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(It was tough deciding on whether or not to follow up on last weeks reports on the continuing decline of the stock market after last Friday’s plunge of 281 points, but since most of what there is to say on that subject has been said… for now… I decided to finish the report that I was working on when the DOW so rudely interrupted.)

Last week, President Bush announced a plan to sell $20 Billion in “military equipment” to Saudi Arabia. The week prior to that, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama refocused attention back to the fact that President Bush’s ineptitude allowed Osama bin Laden to escape capture at Tora Bora into neighboring Pakistan in late 2001. He also announced (to much criticism) his willingness to enter the country with or without approval if we had actionable intelligence that OBL was hiding in the “No-mans’ Land between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This/Sunday morning at the GOP Debate in Iowa, Gov. Mitt Romney said Senator Obama “seems confused as to who are our friends and who are our enemies.” A number of events have made one fact of the Bush Presidency startlingly clear: the countries Bush calls our “allies” are in fact our greatest threats, and enemies of the U.S. have been the greatest benefactors of a Bush Presidency. Fifteen of the Nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. Two were from Yemen, one from Lebanon and one from Egypt… all four countries, U.S. allies. They weren’t from Iraq. They weren’t from Iran. They weren’t Palestinian. Neither were they poor and they didn’t cross over the border into the U.S. illegally from Mexico. Let’s start with the countries President Bush calls our “friends” first because it’s a much shorter list:

Friends:

Pakistan A nuclear power (thanks to Reagan) that has teetered on the brink of nuclear war with our ally India over the disputed region of Cashmere since near-simultaneous nuclear bomb tests in May of 1998. On the evening of 9/11, President Bush haughtily proclaimedWe will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” In October of 2001, the U.S. sought “fly-over” permission from Pakistan to attack neighboring Afghanistan, which was granted. But when Osama bin Laden eluded capture at Tora Bora by fleeing into the Taliban-controlled region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf (a military dictator immensely unpopular in his own country) denied the U.S. permission to enter his country and pursue the man that orchestrated the mass murder of nearly 3,000 Americans. Then, adding insult to injury, Musharraf declared a truce with the Taliban in that same region, essentially creating a sanctuary for al Qaeda in Northern Pakistan (see link above) by promising that no security forces… neither American nor Pakistani… would be allowed to enter the region.

Just last month (July 21st), Musharraf again denied the U.S. permission to enter the region of Northern Pakistan to pursue bin Laden (So much for making “no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them“), which prompted Senator Obama’s controversial statement.

Afghanistan – Now run by the Bush Administrations’ hand-picked oil company executive Hamid Karzai, the Taliban controls as much as 30% of the country and growing as Karzai sees his power slipping away. And just this past week The Washington Post reported that Afghanistan now supplies “90% of the world’s heroin”… an activity once banned under the Taliban now ENCOURAGED by them… and is their largest cash crop.

Saudi Arabia It bears repeating that 15 of the 19 hijackers that attacked us on 9/11 were Saudi’s and financed by Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden. A few weeks ago (July 15th), a report in the Los Angeles Times (archived copy) found that the largest source of foreign fighters in Iraq is Saudi Arabia (at 45%) vs. “15% from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.”

President Bush with Crown Prince Abdullah
President Bush with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah

 

George HW Bush with Saudi Prince
George HW Bush with Saudi Prince “Bandar Bush”

 

Some other former “allies” of the Bush Administration that have turned to bite us in the ass:

Sudan (purveyors of the genocide in Darfur) Now this is an odd one. Sudan? our “friend“? This one is complicated… if you don’t have a conscience that is. Before 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s primary home was not in Afghanistan, but in fact, the African nation of Sudan. If you’re a Right Wing neoconservative hack that believes everything Rush Limbaugh and the Weekly Standard tells you, you probably know that “Sudan offered President Clinton Osama bin Laden back in 1996“. It’s not true of course, but that doesn’t stop the Neocons from repeating it. The Sudanese government has managed to avoid U.S. involvement, U.S. peacekeepers, even keep harsh criticism from President Bush regarding the genocide in Darfur at bay, because after 9/11, the Sudanese government started providing us with intel on bin Laden’s activities while he lived in Sudan, and ongoing intel on al Qaeda activities still taking place there. Many on the Right have actually tried to defend Sudanese President al-Bashir, claiming that the “supposed genocide in Darfur” is actually “media hype”.

But of course the Sudanese government can give us intel on al Qaeda… they used to work WITH them! A few weeks ago, a U.S. court ordered Sudan to pay 17 families of victims of the U.S.S. Cole bombing in 2000 $8 million dollars because evidence shows that Sudan HELPED al Qaeda bomb the Cole while it was docked in Yemen.

President Bush’s “Special Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan”, Andrew Natsios (yes, THAT Andrew Natsios) was criticized last April for telling a group of Georgetown University students that the “term genocide is counter to the facts of what is really occurring in Darfur.

“But… but… I’ve heard President Bush criticize the genocide in Darfur!” Indeed he has. But what has he done about it? You know the old adage, “actions speak louder than words”? Well, the same goes for INaction.

Ahmed Chalabi… an Iraqi exile and convicted embezzler (tried and convicted in absentia in Jordan). Bush’s Pentagon paid Chalabi $340,000 a month (over $40 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR) to head a group they called the “Iraqi National Congress” whose job it was… apparently… to spoon feed them totally made up “intelligence” regarding Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction”.

Whether he’s friend or foe this week depends on who’s giving the speech at the White House. Beginning in the Clinton Administration with the “Iraqi Liberation Act” of 1998 (“HR4685”), Chalabi was the self-appointed head of the INC (“Iraqi National Congress”), a group of Iraqi exiles seeking support for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Starting in March of 2000, the U.S. started paying Chalabi the funds he supposedly needed to make this happen. Despite Chalabi’s desire for U.S. military intervention to forcibly invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam, it was the policy of the Clinton Administration to foster a rebellion from within, for the people to rise up and overthrow the brutal dictator that ruled over his country using fear, intimidation, even torture and assassination of his political enemies.

But Chalabi found a willing ear in the Neocons of the Bush Administration that wanted Saddam gone as much as he did. Chalabi had been feeding the Clinton White House and Republicans stories of “vast stockpiles of WMD’s” and “a developing nuclear weapons program” trying to provoke a U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Clinton Administration knew he was untrustworthy. The Republicans, hearing exactly what they wanted to believe, swallowed his claims hook, line & sinker. They started making plans for the invasion and military overthrow of Saddam almost from their first day in office. The plan was simple: go in, “remove” Saddam, replace him with Ahmed Chalabi, and get out. Quick & Easy. Hey, it worked in Afghanistan. We went in, deposed the Taliban, installed our own hand-picked replacement as President, and… and… well… never mind.

So we invaded Iraq and ousted Saddam. Time to hand their government over to Chalabi. But wait! Where are all those WMD’s you said we’d find here? Where’s the nuclear program? Suddenly, feeling snookered, the Bush Administration turned on Chalabi. And with no “Plan B”, here we were, stuck in Iraq with no way out. The only option was to create an entirely new government from scratch to do the job Chalabi would of done had he of turned out not to be a fraud that tricked a willing Neoconservative White House into invading Iraq.

As time went on and the search for WMD’s was starting to look more and more like a fools errand, to save face, the Bush Administration declared that Chalabi was in fact “an Iranian spy” that had duped the Bush Administration. Chalabi has gone from friend to foe.

Then he was appointed “Oil Minister” by the new Iraqi government. Before you could say “Black Gold”, Chalabi was back to being our “friend” again.

And let’s not overlook Think-Tanks like “The Project for the New American Century” (PNAC) without whose tireless work, we wouldn’t be in this mess today. PNAC’s leadership (scroll to the bottom) reads like a “who’s who” of every “reality challenged” Bush appointee ever to serve in his Administration: Paul Wolfowitz (former Deputy Defense Secretary), Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Zalmay Khalilzad (former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, then Iraq, now the U.N.), I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby (Cheney’s former Chief of Staff), Dan Quayle (former Vice President to Bush Sr.), and Donald Rumsfeld… along with a plethora of prominent Right-Wing pundits, ideologues, and consultants.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Yet through all this, the Bush Administration has worked hard to advance the idea that “Iran“… a majority Shia nation… is our greatest threat today, accusing them of being the primary source of training and arming the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Last February, the Bush Administration released yet another questionable slideshow purportedly showing evidence of Iranian weapons either found in… or intercepted on their way to… Iraq. Which brings us to Bush’s “Enemies” list:

Enemies:

Iran From 1980 to 1988, Sunni President Saddam Hussein waged war against his Shia neighbor, Iran. Iran is roughly four times the size of Iraq, not only in raw acreage but in the size of its military. Saddam would never of been able to fight to a stalemate had it not of been for the support of the U.S.. When Saddam used those chemical weapons against his own people (the Kurds), it was a trial run before using them against Iranian soldiers in his war with them. In both instances, he was our ally. When he ordered the wholesale slaughter of 149 Shi’ite Muslims in the town of DuJail (the crime for which he was executed), 16 months later Donald Rumsfeld was shaking his hand. The Bush Administration did the Iranian government the biggest favor ever by taking out Saddam Hussein and replacing him with a primarily Shia led, Iranian-friendly, government.

The Iranian economy has been in bad shape for years now. While they are the fourth largest exporter of oil on the planet, they have little or no refineries and therefor must import almost all of their gasoline. Skyrocketing oil prices due to the war in Iraq helps take the edge off skyrocketing gasoline prices to keep the Iranian economy afloat and the anti-American Mullah’s controlling the government in charge. (And the Bush Administration actually facilitates that recovery by giving up to $100,000 tax cuts to people that buy 5,000 pound vehicles that get less than 5mpg… actually ENCOURAGING more oil consumption at a time when those dollars are finding they way into the hands of our greatest enemies.)

In Bush’s war in Iraq, the biggest winner has definitely been Iran, as the removal of their greatest threat eases the stress on their enormous and money-hungry military. Iran has never attacked the United States (going back to the 1978 siege of the American embassy in Tehran in retaliation for our giving safe harbor to their “Saddam”… a ruthless violent dictator backed by the U.S. government, the Shah of Iran. The capture and execution of Saddam Hussein gives Iran influence within the new Shia dominated Iraqi government, a combined area greater than that of Saudi Arabia.

Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda & The Taliban (see Pakistan above). There can be no question that the war in Iraq has turned into one giant recruiting poster for al Qaeda. In addition to allowing OBL to escape into Pakistan where he is likely planning new attacks against the U.S. according to a report released by the White House last week, an investigation by the FBI last June found that bin Laden himself may have been the person that arranged those flights that spirited his family out of the U.S. two days after 9/11, a fact we might of figured out had the Bush Administration not kowtowed to their good friends, the Saudi Royal Family, and allowed members of the bin Laden family to depart the U.S. after only a cursory 30-minute debriefing.

Thanks to their safe-haven in Northern Pakistan, the Taliban and al Qaeda are back to their pre-9/11 Summer 2001 strength according to a CIA Report released early last month.

North Korea In 2005, the Bush Administration considered it a victory when it managed to freeze $25 Million dollars in drug/gun money the North Korean government had hidden in a Macau, China bank. The money was the proceeds of N.K.’s growing Mafia-style criminal enterprise that made the millions selling drugs to our kids, and guns & rocket-launchers to our enemies (to name just a FEW.)

Last month, the Bush Administration again declared “victory” when it convinced desperately poor North Korea to shut down its one and only working nuclear reactor, stop testing its non-working missile program, and allow inspectors back in to monitor the disarmament of their nuclear energy program. Broke to the point of people dying of starvation, all the Bush Administration had to do to achieve this great victory was to give NK back its $25 million in drug/gun money.

Chalk up another victory for the people Bush calls “our enemies”. Enough to make one wonder “just whose side is the President on?”

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