Wed., Sept. 27, 2006
But unfortunately for the U.S. and the rest of the world, bin Laden did come to his rescue, in spectacular fashion. Bush grasped the September 11th, 2001 attacks like a drowning man after driftwood. Both factions running the administration--the neocons and Karl Rove's political team (who make all of the real decisions)--were ecstatic at the opportunity offered by the carnage. Within hours of the attacks, the neocons were salivating at the prospect of using them as a cover to undertake their long-held dreams of world domination. As the rubble of the WTC smoked, Rove was encouraging Republicans to exploit the horror for political gain.
Bush generously repaid his Saudi benefactor. If he'd given Osama bin Laden the keys to the treasury, he couldn't have given the terrorist mastermind a greater gift than the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It diverted badly needed military resources away from Afghanistan, and, as a consequence, bin Laden roams free to this day, plotting as much mischief as he pleases. It also made the whole of Iraq into one big recruitment poster for terrorist networks like al Qaida, greatly increasing their numbers, which, prior to Bush's declaration of "war," had been dwindling for decades.
Bin Laden was apparently pleased; he set out to reelect Bush to the presidency in 2004. Just four days before the U.S. presidential elections, bin Laden released a new videotape denouncing Bush, a move lovingly doted upon by the right-wing press in the U.S., which had been portraying Bush's Democratic opponent, John Kerry, as virtually a candidate of al Qaida anyway. As author Ron Suskind just revealed in his new book ("The One Percent Doctrine"), though, the CIA concluded that "bin Ladenís message was clearly designed to assist the Presidentís reelection." Bush was bin Laden's boy.
And it just keeps getting better. We learned, a few weeks ago, that Bush has actually disbanded the special CIA unit dedicated to hunting down bin Laden, a fact about which Bush lied when questioned. When, earlier this month, the press reported that the government of Pakistan had entered into a non-aggression pact with pro-Taliban warlords in the north that could make the area, bin Laden's presumed hiding place, a safe-haven for the al Qaida leader, Bush immediately rejected the idea of sending special forces into the area in question because--an astute reader should, at this point, grab his jaws to avoid injury when it hits the floor--"Pakistan is a sovereign nation." Bush is apparently pretty desperate to avoid killing this goose, as long as it continues laying golden eggs for himself and his party.
The Iraq invasion overturned a secular government in Iraq that had brutally repressed Islamic reactionaries within its borders. In its place is now the largest training camp for terrorist in the history of the world, with an explicitly Islamic and anti-American government whose leaders are acolytes of the ayatollahs of Iran.
The people of Iran, meanwhile, had tired of its two decades of rule by the ayatollahs. Reform candidates had swept a series of elections in the years prior to Bush's decision to go play "army" in the Iraqi deserts. Even the Iranian right-wingers were beginning to co-opt the reformers' slogans, and, while progress was relatively slow, it looked as though the days of the reactionary ayatollahs were numbered. Thanks to the invasion of Iraq, though, the reactionaries are now firmly back in the saddle, both in Iran and in Iraq.
It wasn't enough for Bush to allow relations between the Israelis and Palestinians--probably at their historical high-point throughout the Clinton administration--to completely disintegrate--he decided he needed to help that disintegration along. Arafat, the leader of the secular PLO, and the Palestinians' "Nixon who could go to China" was completely abandoned by the administration, which threw its full support behind Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon. Ultimate outcome: another orgy of violence, the ascension of a Bush-style chicken-hawk PM in Israel, looking to prove his manhood, and the election, by the Palestinians, of Hamas.
...which brings us to Lebanon.
Israel had created Hezbollah in Lebanon by its previous murderous rampage through and occupation of that country. Hezbollah gained its political mileage via its association with resistance to the occupation. After the Israeli withdrawal, Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon dwindled. In the aftermath of the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister last year, Syria, one of Hezbollah's backers, finally withdrew from Lebanon, allowing for the countries' freest elections in three decades. An anti-Syrian, pro-U.S. government was elected (Hezbollah only managed 14 out of 128 seats). It looked like there may finally be a future for Lebanon.
This is the country Israel has just blown to bits, with the open support of the Bush administration. In the middle of the carnage, while administration officials were mouthing daily apologia for the criminal actions of the IDF, the Bush administration expedited shipments of munitions to the Israeli Defense Forces for use in the slaughter. The Bush-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon will probably cause the political fortunes of terrorist-supporters like Hezbollah to rise once again, while those of the pro-Western reformers running the government take a hit because of their inability to protect their own population.
The Bush-bin Laden love affair has taken quite a toll on the world, and will continue to extract a heavy toll for the forseeable future.
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