I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed ~ Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (3/4/1861 to 4/15/1865)
Osama bin Laden financed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned and organized, and Al-Qaeda operatives (15 of whom were Saudi nationals) carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Most people would agree that this is a comprehensive list of the principal players. There is one person omitted from the list however. The key co-conspirator whose assistance was essential, because without his help the attacks on 9/11 may have been averted. The costly and pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would never have been fought. And al Qaeda would have remained an obscure Islamic movement and most likely faded from existence.
No, George and Osama were not literally BFFs. OBL clearly considered George a useful idiot, a simpleton he manipulated into doing his bidding. However, instead of being angry at having been used - because he was completely oblivious to the fact that he was doing exactly what Osama wanted him to - I'm sure George was grateful to Osama for the help he provided in saving his presidency, and getting him elected to a second term by allowing him to become a "wartime president" - thus gaining a lot of "political capital".
Osama's stated goal was to "[bleed] America to the point of bankruptcy" through the use of a "war of attrition". He also remarked that it was "easy for us to provoke and bait [the bush] administration". bush, on the other hand, had his own reasons for accepting Osama's bait. Osama correctly deduced that bush "gave priority to private interests over the public interests ... [as] anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind [can see]".
These statements are from a video released by al Qaeda in late 2004 which should have been titled "Thank you George W. bush".
Osama witnessed first hand how fighting a war of attrition resulted in victory during the Afghan-Soviet War. The Mujahideen (which received funding and assistance from both the US and OBL, ironically) fought the Soviets for 10 long years (1979-1989), ending with a Soviet retreat. This defeat in Afghanistan, and the billions of dollars expended in achieving it, lead directly to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
Maybe Osama learned that the Project for the New American Century desired a New Pearl Harbor, so he decided to do his buddy George a solid and give him exactly what he and his friends Dick and Donald so desperately wanted?
I'm guessing that is what happened. After all, when George learned that Osama was planning a big surprise for him, he kept the secret on the down-low. If your best friend was planning a surprise party for you, would you spoil it? I'm referring to the President's Daily Brief titled bin Laden Determined To Strike in US.
But this wasn't the first time George had heard that his friend was up to something. Outgoing President Bill Clinton didn't like Osama and tried to convince George that he was bad news. George had just moved into the White House when Bill and a group of his friends staged an intervention.
Richard Clarke (chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council) told George that, since the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (10/12/2000), he had been working on an "aggressive plan to take the fight to al Qaeda".
Of course George was shocked. al Qaeda was a religious prayer group Osama lead, but it was just a bunch of guys who got together to study the
Bible Qur'an and engage in jihad. George could relate. He used to snort coke and binge drink until he found the Lord. Then he cut back. Osama was probably thinking of running for political office. He came from a wealthy family and was now devoutly religious, the same as George.
But Bill wouldn't stop hassling him, so George pretended that he'd take the "threat" al Qaeda posed seriously and let Richard Clarke keep his job. Unfortunately RC turned out to be a real buzz-kill. All he did was run down Osama. It was "Osama this and Al-Qaeda that", so George demoted him (taking away his cabinet-level access) and had him report to Condi. It didn't help matters when George junked his plan to go after Osama and handed off responsibility for putting a new
improved anti-terrorism strategy together to his VP.
Dick assured him he'd
fast track put on the back burner ignore the request and he quickly got to work setting up meetings between Big oil and his Energy Task Force. Dick knew they needed to decide how to carve up Iraq's oil fields if (wink, wink) something like a new Pearl Harbor occurred on George's watch giving them the opportunity to invade Iraq and topple Saddam.
In the meantime George took on his top priorities of cutting taxes, deregulating business, denying people with horrible diseases any hope by cutting off funding for stem cell research, allowing Wall Street to risk people's retirement money, creating a "guest worker" program so big business could employ
slave cheap labor, spending Bill's surplus to curry favor with the voters, and driving the federal budget back into the red.
Despite his cool agenda George knew that Congress and the American people still wouldn't be hip with his desire to invade Iraq. He wished that Osama would hurry up with that surprise, because George was getting impatient. Plus he had to work really hard ignoring all the details that were leaking out.
Reports came in from all over the globe. In June of 2001 Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the Taliban's Foreign Minister, cautioned US intelligence straight up that an "attack was imminent, and would kill thousands". German intelligence passed on some info suggesting that al Qaeda was going to "hijack commercial aircraft and use them as weapons". The FBI had been hearing that Middle Eastern men were training at flight schools in Florida and elsewhere. Finally, it was learned that Osama was "very disappointed that the 1993 bombing had not toppled the World Trade Center" and that he "was planning large scale operations in New York in the summer or fall of 2001".
Unfortunately the cat was out of the bag. Unbelievably US intelligence failed to connect the dots and operation "Big Wedding" (Al-Qaeda's code name for 9/11) remained a go.
Of course none of these reports were viewed by George personally, but they were summarized in the 8/6/2001 PDB "bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US", which was delivered to George while he was chilling in Crawford on one of the longest presidential vacations ever. The briefing
confirmed that the threat of a bin Laden attack in the United States remained both current and serious was historical in nature (whew!).
George scolded the CIA briefer for interrupting his "me time" by telling him, "All right. You've covered your ass now". Then he got back to clearing brush, playing golf and riding his mountain bike.
Image: Two buddies kicking back and hanging out.