The Grand Jury indictment was hand delivered in a plain brown envelope. Because it arrived late, I decided to have dinner before unsealing the package. I had enough clues about the contents to know it was going to be a long night.
By dawn, I was still up desperately fighting off the temptation to sleep. Every page of the indictment revived buried memories from the scene of the crime. Long forgotten details were resurrected in vivid color. To my surprise, there was also a lot of evidence that I wasn't aware of -- the kind of details only a professional investigator knows how to dig up.
After a few hours of sleep, I got up and instinctively reached for the indictment. The charges were conspiracy to defraud the United States of America. An ex-district attorney from California had taken it upon herself to prosecute Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice for systematically lying to the American people to make a fraudulent case for launching a war in Iraq.
By noon, I was done. I had read the indictment, seen the compelling evidence, waded through an instructive lecture explaining the exact legal definition of conspiracy and fraud and accepted an implicit invitation to sit on the Grand Jury.
It was a closed and shut case. There was no beating the rap. The former district attorney had obviously done her homework and she was going to cakewalk her case from the Grand Jury to a full-blown trial.
We're all familiar with the defendant -- the current occupant of the White House. But we should pay a little attention to the attorney who filed the charges, Elizabeth de la Vega. With twenty years of experience prosecuting fraud and conspiracy cases on behalf of the federal government, she makes Perry Mason look like a first year intern.
Elizabeth de la Vega's first book, United States v. George W. Bush et al, is an engaging suspense filled account of a fictional seven-day trial before an imaginary grand jury. If you're a speed-reader, slow down and pay attention to every detail. You have been summoned to witness a trial that will not only decide the fate of your president but will determine if we are a country of law or a nation of sheep.
A few of us started noticing the criminal activity of this "Enron" administration since the president got elected. Many more started paying attention after the atrocities of 9/11. When it became clear that the defendant was about to launch an unprovoked war on a distant country that posed no serious threat to the United States, people took to the streets from coast to coast and across the globe. At the time, the polls indicated that half the nation supported the views of the vocal minority demonstrating in the public square. And as events unfolded, we were proven right.
Once the war started, the nation rallied around the troops. By the time Bush painted his "mission accomplished" sign, a triumphant America had cut the anti-war movement down to size.
When Saddam's fictional WMD weapons failed to materialize and the Plame games started, a lot of people sobered up in a hurry. They felt like drunks who had been rolled by a cocaine addict, duped and doped by a government that resorted to concocting bogus intelligence to make a case for a war that never had to happen. Gradually, as the losses mounted, a majority of the public became convinced that their own government had launched weapons of mass deception on the public square -- taking full advantage of the fear that pervaded the nation after 9/11 and the Anthrax scare.
As the last election proved, the prevailing sentiment among Americans is that the Mess on Potamia was a horrible and devastating mistake by an incompetent and reckless commander in chief and his neo-con praetorian guards. The tab for Bush's mischief has been picked up by hundreds of thousands of Iraqis -- a majority of them civilians. Thanks to Bush et al, they lie in early graves, many of them mutilated beyond recognition. A sectarian civil war accompanied by a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing will claim many more before we see the final chapter of what this president has wrought.
Nearly three thousand young Americans were dispatched half way around the globe to meet a similar fate. Over twenty thousand others will bear the scars of their wounds for a lifetime. Bush conspired and they expired.
They didn't die cheap. For their sacrifices, we have a trillion-dollar bill to pass onto future generations of American taxpayers. The coupon clippers who were kind enough to lend us the money for this imperial venture are living abroad because they happen to be foreign investors in US treasuries. To add to our financial woes, we have to go and borrow another two billion dollars a week to indulge Bush's delirious "victory" fantasies.
Well, we could go on forever with the damage assessment. Or we could get ourselves a lawyer and sue the bastards responsible for inflicting so much devastation on America and Iraq.
You can't find a more qualified attorney to defend the people's interest against this demented imperial president than Elizabeth de la Vega. Her book deconstructs the Bush administration's campaign of systematic deception leading up to the war. She then puts the pieces back together again in an ironclad legal format that makes an unimpeachable case that the president is ever so impeachable. If we had a congress with a spine, we would already be in the midst of hearings to determine if the president violated the trust of the nation and conspired with et al to defraud the American people.
This book is not just for the anti-war movement. Unlike this review, it passes no judgment on whether the war was a disastrous policy decision. Rather, it makes the case that to sell that policy the president and his inner cabinet systematically deceived the nation, including the folks in the red states. So, even the shrinking minority that still approves of the war will have to concede that they too were defrauded.
Just like a real Grand Jury, most of the material in this book is serious business. The author makes an admirable effort to introduce some levity to the proceedings. But drawing on her real life legal experience -- she starts the book by instructing the jurors and the reader -- on the specifics of the law. So, the meat and potatoes aren't served to the reader until the second chapter. But if you don't understand the law or you make the mistake of assuming you understand it -- like I did -- the first chapter will help you understand the rest of the proceedings and why this book is a mandatory read.
De la Vegas's book is a call to action. It's easy enough to read her fictional indictment and put it aside -- content to have a good lawyer defending your rights in a "class action suit" where you are nothing more than a passive beneficiary. If enough of us do that, this compelling case will never go to trial.
But if enough of us decide to back up De La Vega's legal crusade -- get ready for a serious rumble in the belt way jungle.
So, what to do? Can you write a book review? This is my very first attempt. Try it and call the editors of your paper and bring the book to their attention. Give up a few lattes and a lunch break to personally deliver a copy to your congressman. Pass on your copy to a friend and go buy another copy for your neighbor. Make this a season of hope and send it to your dad for Christmas. To avoid family feuds, send one to your mom too.
Elizabeth De La Vega went to the trouble of researching and writing this lively narrative of a fictional indictment of the president. But there is nothing fictional about the evidence she presents to make her case. Now, all you need to do is call your representative and demand a congressional book review.
Where are the Hollywood liberals? This book can't wait for the movie. It's a ready to go script for Court TV. What's holding us up here? This book has already been on the shelf for nearly two weeks. Let's get with the program.
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