The Ft. Hood Massacre Is George Bush's Fault
Continued from previous page
Mullah Omar of Afghanistan's Taliban first offered to arrest bin Laden and turn him over to us (Washington Post, Page 1, October 29, 2001, "Diplomats Met With Taliban On Bin Laden" by Ottaway and Stephens) and then made an explicit offer to arrest Bin Laden and try him for the crime of 9/11 (CNN, October 7, 2001, "US Rejects Taliban Offer To Try Bin Laden"; The Guardian, October 14, 2001, "Bush Rejects Taliban Offer To Hand Bin Laden Over").
It would have been so easy for Bush to accept Omar's offer, which had resulted, according to the Post, in over 20 diplomatic meetings and negotiations. The Justice Department could have arrested Bin Laden like they did McVeigh, helped the Taliban dismantle Bin Laden's training camps and track down their attendees and sponsors, and launch an international effort to disassemble and render impotent al-Qaeda.
It probably could have been done in a year or less, given the intensity of the worldwide empathy for citizens of America and the many other nations whose people died in the World Trade Center. Over 5000 American soldiers would still be alive, and tens of thousands would not have lost arms, legs, and eyes. Hundreds of thousands - possibly over a million - innocent Afghans and Iraqis would still be alive.
But Karl Rove knew that George W. Bush had a problem, and saw in bin Laden the solution. And didn't much give a damn what it would mean to American Muslims.
Bush had not defeated Al Gore fair and square, and was seen by most Americans as a spoiler, an illegitimate leader. As soon as the details of his proposed "supply side" voodoo economics hit the press in the first months of his presidency, the markets went into a nosedive.
And already there were stories circulating in the media of his cozy relationship with corrupt oil barons like Ken Lay and the secret energy meetings in the Spring of 2001 - before 9/11 - in which Cheney, Lay, and others in the oil industry were apparently carving up the oil fields of Iraq.
Bush, in short, was seen as a buffoonish pretender, an ineffectual manager, and a sellout to big oil and other scandal-ridden industries. He was the butt of late-night jokes, a former college cheerleader, a "dry drunk" (except when tempted by beer and pretzels), an inside trader, a small man on the national and international stage.
George W. desperately needed his own Lex Luthor if he was to reinvent himself as Superman.
Rove and Bush realized that if they simply branded Bin Laden as the criminal thug that he was - the leader of an obscure Islamic mafia with fewer than 20,000 serious members - they wouldn't have the super-villain they needed for George W. Bush to be seen as a super-hero. If Bush only authorized a police action, or cut a deal with Omar, he'd miss a golden opportunity to position himself as the Battle Commander of The War Against Evil Incarnate.
And so began the building of the mythos. Osama as evil genius. Osama as worldwide mastermind. Even Osama as the antichrist (as General Boykin reminded us so candidly).
If the remnants of al-Qaeda tried to pull our strings by increasing "chatter" about particular flights, for example, the Bush White House hyper-reacted with many press conferences and televised appearances by Tom Ridge. Every action was trumpeted. Bush put "Terror Alerts" on the screens of TVs nationwide as often as possible. The constant drumbeat was that George The Good was battling the One True Dragon. And that Dragon was Islamic.