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Makes strange bedfellows




To the Editor:

I wonder what happened to the custom-made cowboy boots President Reagan presented Saddam Hussein. Did some looter get them and did they fit? Whose collection claims the photo of Rumsfeld cozying up to Saddam back when Iraq was at war with Iran and the Reagan administration was playing both ends against the middle?

We’ve had some strange and diverse bedfellows over the years, but none so strange as those of Bush I and II.

When the Taliban were fighting the Russians, they were the good guys and received financial support and instruments of war from the Bush administration. In fact, this aid continued until 9/11 as part of negotiations for the construction of a pipeline across Afghanistan to access the vast Central Asia Reserve — a project that Cheney’s Halliburton and Bush’s Enron buddies were interested in. A Taliban tribal leader visited Texas when Bush was governor.

As is our habit, if the bedfellows take more than their side, they are kicked out. Recall the hostage standoff during Carter’s administration? Those guiding Reagan’s campaign met with the Iranians to broker a deal to hold the hostages until after the election in exchange for arms leading to the Iran-Contra scandal during Reagan’s presidency.

Incidentally, Robert Gates, Rumsfeld’s replacement, was involved in the brokering although he denied it even while facing the evidence of documents and memos of the meeting. I kept wondering why this never came up during confirmation hearings, but I’ve learned not to hold my breath.

One of the hypocrisies of the attempts to get North Korea to shut down its nuclear program and efforts to force Iran to discontinue theirs is that Israel, Jordan, and Pakistan all possess stockpiles and are among Bush’s and previous presi- dents’ bedfellows.

When Bush’s speechwriter created the slogan ‘Axis of Evil,’ he was attempting to be clever and not especially informed. (But Bush really liked the sound of it and couldn’t refrain from using it in speech after speech even when irrelevant to the topic.) The axis of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea lacked any formal or informal alliance or good relations, compatible ideology, or means or intentions of conquering empires. Iran and Iraq were traditional enemies. It has been suggested that North Korea was thrown into the mix to keep from appearing to be targeting Muslim countries.

Israel is the bedfellow who has been sleeping with White House administrations the longest — the bedding down started with FDR and has continued only to become so influential that Israel can choose which side and fluff the pillows. They have been feasting at the fiscal trough of this country for decades, but we allowed, led and left them there. The total of their gorge is estimated to be $108 billion. This long extended largess was continued even though Israel is a wealthy country not in need of a helping hand. It is said that they are also calling the shots in our Middle East policies.

Probably the strangest and most puzzling of bedfellows is Saudi Arabia as described in Robert Baer’s

book, Sleeping With the

Devil, covering the decades of Saudi-Bush interactions.

Fifteen of the 19 highjackers were Saudis and the Saudis denied the U.S. request to turn over information about Saudi links to terrorism and refused to allow planes targeting Saudi-backed Taliban strongholds to take off from Saudi soil.

So much appeasement has been shown the Saudis by the Bushies that it is mystifying and conspiratorial in appearance. After 9/11, with all air traffic grounded, including a medical flight carrying a heart transplant patient in Seattle which was forced to land, nearly costing the patient his life, someone high up the Bush administration authorized spiriting all of Osama bin Laden’s relatives from the country and back to Saudi Arabia. The source was never revealed.

It was widely alleged that before 9/11, FBI investigations of Al Qaeda were hobbled by U.S. officials and oil interests who didn’t want to offend, embarrass or undermine the Saudi regime during investigations of bin Laden-connected bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, the destruction of a troop barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the African embassy bombing in 1998, and the attack upon the USS Cole in 2000.

Shortly after George W. took office, the Bushies slowed down FBI investigations of Al Qaeda. Bush- Saudi ties go back decades, as did U.S. willingness to turn a blind eye to evil for the sake of oil. The first Bush White House was dominated by corporate executives who had made millions from oil and arms deals with Saudi rulers.

At the time, the CIA was arming and training Osama bin Laden’s jujahiddin to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Throughout the 1990s, the FBI was told to look the other way. The State Department wanted to keep the pro-American Saudi royal family in control of the world’s largest oil source, even at the price of overlooking and disregarding any terrorist connections.

While there have always been restraints on investigating Saudis under George W. Bush, it has gotten much worse. After the ’04 election, the agencies were told to back off investigating the bin Ladens and Saudi royal family.

In July 2003, a joint House-Senate intelligence panel released its report on pre-9/11 intelligence failures. The White House (Bush-Cheney-Rove et al) had most of a section (28 pages) dealing with the role of the Saudis blacked out before being released for public consumption. The same White House withheld additional information from the panel. How did it happen? Remember Republicans controlled Congress and Bush had them traumatized.

So it should not come as a surprise that Saudi bedfellows continue to be awarded ‘sleep-ins’ in ‘king-sized beds.’ It is such a small repayment for all the bailing out and covering for all of Dubya’s oildom failures as well as huge donations toward Bush-dynasty projects.

Before putting this letter to bed, let me not forget to mention that Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the U.S. at the time and often called Bandar Bush, was told of the invasion before the American people.

The facts detailed in this letter were gathered through a wide reading of

books: The Exception to the

Rules (Amy Goodman host

of “Democracy Now”) Take

This Job and Ship It (North Dakota’s Senator Byron L.

Dorgan), What We’ve Lost

(Graydon Carter), The

Greatest Story Ever Sold

(Frank Rich), Weapons of

Mass Deception (Sheldon Rampton/John Stanber), as well as the aforementioned

Sleeping With the Devil.

JOE DRENNAN


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