While doing some research for this post, I came across a document that appeared to have been written less than one month after 9/11; it was written in the form of a journal but did not have an author’s name (I have since learned it and reveal it at the end of this post ). It consisted of a first hand account of someone who lived near to and worked in Washington, D.C.; it was someone who worked near the Capitol Building; it was someone who knew Congressmen and Senators personally; and it was someone who was a strong Christian.
As I read what this person obviously knew in the hours after 9/11, it became blatantly obvious to me that the individuals at the highest levels of the George W. Bush administration knew it too. If the author of this account had been listened to then, the rise of Islam across the Middle East, Europe, and here in America since, may have been significantly reduced, if not outright prevented. These observations are so spot-on from someone who had much less information than Bush’s inner circle did that I’m convinced this is not an issue of Monday morning quarterbacking; the Bush strategy after 9/11 was fatally flawed and his administration chose the path of least resistance. In short, the administration lied to us and to itself.
Read the entire account here if you’d like. I’ve excerpted portions that particularly struck me as being incredibly prescient. Here is some of the author’s account of what he experienced on September 12, 2001:
By mid afternoon on Wednesday I was convinced that not only was the United States a victim of Islamic Jihad, but that the attack had been perpetrated by an organization controlled by a Saudi citizen and that most of those involved were Saudi, and that furthermore the attack was financed for the most part by Saudi businessmen and members of the Saudi royal family.
At the end of the day I made the following statement to my wife:
“These attacks were planned, financed and carried out by Saudi nationals and as a result the real culprits will never come to justice. We will bomb some third world nation like Afghanistan and our government will say our “moderate” Islamic friends with all the oil were not involved. Worse, we will put a handful of people in jail like we did the last time the World Trade Center was bombed. The Islamic fanatics will think a trade off of four or five in jail getting three meals a day, versus thousands of Americans dead, is a great deal.
So far, he accurately identified what the Bush administration would do with respect to Afghanistan. We also know that based on the fact that al-Qaeda financier – Abdullah Omar Naseef – was not held to account for his role in funding al-Qeada, there were some “moderate” Islamic friends who escaped American wrath over 9/11. Naseef was once the Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL), which is funded by the Saudi Royal family. He also founded the Rabita Trust, an entity that was identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as financing al-Qaeda; it was listed as a terrorist organization and its assets frozen one month after 9/11.
Here is an excerpt from the author’s account about his experiences on September 13, 2001:
As I talked to congressmen and Senators my worst fears were realized. I carried documents with me showing clearly that most funding for Osama Bin Laden’s terror network came from moderate states like Saudi Arabia. While the Saudi government itself claims that it has no ties to these terror organizations, each year the government gives $10 billion to fundamentalist Islamic organizations, many of them located in the United States.
When I confronted one well known Senator about the millions of dollars going to Bin Laden’s terror network from Saudi businessmen, he said to me, “Yes, but they are coerced into giving it to him.”
I responded to this by saying, “Maybe those millionaire Saudi businessmen should be more fearful of us than they are of Bin Laden.”
Later that day almost the identical conversation took place between myself and a member of the House leadership and then again with someone within the Bush Administration. It was made clear to me that none of the wealthy Saudi Arabians who finance Islamic terror would meet the wrath of the United States for fear of angering the “friendly” state of Saudi Arabia. This was made clear to me by members of the House and Senate, both Democrat and Republican as well as by some in the Administration. I was appalled.
The author was quite correct about those “moderate” Islamic friends facing no consequences. Perhaps the most chilling excerpt from the author was found in his account of what he witnessed on September 14, 2001:
My stomach churned as I watched Muzammil Siddiqi, the Imam for the Islamic Society of North America, stand on stage with President George W. Bush in the National Cathedral. Imam Siddiqi is a radical extremist who has participated in anti-American demonstrations in front of the White House as recently as October of 2000. He has in the past called for a Jihad or holy war against this nation. While the Christian and Jewish leaders at the event prayed for our nation and for the dead and dying from the attack, Imam Siddiqi did not do so. At no time did he condemn the acts of the terrorists nor did he pray for America or for the families of those who lost their lives in the Jihad attack against the United States…
As the service closed I felt the chill of the presence of the awesome power of God. I was clearly reminded of the very first of the Ten Commandments, THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME (Exodus 20:3). The National Cathedral had been defiled… Our Christian President had bowed his head to prayers offered to other gods, prayers that may have been for those who would destroy our nation and enslave our children to an alien religion. At that moment the hand of protection of the true God was removed from our nation.
Since the Jihad attack on the United States on September 11th the President has surrounded himself with and sought advice from radical Islamic leaders who have openly called for the violent overthrow of the government of the United States. In addition, the President has invited six of the seven Islamic nations known to sponsor terror into his “coalition against terror”.
By late Friday it became apparent to me that our nation was in fact not going to fight a war on terrorism, but rather follow the same old track of “punishing those who actually committed the crime.” This was not a “crime;” it was an act of war.
Siddiqi eventually stepped down as president of the Muslim Brotherhood group but he has not really left the ISNA; he now serves as the Religious Director for the Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOC), which recently welcomed Congresswomen Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).
Here’s a portion of the author’s entry about the week of September 17, 2001:
A sharp line began to form in Washington between those of us willing to tell the truth about what had happened on September 11th and those who wish to continue to live in the fantasy world of pluralism. The ACLU began a campaign to stop “oppression” of Muslims in the United States. They began the campaign by signing up organizations to protect the “civil rights” of Muslims.
Meanwhile the “moderate” Islamic organizations had a word of their own for Muslims in America: DO NOT HELP THE FBI. Internet sites warned Muslims that: “The FBI has a history of harassing and harming minority and immigrant communities. Some people are spending a long time in jail because they or their friends talked to the FBI.”
As for the author’s assertion that George W. Bush wrongly stood with radical Islamic leaders… Once again, here is video of Bush on September 17, 2001 inside the Islamic Center of Washington mosque. The Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – Nihad Awad – stood behind Bush as the president espoused the religion of our attackers:
He spoke at the same mosque more than one year later on December 5, 2002:
Those who argue that the Bush strategy was based on a tried and true adage that says, keep your friends close and your enemies closer, run into a big problem.
It’s a strategy an excuse that has failed us miserably since 9/11.
Islam is on the rise all across the globe. The Muslim Brotherhood front groups Bush attempted to appease have smiles from ear to rear. In fact, Bush himself, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, actually seemed to urge people to embrace the Brotherhood’s rise in the Middle East:
These are extraordinary times in the history of freedom. In the Arab Spring, we have seen the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. The idea that Arab peoples are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever.
Yet we have also seen instability, uncertainty and the revenge of brutal rulers. The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle.
Some in both parties in Washington look at the risks inherent in democratic change—particularly in the Middle East and North Africa—and find the dangers too great. America, they argue, should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability.
But in the long run, this foreign policy approach is not realistic. It is not within the power of America to indefinitely preserve the old order, which is inherently unstable. Oppressive governments distrust the diffusion of choice and power, choking off the best source of national prosperity and success.
Today, Naseef, at least one of the men who should have been the object of as much American ire as bin Laden was, watches safely from afar as a woman who served with him on the Board of an organization he founded – the Islamic Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) – now serves alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as Clinton’s closest advisor.
In the days and weeks after 9/11, George W. Bush’s approval rating shot up to 90%. When he left office, he was at 34%. 9/11 was his biggest moment of truth and his approval rating steadily fell after the invasion of Afghanistan; it spiked after the initial success in Iraq, and steadily declined thereafter. Bush had the American people behind him after 9/11 and he ultimately squandered much of our support by not leveling with us and by not identifying everyone who was responsible for hitting us.
In hindsight, the anger at Bush, Cheney, Rove, et. al. was not all that unwarranted, though the vitriol and expressed reasons for that anger often were. The decision to go into Iraq was a devastatingly wrong one. That should be obvious now. Iraq was a threat to Saudi Arabia more than it was to us. Saddam Hussein threatened the Saudis in a way not all that dissimilar from how he threatened Kuwait in the early 90’s. In essence, the United States aligned with a nation that was actually culpable in the 9/11 attacks, against that nation’s enemy.
It’s time for us on the right to acknowledge that many of those who screamed the loudest about invading Iraq being the wrong thing to do, were correct. George W. Bush should do the same.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED AFTER 9/11
Based on the insights of the author of that prescient 9/11 account – William Murray of the Religious Freedom Coalition – the argument that Murray knew the truth while Bush and his advisors did not is poppycock. That’s why this is not about Monday morning quarterbacking (ripping a coach for the decision to punt on first down is not Monday morning quarterbacking; it’s justified criticism). It’s about what should have been done by those who should have had the courage to do it.
POSSIBLE SCENARIO: In the days after 9/11, George W. Bush repudiates all groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The president goes to Congress and seeks to have the Brotherhood labeled as a terrorist entity / enemy. CAIR, ISNA, MSA and any other front groups for the Brotherhood in the U.S. are put on notice and identified as what they are – entities that seek the destruction of the United States from within. The accounts of all such groups are frozen and leaders are either arrested or sent out of the country.
Any and all individuals with verifiable ties / loyalties to the aforementioned groups and who either hold jobs or any political influence inside the U.S. Government are prohibited from serving in those capacities.
Bush gathers all of his advisors and top Cabinet officials together to determine how best to become energy independent as quickly as possible. He orders is Energy Secretary to loosen as many regulations as humanly possible; this will encourage increased drilling and refining. With a 90% approval rating, the political capital at the president’s disposal is virtually unlimited. The goal is energy independence within two years. Aggressive? Yes. Impossible? Americans have a history of exceeding goals in times of crisis and war. In this case, not letting a crisis go to waste would have been a good thing.
Bush decides to invade Afghanistan upon getting Congressional approval, which leads Saudi Arabia to believe it’s successfully staving off American ire. Going into Afghanistan is the first in a hypothetical chain of events:
- Target Osama bin Laden and destroy the Taliban, which was responsible for both running the terrorist training camps and harboring bin Laden.
- Stay focused in Afghanistan while buying time to allow for energy independence in America. The world is made to believe that we are attacking those who we perceive attacked us. Singling out Saudi Arabia as being complicit in 9/11 at this point likely would result in a significant loss of oil imports and a debilitating energy crisis in the U.S.
- Once the U.S. is confident it can survive the Saudi Arabian oil spigot being turned off, top tier al-Qaeda financiers – sources of Osama bin Laden’s funding – are identified publicly by the President and targeted as enemies of the United States. Abdullah Omar Naseef, for example, is tightly connected to the Saudi Royal family but he has also been identified as a financier of al-Qaeda. Groups that Naseef has either led, founded or both, are proven to have been financed by the Royal family, which seeks to protect Naseef.
- The decision is made by the Bush administration that while it will not target the Saudi family specifically, it will not respect the family’s wishes with regard to which al-Qaeda financiers are off-limits. Bush then informs the Royal family that if the oil spigots are shut off, that policy is subject to change and the Royal family risks the same fate as those ‘untouchable’ al-Qaeda financiers.
Those who scoff and call such ideas ridiculous lose the argument when we see how reality has unfolded since September 11, 2001.
In either case, it’s safe to say that Murray was right and the Bush administration was wrong.
Ben Barrack is a talk show host and author of the book, Unsung Davids