Bush Family and Fundamentalist Islam
By Michael I. Niman
ArtVoice May 1, 2003
What do you call a crowd of over one million Shiite
fundamentalists chanting anti-American slogans in
? Here’s where the spin reaches
its pinnacle of twisted creativity. National
Public Radio refers to this event as “Iraqis celebrating their newfound
freedoms.” And this in fact is an
accurate description – but it’s hardly the celebration of “liberation”
the Bush administration and their cronies in the media would like us to believe
it is. True liberation, you see, is
normally followed by some sort of “thank you.”
This is more of a fuck you – now leave!
Pundits seem truly shocked that the Iraqis aren’t
welcoming their American “liberators” and rushing out to embrace American
style shopping mall “democracy.” Perhaps
their ill feelings toward Americans might stem from their recent dose of
“Shock and Awe.” When the
Germans originally developed this Nazi-era tactic and coined the phrase in their
magazine, Signal, I don’t think endearment or nation building was on their
agenda. Shock and Awe worked as a
military tactic for both the Americans and the Nazis.
The Iraqis are now recovering from their shock – “something that jars
the emotions as if with a violent unexpected blow,” and awe – “an emotion
of mingled reverence, dread and wonder.” Trust
and kinship toward the invading army really isn’t the sort of results one
would expect from such a campaign.
This Shock and Awe came on the tail of years of sporadic
bombardment and devastating sanctions which crippled
’s infrastructure. According to a
spokesperson for the US Agency for International Development, this led to the
deaths of approximately 100,000 Iraqi children per year.
Before that we had Gulf War I, where over 100,000 retreating Iraqis were
incinerated on what we now term, “the highway of death.”
All the while Iraqis have been suffering at the hands of a psychopathic
tyrant, Saddam Hussein, whose rise to power was aided and supported by the
. So of course they have no love for
Iraqis are doing what people the world over have done for
thousands of years when faced with destruction, devastation and overwhelming
force. They are turning to God.
And they’re doing it in a way that also demonstrates resistance to the
invading culture. They’re turning
away from the secularism of Saddam Hussein and the
, and toward the fundamentalism of the Taliban and the Iranians.
, democracy means the establishment of a fundamentalist religious state that in
all likelihood will oppose the domination of hedonistic American consumerist
This should come as no surprise to anyone with an elemental
understanding of global politics. US
intelligence agencies warned ad nauseum that a hasty destruction of the brutal
Baath regime would lead to a fundamentalist regime.
The alternative press also has been sounding this trumpet since the first
Gulf War. Regular readers of
the alternative media are not in the least bit surprised by this quite
predictable outcome. No thinking
person should be surprised that a
could only lead to two possible outcomes – indefinite occupation in one form
or another, or the establishment of a fundamentalist state.
We knew this before we went in. Bush’s
invasion would transform the region’s most radically secular government into
what could eventually become the most powerful fundamentalist force in the
The relationship between conservative fundamentalist Islam,
the Bush family, and American political culture is quite fascinating.
Fundamentalist Islam has played a pivotal role in shaping American
politics for the last quarter century, ushering in the so-called “Reagan
Revolution” and fundamentally changing core American values and political
Shiites for Reagan
The face of American politics began to change in November
of 1979 when fundamentalist Shiite students in
, taking approximately 90 hostages. They
were angered by US support of the brutal regime of the Shah, who was overthrown
earlier that year, and the Carter administration’s decision to allow the Shah
to enter the
for medical treatment. The hostage
crisis at first boosted President Carter’s popularity, but as it dragged on,
his popularity waned. Fifty-two of
the original hostages were eventually held for 444 days, with Carter powerless
to secure their release. The
humiliating fiasco quickly dominated the
media and became the defining event of what was to become a failed presidency.
For the first six months of the crisis, ABC, NBC and CBS dedicated about
one third of their news hole to the standoff.
ABC created a daily 30 minute show entitled, “The Crisis in
: America Held Hostage.” CBS ended
their nightly newscasts with a tally of how many days the hostages were held.
After a year of humiliation with “
held hostage” by a rag-tag group of Shiite radicals, Carter’s popularity
and the nation’s confidence in his presidency plummeted.
In November of 1980, a tough talking Ronald Reagan seized the presidency
with 50.75% of the popular vote and 91% of the Electoral College vote. George
H.W. Bush was his Vice President. The
Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush era of conservative corporate presidencies had begun.
Years later political scientists, historians and
journalists started discovering evidence indicating that the Reagan/Bush
campaign team had secret meetings with the Shiite fundamentalist government of
prior to the election. They allege
that the Reagan/Bush team reached an agreement with the Iranians, whereby the
hostages would not be released prior to the
election – preventing Carter from benefiting from a popularity boost upon
their release, and guaranteeing bad press for Carter up until the election.
If this is true, it amounts to nothing short of treason –
endangering the lives of the American hostages, causing the nation undue
suffering and humiliation, and ultimately hijacking the presidential election.
The case is best outlined by Dr. Gary Sick, a former National Security
Council staff member who served in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations.
Sick, who also served for 24 years as a US Navel intelligence officer
before being recruited to the NSC by a Republican administration, compiled his
evidence into a book, “The October Surprise,” published in 1991 by the
Random House subsidiary, Times Books.
Sick reports of alleged meetings in July of 1980 between
Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager and ensuing CIA Director, William Casey, and
’s Shiite fundamentalist government. The
deal called for immediate covert shipments of US military hardware to
, prior to the 1980 election – and then directly from CIA operatives after
Reagan seized the White House. These
arms sales are now documented history. Records
of these transactions served as evidence to convict the felons associated with
the Iran-Contra scandal. According
to Sick, Casey reported directly to Reagan running mate and former CIA Director,
George H.W. Bush. Disputed accounts
place Bush in
in October of 1980, sealing the final phases of the Agreement with the
Iranians. Once George H.W. Bush became president, his Justice Department
indicted the whistle-blower who placed Bush at that meeting on charges of making
a false declaration to a Federal Judge. He
was acquitted of all charges, as the government was unable to account for the
whereabouts of Bush or Casey during the days the meeting allegedly took place
– this despite the fact that it was just weeks before the election, and
candidate Bush suddenly went MIA.
Whether or not the Reagan/Bush team cut a deal with the
Iranians will always be a point of contention.
What is clear, however, was that the fate of the
presidency in 1980 was in the hands of Shiite fundamentalists in
. Whether or not this issue
ultimately decided the election, the decision that the Iranians made supported
the Reagan/Bush candidacy. They
released the hostages, as per the alleged agreement, hours after Ronald Reagan
and George H.W. Bush were inaugurated. We
now know that shipments of American weapons to
followed soon thereafter and continued for years, laying the foundation for the
Reagan/Bush era Iran-Contra scandals. Both
Reagan and Bush went on to work with Osama bin Laden, training and arming the
movement that eventually brought the Taliban to power in Afghanistan and led to
the formation of a global al Qaida movement.
Now lets fast-forward to present times.
George H. W. Bush’s son, George “W” seizes the White House in 2001
in a contested race after losing the national popular vote, and by most
primary to a lackluster Al Gore. Despite
the clear absence of a mandate, the younger Bush sets out wilding, attacking
environmental safeguards, public education, health programs for seniors and the
poor, anti-poverty programs and
’s traditional separation of church and state.
He installs an anti-constitutionalist attorney general, further
privatizes the public airwaves, loots the American treasury to fund corporate
welfare and gives carte blanche to corporations to write international trade
treaties – all while giving massive tax breaks to the ultra-rich as his Enron
buddies plunge California into a fabricated energy crisis.
Despite a compliant media, George W. Bush – “W” –
was in trouble. W’s halting speech patterns, his embarrassing ignorance of
world affairs and his propensity to say stupid things in front of microphones
was dooming this unpopular president to the ashbin of history.
In early September, the final complete Florida election recount, funded
by a consortium of media groups, was about to be released – spelling doom for
the junior Bush, who at the time was in the process of trying to prevent the
scheduled release of the Reagan/Bush presidential papers, and all the
Iran/Contra material that they contain. Then along came September 11th.
The “Attack on
,” ostensibly the work of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, changed
everything. The younger Bush
suddenly became a “wartime” president – with a new endless war fought
against ill-defined enemies on multiple fronts inhabiting various planes of
reality. New York, the traditional
seat of the “liberal East Coast Establishment” and the center of anti-Bush
fundraising and political power, was suddenly economically devastated and living
under a debilitating permanent “code orange” state of siege.
election, and the final complete tally showing Gore the winner, was now
irrelevant news, slipping by under the radar.
We were at war. And
challenging a wartime president, the media reminded us, was unpatriotic.
Patriotism aside, while everyone was distracted by the “war without
end,” the young Bush pushed ahead with his draconian domestic agenda.
Suddenly anything was possible – and
’s joke of a president became a celebrated communicator (it seems he’s quite
an adept speaker when given the opportunity to talk about killing – he just
gets tongue tied talking about health or education). September
11th saved junior’s presidency and the Bush family was once again
riding high. Brother Jeb of
election mayhem fame was re-elected. Republicans
swept in the mid-term congressional elections, and aided by the death of Paul
Wellstone, succeeded in retaking the Senate.
Bush used his newfound power to change American military
doctrine from one that was at least rhetorically defensive, to that of an
aggressor and invader, based on his notion of preemptive attacks.
Within the year he hijacked the American military into a war, essentially
to give control of secularist
to Iranian-backed Shiite fundamentalists – a plumb the Iranians could never
win in battle without American help.
Despite the current occupation and the appointment of an
American viceroy to preside over
– make no mistake about it – eventually the majority of Iraqis, free from
Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, and filled with anti-American hatred, will form the
Islamic state that they desire. And
if this is what the majority of Iraqis want – then they have a right to
The interesting thing is – in all likelihood, without the
intervention of the
playing a scripted role as “Great Satan,” they probably would have followed
their own history and chosen a more liberal secularist path.
The rise of Islamic extremism, which runs counter to Islam’s more
liberal and inclusive history, has only been possible thanks to the intervention
of the United States operating under the tutelage of Ronald Reagan and the Bush
clan. And, in turn, the
fundamentalists, intentionally or not, have helped the Bush family rise to and
maintain power against what should be overwhelming odds.
Reactionary US Regimes and Fundamentalist Islam work hand
and hand forging an odd symbiosis. With
the Bush administration diverting billions of dollars from domestic health and
education programs to rebuild
’s public health and education systems, promising Iraqis the universal health
care his administration denies to Americans, this relationship only promises to
get more and more complex.
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