America is a Nation with a mission – and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace – a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman.
~George W. Bush
Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.
~George W. Bush
Al Qaeda is still a threat. We cannot pretend somehow that because Barack Hussein Obama got elected as president, suddenly everything is going to be OK.
I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.
On August 7, 1990 U.S. military forces touched down in the country of Saudi Arabia to defend against a possible invasion of the country by it’s neighbor Iraq. Iraq, under the leadership of dictator Saddam Hussein, had already captured the country of Kuwait, whom Saudi Arabia and Iraq share an eastern border with, days earlier. The next day Hussein declared Kuwait a province of Iraq and began installing his own government. President George H.W. Bush immediately escalated the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf . In a later speech to Congress on September 11, President Bush said he was responding to a massive buildup of Iraqi troops on the Iraq-Kuwait-Saudi border. The Pentagon claimed that satellite photos showing the buildup would confirm this. The photos showed nothing but empty desert.
An organization in Kuwait looking to influence American opinion toward an invasion of Iraq began distributing material detailing atrocities being committed by Iraqi military in Kuwait. Much of it was PR stuff and never proven but there were valid complaints. Several executions of civilians and senseless destruction of homes just for the sake of doing it. Abuses of women, sexual and otherwise, and a total disregard for anything not wearing a uniform. But many here were hesitant to become involved militarily in the region. The major problem for many though, was the oil. Even if diplomatic compromises were reached, even if the safety of Kuwaiti citizens could be assured, Saddam Hussein could still control Kuwaiti’s oil supply. One of the richest in the world. Couldn’t have it. Both American and Saudi government officials knew the consequences if this occurred.
Bush eventually got the authority he needed and on January 17, 1991 the Gulf War began. It ended rather quickly. Iraq was not the mighty military machine it had been made out to be early on. Iraq was backed by few countries, Yemen being the most prominent. Iraq was also backed by Palestine and this led to a mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from Kuwait. America had assembled one of the most impressive global coalitions since WW 2. Despite some early claims of the overwhelming success of Iraqi SCUD missiles, the “war” lasted about 3 weeks. Allied commanders were admittedly surprised by how easy it was. Iraqi soldiers abandoned Kuwait, many at the first sight of Allied forces. Sometimes the Iraqi forces would hold their ground and put up a prolonged resistance, but most often fled after the first few minutes of an engagement. Iraqi soldiers appeared poorly trained, even among their officer ranks. It also appears that their numbers had been greatly exaggerated both in terms of troops and hardware. Many later questioned whether military intervention was even necessary at all. Many more questioned the need to bomb Iraqi civilian targets. This was not collateral damage. It was an attempt to destroy the basic infrastructure if Iraq. This has never really been fully explained. Severe sanctions and embargoes were then placed on the country, further decimating an already beaten people.
There was a lot of talk about freeing the people of Kuwait and giving them their country back. Kuwait wasn’t a great place for many of the people who lived there. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq all had a history together. Kuwait heavily funded Iraq’s war against Iran and they had several deals with Saudi Arabia and Iraq regarding the oil fields they share. When the Iraq-Iran war was over, Kuwait called in Iraq’s tab with interest. An economic war quickly escalated to a full scale invasion. Neither of these countries are a bastion of democracy and freedom. But, hey, oil. Gotta do what you gotta do.
With the “war” won, America packed up and left the region. I’m kidding. We built giant military bases and harassed any Arab and Muslim that came within a mile of them. This move was controversial to say the least. Many, many Muslims did not like the idea of U.S. troops stationed on Muslim holy ground. Saudi Arabia is home to the two most important sites in Islam, the cities of Mecca and Medina. The Saudi Royal family was already quite unpopular and many interpreted permanent U.S. presence as a defense of the crown. And we’re not talking about just “extremists”. A majority of Saudis were quite furious with these developments. In 2003, we finally started moving a majority of troops out of Saudi Arabia. But it was far too late for that and many saw it as a slap in the face. The continued anger over “U.S. occupation” in Saudi Arabia became a powerful recruiting tool for terrorist organizations in the region. People in these countries aren’t stupid. They know the West backs any dictator making their life miserable as long as he can make them a fortune in oil profits.
But, before we go on, let’s step back to 1979. In December of that year the Soviet Union deployed combat troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stabilize the country. Why? Well, funny story. In the decades before all this mess, Afghanistan was a republic. At some points a democratic republic. Some leaders were more conservative than others but progressive policies were often sought by the interior. Afghanistan formed friendly relations with both America and Russia and both countries paid huge bucks to build up Afghanistan. In April of 1978, a military coup gave control of the country to the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a communist organization. They were obviously not prepared to rule. Though they followed through with many good reforms including more reforms for women, including government participation, and outlawing usury, they were often brutal in their treatment of the “elite class”. Atheism was made state law and religious leaders were dealt with harshly, as well as the “intelligentsia“. The PDPA wanted absolute control of the country. They claimed to be pro poor and pro worker but they were pro PDPA. Russia found them compatible and the governments quickly formed an alliance.
Watching all this was the CIA. And they saw a great opportunity. There was no way America was gonna let Russia buddy up with Afghanistan and work their way toward Arab oil fields. That shit was ours. So, beginning in ’79 we started funding anti-communist forces in Pakistan, the Mujaheddin. Not the best group of guys in the world but they hated commies just like us. So we could work with them. President Carter and the Pentagon formed a plan to pull Russia into the “Afghanistan Trap”. The Mujaheddin may have thought that we were helping them get rid of the PDPA. Actually we had bigger plans. Unbeknownst to Afghanistan, we wanted to lure Russia into a huge costly war in their country. Sure, Afghanistan would be destroyed, set back many decades socially and economically, but fuck Russia! Oh, and we’re gonna leave the Mujaheddin in charge, whom most Afghanis also hate. Goodbye democracy, goodbye women’s rights, goodbye schools, goodbye roads, goodbye businesses. Fuck Russia!
Stepping into all this mess was a man named Osama Bin Laden. A name soon to be known worldwide but this is where the story really begins. After leaving college in ’79 Bin Laden went straight to Afghanistan to fight the “invading infidels”. But we’ll come back to that. Russia most likely never wanted to invade Afghanistan. Why would they? The governments were friendly, even before communists seized Afghanistan, and Russia had sunk billions into economic and military aid for the country. At the same time revolution was happening in Iran as the Shah was being deposed by Islamic revolutionists. So the CIA was already operating in the area. Also during this time the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan was kidnapped by Setami Milli militants and subsequently killed during a failed raid by Afghan police and Soviet military. Things were degrading very quickly. America sent a fleet of ships to the Persian Gulf and everyone thought war between America and Iran was imminent. This and American aided peace treaties between Egypt and Israel further fanned the flames of war between America and Russia. Proxy wars of course. No sense destroying the globe all at once when you can do it country by country while making a profit.
Afghanistan became lost in the mess over Iran. And we kept pissing Russia off. First we stole Iraq from them and then we sold tons of missiles to people they hate. England said, “maybe we shouldn’t sell missiles to these people. They don’t like us either.” And we said, “Shut up England! Do your job!”. When the Mujaheddin began threatening the government in Kabul, the PDPA called on Russia for military support. Russia took the bait and went into Afghanistan to put down the Mujaheddin. President Carter had pledged to support the Mujaheddin and followed through on it. But things really didn’t take a big turn til Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981. Russia was spending itself out of existence and Reagan knew it full well. The nuclear arms race with America had gutted their country. We knew Russia couldn’t keep up with us so we just kept making weapons til they couldn’t do it anymore. A protracted war in Afghanistan would not make things any easier.
Congressman Tom Hanks… I mean, Charlie Wilson, was instrumental in upping financial support for insurgents in Afghanistan.
“The U.S. had nothing whatsoever to do with these people’s decision to fight … but we’ll be damned by history if we let them fight with stones.” ~Charlie Wilson(1984)
This, of course, was not true. We trained them in Pakistan, told them who to shoot, and sent them to Afghanistan. And look, it may seem like it, but I’m not trying to defend Russia here. They were assholes. I just wanna clear up the reasons why all this happened. Anyways, Charlie got his CIA funding and the Mujahedin’s firepower increased significantly. Saudi Arabia and England were also big contributors to the war fund. After the “fall” of Iran the U.S. put a renewed interest into driving Russia out of Afghanistan. A lot of talk about freedom and liberating the people. Russia had to relent. In February of 1989 Russia finally deserted Afghanistan. They had lost thousands of troops and vehicles, including tanks and super expensive Hind helicopters. At the end of the war, Russia had the 2nd largest economy on Earth. The failed invasion resulted in major power shifts in he government and the Soviet GDP fell by more than half. Russia eventually went “bankrupt”.
After the war America had an opportunity to rebuild Afghanistan, shepherd them through government transitions, and forge a lasting friendship with the people they wanted to bring “freedom” to. Instead we sold the country to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, who raped the country for every resource they could get. Pakistan formed alliances with regional warlords and backed the Taliban’s eventual domination of the state. So, good times. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are old friends. They’re military personnel and governments work very closely together. Most global intelligence agencies are pretty sure that Saudi Arabia is funding Pakistan’s nuclear program in hopes of buying nukes from them in the future.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, no so much. The a fore mentioned Iranian Revolution greatly strained ties between the two countries. Ties that were not very strong to begin with. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are led by duplicitous, authoritarian governments who fund proxy wars and global terrorist networks. So we had a lot in common with them. After the revolution we, of course, backed Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was an Islamic theocracy just like Iran but Saudi Arabia favored the Wahhabi school of Islam and Iran did not look kindly on it. Wahhabism got a lot of press in this country following the attacks of 9/11. Since Osama Bin Laden followed Wahhabism, it must be evil. Very little mention of the fact it’s practically the Saudi state religion and he had little choice in the manner. What attracted many young Muslims to Wahhabi teachings was it’s strict adherence to the “old ways” and it’s seeming disdain for authority. Not only did Wahhabists condemn Islamic “spiritual leaders” they criticized priests and rabbis and leaders of other faiths. Al-lah has the only authority and no one on Earth has the means to represent Him or speak with His authority. Many Wahhabi sects felt that no school, even their own, should be considered as an “authority” on scholarly subjects. Just a guide. But rigid ideologies often lead to extremism. It’s the case in almost all religious sects.
Bin Laden was born into a wealthy Saudi family with close ties to the Royal Family. He was a typical trust fund baby for most of his life. He lived in a strict Wahibbist household but he went to very prestigious schools that boasted the best in “modern”(Westernized) curriculum. He had many different interests during his time in school but most people agree that the majority of his studies were in religion. He was a kind of practicing Wahabbist but he studied many facets of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. During his college years he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and attended many meetings. It was during this time that he became swept up in the supposed jihad in Afghanistan. After leaving school in 1979 he went straight to the front lines against the Soviets. It’s still a point of contention as to whether Bin Laden received the same CIA training most all Mujaheddin did or if he fell straight into he conflict. Either way he quickly became a commanding presence. During his time he met and befriended a man named Hamid Gul. Gul was a Pakistani general working closely with the CIA to train Mujaheddin.
Gul was training foot soldiers for the movement led by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. Azzam was the spiritual and vocal leader of the Afghani resistance. Bin Laden quickly found a kindred spirit in Azzam and became his prized pupil. Together they set up the Maktab al-Khidamat, or Afghan Intelligence Agency in 1984. Bin Laden was an attractive recruit since he held a vast inherited family fortune. Records say Bin Laden inherited between 25 and 30 million dollars. If you count various holdings and undocumented resources, the number was probably closer to 50 million over all. Quite a chunk of change to bring into a jihad. Most of al-Khidamat’s revenue came from Bin Laden’ s deep pockets. Even though the CIA was training and funding a large number of militants, Azzam wanted “true believers” in his army, not just paid mercs so they began funding and training troops of their own. The groups prospered quickly as money and manpower began pouring in from all over Afghanistan. As the war in Afghanistan entered its final years, discussions began about how al-Khidamat would move forward.
By 1988 Bin Laden had already formed Al Qaeda after leaving al-Khidamat. He and Azzam were still friendly but operational conflicts had led Bin Laden to form his own group. Azzam wanted to integrate Arab fighters into the resistance and Bin Laden was in full “holy war” mode and wanted Muslim soldiers only. In 1989 Azzam was assassinated by unknown forces and Bin Laden absorbed the Muslim members of al-Khidamat into Al Qaeda. After the war Bin Laden and his generals returned to Saudi Arabia. To many in the country he was a conquering hero who had driven out the infidels. American involvement was downplayed and Bin Laden insisted it was Muslim soldiers who had beaten Russia with the strength of Al-Lah. Bullshit of course, but good bullshit.
After Pakistan took over Afghanistan, America became worried about Pakistan’s nuclear program. Meetings with Saudi Arabia went nowhere so major sanctions were forced on Pakistan further infuriating many in both countries. Bin Laden was gaining much favor with the Saudi royals and was often consulted on military matters. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, bin Laden warned the Royal Family not to enlist Western help. The Qur’an never specifically forbids aid from foreigners but it does condemn non-Muslims spilling the blood of any Muslim on holy land, and U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia would violate several tenets regarding foreign occupation of Muslim Holy Land. Bin Laden saw almost everything in religious terms. He didn’t see Christianity as a problem so much as those claiming to practice it. Islamic leaders throughout history have had great respect for different religions but a greater allegiance to their own. Bin Laden felt the West was going to bastardize Islam and Islamic Holy Ground as they had done their own religion.
Worse, he felt that American occupation on Muslim Holy Land would curse Muslims for generations to come. Though he put much blame on the Saudi Royal Family, Bin Laden saw America as the aggressors. Far from just dropping in to help, Bin Laden saw signs of a prolonged American occupation of Saudi Arabia. Men who fought with Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but later put down their arms, all commented in one way or another on Bin Laden’s mental state coming out of Afghanistan. His zealotry had filled him with a resolve bordering on insanity. Everywhere he looked he saw enemies of Islam and appointed himself its champion. Bin Laden already had a natural charisma and his “heroic” actions in Afghanistan had won him many allies in the Middle East. The fact he was loaded didn’t hurt matter s either. Al Qaeda translates into “The Base” and this is what Bin Laden was forming. A base to launch operations against major targets in Europe and North America. Bin Laden envisioned an organization with centralized leadership but decentralized execution.
Overall direction for Al Qaeda would come from Bin Laden and his leadership team but operational control would mostly fall to the individual cells around the world. They would receive a general idea of what was to be done and it was up to them to execute it in whatever way they could. Which is exactly how the 9/11 attacks played out but we will get to that later. The moment American troops touched down in Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden began his crusade against the West. And it did begin immediately. In November of 1990, 3 months after U.S. troops landed in Afghanistan, New Jersey police raided the home of suspected Al Qaeda member, El Sayyid Nosair. They found evidence of terrorist plots against New York city involving the destruction of skyscrapers. Apparently he had also been fed military info from a plant at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Nosair had been arrested for the murder of Meir Kahane, leader of the Jewish Defense League in New York, 3 days earlier. His trial was described as “bizarre”.
Nosair apparently ignored the court and spent most of the proceedings looking through sketches he had made of Princess Di. I shit you not. The Jersey police turned over a mountain of evidence to the courts detailing Nosair’s involvement in Al Qaeda. Nosair’s defense argued that this was all part of a conspiracy against his client and that Kahane had probably been killed by a disillusioned follower. The jury, after a short deliberation, returned with a split decision. The judge in the case was shocked. He reprimanded the jury for their stupid decision and sentenced Nosair to 7- 22 years in prison based on incontrovertible proof. The max he could get away with from the bench. Nosair went to prison and his defense team immediately began appealing the decision. I bring all this up to get to Nosair’s “friend” on the outside, the “blind sheik”, Omar Abdel-Rahman. Rahman was an al-Qaeda confidant in America. Not exactly a member but a partner in affairs who had been carrying out his own war against the West. Along with Nosair, Rahman had gathered a small but loyal group to carry out major operations in America. The FBI was pretty aware of Rahman’s activities but didn’t know exactly where and how he would strike. Part of the difficulty was the way Rahman’s agents so easily disappeared into the American population making it extremely difficult to track them on a day to day basis.
Meanwhile, overseas, Bin Laden was planting Al-Qaeda cells in Iraq in hopes of either finally forming a business relationship with the government or overthrowing it and installing a friendlier administration. Very CIA. Contrary to popular belief, Bin Laden was not a huge fan of Saddam Hussein. He viewed Hussein as a puppet of the West who they would toss aside when the dying began. He was right but, again, we’ll get to that later. Bin Laden was not a fan of the sanctions leveled against Iraq after the Gulf War and that was his motivation for seeking an inroad to the country. Whether Hussein joined him or not seemed to be irrelevant. Bin Laden was more worried about the people and how he could win more recruits from them. He did get several cells up and running in the country but no formal talks were ever documented between Iraqi and Al Qaeda leadership that even came close to some kind of “partnership”. That doesn’t mean back channel communications weren’t used, it just never really led to anything. It’s a good bet Hussein was paranoid of anyone “setting up shop” inside his borders. Like Sauron, he shares power with no one.
In 1992, Al-Qaeda conducted it’s first documented operation led by Bin Laden. In December of that year they blew up a hotel in Aden, Yemen believing it housed American troops on the way to Somalia. It did not. The blast only killed bystanders. Al Qaeda later released a justification for killing innocents stating that any innocent who dies near the enemy will have their reward in Heaven. Forgetting that no enemies were in that hotel. This was their first attack and the first time Muslim leaders began to question whether it was a good idea to support them or not. Killing their own people was never part of the bargain. The Yemen government released a soft condemnation of the bombing but many in the government supported Bin Laden and his associates, most likely providing the intel and support to bomb the hotel. Yemen has been in an almost constant state of revolution since leaving the Ottoman Empire in 1918. North and south Yemen finally united in 1990 but tensions remained high and many terrorist groups found warm welcomes in the homes of Yemeni government officials. In particular Bin Laden.
Back to the states. After the ’92 bombing in Yemen the United States put Al Qaeda on its radar. President Bill Clinton came in with a strategy to pursue Al Qaeda operatives in America and trace them back to the operational base overseas. A similar strategy was already in place but Clinton upped the funds and manpower considerably after many tense debates with Congress, who still wanted money for their individual pet projects. To many people in Washington, terrorism was the rest of the world’s problem. Over here in America we were supposedly protected from those things so spending all kinds of money on counter terrorism seemed a waste to most. Most of the counter terrorism Clinton’s team produced were voted down. And sometimes not on party lines. Many in the Congress wanted nothing to do with it. We would spend decades overcoming this short sightedness. In 1993 America would receive its “warning shot”. Former “students” of Omar Abdel-Rahman planted a gigantic amount of explosives in the basement garage of the World Trade Center in New York and detonated it. Over a thousand pounds of explosive material rocked the North Tower. The plan was to knock over the North tower into the South Tower and bring both crashing down. 6 people, including a pregnant woman, were killed in the blast but the tower remained. Barely. They almost pulled it off. Had the explosives been closer to the central supports, the tower very likely could have toppled over.
So you would assume this would renew Congress’ urgency to address international terrorism. It really didn’t. Democrats used it as an excuse to fund dozens of projects that had little or nothing to do with national security and Republicans, of course, blamed Clinton for all of it and further demonized his attempts at counter terrorism funding. Clinton had been President for a month, but he immediately set to work to install the counter terrorism measures I mentioned in the last paragraph. During this time Bin Laden was forming the mission statement Al Qaeda would rally around. First and foremost was his plan to draw western powers, particularly the United States, into long, bloody conflicts in the Middle East. He had stationed himself in Sudan and ingratiated himself to the people by heavily investing his own money into infrastructure and local business. He also became involved with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, . The EIJ was committed to overthrowing Egyptian President Hasni Mubarak and installing an Islamic government. Bin Laden’s dealings in Sudan forced King Faud’s hand. Bin Laden was still trashing the Saudi royals publicly and they were tired of hearing about it. In 1994 they put immense pressure on Bin Laden’s family to cut off his sizable stipend and disown him.
By 1995 the EIJ was an arm of Al Qaeda under control of Bin Laden and his leadership council. That year they attempted to assassinate Mubarak and failed quite spectacularly. This was the last straw for many in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden’s visa was revoked and his family completely cut him off. Bin Laden’s operational mode had to change. He still wanted to fund smaller attacks around the globe but, now on somewhat of a budget, he wanted to land an attack that would put his bigger plans into motion. This is when the ideas that would eventually lead to 9/11 began. In ’96 he was forced back to Afghanistan by constant pressure from KSA(Saudi Arabia), Egypt, and America on Sudan. At this time he met and formed a partnership with Mullah Mohammed Omar, the spiritual and operational leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was also funding cells operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some reports date this activity as far back as 1992. There was a committed Muslim population in Bosnia and foreign fighters from all over Asia and Europe poured into the country to help combat Serb and Croat forces. When the war finally ended in 1995 Bin Laden still kept informants and operators in country in hopes of fueling a larger conflict that would consume much of Europe. When the Kosovo War of 1999 threatened to relaunch the entire conflict, Bin Laden again moved to back sides he felt would lead to larger conflicts.
But most of his time was spent planning his opus. President Clinton’s counter terrorism team, headed by Richard Clark, were hot on Bin Laden’s heels. Most people believed Bin Laden was moving around in the mountains on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani government was somewhat committed to capturing Bin Laden but a military coup in 1999 would put the kibosh on a whole lot of plans. When General Pervez Musharraf, was installed as “president” after a brief, relatively bloodless coup, dealings with Pakistan changed immediately. Efforts to “box in” Bin laden on the border were met with resistance by Pakistani officials concerned with political instability in their own country. Al Qaeda had just enough breathing room to plan and stage their biggest attack yet. Bin Laden was already a wanted man. Several countries had already issued warrants for his arrest. The 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole moved him onto the top 5 on the FBI’s most wanted list. His next move would make him the most wanted man in the world. An attack so heinous and vile that even old supporters would question his sanity. And the worst part is, we were all warned multiple times before it happened and the government did nothing about it.
The 2000 American presidential race was a historic event and one that would become infamous in this country. Clinton’s extra marital dealings had tarnished the last half of his presidency giving the new Democratic hopeful, Al Gore, an unwelcome handicap. Gore was facing Texas moron and governor George W. Bush. Son of slimy CIA chief George H.W. Bush of the Nazi dealing, union busting, war profiteering Bush family. Bush got a legacy bid. After crushing his best competition, John McCain, with an underhanded poll question involving mixed race children(A Karl Rove special) he cakewalked to he Republican nomination. He ran on a platform of “restoring integrity to the White House”. I don’t need to tell you how laughable that is. Bush had run three companies into the ground, escaping each one with stocks in hand just before collapse. What a coincidence. He then ran one of the dirtiest campaigns ever to win the governorship of Texas where he oversaw the largest decline into debt of any state in American history. So obviously this was a great resume to become president. But Americans were fat and happy. That was the end of the millennium. Our biggest collective concern was whether or not the President got a B.J. in the Oval Office.
In 1999, in Afghanistan, Bin Laden was reaquainted with an old “war buddy”, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Both had fought together in the Afghan war but never formed a particularly close relationship. This would change after the two were reintroduced through a mutual friend. Mohammed took quickly to Bin Laden’s ideas about attacking the United States in a spectacular way. Contrary to what anyone in the Bush administration may have said, ideas about hijacking commercial airliners and using them as weapons was nothing new. Even the idea to attack the Trade Towers was inspired by Israel’s attacks on similar structures in Lebanon during the 1982 war. In 1998 a man in Turkey attempted to desecrate the tomb of a former Turkish president by crashing his plane into it. A document detailing, and explicitly warning against, plans to crash hijacked planes into targets in America was largely ignored by the Bush administration, who later denied it even existed.
George W. Bush’s controversial “victory” in the 2000 presidential election dominated most news cycles in the first year of his presidency. Richard Clarke, one of few holdovers from the previous White House, was trying urgently to get someone in the Bush White House to hear him out. His team had been tracking Al-Qaeda’s movements for years and were pretty confident they would attempt an attack in America very soon. In his book, Against All Enemies, Clarke details a meeting in January 2001 with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He attempts to brief Rice on Al-Qaeda and the major threat he felt they posed to national security. He felt the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden should be one of their top priorities going forward. Not only was Rice unmoved by the briefing, Clarke sensed she had never even heard of Al-Qaeda. Clarke’s anti-terrorism unit was downgraded, pushed to the “basement”. It was a sign that the Bush White House felt terrorism was not much of a priority. Clarke was neutered. Instead of sending briefings directly to the president, they now had to go through several levels of scrutiny by SoS Rice and her staff. Very few if any actually reached Bush’s desk. Again, in April 2001, Clarke strongly suggested that the United States put its focus squarely on Bin Laden. He recommended aiding the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, a proxy military branch of the Afghan government. The NA were already deeply vested in driving out the Taliban, along with Bin Laden, and ending Pakistan’s influence through them.
Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, the “architect of the Iraq Invasion”, stated “”Well, I just don’t understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden.”. Clarke’s team tried to explain that this one very rich man’s organization, Al Qaeda, was planning and executing multiple attacks around the globe. Clarke states that Wolfowitz didn’t buy that this one man was behind all these attacks. But Wolfy has always had his heart set on another man. Saddam Hussein, Iraq, and all that sweet, sweet fucking oil. (Not oil for fucking, just using it as an expletive there) We’ll get to that soon enough. Clarke and others in the intelligence community would spend the next few months desperately trying to get anything they said taken seriously. In July the damning “Phoenix Memo” was delivered to FBI offices and virtually ignored. Special Agent Kenneth Williams, who authored the memo, requested an immediate inquiry into flight schools around the country for possible terrorist links. He noted that his own office in Arizona had seen an unusual rise in flight school attendance from people of “investigative interest”. His unit leader at FBI headquarters, David Frasca, reportedly barely gave the memo a look. He was later promoted by the Bush Administration after the attacks of 9/11. The lack of attention placed on the “Phoenix Memo” is considered by many to be a key moment in the possible prevention of the 9/11 attacks and an absolute failure of this country’s intelligence agencies.
After the attacks occurred a light was shined on the juvenile infighting that goes on between our intelligence agencies. How the FBI and CIA turn almost everything into a “biggest dick” contest. And how neither was ever very helpful or concerned with the thoughts of local officials. Evidence continued to point toward a very serious attack on America by Al Qaeda. In August of 2011 a daily briefing came across the President Bush’s desk(his desk in Crawford, Texas) entitled, Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US. I think the title says it all. It was not discussed very much after that until spring 2002 when it was leaked to the media. Bush spent most of his time after that on vacation. I’m sorry, “work vacations”. He spent a lot of time vacationing during his 8 years. Not too much reading, but a whole lot of golfing. But one story in particular would become almost synonymous with is presidency. Not a great political thriller or historical text. A children’s book entitled ‘The Pet Goat’.
Bush was reading the book to a group of children at a Florida elementary school on September 11, 2001 when he received news that would shape the country’s future for the next decade and beyond. And he sat there for 7 minutes. Then started reading to the kids again. O.K., I get that we don’t want to panic the kids but the excuse given by the Bush team was lame. The country was seriously, ACTUALLY under attack, Pearl Harbor style, and you’re worried what leaving a room abruptly would do to your image? Seriously! This is what one of them said:
Bush wondered whether he should excuse himself and retreat to the holding room, where he might be able to find out what the hell was going on. But what kind of message would that send—the president abruptly getting up and walking out on a bunch of inner-city second-graders at their moment in the national limelight?
(Quote provided by Wikipedia)
PEOPLE ARE DYING!!! You’re worried about ruining their 30 second piece on the local news???!!!! Anyways, the attack that many had dreaded for years was upon us. And we all know the details. They have been poured over so many times. A brutal day. It’s the aftermath of these attacks that deserves the same if not more scrutiny than the events that led up to it. How a group of power hungry men used a national tragedy to fuel their own personal agendas and fill their private coffers.
This is really where the story begins and we will get into it in great detail in part 2. Until then I am bringing this section to a close. In Part 2 we will list in gory detail the atrocities committed by the Bush administration, the dismantling of our liberties, most of the world turning against us(England is still our bitch), and much more back story on all the foreign players involved and how it all came to a head.