The perilous ramifications of the September 11 attacks on the United States are only now beginning to unfold. They will undoubtedly be felt for generations to come. This is one of many sad conclusions readers will draw from Craig Unger's exceptional book House of Bush House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties
. As Unger claims in this incisive study, the seeds for the "Age of Terrorism" and September 11 were planted nearly 30 years ago in what, at the time, appeared to be savvy business transactions that subsequently translated into political currency and the union between the Saudi royal family and the extended political family of George H. W. Bush. On the surface, the claim may appear to be politically driven, but as Unger (a respected investigative journalist and editor) probes--with scores of documents and sources--the political tenor of the U.S. over the last 30 years, the Iran-Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, the birth of Al Qaeda, the dubious connection between members of the Saudi Royal family and the exportation of terror, and the personal fortunes amassed by the Bush family from companies such as Harken Energy and the Carlyle Group, he exposes the "brilliantly hidden agendas and purposefully murky corporate relationships" between these astonishingly powerful families. His evidence is persuasive and reveals a devastating story of Orwellian proportions, replete with political deception, shifting allegiances, and lethal global consequences. Unger begins his book with the remarkable story of the repatriation of 140 Saudis directly following the September 11 attacks. He ends where Richard A. Clarke
begins, questioning the efficacy of the war in Iraq in the battle against terrorism. We are unquestionably facing a global security crisis unlike any before. President Bush insists that we will prevail, yet as Unger so effectively concludes, "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbors and supports our country's mortal enemies." --Silvana Tropea
From Publishers Weekly
In this potentially explosive book, investigative journalist Unger, who has written for the New Yorker, Esquire and Vanity Fair, pieces together the highly unusual and close personal and financial relationships between the Bush family and the ruling family of Saudi Arabiaand questions the implications for Bush's preparedness, or possible lack thereof, for September 11. What could forge such an unlikely alliance between the leader of the free world and the leaders of a stifling Islamic theocracy? First and foremost, according to Unger, is money. He compiles figures in an appendix indicating over $1.4 billion worth of business between the Saudi royal family and businesses tied (sometimes loosely) to the House of Bush, ranging from donations to the Bush presidential library to investments with the Carlyle Group ("a well-known player in global commerce" for which George H.W. Bush has been a senior advisor and his secretary of state, James Baker, is a partner), to deals with Halliburton, of which Dick Cheney was CEO. James Bakers law firm even defended the House of Saud in a lawsuit brought by relatives of victims of September 11. Unger also questions whether the Bush grew so complacent about the Saudis that his administration ignored then White House terrorism czar Richard Clarkes repeated warnings and recommendations about the Saudis and al-Qaeda. Another question raised by Ungers research is whether millions in Saudi money given to U.S. Muslim groups may have delivered a crucial block of Muslim votes to George W. Bush in 2000and its questions like that will make some readers wonder whether Unger is applying a chainsaw to issues that should be dissected with a scalpel. But whether one buys Ungers arguments or not, theres little doubt that with this intensely researched, well-written book he has poured more flame onto the political fires of 2004.
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