George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography
George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography
Webster G. Tarpley
We want to issue a special welcome to all those who are visiting our page after reading the Gary
Webb series in the San Jose Mercury-News.
Gary Webb has performed an important public service by re-opening Iran-contra, which Bush had
done everything to cover up.
The Bush biography published by Anton Chaiktin and myself in 1992 already documents how,
under National Security Decision Directives 2 and 3, George Bush was responsible for the White
House crisis staffs of the Reagan Administration and thus for all the covert operations of the 1980's,
including deliveries of crack cocain, marijuana, and heroin into American cities.
Gary Webb is an honest investigative reporter who conducted his probe from the bottom up,
starting from the streets of Los Angeles and proceeding up the line towards Washington.
Our method, by contrast, was to start from the White House and proceed downward. Gary Webb's
work and our own mesh at numerous key points, such as the figures of contra leaders Adolfo Calero
and Enrique Bermudez. Iran-contra drug-trafficking was carried on with the help of an interagency
coordination (or "Focal Point") located in the Department of Defense, and utilized the services of
the Pentagon, the State Department, the National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency,
and other organs of government.
At the top of the chain of command was Vice President and crisis staff chief George Bush, assisted
by Donald Gregg, Oliver North, Felix Rodriguez. The political kingpin of the entire operation was
George Bush, and it is Bush who today must be the target of mass political mobilization - especially
since Bush is today the main power in the Republican Party and the leader of the efforts for a
British-backed impeachment/coup d'etat against the Clinton Administration and the US
Constitution. It would be folly to let Bush off the hook by focussing on some faceless, nameless
bureaucrats in the CIA whom Bush would be glad to sacrifice to save himself.
For those who want to know more about George Bush, crack cocaine kingpin, I suggest the
* Start with Chapter XVIII for the role of Bush as kingpin of Iran-contra.
* Then proceed to Chapter XX for the shocking truth about Bush's much-touted "war on drugs,"
including how Bush hobnobbed with Don Aronow of the Meyer Lansky organized crime and
* To understand the reasons why Bush was and is so fanatically devoted to genocide against
African-Americans and poor Americans in Chapter X, "Rubbers Goes to Congress," which details
how Bush brought neo-Nazi racist theoretician William Shockly to address members of Congress
on the need to make eugenics and population control the keystone of US government policy.
* See Chapter XI for Bush's support of genocide in Bengladesh and Vietnam when he was Henry
Kissinger's Ambassador to the United Nations. See Chapter XIV for Bush's role in the installation of Cambodia's Pol Pot, one of the greatest genocmove. Your idalists in modern history. See
Chapter XXIV for Bush's genocidal Gulf war, which has killed more than a million among Iraqis
and other Arabs.
* Finally, to understand genocide as the deepest tradition of the Bush family, see Chapter II for the
story on how Prescott Bush, father of the later president, helped finance the seizure of power in
Germany by Adolf Hitler.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- AMERICAN CALIGULA (47,195 bytes)
1 --- THE HOUSE OF BUSH: BORN IN A BANK (33,914 bytes)
2 --- THE HITLER PROJECT (55,321 bytes)
3 --- RACE HYGIENE: THREE BUSH FAMILY ALLIANCES (51,987 bytes)
4 --- THE CENTER OF POWER IS IN WASHINGTON (51,699 bytes)
5 --- POPPY AND MOMMY (47,684 bytes)
6 --- BUSH IN WORLD WAR II (36,992 bytes)
7 --- SKULL AND BONES: THE RACIST NIGHTMARE AT YALE (56,508 bytes)
8 --- THE PERMIAN BASIN GANG (64,269 bytes)
9 --- BUSH CHALLENGES YARBOROUGH FOR THE SENATE (110,435 bytes)
10 -- RUBBERS GOES TO CONGRESS (129,439 bytes)
11 -- UNITED NATIONS AMBASSADOR, KISSINGER CLONE (99,842 bytes)
12 -- CHAIRMAN GEORGE IN WATERGATE (104,415 bytes)
13 -- BUSH ATTEMPTS THE VICE PRESIDENCY, 1974 (27,973 bytes)
14 -- BUSH IN BEIJING (53,896 bytes)
15 -- CIA DIRECTOR (174,012 bytes)
16-- CAMPAIGN 1980 (139,823 bytes)
17 -- THE ATTEMPTED COUP D'ETAT OF MARCH 30, 1981 (87,300 bytes)
18 -- IRAN-CONTRA (140,338 bytes)
19 -- THE LEVERAGED BUYOUT MOB (67,559 bytes)
20 -- THE PHONY WAR ON DRUGS (26,295 bytes)
21 -- OMAHA (25,969 bytes) 22 -- BUSH TAKES THE PRESIDENCY (112,000)
23 -- THE END OF HISTORY (168,757 bytes)
24 -- THE NEW WORLD ORDER (255,215 bytes)
25 -- THYROID STORM (138,727 bytes)
The authors would like to hear from you.
Send us your comments or questions
George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography --- by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin
INTRODUCTION: American Caligula
The thesis of this book is simple: if George Bush were to be re- elected in November 1992 for a
second term as the president of the United States, this country and the rest of the world would face a
catastrophe of gigantic proportions.
The necessity of writing this book became overwhelming in the minds of the authors in the wake of
the ghastly slaughter of the Iraq war of January-February 1991. That war was an act of savage and
premeditated genocide on the part of Bush, undertaken in connivance with a clique in London
which has, in its historical continuity, represented both the worst enemy of the long-term interests
of the American people, and the most implacable adversary of the progress of the human species.
The authors observed George Bush very carefully as the Gulf crisis and the war unfolded, and had
no doubt that his enraged public outbursts constituted real psychotic episodes, indicative of a
deranged mental state that was full of ominous portent for humanity. The authors were also
horrified by the degree to which their fellow citizens willfully ignored the shocking reality of these
public fits. A majority of the American people proved more than willing to lend its support to a
despicable enterprise of killing.
By their role-call votes of January 12, 1991, the Senate and the House of Representatives gave their
authorization for Bush's planned and imminent war measures to restore the Emir of Kuwait, who
owns and holds chattel slaves. That vote was a crime against God's justice.
This book is part of an attempt to help them to survive anyway, both for the sake of the world and
for their own sake. It is intended as a contribution to a process of education that might still save the
American people from the awesome destruction of a second Bush presidency. It is further intended
as a warning to all citizens that if they fail to deny Bush a second term, they will deserve what they
get after 1993.
As this book goes to press in the autumn of 1991, public awareness of the long-term depression of
the American economy is rapidly growing. If Bush were re-elected, he would view himself as
beyond the reach of the voters and the popular will; with the federal deficit rising beyond a billion
dollars a day, a second Bush administration would dictate such crushing austerity as to bring the
country to the brink of civil war. Some harbingers of what might be coming are described in the last
chapter of this book. Our goal has been to assemble as much of the truth about Bush as possible
within the time constraints imposed by the 1992 election. Time and resources have not permitted us meticulous attention to certain matters of detail; we can say, nevertheless, that both our commitment
to the truth and our final product are better than anything anyone else has been able to muster,
including news organizations and intelligence agencies with capabilities that far surpass our own.
How can we hope to fight the mightily Bush power cartel with a biography, a mere book? We have
no illusions of easy success, but we were encouraged in our work by the hope that a biography
might stimulate opposition to Bush and his policies. It will certainly, if only by virtue of its novelty,
pose a new set of problems to those seeking to get Bush re-elected. For although Bush is now what
journalists call a world leader, no accurate account on his actual career exists in the public domain.
The volume which we submit herewith to the court of world public opinion is, to the best of our
knowledge, the first and only book- length, unauthorized biography of George Bush. It is the first
approximation of the truth about his life. This is the first biography worthy of the name, a fact that
says a great deal about the sinister power and obsessive secrecy of this personage. null of the other
self-announced biographies (including Bush's campaign autobiography) can be taken seriously;
each of these books is a pastiche of lies, distortions and banalities that run the gamut from campaign
panegyric to the Goebbels Big Lie to fake but edifying stories for credulous children. Almost
without exception, the available Bush literature is worthless.
But with Bush, this is only the beginning of the problem. Bush's family pedigree establishes him as
a network asset of Brown Brothers, Harriman, one of the most powerful political forces in the
United States during much of the twentieth century, and for many years the largest private bank in
the world. It suffices in this context to think of Averell Harriman negotiating during World War II
in the name of the United States with Churchill and Stalin, or of the role of Brown Brothers,
Harriman partner Robert Lovett in guiding John F. Kennedy's choice of his cabinet, to begin to see
the implications of Senator Prescott Bush's post as managing partner of this bank. Brown Brothers,
Harriman networks pervade government and the mass media. Again and again in the course of the
following pages we will see stories embarrassing to George Bush refused publication, documents
embarrassing to Bush suspiciously disappear, and witnesses inculpatory to Bush be overtaken by
mysterious and conveniently timed deaths. The few relevant facts which have found their way here
and there into the public domain have necessarily been filtered by this gigantic apparatus. This
problem has been compounded by the corruption and servility of authors, journalists, news
executives and publishers who have functioned more and more as kept advocates for Bush.
George Bush wants key aspects of his life to remain covert. At the same time, he senses that his
need for cover-up is a vulnerability. The need to protect this weak flank accounts for the steady
stream of fake biographical and historical material concerning George, as well as the spin given to
many studies of recent history that may never mention George directly. Over the past several
months, we have seen a new book about Watergate that pretends to tell the public something new
by fingering Al Haig as Deep Throat, but ignoring the central role of George Bush and his business
partners in the Watergate affair. We have a new book by Lt. Col. Oliver North which alleges that
Reagan knew everything about the Iran-contra affair, but that George Bush was not part of North's
chain of command. The latter point merely paraphrases Bush's own lame excuse that he was "out of
the loop" during all those illegal transactions. During the hearings on the nomination of Robert
Gates to become Director of Central Intelligence, nobody had anything new to add about the role of
George Bush, the boss of the National Security Council's Special Situation Group crisis staff that
was a command center for the whole affair. These charades are peddled to a very credulous public
by operatives whose task goes beyond mere damage control to mind control-- the "MK" in the
government's MK Ultra operation. Part of the free ride enjoyed by George Bush during the 1988
elections is reflected in the fact that at no point in the campaign was there any serious effort by any
of the so-called news organizations to provide the public with something approaching an accurate
and complete account of his political career. At least two biographies of Dukakis appeared which, although hardly critical, were not uniformly laudatory either. But in the case of Bush, all the public
could turn to was Bush's old 1980 campaign biography and a newer campaign autobiography, both
of them a tissue of lies.
Early in the course of our research for the present volume it became apparent that all books and
most longer articles dealing with the life of George Bush had been generated from a single print-out
of thoroughly sanitized, approved and canonically admitted "facts" about Bush and his family. We
learned that during 1979-1980, Bush aide Pete Roussel attempted to recruit biographers to prepare a
life of Bush based on a collection of press releases, news summaries, and similar pre-digested
material. Most biographical writing about Bush consists merely of the points from this printout,
strung out chronologically and made into a narrative through the interpretation of comments,
anecdotes, embellishments, or special stylistic devices. The canonical Bush-approved printout is
readily identified. One dead giveaway that became a joke among the authors of the present study
was the inevitability with which the hacks out to cover up the substance of Bush's life refer to a
1947 red Studebaker which George Bush allegedly drove into Odessa, Texas in 1948. This is the
sort of detail with which such hacks attempt to humanize their subject, in the same way that
horseshoes, pork rinds, and country and western music have been introduced into Bush's real life in
a deliberate and deceptive attempt to humanize his image. It has been our experience that any text
that features a reference to Bush's red Studebaker has probably been derived from Bush's list of
approved facts, and is therefore practically worthless for serious research into Bush's life. We
therefore assign such texts to the "red Studebaker school" of cover-up and falsification.
Some examples? This is from Bush's campaign autobiography, Looking Forward, ghost-written by
his aide Vic Gold: Heading into Texas in my Studebaker, all I knew about the state's landscape was
what I'd seen from the cockpit of a Vultee Vibrator during my training days in the Navy. [fn 1]
Here is the same moment as recaptured by Bush's crony Fitzhugh Green, a friend of the Malthusian
financier Russell Train, in his George Bush: An Intimate Portrait, published after Bush had won the
He [Bush] gassed up his 1948 Studebaker, arranged for his wife and son to follow, and headed for
Odessa, Texas. [fn 2]
Harry Hurt III wrote the following lines in a 1983 Texas magazine article that was even decorated
with a drawing of what apparently is supposed to be a Studebaker, but which does not look like a
Studebaker of that vintage at all: When George Herbert Walker Bush drove his battered red
Studebaker into Odessa in the summer of 1948, the town's population, though constantly increasing
with newly-arrived oil field hands, was still under 30,000. [fn 3]
We see that Harry Hurt has more imagination than many Bush biographers, and his article does
provide a few useful facts. More degraded is the version offered by Richard Ben Kramer, whose
biography of Bush is expected to be published during 1992, and is thus intended to serve as the
campaign biography to pave the way for Bush's second election victory. God help us. Cramer was
given the unenviable task of breathing life once more into the same tired old printout. But the very
fact that the Bush team feels that they require another biography indicates that they still feel that
they have a potential vulnerability here. Cramer has attempted to solve his problem by recasting the
same old garbage into a frenetic and hyperkinetic, we would almost say hyperthyroid style. The
following is from an excerpt of this forthcoming book that was published in Esquire in June, 1991:
In June, after the College World Series and graduation day in New Haven, Poppy packed up his
new red Studebaker (a graduation gift from Pres), and started driving south. [fn 4] Was that Studebaker shiny and new, or old and battered? Perhaps the printout is not specific on this
point; in any case, as we see, our authorities diverge.
Joe Hyams's 1991 romance of Bush at war, the Flight of the Avenger, does not include the
obligatory "red Studebaker" reference, but this is more than compensated by the most elaborate
fawning over other details of our hero's war service [fn 5]. The publication of Flight of the Avenger,
which concentrates on an heroic retelling of Bush's war record, and ignores all evidence that might
tend to puncture this myth, was timed to coincide with the Gulf crisis and Bush's war with Iraq.
This is a vile tract written with the open assistance of Bush, Barabara Bush, and the White House
staff. Flight of the Avenger recalls the practice of totalitarian states according to which a war waged
by the regime should be accompanied by propaganda which depicts the regime's strong man in an
appropriately martial posture. In any case, this book deals with Bush's life up to the end of World
War II; we never reach Odessa.
Only one of the full-length accounts produced by the Bush propaganda machine about their
candidate neglects the red Studebaker story. This is Nicholas King's George Bush: A Biography, the
first book-length version of Bush's life, produced as a result of Pete Roussel's efforts for the 1980
campaign. Nicholas King had served as Bush's spokesman when he was US Ambassador to the
United Nations. King admits at the beginning of his book that he can be impugned for writing a
work of the most transparent apologetics: "In retrospect," he says in his preface, "this book may
seem open to the charge of puffery, for the view of its subject is favorable all around." [fn 6]
Books about Barbara Bush slavishly rehearse the same details from the same printout. Here is the
relevant excerpt from the warmly admiring Simply Barabara Bush: A Portrait of America's Candid
First Lady, written by Donnie Radcliffe and published after Bush's 1988 election victory: With
$3,000 left over after he graduated in June, 1948, he headed for Texas in the 1947 red Studebaker
his father had given him for graduation after George's car died on the highway. [fn 7]
Even foreign journalists attempting to inform their publics about conditions in the United States
have fallen victim to the same old Bush printout. The German author and reporter Rainer Bonhorst,
the former Washington correspondent of the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, in his 1988 book
George Bush: Der neue Mann im Weissen Haus, named a chapter of this Bush political biography
"Im roten Studebaker nach Texas." Bonhorst writes as follows:
Dann war da noch die Sache mit dem roten Studebaker. Sie spielt--gleich nach dem
Weltkriegseinsatz-- eine zweite zentrale Rolle in der Lebensgeschichte des George Bush. Es ist die
Geschichte seiner Rebellion. Der Schritt, der aus dem steifen Neuenglaender einen laessigen
Texaner machte, aus dem reich geborenen Patriziersohn einen Selfmademann. [...] Also packten
George und Barbara Bush, 24 und 23 Jahre alt, er gerade mit dem Studium fertig, sie vorzeitigaus
ihrer Universitaet ausgeschieden und seit ein paar Monaten Mutter, ihr Baby und ihre Koffer und
luden sie auf ihr knallrotes Studebaker-Coupe. "Ein supermoderner, schnittiger Wagen, allerdings
etwas laut fuer den neuenglischen Geschmack," erinnerten sich die Bushs spaeter. Aber schliesslich
ging es ja ab nach Texas. [fn 8]
We see that Bonhorst is acutely aware of the symbolic importance assumed by the red Studebaker
in these hagiographic accounts of Bush's life.
What is finally the truth of the matter? There is good reason to believe that George Bush did not
first come to Odessa, Texas, in a red Studebaker. One knowledgeable source is the well-known
Texas oil man and Bush campaign contributor Oscar Wyatt of Houston. In a recent letter to the
Texas Monthly, Wyatt specifies that "when people speak of Mr. Bush's humble beginnings in the oil industry, it should be noted that he rode down to Texas on Dresser's private aircraft. He was
accompanied by his father, who at that time was one of the directors of Dresser Industries." "I hate
it when people make statements about Mr. Bush's humble beginnings in the oil industry. It just
didn't happen that way," writes Mr. Wyatt. [fn 9] Dresser was a Harriman company, and Bush got
his start working for one of its subsidiaries. One history of Dresser Industries contains a photograph
of George Bush with his parents, wife, and infant son "in front of a Dresser company airplane in
West Texas." [fn 10 tris] Can this be a photo of Bush's arrival in Odessa during the summer of
1948? In any case, this most cherished myth of the Bush biographers is very much open to doubt.
Fawning biographies of bloodthirsty tyrants are nothing new in world literature. The red Studebaker
school goes back a long way; these writers of today can be usefully compared with a certain Gaius
Velleius Paterculus, who lived in the Roman Empire under the emperors Augustus and Tiberius,
and who thus an approximate contemporary of Jesus Christ. Velleius Paterculus was an historian
and biographer who is known today, if at all, for his biographical notes on the Emperor Tiberius,
which are contained within Paterculus's history of Rome from the origins down to his own time.
Paterculus, writing under Tiberius, gave a very favorable treatment of Julius Caesar, and became
fulsome when he came to write of Augustus. But the worst excesses of flattery came in Velleius
Paterculus's treatment of Tiberius himself. Here is part of what he writes about that tyrannical ruler:
Of the transactions of the last sixteen years, which have passed in the view, and are fresh in the
memory of all, who shall presume to give a full account? [...] credit has been restored to mercantile
affairs, sedition has been banished from the forum, corruption from the Campus Martius, and
discord from the senate- house; justice, equity and industry, which had long lain buried in neglect,
have been revived in the state; authority has been given to the magistrates, majesty to the senate,
and solemnity to the courts of justice; the bloody riots in the theater have been suppressed, and all
men have had either a desire excited in them, or a necessity imposed on them, of acting with
integrity. Virtuous acts are honored, wicked deeds are punished. The humble respects the powerful,
without dreading him; the powerful takes precedence of the humble without condemning him.
When were provisions more moderate in price? When were the blessings of peace for abundant?
Augustan peace, diffused over all the regions of the east and the west, and all that lies between the
south and the north, preserves every corner of the world free from all dread of predatory
molestation. Fortuitous losses, not only of individuals, but of cities, the munificence of the prince is
ready to relieve. The cities of Asia have been repaired; the provinces have been secured from the
oppression of their governors. Honor promptly rewards the deserving, and the punishment of the
guilty, if slow, is certain. Interest gives place to justice, solicitation to merit. For the best of princes
teaches his countrymen to act rightly by his own practice; and while he is the greatest in power, he
is still greater in example.
Having exhibited a general view of the administration of Tiberius Caesar, let us now enumerate a
few particulars respecting it. [...] How formidable a war, excited by the Gallic chief Sacrovir and
Julius Florius, did he suppress, and with such amazing expedition and energy, that the Roman
people learned that they were conquerors, before they knew that they were at war, and the news of
the victory outstripped the news of the danger! The African war too, perilous as it was, and daily
increasing in strength, was quickly terminated under his auspices and direction. [...] What structures
has he erected in his own name, and those of his family! With what dutiful munificence, even
exceeding belief, is he building a temple to his father! [...] With what perfect ease to the public does
he manage the raising of troops, a business of constant and extreme apprehension, without the
consternation attendant on a levy! [ fn 11 ]
All of this was written in praise of the regime that crucified Jesus Christ, and one of the worst
genocidal tyrannies in the history of the world. Paterculus, we must sadly conclude, was a sycophant of the Tiberius administration. Some of his themes are close parallels to the propaganda
of today's Bush machine.
In addition to feeding the personality cult of Tiberius, Paterculus also lavished praise on Lucius
Aelius Sejanus, the Prefect of the Pretorian Guard and for many years Tiberius's number one
favorite, second in command, and likely successor. In many respects Sejanus was not unlike James
Baker III under the Bush regime. While Tiberius spent all of his time in seclusion on his island of
Capri near Naples, Sejanus assumed day to day control of the vast empire and its 100,000,000
subjects. Paterculus wrote of Sejanus that he was "a most excellent coadjutor in all the toils of
government...a man of pleasing gravity, and of unaffected cheerfulness...assuming nothing to
himself." That was the voice of the red Studebaker school in about 30 AD. Paterculus should have
limited his fawning to Tiberius himself; somewhat later the emperor, suspecting a coup plot,
condemned Sejanus and had him torn limb from limb in gruesome retribution.
But why bring up Rome? Some readers, and not just registered Republicans, may be scandalized by
the things that truth obliges us to record about a sitting president of the United States. Are we not
disrespectful to this high office? No. One of the reasons for glancing back at Imperial Rome is to
remind ourselves that in times of moral and cultural degradation like our own, rulers of great evil
have inflicted incalculable suffering on humanity. In our modern time of war and depression, this is
once again the case. If Caligula was possible then, who could claim that the America of the New
World Order should be exempt? Let us therefore tarry for a moment with these old Romans,
because they can show us much about ourselves.
In order to find Roman writers who tell us anything reliable about the first dozen emperors, we
must wait until the infamous Julio-Claudian dynasty of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula,
Claudius, Nero and the rest had entirely passed from the scene, to be supplanted by new ruling
houses. Tiberius reigned from 14 to 37 AD; Caligula, his designated successor, from 37 to 41 AD;
and Nero from 54 to 68 AD. But the first accurate account of the crimes of some of these emperors
comes from Publius Cornelius Tacitus, a very high Roman official, and it appeared about 115-117
AD, late in the reign of the emperor Trajan. It was feasible for Tacitus to write and publish a more
realistic account of the Julio- Claudian emperors because one of the constant themes of Trajan's
propaganda was to glorify himself as an enlightened emperor through comparison with the earlier
series of bloody tyrants.
Tacitus is important because he manages to convey something of how the destructiveness of these
emperors in their personal lives correlated with their mass executions and their genocidal economic
policies. Tacitus was familiar with the machinery of Roman Imperial power: he was of senatorial
rank, served as consul in Italy in 97 AD, and was the governor of the important province of western
Anatolia (today's Turkey) which the Romans referred to simply as Asia. Tacitus writes of Tiberius:
...his criminal lusts shamed him. Their uncontrollable activity was worthy of an oriental tyrant.
Free-born children were his victims. He was fascinated by beauty, youthful innocence, and
aristocratic birth. New names for types of perversions were invented. Slaves were charged to locate
and procure his requirements. [...] It was like the sack of a captured city.
Tiberius was able to dominate the legislative branch of his government, the senate, by subversion
and terror: It was, indeed, a horrible feature of this period that leading senators became informers
even on trivial matters-- some openly, many secretly. Friends and relatives were as suspect as
strangers, old stories as damaging as new. In the Main Square, at a dinner-party, a remark on any
subject might mean prosecution. Everyone competed for priority in marking down the victim.
Sometimes this was self-defense, but mostly it was a sort of contagion, like an epidemic. [...] I
realize that many writers omit numerous trials and condemnations, bored by repetition or afraid that
catalogues they themselves have found over-long and dismal may equally depress their readers. But numerous unrecorded incidents, which have come to my attention, ought to be known.
[...] Even women were in danger. They could not be charged with aiming at supreme power. So
they were charged with weeping: one old lady was executed for lamenting her son's death. The
senate decided this case. [...] In the same year the high price of corn nearly caused riots. [...]
Frenzied with bloodshed, [Tiberius] now ordered the execution of all those arrested for complicity
with Sejanus. It was a massacre. Without discrimination of sex or age, eminence or obscurity, there
they lay, strewn about-- or in heaps. Relative and friends were forbidden to stand by or lament
them, or even gaze for long. Guards surrounded them, spying on their sorrow, and escorted the
rotting bodies until, dragged to the Tiber, they floated away or grounded -- with none to cremate or
touch them. Terror had paralyzed human sympathy. The rising surge of brutality drove compassion
away. [fn 12]
This is the same Tiberius administration so extravagantly praised by Velleius Paterculus.
The other Latin author who writes about these Julio-Claudian emperors was Gaius Suetonius
Tranquillus, who is far less able than Tacitus to fathom the great issues of imperial policy which
these degenerate emperors influenced. Suetonius is a tabloid version of Tacitus, and he concentrates
on the horrors and perversions of the emperors in their personal sphere, as well as the bloodbaths
they ordered. Since many readers over the centuries have found these chronicles highly accessible,
Suetonius has always been widely read.
Because of lacunae in the manuscripts of Tacitus's work that have come down to us, much of what
we know of the rule of Caligula (Gaius Caesar, in power from 37 to 41 AD) derives from
Suetonius's book known as The Lives of the Twelve Caesars. The character and administration of
Caligula present some striking parallels with the subject of the present book.
As a stoic, Caligula was a great admirer of his own "immovable rigor." His motto was "Remember
that I have the right to do anything to anybody." He made no secret of his bloodthirsty
vindictiveness. Caligula was a fan of the green team in the Roman arena, and when the crowd
applauded a charioteer who wore a different color, Caligula cried out, "I wish the Roman people
had but a single neck." At one of his state dinners Caligula burst into a fit of uncontrollable
laughter, and when a consul asked him what was so funny, he replied that it was the thought that as
emperor Caligula had the power to have the throats of the top officials cut at any time he chose.
Caligula carried this same attitude into his personal life: whenever he kissed or caressed the neck of
his wife or one of his mistresses, he liked to remark: "Off comes this beautiful head whenever I give
Above all, Caligula was vindictive. After his death, two notebooks were found among his personal
papers, one labelled "The Sword" and the other labelled "The Dagger." These were lists of the
persons he had proscribed and liquidated, and were the forerunners of the enemies' lists and
discrediting committee of today. Suetonius frankly calls Caligula "a monster," and speculates on the
psychological roots of his criminal disposition: "I think I may attribute to mental weakness the
existence of two exactly opposite faults in the same person, extreme assurance and, on the other
hand, excessive timorousness." Caligula was "full of threats" against "the barbarians," but at the
same time prone to precipitous retreats and flights of panic. Caligula worked on his "body
language" by "practicing all kinds of terrible and fearsome expressions before a mirror."
Caligula built an extension of his palace to connect with the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and often
went there to exhibit himself as an object of public worship, delighting in being hailed as "Jupiter Latiaris" by the populace. Later Caligula would officially open temples in his own name. Caligula
was brutal in his intimidation of the senate, whose members he subjected to open humiliations and
covert attacks; many senators were "secretly put to death." "He often inveighed against all the
Senators alike." "He treated the other orders with like insolence and cruelty." Suetonius recites
whole catalogues of "special instances of his innate brutality" towards persons of all walks of life.
He enjoyed inflicting torture, and revelled in liquidating political opponents or those who had
insulted or snubbed him in some way. He had a taste for capital executions as the perfect backdrop
for parties and banquets. Caligula also did everything he could to sully and denigrate the memory of
the great men of past epochs, so that their fame could not eclipse his own: "He assailed mankind of
almost every epoch with no less envy and malice than insolence and cruelty. He threw down the
statues of famous men...," and tried to destroy all the texts of Homer.
Caligula "respected neither his own chastity nor that of any one else." He was reckless in his
extravagance, and soon emptied out the imperial treasury of all the funds that old Tiberius had
squirreled away there. After that, Caligula tried to replenish his coffers through a system of spies,
false accusations, property seizures, and public auctions. He also "levied new and unheard- of
taxes," to the point that "no class of commodities was exempt from some kind of tax or other."
Caligula taxed all foodstuffs, took a fortieth of the award in any lawsuit, an eighth of the daily
wages of the porters, and demanded that the prostitutes pay him a daily fee equal to the average
price charged to each individual customer. It is rumored that this part of Caligula's career is under
study by those planning George Bush's second term. Caligula also opened a brothel in his palace as
an additional source of income, which may prefigure today's White House staff. Among Caligula's
more singular hobbies Suetonius includes his love of rolling and wallowing in piles of gold coins.
Caligula kept his wife, Caesonia (described by Suetonius as "neither beautiful nor young") with him
until the very end. But his greatest devotion was to his horse, whom he made consul of the Roman
state. Ultimately Caligula fell victim to a conspiracy of the Praetorian Guard, led by the tribune
Gaius Chaerea, a man whom Caligula had taken special delight in humiliating. [fn 13]
The authors of the present study are convinced that these references to the depravity of the Roman
Emperors, and to the records of that depravity provided by such authors as Tacitus and Suetonius,
are directly germane to our present task of following the career of a member of the senatorial class
of the Anglo-American elite through the various stages of his formation, apprenticeship, intrigues,
and ultimate ascent to imperial power. The Roman Imperial model is germane because the
American ruling elite of today is far closer to the world of Tiberius and Caligula than it is to the
world of the American Revolution or the Constitutional Convention of 1789. The leitmotiv of
modern American presidential politics is unquestionably an imperial theme, most blatantly
expressed by Bush in his slogan for 1990, "The New World Order," and for 1991, the "pax
universalis." The central project of the Bush presidency is the creation and consolidation of a single,
universal Anglo-American (or Anglo-Saxon) empire very directly modelled on the various phases
of the Roman Empire.
There is one other aspect of the biographical-historical method of the Graeco-Roman world which
we have sought to borrow. Ever since Thucydides composed his monumental work on the
Peloponnesian war, those who have sought to imitate his style --with the Roman historian Titus
Livius prominent among them-- have employed the device of attributing long speeches to historical
personages, even when it appears very unlikely that such lengthy orations could have been made by
the protagonists at the time. This has nothing to do with the synthetic dialogue of current American
political writing, which attempts to present historical events as a series of trivial and banal soap-
opera exchanges which carry on for such interminable lengths as to suggest that the authors are
getting paid by the word. Our idea of fidelity to the classical style has simply been to let George
Bush speak for himself wherever possible, through direct quotation. We are convinced that by
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