, part of Biden’s promised war on terror 2.0 – an initiative supposed to focus on domestic extremism.