I Watched Joe Biden Give An Award To George W Bush So You Don’t Have To

Caitlin Johnstone
6 min readNov 12, 2018

Let no one say I don’t earn my Patreon money. For today’s article I’m sitting down to watch a one hour, 23-minute video on Facebook, the only currently available footage of the complete Veterans Day event in which George W Bush and his wife Laura were given the $100,000 Liberty Medal by Joe Biden at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center. I’ll write the highlights of the ceremony with the time stamps from the video for posterity.

01:00 — Some vacuous douchebag at the podium introduces a woman in military garb named Cynthia McCloud, the superintendent of Independence National Historical Park. When the applause fades, you can hear shouting and whistles being blown in the background which remain very audible throughout the duration of the video. These are the sounds of the demonstration outside by About Face, a veterans organization protesting Bush’s award. You can watch a video of their demonstration here.

01:15 — “Congratulations to President George W Bush,” says McCloud, because for some stupid fucking reason US politicians keep their titles for a lifetime like royalty after vacating their positions. “And to Mrs Laura Bush, for your Liberty Medal award. The award reflects your significant work with veterans, supporting especially their transition to civilian life.”

No word on the fact that Bush is personally responsible for the struggles of most of those war veterans.

02:30 — After some gibberish about ringing bells in celebration of the end of the first World War, McCloud casually mentions how it was called “The great war to end all wars” at the time. No remark on how today’s award recipient launched two full-scale ground invasion wars in his first term in office to no one’s benefit and for no legitimate reason whatsoever.

05:00 — “There isn’t a better time or place to honor President and Mrs Bush for their work with veterans than right here at the birthplace of our country.”

05:30 — Vacuous douchebag is back behind the podium thanking rich pricks who made the event possible. Names a chairman of a law firm, the president of a bank, a chairman of a real estate funds firm, a president of a university, and late billionaire Richard DeVos, who was the chairman of the executive committee of the National Constitution Center and a generous donor to Republican candidates and conservative think tanks. His daughter in-law is Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration’s Secretary of Education. The deceased oligarch gets a moment of silence at 7:40.

8:30 — A video presentation by Citizens Bank and Stradley Ronon talks about “how lucky we are to live in a government by the people, for the people, and of the people.” Talks about how people around the world long for the freedoms enjoyed by citizens of a representative democracy. Dubya is backstage with an erection.

11:30 — Trumpets announce the arrival of Biden and the Bushes, because screw pretending America doesn’t have royalty. George stands awkwardly while the national anthem plays.

20:40 — Demonstrator Stacey Bannerman can be heard interrupting a sermon about the First Amendment by National Constitution Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. Camera pans to Bannerman being escorted out of the building by security while Rosen makes a comment about protesting “respectfully and civilly in accordance with our First Amendment values.” Audience screams and applauds like teenagers at a concert. Bush and Biden laugh. Bannerman was far more civil and respectful than anyone on that stage deserved.

22:30 — Rosen: “After leaving office, President Bush said he would dedicate the rest of his life to serving veterans, and so he has.” Not as well as he’d be serving them by rotting in a cell at the Hague.

27:00 — University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann gushes about the esteemed war criminal’s paintings and his “eye-riveting, heart-wrenching book.”

31:15 — Two veterans are paraded before the crowd, which inexplicably bursts into applause when one of them says she was diagnosed with PTSD and depression and pushed away family and friends. Much time spent talking about mountain biking and golf tournaments helping vets recover from war trauma.

43:20 — Former Vice President and current presidential hopeful Biden takes the podium and magnanimously explains how he calls the US Defense Department every single morning to find out the exact number of US troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Misuses the word “generically”. Expresses no interest in number of people killed by US troops, nor in the destruction he himself helped sow in Libya and Syria. Protesters outside must know Biden’s on; they’re louder now.

48:00 — Biden says he “always respected” Bush during his administration, presumably even while he was getting countless thousands murdered for no legitimate reason and after it was public knowledge that Iraq had been invaded based on lies. Makes an oblique reference to partisan dynamics in the age of Trump, calling the way opposing parties interact with one another today “demeaning”.

Protesters get louder and louder throughout Biden’s speech.

57:30 — Biden announces he’ll be giving the Bushes Philadelphia Eagles jerseys on behalf of his wife Jill, to the thunderous applause of the audience. God this is such a disgusting wank fest. He gives the mass murderer and its wife their damn medals.

1:00:00 — Laura gives a polite, uneventful speech. Who cares.

1:10:30 — The man himself takes the podium and says, “Laura and I are the second and third members of our family to have received this award. The most deserving, of course, was the first, and I am proud to follow in my dad’s footsteps once again.”

Dubya adds that both his father and his brother Jeb have served as the chairmen of the National Constitution Center, which, again, is the center at which he is receiving the award. Biden is the chairman presently. What the fuck am I even watching? What is this incestuous, narcissistic circle jerk? Does the National Constitution Center exist for any other reason than for American royalty to suck each other’s dicks with golden trophies swinging from their necks? The end of this video can’t come fast enough.

1:12:00 — Bush pays his respects to the late warmongering psychopath John McCain, because — get this — McCain was last year’s recipient of this same award. I can’t even fucking fuck fuck.

“This is a man who’d been to the darkest places as a crim- uh, a prisoner of war,” Bush said of McCain. He almost said criminal. Okay, I’m glad I kept watching. That was definitely worth it.

And that is pretty much it for the highlights, my brothers and sisters. Bush babbles about his paintings and how much he loves the United States military, finishes with a “May God bless our veterans, and may God continue to bless the United States of America,” and he’s out of there.

Well, that was awful, but someone had to do it. I’m going to go interact with as many normal human beings as I can now to remember how they talk, then have a long, long shower.


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