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CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 6

 

COWBOY DIPLOMACY

OPPOSING GLOBAL TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS

George W. Bush arrived at the White House totally inexperienced in the arena of foreign policy and tried to learn while on-the-job. Throughout Campaign 2000, Bush promised a “humble foreign policy.” Instead, he chose to take a hard line approach on the world stage. The cowboy president had a way of letting his rhetoric get out of control, when he first pushed his way through the swinging doors into the global saloon.

1. Bush opposed the Kyoto Protocol which required world powers to reduce gas emissions. If ratified by the United States -- which was a contributor of 36 percent of all the Earth’s emissions -- corporate profits would have diminished.

2. Bush unilaterally abrogated the SALT I in June 2002 -- after Russia refused to comply -- in order to build his pet National Missile Defense (NMD) anti-missile system. He refused to listen to his global counterparts -- friends and foes -- who maintained that the termination of the treaty would lead to another arms race.

3. At least four NMD tests ended in failure. The initial tests were conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. In a test on February 16, 2002, two Patriot missiles failed to hit their targets. (Washington Post, February 17, 2002) Advanced tests occurred over the Pacific Ocean. On several occasions, anti-missile “killer” vehicles, launched from the Kwajalein Islands, failed to destroy incoming mock warheads launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California 4,800 miles away. Prototype radar was unable to tell ground controllers whether a kill vehicle had destroyed its target. (Washington Post, December 4, 2001)

Each NMD test cost over $100 million. In June 2002, Bush announced that future NMD test would be classified, perhaps because of numerous failures. ,/P>

4. In July 2001, Bush announced plans to deploy weapons in space. They included a renewal of preparations to place thousands of missile interceptors in space, a program dubbed “Brilliant Pebbles” by the George Herbert Bush administration. In addition, “Brilliant Eyes” was revived at a cost of $420 million. The system consisted of a series of low-flying satellites with a greater capacity to track warheads than current satellites. Bush considered the development of chemical laser weapons which the Pentagon hoped to test by 2008 at a cost of between $3 billion and $4 billion. Bush finally considered development of Anti-Satellite weapons (ASATs) capable of destroying the space assets of governments targeted by the United States. (World Socialist Web Site, July 25, 2001)

5. Bush opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The treaty had been sent to the Senate in the Clinton administration. Bush did not withdraw the treaty and instead allowed it die in the Senate. Subsequently, Bush assembled a task force to study the feasibility of renewed tests in the Nevada desert.

6. Bush stood alone in his opposition to a United Nations plan to ban small arms’ weapons, preventing them to be sold around the globe.

7. The 1972 Biological Weapons Treaty was ratified by 143 nations. It prohibited the development, production, and possession of biological weapons. In the 1990s, the United Nations introduced a resolution to strengthen the treaty in regard to germ warfare. However, in the summer of 2001, Bush pulled out of negotiations at the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva, and the following year announced he would not sign the pact. He claimed that the treaty would not deter countries seeking to develop biological weapons.

8. In 2001, Bush approved research for the genetic engineering of a potentially more potent variant of the bacterium that causes anthrax to assess whether the vaccine would be effective against such bacteria which were first created in Russia. A germ factory was constructed in the Nevada desert to produce genetically altered anthrax deadly germs. (New York Times, September 4, 2001)

9. Bush refused to join the 142 nations that have signed the 1997 treaty forbidding the use, stockpiling, and production of antipersonnel land mines--a devastating weapon that had proved far more effective at killing and maiming innocent civilians than enemy troops. Supporting the treaty would have required the United States to remove its land mines below the 38th parallel in South Korea.

Since 1975, land mines had killed more than one million people, far outstripping the deaths caused by those well-publicized bugaboos, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The buried bomblets claimed 24,000 casualties each year -- 95 percent of them civilians. Eighty million unexploded land mines remained buried across the globe. (Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2002)

10. Three weeks before leaving office, President Clinton authorized the United States to sign a treaty creating the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Apparently fearful that overseas Americans would be prosecuted for war crimes, Bush took the United States out of the pact that was supported by over 100 world nations.

11. Bush opposed the International War Tribunals for the same reason. He contended that the tribunals had spent millions of dollars needlessly, that they were poorly supervised; and that they had abused by lawyers and defendants for their own enrichment. (Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2002)

12. Bush announced on July 26 that he would not send delegates to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, unless conference organizers removed two issues from the agenda: a discussion of Zionism as a form of racism, and the question of reparations for slavery and colonialism. After sending a low-level delegation, Bush instructed the team walked out two days into the session.

13. Bush supported the Missile Technology Control Regime, which consisted of 29 nations with a common goal to prevent the export of technologies for delivering nuclear warheads and weapons.

14. Bush supported the Australia Group, an informal group of 33 countries, which opposed the export of bacteria and chemical weapons.

15. He supported the Non-proliferation Treaty which condemned the spread of nuclear weapons to countries which did not have them.

16. In January 2001, the Senate agreed by a vote of 99-0 to pay the $582 million the United States owed in back dues. When Bush took office weeks later, House Republicans allowed the bill to die. (New York Times, August 27, 2001)

FREE TRADE

Bush claimed free trade would lead to an increase in American exports. However, by the end of 2003, the United States ran up a record-shattering $450 billion trade deficit.

In August 2001, the European Union sought more than $4 billion in trade sanctions unless the United States amended a tax-credit program for American corporations that the World Trade Organization had declared violates international law. The WTO judgment found that billions of dollars’ worth of special tax breaks offered to Microsoft, Boeing, and hundreds of other American exporters amounted to an illegal subsidy that discriminated in favor of American products. (Washington Post, August 21, 2001)

In 2002, the WTO authorized the EU impose a record $4 billion in penalties on American goods unless the United States eliminated a controversial tax break for American exporters deemed illegal under global rules. (New York Times, August 31, 2002)

In March 2002, Bush slapped tariffs of up to 30 percent on imported steel in an effort to help domestic producers. In July 2003, the WTO ruled against the United States, saying that Washington had failed to make its case for the “safeguard” action. The Bush administration could not prove that an unexpected surge of imports had hurt the American steel industry. (New York Times, November 11, 2003)

On November 10, 2003, the WTO ruled that the tariffs were illegal. That set the stage for retaliation by the European Union, Japan, Brazil, and others. The EU alone threatened more than $2 billion in retaliatory sanctions. (New York Times, November 11, 2003)

BUSH’S SECRET GOVERNMENT

Bush’s “secret government” spilled over to the Pentagon. The largest expansion of covert action by the armed forces since the Vietnam era occurred in the Bush administration.

The Defense Department built an elite secret army with resources stretching across the full spectrum of covert capabilities. New organizations were created. The missions of existing units were revised. Spy planes and ships were assigned new missions in anti-terror and monitoring the “axis of evil.”

The Pentagon’s secret government operated in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East. It included the CIA’s paramilitary Special Activities Division and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command. (Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002)

In Europe, the Joint Interagency Coordination Group handled information-sharing and logistical support with NATO. Hawaii’s Pacific Command coordinated a Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorist Group in 2002. These two Joint Interagency Task Forces, previously used to fighting drugs, were revamped to make the war on terrorism their priority. (Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002)

The headquarters of the Pentagon’s covert operations remained the North Carolina-based Joint Special Operations Command, often referred to as Delta Force. It operated a fleet of aircraft -- especially equipped for secret operations – that included conventional and covert military planes and helicopters as well as former Soviet helicopters. (Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002)

The Air Force and the CIA collected additional intelligence from unmanned Predator and Global Hawk drones. They also had low-profile reconnaissance assets that looked like transport planes and operated under such code names as ARL-Low, Keen Sage, Scathe View, and Senior Scout. The Navy’s Gray Star spy vessel monitored the ballistic missile capabilities of Iraq, Iran and North Korea. (Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002)

Secretary Rumsfeld’s Defense Science Board’s study on “Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism” recommended the creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity. The organization was called the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG). It coordinated CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception. P20G launched secret operations aimed at “stimulating reactions” among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction. P20G could prod terrorist cells into action and exposed themselves to “quick-response” attacks by United States forces. (Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002),/P>

The Air Force designed its own Global Response Task Force to fight the war on terrorism. It envisioned unmanned A-X aircraft capable of long-range, nighttime gunship operations and an M-X covert transport, as well as hypersonic and space-based conventional weapons capable of delivering a “worldwide attack within an hour.” (Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002

PREEMPTIVE ATTACKS

On September 20, 2002, Bush broke with tradition and made a bold decision in announcing that American forces could unleash preemptive attacks on potential enemies. It marked a turning point in American foreign policy and military strategy. Bush’s decision was a dramatic change in the decades-old strategy of deterrence and containment. (Washington Post, September 22, 2002)

On November 3, 2002, the Predator, a CIA drone operating in the sovereign nation of Yemen, fired Hellfire missiles and killed six suspected Al Qaeda operatives that included Qaed Sinan Harithi who was suspected of being involved in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors.

The attack was a targeted assassination and an extra-judicial murder that bordered on a violation of human rights and international law.

GEORGE VERSUS THE WORLD

Mexico. When Bush chose Mexico for his first state visit, he drew criticism from allies in Europe where more pressing issues needed consideration.

Meeting with President Vincente Fox, Bush erroneously called the Iraqi attacks “routine. (New York Times, February 19, 2001)

In September, Fox insisted that Mexico and the United States needed to reach agreement on immigration reform by the end of 2001. Bush concurred – but he never followed through on his promise. Bush was dealt a blow five months later, when Mexico refused to back an American invasion of Iraq. (New York Times, September 6, 2001)

Cuba. When Bush took office, Cuba had been working to reach rapprochement with the United States. Bush immediately took a harsh stance against the Castro government and refused to loosen the trade embargo that had existed for four decades.

In branding Cuba a “terrorist state,” the State Department issued an “Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism” on May 21, 2002. Bush hyped up Castro’s trip to Iran in 2001, claiming he said “Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each another, can bring America to its knees.” (Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2002)

After analyzing Castro’s remarks in Teheran, it turned out that he never made those comments. In fact, Castro consistently denounced terrorism since 9/11, calling for its “total eradication.” Castro condemned the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and he expressed solidarity with the American people and offered to cooperate with all governments in the defeat of terrorism.

Cuba signed all 12 United Nations counter-terrorism conventions and in early 2002 offered to sign a bilateral agreement with the United States providing for joint efforts against terrorism. (Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2002)

Europe. Bush launched his first European trip on May 1, 2001. Europeans were shocked by his position on SALT I and an anti-missile defense system, the environment, the use of land mines, abortion, capital punishment, American troops in Kosovo, American-European trade, relations with the Koreas and Iraq, his refusal to endorse an international court, and his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol.

In the spring of 2003, Bush promised Eastern Europeans that they would not be forced to choose between their allegiances to the United States and to the European Union. Several months later, Bush reversed course, threatening to punish countries that did not fall in line with the White House. In July, the White House suspended military aid to nine European countries, including six incoming members of NATO, because of their failure to conclude agreements exempting Americans from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. (Washington Post, July 5, 2003)

A Pew Research poll showed that more than 70 percent of people in Britain, France, Germany, and Italy believed Bush pursued a unilateralist foreign policy that based decisions solely on United States interests and that he ignored the wishes of the rest of the world. About 75 percent of respondents in France, Germany and Britain said that Bush understood Europe less than most of his predecessors did. In Italy, 53 percent held that view. A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll found that 46 percent of respondents said foreign leaders did not have respect for Bush, compared with 40 percent who said foreign leaders respected him. And 38 percent said Bush did not command respect from world leaders, while 49 percent thought he did. (USA Today, June 8, 2001)

Several European leaders wasted no time in criticizing Bush, and the European press depicted him as a “cowboy hayseed.” ,/P>

After Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for just two hours, he said, “ looked at him in the eye, and I can tell that he’s an honest man” and “trustworthy.” (Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2001)

Bush met with leaders of the European Union and was clearly irritated at EU attempts to undercut American policy around the world, such as its involvement in the Middle East when it tilted towards the Palestinian side and gave Yasser Arafat preferential treatment in Brussels. Bush said, “Europe and the United States need to speak with one voice, and only one voice.” (New York Times, June 16, 2001)

China. Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the United States promised to provide defensive weapons for Taipei. For 22 years, four American presidents followed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” by refusing to divulge if military forces would be deployed in the event of an attack on Taiwan by Beijing.

However, on April 25, Bush announced that the United States would react in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Bush said that he would order “whatever it took” to help Taiwan defend itself. His comments triggered confusion on Capitol Hill and among China experts over what the president meant and what signal he was sending to Taiwan. (New York Times, April 26, 2001)

Bush’s poorly thought-out comments to sell military equipment on the heels of the downed EP-3 espionage plane further outraged China. Approving Aegis radar aircraft for Taiwan inflamed the Bush administration’s tense relations with Beijing,

In April 2003, Bush reversed three decades of American foreign policy in Asia by opening the way for Taiwan to buy eight diesel submarines. He also promised to sell destroyers, helicopters, and other military hardware to Taiwan, creating further hostility between the United States and China. However, as it turned out, Bush had no submarines to sell to Taipei. (Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2001)

In September, “senior administration officials” suggested that they were not opposed to China’s increasing its nuclear stockpile. Then Bush backpedaled. Three days later, the administration issued a new set of statements, declaring that it would not “seek to overcome China’s opposition” to the National Missile Defense System by dropping any objections to the modernization of China’s nuclear forces. (New York Times, September 2; September 5, September 7, 2001)

During Clinton’s second term, the GOP bashed the president for approving the export of satellites to China. In 1999 the Republican-dominated Congress passed legislation that made it difficult for American companies to sign contracts with Beijing. However, Bush made an abrupt change, after profits in the American satellite sector began to falter. The White House hoped to renew sales to China so American companies. (Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2001)

Korea. For nearly two years, the inexperienced charted an inconsistent course in the United States’ relationship to both North Korea and South Korea. When Bush came into office, he said that he would not continue Clinton’s talks with North Korea. A series of blunders by Bush’s inexperienced foreign policy team unraveled gains that had been accomplished by the Clinton White House.

In March 2001, Bush’s relations with both Seoul and Pyongyang turned sour, when Bush torpedoed talks between the two Koreas.

On June 6, Bush changed course, announcing he would restart negotiations with North Korea on a broad range of issues, including that nation’s production and exporting of missiles and its stationing of soldiers on the border with South Korea. (New York Times, June 18, 2001)

The Bush White House appeared in such disarray, that former President George Herbert Bush intervened. The senior Bush sent a memo to his son, urging him to reopen negotiations with North Korea. (New York Times, June 10, 2001)

Bush added more tension to Washington-Pyongyang relations, when he labeled North Korea “an “axis of evil” country along with Iran and Iraq. Soon thereafter, President Kim Jong Il withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in January 2002 and publicly asserted it was resuming its nuclear program.

Bush failed to explain why North Korea should not be attacked for building Weapons of Mass Destruction. North Korea and Pakistan represented the most serious threat of mass destruction. Meanwhile, Bush was posturing for a war against Iraq which had no nuclear weapons.

Donald Rumsfeld was in involved in the late 1990s with Swiss-based ABB which netted a $200 million contract with North Korea. The ABB contract was to deliver equipment and services for two nuclear power stations at Kumho in eastern North Korea in exchange for a freeze on the North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Rumsfeld was a member of ABB’s board between 1990 and February 2001. (Swiss Info, February 21, 2003)

Israel and the Palestinians. Bush claimed that he was the first president to advocate a Palestinian state. It was President Clinton who had done so. In a January 7, 2001 speech, Clinton said, “There can be no genuine resolution to the (Middle East) conflict without a sovereign, viable Palestinian state that accommodates Israel’s security requirements and demographic realities.” (The Nation, November 2003)

Throughout the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush merely made token gestures indicating that he hoped to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

During his first 15 months in the White House, Bush only offered token measures to resolve the conflict. On the other hand, every president since Jimmy Carter had been heavily involved in working to broker deals between the two sides. Bush seemed determined not to meet the challenge to mediate as a peacekeeper.

In April 2002, Bush showed signs of seeking a peace solution. He waffled on numerous occasions, clearly unsure of his own policy towards the Israelis and Palestinians.

At first, Bush appeased pro-Israeli hawks. When Israeli tanks and bulldozers crossed into West Bank cities, Bush remained sequestered at his Crawford ranch for 36 hours. Bush also remained silent when Israeli troops invaded Ramallah, laid siege to the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, and surrounded Yasser Arafat. Bush refused to answer reporters’ questions on the violence, preferring to let Secretary of State Colin Powell explain the administration’s evolving position. Most of the world opposed Israel’s incursion, while Bush sat idly by. (Washington Post, April 3, 2002)

After one week, Bush reversed himself. Finally, said Israel should “withdraw without delay.” Two days later, when Israel began withdrawing from two West Bank towns, Bush softened his position, saying, “It’s a beginning.”

Bush waffled once again. On April 17, he insisted Israel had heeded his call to withdraw, despite the fact that a large majority of Israeli forces remained intact in the West Bank. He said he “understood” the need for the continuing siege of Ramallah, while 13 days earlier, he had called on Israel to withdraw ”from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah.” (Newsweek, April 29, 2002)

In June, Bush proposed free elections and the creation of a provisional Palestinian state, while demanding that Arafat abdicate. Bush was met with criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. Conservatives opposed a Palestnian state and charged that Bush was rewarding terrorism, if he endorsed such a plan in the wake of increased suicide bombings against Israelis. Liberals contended Bush was meddling in the affairs of the autonomous Palestinian Authority by calling for Arafat’s resignation.

In December, Bush appointed Elliott Abrams, a passionate advocate of Israel, to the post of director of Middle Eastern affairs. Abrams came to his new job trailed by a cloud of controversy, most of it having to do with his pleading guilty in 1987 to the charge that he withheld information from Congress on the Reagan administration’s efforts to assist antigovernment guerrillas in Nicaragua. Abrams was pardoned by George Herbert Bush in December 1992. Abrams was a fierce opponent of the Oslo peace negotiations.

Bush erroneously claimed that a regime change in Baghdad would pave the road for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Just the opposite occurred. Beginning in the spring of 2003, tensions continued to intensify in Israel and the occupied territories. The number of Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli air attacks intensified.

Bush’s “road map” for peace called for reciprocal concessions aimed at a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace and a “sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine” by 2005. But violence in the Occupied Territories and in Israel continued. (New York Times, May 1, 2003)

Iran. In the summer of 2002, Bush gave up any hope of working with President Mohammad Khatami whose regime he had labeled part of the “axis of evil.” Bush concluded that Khatami and his supporters in the government “are too weak, ineffective and not serious about delivering on their promises” to transform Iranian society. Bush changed course and chose to appeal directly to “democracy” supporters among the Iranian people. (Washington Post, July 22, 2002)

Supporting right-wing Saudi Arabia. The Bush-Saudi connection began in the early 1980s. Vice President George Herbert Bush lobbied Congress to allocate $8.5 billion for an arms package for Saudi Arabia. It included five sophisticated AWACS surveillance planes to Saudi Arabia. Bush used “communism” as leverage to receive congressional approval. (Time, September 15, 2003)

In 1986, Vice President Bush met with members of the House of Saud, convincing them to reduce the flow of oil. That kept world crude oil – as well as Texas oil -- at high prices.

King Fahd donated $1 million to Barbara Bush’s campaign against illiteracy in 1989.

In 1997, Prince Bandar donated $1 million to the George Herbert Bush Library. Bandar also attended the dedication ceremony in College Station, Texas.

In the 1990s, George Herbert Bush hooked on to the Carlyle Group, a global investment corporation that focused on weapons and aerospace. Other officials included Frank Carlucci, formerly Reagan’s Defense secretary, and James Baker, Bush’s secretary of State.

George Herbert Bush raked in $80,000 to $100,000 for each speech he delivered on behalf of the Carlyle Group. (World Socialist Web Site, May 16, 2001)

George Herbert Bush worked for the Bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group. Bush had met with the Osama Bin Laden family at least twice. (Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2001)

In 2001, the George W. Bush administration awarded a $140 million contract to develop a Saudi oil field to Halliburton Corporation, where Vice President Cheney had served as CEO in the 1990s. (Time, September 15, 2003)

George W. Bush attempted to stonewall an investigation into 9-11, apparently fearful that evidence would indicate that he failed to take steps to prevent the attacks. Eventually, an ad hoc congressional released a 900-plus page report that tied 15 of the 19 hijackers to 9-11. Bush classified 28 pages that allegedly tied the Saudi government to Al Qaeda. He claimed the pages would have jeopardized investigations of terrorist funding. (Time, September 15, 2003),/P>

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on September 11 held Saudi citizenship papers. Like Osama Bin Laden, those terrorists came from wealthy Saudi families.

Bin Laden was a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s richest families.(Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2001) ,/P>

Shortly after 9/11, George W. Bush allowed 140 members of the Saudi royal family and friends, as well as relatives of Bin Laden to board planes and flee the United States.

National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts revealed the greed of many in the Saudi royal family. Princes talked openly about bilking the state and argued about what was an acceptable percentage to take. Prince Bandar, while serving as ambassador, was involved in arms deals in London, Yemen, and the Soviet Union that generated millions of dollars in “commissions.” (New Yorker, October 19, 2001)

The NSA indicated that by 1996 Saudi money was supporting Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen, and Central Asia, and throughout the Persian Gulf region. (New Yorker, October 19, 2001)

In the aftermath of 9/11, the Saudi family repeatedly insisted that Saudi Arabia had made no contributions to radical Islamic groups. However, evidence suggested that substantial funds were funneled to Islamic charities that included terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks, they denied any knowledge of such transfers. (The New Yorker, October 19, 2001),/P>

The Saudi family helped finance the religious schools and Moujahedeen training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. ,/P>

A congressional investigation concluded in November 2002 that money sent by the Saudi government to the United States might have been given to two of the hijackers. Nawaq al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Midhar, both Saudi citizens, received several thousand dollars from two Saudi men they met in California in the 12 months before 9/11. (Newsweek, November 25, 2002)

Princess Haifa al Faisal, daughter of King Faisal and wife of the Saudi ambassador to Washington, provided money to two of the hijackers. The funds might have originated with Saudi government. (Newsweek, November 25, 2002),/P>

Abu Zubaydah, one of the most wanted Al Qaeda operatives, was captured on March 28, 2002. United States interrogators used drugs to coerce him to talk. When that failed, they took Zubaydah to an Afghan complex that resembled a Saudi jail chamber, where the Americans pretended to be Saudi inquisitors and used drugs and threats to scare him into more confessions. The ploy backfired. Zubaydah was happy to see the “Saudis” and gave them telephone numbers for a senior member of the royal family who would, said “tell you what to do.” One such member was Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, a Westernized nephew of King Fahd. (Gerald Posner, Why America Slept)

Supporting right-wing Pakistan. By launching a war in Afghanistan in 2001, George W. Bush alienated a large majority of Muslims, opening the floodgates for the recruitment of a large number of Al Qaeda recruits. Bush was not the liberator he had hoped to be. An extremely high 87 percent of Pakistanis viewed Osama Bin Laden as a freedom fighter, and most believed Bush to be the enemy. (CNN, October 24, 2003)

Pakistani right-wing General Pervez Musharraf became Bush’s closest Arab ally in the Afghanistan war which began in 2001.,/P>

Pakistan possessed as many as 40 nuclear warheads after presumably acquiring enriched uranium over the previous decade from Europe. ,/P>

Pakistan sold missiles to North Korea around 1997 in order to counter India’s nuclear arsenal. As part of the apparent quid pro quo, Pakistan provided information to Pyongyang to help in the production of nuclear technology. The equipment presumably included gas centrifuges used to create weapons-grade uranium, warhead prototypes, nuclear designs, and test data. (New York Times, October 18, 2002),/P>

Musharraf’s regime had close ties to Al Qaeda in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. On several occasions when American forces in Afghanistan pushed Al Qaeda into southeast Pakistan, Musharraf allowed them to escape. (Time, September 29, 2003),?P>

Musharraf refused to crack down extremist groups that had attacked Americans in Kashmir.

BUSH’S WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Chasing Bin Laden. After 9/11, Bush lashed out at Bin Laden on several occasions: “He can run but not hide” and “We’ll smoke him out. Bush referred to Al Qaeda as “thugs” and “evil-doers, those barbaric people.” He repeatedly promised “justice and punishment” and made promises of “bringing to justice.”

After allowing Bin Laden to escape and after failing to capture any of his lieutenants, Bush gradually hoped the embarrassing issue would disappear. When asked about Bin Laden on March 13, 2002, Bush’s tune changed. He said, “I don’t know where he is. . . I just don’t spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. … I truly am not that concerned about him.”

Bush used the word “crusade” several times in talking about how the United States would fight terrorism. His use of “crusade’ conjured up very different memories in the Islamic world -- of a bloody Christian holy war against Arabs. In 1099, for instance, the Crusaders massacred many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Bin Laden seized on Bush’s gaffe to rally Islamic fundamentalists. In a statement released 13 days after 9/11, Bin Laden called the coming war “the new Christian-Jewish crusade led by the big crusader Bush under the flag of the cross.” He called on Pakistan’s Muslims to fight “the American crusade.” Bin Laden wrote: “I announce to you, our beloved brothers, that we are steadfast on the path of jihad (holy war) with the heroic, faithful Afghan people, under the leadership of Mullah Mohammed Omar.”

Bush coined the Afghanistan war against on terrorism, Operation “Infinite Justice.” That immediately outraged more of the Muslim world. Islamic leaders quickly pointed out that only Allah was “infinite” and that Washington was elevating itself to that of Allah. Only Allah, according to Muslims, could decide on “infinite justice.” Eventually, the White House named the operation “Enduring Freedom.”

The Defense Department allows 8,000 Al Qaeda and ISI officials to escape. According to Seymour Hirsch of New Yorkere American Special Forces had an ideal opportunity to kill and capture thousands of Al Qaeda forces in late 2001. American forces had cornered as many as 8,000 Al Qaeda soldiers and ISI (Pakistan Intelligence Agency) officials in northeast Afghanistan at Kunduz, 150 miles from the Pakistan border. Pakistani dictator Musharraf had been under intense pressure to protect himself from Islamic fundamentalists at home to protect the ISI and Pakastani forces in the field.

With political pressure from the Islamic community mounting against him, Musharraf was compelled to protect the 8,000-plus forces and negotiated with the Defense Department to lift the corridor which American Special Forces had sealed. The Defense Department called for a cease fire for several days, in order for terrorist forces to escape and in order for Musharraf to save face. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld denied having knowledge of this deal.

About 12 Pakistani planes flew between 2,500 and 5,000 ISI and Al Qaeda soldiers from the combat zone to safety in Pakistan. Those included at least two Pakistani generals and possibly members of Bin Laden’s family.

Post-war Afghanistan. Following Bush’s war in Afghanistan in late 2001, he repeatedly boasted “tremendous progress was being made in Afghanistan.” (www.bostonphoenix.com, April 18, 2003) Despite the rosy picture that Bush painted, the reconstruction of Afghanistan had failed. Afghanistan continued to ridden with chaos and violence. The country’s infrastructure remained in turmoil. Its economy continued to falter.

Bush failed to achieve a stable environment for the country’s economy and democratization. The resurgence of the Taliban and power struggles between warlords undermined the formation of even a loose central governmental structure. Warlords controlled most towns and the countryside. (www.bostonphoenix.com, April 18, 2003)

Despite Bush’s claim of stabilization and improvements in Afghanistan, tensions between American forces and the Taliban escalated in 2003. (New York Times, August 13; August 20, 2003)

In September 2003, American forces forced Taliban fighters out of the mountains and into Pakistan where they were given refuge. (Time, September 29, 2003)

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the heroin and opium harvest for 2003 brought in $1.2 billion. Warlords across Afghanistan financed their attacks with drug trafficking and, in some places, forced farmers to grow (New York Times, September 5, 2003).

Most Afghans lacked basic services such as clean water and sewer systems. Kabul’s estimated 3 million people lived without such basics as a sewer system, and there was no plan to build one. Many schools closed for lack of money. Farmers struggled as war-damaged irrigation systems remained in disrepair. (Los Angeles Times, September 1, 2003)

Bush boasted that women would play a significant role in Afghanistan. Instead, women continued to play a subservient role in Afghan society. A Red Cross report said, “A renewed and expanded international commitment to security is urgently needed if the limited gains women have made in Kabul are to be institutionalized and emulated in other Afghan cities.” (www.bostonphoenix.com, April 18, 2003)

An Amnesty International study in October 2003 indicated that, after two years of the overthrow of the Taliban, the plight of most Afghan women had not improved. Women were still cloistered in their homes and, while in public, were forced to wear shrouding burqas. They still were forced into marriages. High numbers of rapes and domestic violence continued. (San Francisco Chronicle, October 67, 2003)

Opium trade increased ten-fold by mid-2003, the highest in ten years. (Los Angeles Times, September 1, 2003) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the heroin and opium harvest for 2003 brought in $1.2 billion. Warlords across Afghanistan financed their attacks with drug trafficking and, in some places, forced farmers to grow. (New York Times, September 5, 2003)