Interview with Terry Jastrow

Author of The Trial of George W. Bush: A Novel (Square One Publishers)

Terry Jastrow

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After a remarkable career in the entertainment industry that led you to win seven Emmys, what was it that led you to want to write this novel?

I wrote The Trial of George W. Bush because I hate war and love peace. I was a teenager during the Vietnam War—when some of my best friends were killed—and figured one terrible, costly, and unnecessary war was enough for one generation. America surely didn’t need George W. Bush’s war with Iraq, which only made matters in the Middle East worse—as is now evident by the current debacle in Afghanistan.

For our audience, tell us about the premise of your book The Trial of George W. Bush.

Two concepts, one looking back and one looking forward: Should a President of the United States be able to wage an illegal war against another country with impunity—and if so, aren’t we only guaranteeing more wars in the future?

What real-life connection, if any, do you have with President George W. Bush?

George and I both grew up in the “boom or bust” oil town of Midland, Texas, where we played Little League baseball against each other. George was on the Cubs, and I was on the Braves. I’m too modest to say which team won, but the Cubs lost [laughs].

After seeing what happened when the Biden administration moved to have the US leave Afghanistan as the Taliban came in this August, did you feel it was a result of Biden’s present failure—or a consequence of George W. Bush’s past push into Iraq?

The recent mess in Afghanistan rests in part on the shoulders of George W. Bush. When Bush couldn’t bring Osama bin Laden to justice for the 9/11 attacks (as President Obama did later in 2011), he instead shifted America’s attention to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. History has shown that Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. In fact, Hussein and bin Laden were longtime enemies. Now that we find ourselves in the twentieth-anniversary year of 9/11, I feel it is crucial to point this information out to the American people. It’s that important.

We live now in a post-Trump presidency America. There may be folks out there who think that a novel about the George W. Bush presidency may be out of step with the current political moment. What would you tell those people about why your book is an important one to read and think about nowadays?

Most people are aware of the damage caused by the Iraq War: Millions of people wounded or killed, trillions of dollars spent, and America’s reputation and standing in the world tarnished. To paraphrase an old saying, if we don’t remember our mistakes of the past, we are liable to repeat them in the future.

Speaking of presidents, what are your thoughts on President Trump’s single term? Do you think that he may run again—and win?

Donald Trump was a disaster for the United States, and I think most reasonable and clear-minded people in this country think the same. The sooner that he and his presidency are dismissed, the better off our country will be.

You have been a celebrated producer, director, occasional actor, and have also worked as both a screenwriter and a playwright. What did you find was different for you in the process of writing a novel?

While producing, directing, acting and writing screenplays, stage plays, and novels are each a different animal for sure, the fundamental rules of good storytelling apply to them all. The complete answer to this question would take a book to answer properly, but the key component in all is a good story that is told well.

You happen to be married to the wonderful Oscar-nominated actress, Anne Archer. How long have you been together—and what does she think now of your work as a novelist?

Forty-three years and counting (I hope and pray).  Honestly, we’re both pretty busy doing our own things, so when we’re together we talk about and do other things. When it comes to my novel, however, Anne is just as staunchly anti-war as I am—and because of that, she believes in what I have written and supports it all the way.

Do you believe that President Bush may ultimately be tried by an international tribunal for war crimes—and if so, what do you think would be some of the more immediate developments or ramifications as a result of that trial across the world?

No one knows for sure whether George W. Bush will be brought to trial for crimes committed during the Iraq War, but here are two facts that should be kept in mind: he is currently 75 years old, and there is no statute of limitations for war crimes. This means that he is subject to arrest and trial until the day he dies.

Are you working on anything else right now? And where can folks go to buy your book, The Trial of George W. Bush?

I’m currently finishing up my second novel tentatively titled The Status Quo Had to Go. This next novel of mine is about a group of Baby Boomers who come of age together in 1969, one of the most transitional years in our country’s history. My first novel, The Trial of George W. Bush, is now available and can be purchased on Amazon.com, on my publisher’s website www.squareonepublishers.com, through Barnes & Noble, or wherever else books are sold.

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