What would happen if George W. Bush were prosecuted for war crimes?
On March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following the Commander in Chief’s directive, an assault force of 250,000 US and coalition forces invaded Iraq. Addressing the American people on prime-time television, Bush justified waging the war to “disarm Iraq,” “free its people,” and “defend the world from grave danger.” His goals were based on assumptions that Iraq had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), that the Iraqi people were yearning for liberation, and that Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, was not only an evil tyrant but a global terrorist threat of the magnitude of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.
Beyond the economic cost to the American people (more than five trillion dollars thus far) and military deaths (over 4,400 US soldiers), the war in Iraq claimed at least one million civilian casualties, including children; decimated a culture; and aggravated anti-American hostilities.
What if Bush ordered the war based not on assumptions but outright lies? Should—and could—a former US president be held accountable in a court of law for war crimes?
A screenwriter, playwright, and celebrated Emmy Award-winning producer/director who traces his roots back to the Mayflower and an American president, Terry Jastrow explores this unprecedented scenario in his gripping debut novel, The Trial of Prisoner 043. Backed by rigorous research, this hard-hitting work of fiction presents a powerful case that George W. Bush exploited the horrific attacks of 9/11 to win public support for his war with Iraq—even though he may have known that one had absolutely no connection to the other.
From its dramatic opening—the former president is abducted on a renowned golf course in Scotland and flown to The Hague to meet his accusers—The Trial of Prisoner 043 draws readers in and keeps them riveted with stunning revelations, moving testimony, and gripping suspense. Bush is the first head of a major superpower, let alone the reigning superpower, to be subjected to international law before the International Criminal Court (ICC). For a full year, the ICC has been amassing evidence to indict Bush as the ultimate decision maker responsible for an unjustifiable and perhaps illegal war. The prosecution is led by a dynamic team: Michael McBride, a hard-charging, fiercely intelligent lawyer from the United States, and Nadia Shadid, a passionate, gifted attorney born and raised in Fallujah, Iraq. After failed rescue attempts by the US military, Bush resigns himself to standing trial and brings in his own dream team for his defense. Guilty or innocent—will justice prevail?
Driven by both fictional and factual characters, including Condoleezza Rice and General Tommy Franks as the star witnesses for the defense, The Trial of Prisoner 043 renews questions about former President Bush’s motivation for waging war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq instead of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Through his novel, Jastrow also raises timely questions such as:
- The question of whether or not an American president has the legal authority to wage a war that may violate international criminal laws.
- The role the Iraq War had in igniting hatred against the West, spurring the creation of the Islamic State and the global spread of terrorism.
- Whether the United States has the moral obligation to force democracy on other nations that may not want it.
- The danger of unchallenged presidential power and ego.
- How the American public must separate a president’s personality, priorities, biases, and propaganda from the facts.
- The role of the ICC and whether leaders of all superpowers, past and present, can be subjected to international criminal prosecution.
Joining him in conversation at Third Place Books will be Terry's wife, Academy Award-nominated actress Anne Archer (Fatal Attraction). Don't miss this special event!
Terry Jastrow began his career in the entertainment industry with ABC Sports as the youngest network television producer in history. During his time with ABC, he produced or directed many major sporting events, including a Super Bowl, six Olympic Games, and sixty major golf championships. He won seven Emmy Awards, having been nominated seventeen times. He served as president of Jack Nicklaus Productions and, after studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in New York City, enjoyed a few eventful years as an actor in theater, film, and television. In 2015, he wrote, produced, and directed a feature film, The Squeeze. In 2016, he wrote the stage play The Trial of Jane Fonda, which was produced in London and received a nomination for Best New Play (Off West End). A descendant of America’s second president, John Adams, Jastrow was born in Colorado, raised in Oklahoma and Texas, and has lived his adult life in New York and California. The Trial of Prisoner 043 is his first novel.