311 of 321 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2004
As the author of House of Bush, House of Saud, I am not sure if it is appropriate to respond here, but I did not want erroneous right wing criticism of my book to stand without a rebuttal. "Seeker of Truth" claims my figure of $860 billion invested by the Saudis in the US is "a factoid" which I invented. The source was Allan Gerson, an attorney representing the families of 9/11 victims. (...)
Likewise, Seeker of Truth takes issue with the fact that I found more than $1.4 billion in investments and contracts going from the Saudis to companies with ties to the Bushes. He writes, "The main problem with this figure, according to Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman, is that former president Bush didn't join the Carlyle advisory board until April, 1998-five months after Carlyle had already sold BDM to another defense firm."
My critic uncritically accepts the explanation of Carlyle's publicist, leaving the reader with the impression that the Bush family and its allies had little or no relationship with the Carlyle Group until 1998. If that were true, he might have a point.
But in fact, the Bush-Carlyle relationship began eight years earlier when the Carlyle Group put George W. Bush on the board of one of its subsidiaries, Caterair, in 1990. In 1993, after the Bush-Quayle administration left office and George H. W. Bush and James Baker were free to join the private sector, the Bush family's relationship with the Carlyle Group began to become substantive.
By the end of that year, key figures at the Carlyle Group included such powerful Bush colleagues as James Baker, Frank Carlucci, and Richard Darman. Because George W. Bush's role at Carlyle had been marginal, the $1.4 billion figure includes no contracts that predated the arrival of Baker, Carlucci and Darman at Carlyle. (These figures are itemized in the appendix of House of Bush.) With former Secretary of Defense Carlucci guiding the acquisition of defense companies, Carlyle finally began making real money from the Saudis, both through investments from the royal family, the bin Ladens and other members of the Saudi elite, and through lucrative defense investments.
72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2004
The author, using solid and extensive references, demonstrates year by year and step by step the evolution of the relationship between the Bush family and their associates with the House of Saud, and by extension, the house of bin Laden. The weight of the evidence that such an association exists is the sheer number of shared business endeavors, business associates (who are later appointed government officials) and mutual interests - too much for it to be coincidence. The consummation of this association is the outright courting (and winning) by the Bush campaign of the radical Muslim vote in Florida in 2000 and the subsequent loosening of immigration requirements for Saudi Arabians. The last chapter (I will not give it away) will sweep the reader into a dimension where the game of playing both sides by the rich and powerful (both Bush and Saud) comes suddenly crashing down in a deadly tragedy for thousands of Americans. Now we can see why Richard Clarke maintains the Bush administration did little pre-9/11 to pursue Al Qaida - what he doesn't say (but this book documents) is that Al Qaida is the stepchild of Saudi Arabian royalty, and that it is Saudi Arabian royalty that has helped propel the Bush family into power. A chilling read that explains so many questions we have. Read it, share it.
115 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2004
What a remarkable job Craig Unger does of pulling together disparate threads into what becomes the easily identifiable quilt that is the Bush-Saud relationship. I cannot think of a more important work of non-fiction written over the past thirty years.
In part because of the conservative criticism they drew, my last three reads were Plan of Attack (Woodward), Against All Enemies (Clarke), and The Price of Loyalty (Suskind). I'd heard of House of Bush, but it didn't seem to be drawing much ire from the right. Now I see why: It's footnoted and chapter-noted to the extreme; its facts beyond reproach. There are simply precious few (if any) chinks in Unger's armor for the right to attack. I've yet to see any serious criticisms of Unger's work. (You can bet the book's been picked apart, yet I've not seen anyone publicizing factual inaccuracies. There's simply no spin to use against Unger's masterful marshalling of the facts.)
This book -- and Michael Moore's movie -- should be made available free of charge to Republicans and Independents in battleground states. You can't read the one or see the other without being profoundly bothered (though I'll concede that Moore can be a tad over-the-top).
In years to come, this book should be required reading in history classes worldwide. My thanks to Craig Unger for setting the record straight.
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
In Craig Unger's book, he reveals an incredible link between Saudi money, and the last 40 years of the Bush family and their business dealings and investments. It turns out that Prescott Bush, the Senator from CT, and father of George Bush Sr. '41 was something else, before he retired to be a Senator from CT. He was the Managing Partner of Brown Brothers Harriman which is a private bank, used only by the rich and famous, as today, BBH will not take an account for less than $3 million in cash/securities.
Through these money connections and through Bush '41 and Bush '43 oil connections, incredible amounts of Saudi money were invested in companies that were either owned by the Bush family or that the family had interest in. The biggest of these is the Carlyle Group, a giant private equity company. Unger estimates that $1.4 Billion was invested by Saudi's in the Carlyle Group which very much directly benefitted the Bush family.
But the most interesting part of Unger's book, is the fact that it was published between that of O'Neill's book and Clarke's book, and thus got a bit of the short shrift in the marketing department. However, Unger's book supports both O'Neill's book and Clarke's book.
Apparently, a little known fact is that during the period between 9/11 and 9/13/2001, there were several commercial non-military airplanes flying over the skies of the US of A. These planes contained members of the Saudi Royal Family and the Bin Laden family, who were congregating in Lexington, KY in readiness to evacuate the country.
No one else was allowed to fly. Former President Clinton was stuck in Australia at the time and was not allowed to fly back in. Former V-P Al Gore was in Austria at the time and was not allowed to fly back in. But with White House approval, a bunch of Saudi's, about 140 all told, were not only allowed to fly during the no fly period, but some even left the country on 9/13, prior to Logan International being reopened for commercial traffic, with special White House Clearance. This event is what Unger characterizes as the "Greatest Crime In American History." When the country is devastated, when the vast majority of the hijackers and killers had been identified as Saudi Nationals, and in cooperation with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, the White House lets 140 members of the Saudi Royal Family and members of the bin Laden family, to fly, unimpeded, around and out of the country.
Unger's book gives excruciating detail about the connections between the Bush '43 administration and the Saudi Royal Family. In fact, George W. Bush was personal friends with Prince Bandar, as was his father.
Unger explicitly indicates, that it is difficult to imagine that a President would act entirely in the national interest, when his personal interest is so tightly tied to the interests of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, in addition to the failure to develop a cohesive anti-terrorism plan, despite Richard Clarke's preparedness to do so at anytime, and his plan sitting doing nothing waiting for the NSC to review it, the Bush administration badly damaged our ability to really properly respond to a threat such as the type that Al Qaeda was and is involved in still to this day. And that the very funders of this terror are also the closest allies of the Bush family. And that this indeed seems to represent a serious conflict of interest for the President of the United States of America.
This is recommended reading for all US citizens who want to have at least a glimpse of the truth, without nearly the spin that the White House is putting on its statements today in the news. It is highly recommended for its well researched factual revelations.
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2004
This well-researched, well-written and intriguing book will keep you on the edge of your seat. Even details that in other books would come across as dry and indecipherable are presented in a way that makes you want to devour every word faster than you can you read.
The facts are here... conjecture is rarely used, and when it is, it is qualified as such. We've heard bits and pieces of this story before, but it's great to have it researched in depth, and all in one place. The author clearly put a lot of work into this book, and the result is stunning.
The thing that immediately comes to mind is that Richard Clarke's story is told pretty much exactly as it appears in his own book (which came out after this one). I suppose the partisan accusers will now have to start saying that Clarke's motivation in telling the truth here was to help Unger sell books...
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
This superbly written and carefully documented book by Craig Unger, a noted author and investigative journalist, adds handsomely to the burgeoning list of substantive tomes covering the somewhat seedy and troublingly fulsome state of contemporary Saudi-American relationships, warts and all, and impressively serves the reader by masterfully describing and detailing the manifest ways in which the rise in the Bush family fortunes (both in terms of political and financial capital) is inextricably intertwined with that of the Saudi royal family. Indeed, the specter of blatant double-fisted corruption and cronyism depicted here is difficult to understand without understanding the kind of systematic familial linkages and connections that are explained and described here. As with Robert Baer's recent "Sleeping With The Devil", author paints such a picture of consistent influence-peddling and access-enhancements at the highest levels of the federal government that the reader begins to see just how massively both American foreign policy on the one hand, and American electoral politics on the other, have been affected by the naked avarice and greed displayed by our one-time public officials such as James Baker, George H. W Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and other Bush family associates.
Of course, most often this level of crony capitalism is cloaked under the self-serving flag of life-long public service, and an apparent confusion over where the public interest ends, on the one hand, and their own selfish profit begins, on the other. In Baer's terrific book, the overall policy of Saudi influence peddling through use of money and highly valued services to its friends and allies is described and placed in context in terms of its potential impact for American foreign policy. Herein, the author masterfully illustrates how the Bush family has acted as the sword's edge for such Saudi efforts, providing the entry point for Saudi financial and political goals within the American polity in exchange for nearly 1.5 billion dollars in rewards from the Saudi royal family and its entourage. Indeed, such the extent to which the corruption has progressed can be gauged in the unrivaled personal access the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Bandar, enjoys at the White House, having virtually unfettered free access to the Oval office 24/7. Given the close financial ties between the houses of the Saudi royal family and the Bushes, one wonders to what degree the Saud family has been allowed either illegal or unethical influence over critical matters of commerce and state within this country.
Needless to say, this kind of personal political access is unique, and is more than any of our closest allies such as Britain or Israel, can claim to enjoy. Given the fact that fifteen of the nineteen terrorists involved in the attack on 911 were Saudis, and that the government of Saudi Arabia has never cooperated in helping us to learn more about these individuals, or the individuals involved in any of the other Saudi-related terrorist incidents, the situation is indeed quite peculiar. Even more peculiar is the mysterious fashion in which dozens of Saudis were literally systematically spirited out of the country in the immediate aftermath of the 911 attack; and agencies like the state Department, the FBI, and The White House all aided and abetted these somewhat hurried efforts by Saudi nationals to leave before they could be either questioned or detained in connection with the events and circumstances surrounding the terrorist attacks.
Likewise, the willingness of the Bush administration to significantly alter Middle East policy in favor of Palestinian interests based on a Saudi threat serves as an object lesson in just how powerful and fateful the sudden confluence of personal interests and foreign policy can be. Something appears to be rotten in the state of contemporary foreign policy as it pertains to Middle East affairs, and the economic and political ties between the Saudi royal family, on the one hand, and the Bush family on the other may well be a quite significant element in the ongoing calculus of competing domestic and international interests and concerns.
The very fact that George W. Bush was a `business success' is due in no small measure to repeated efforts by Saudi business dealers aligned with the royal family acting as angels in bailing Bush out of the exigent circumstances surrounding several business situations gone awry, from the ill-fated Armbruster oil deals of the late 1970s to the puzzling deals associated with Harkin Oil in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Only through the graces of Saudis absorbing significant financial losses could the scion of the Bush family muddle though one collapsing venture after another and yet emerge with enough "profit" and financial gain to buy into the Texas Rangers and the myth that he was a self-made millionaire. As the author wryly observes, Dubya was a man born on third base who somehow deduced he had himself hit a triple. One must ask why the Saudis were so willing to subsidize the young Bush, unless they thought there would be a handsome political and financial dividend somewhere down the road. And in this book, the nature of that dividend is richly explored. This is a terrific book, and one I can heartily recommend. Enjoy!
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2004
Definitely a must read for those who are clueless about the Saud/Bush connection. It makes current puzzing events clear. Like why did we let Osama Bin-Ladin relatives fly home free and clear when all other aircraft was grounded? Why didn't we follow Richard Clarke's (the nation's first counterterrorism czar of the NSC appointed by father Geo H.W. Bush) plan for forceful preventive confrontation of Al Queda? Why did we wait soo late in taking steps to mitigate the 9/11 disaster? This book answers those questions and reveals more of what every American needs to know about the new age of global terror.
One scary premise is that Americans in Iraq are not winning this war as we falsely asume, but are instead being encircled by hostile Islamic forces emanating from Iran in increasing numbers. Another scary part concerns the overpopulation of Saudi citizens and how their per capita income has dwindled. This pressure makes iffy the cointinued existence of the House of Saud! Islamic terrorists could topple the Saudi's and wind up controlling most oil reserves in the region. (40% of all known reserves ane in the region). How futile an American military presence would be in guarding these reserves when all it takes is a single match from a single terrorist to shut us down. It's a war that America even by throwing in its multi-Billions cannot possibly hope to win. Meanwhile most unaware, uninformed Americans sit in SUVs clogged in traffic in a haze of smoggy illusion and false self-assurance. This is a shocking read. Well-researched. Easy to understand in spite of all those comprehensive details and footnotes.
116 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2004
Because it looks at a KNOWN FACT and breaks it down for the average American. For the record, I am a Republican. In the eyes of some who gave this book 1 star, I might be termed a RINO. I voted for Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. I did NOT, however, vote for George Dubya Bush. Why? I don't like idiots. I don't like people who pander. I didn't like Bill Clinton for the same reasons. Why is it when the facts, which are clearly laid out brilliantly in this book, are always assailed by the FAR RIGHT WACKOS in my party? They complain about the PUBLIC SCHOOLS turning out idiots, but I wonder if people in my own party can even criticize it anymore?!?!?
My liberal friends can criticize their party and I respect that. I never hear the Rush's and Hannity's EVER say one damaging word about our president of some of the Congress' most destructive members (Tom DeLay anyone?!?!?).
READ THIS BOOK. IT OPENS SOME EYES. I, FOR ONE, CAN LIVE WITH JOHN KERRY AS PRESIDENT. SINCE MCCAIN WON'T RUN, MAYBE WE CAN SEE IN 2008.
Real Republicans, like John McCain, Ronald Reagan and myself do not like the TRUE RINOs the ones who ignorantly poo poo any ideas or theories just because they don't fit into their rigidly small vision of the world. This partisan bull needs to stop now or books like this won't matter, our republic will have fallen and who knows what will happen.
Read this book!
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2004
This book will shock you! The average American works, takes care of their kids and likes to enjoy some free time. The government realizes that we don't have enough time to question everything, so we trust the government. What does the government do? They take your tax dollars to do all sorts of unethical things, which we as Americans would never approve of if we knew. This is a well-researched book, which talks about the Iran-Iraq war, how the Bush family got their wealth and connections, the Saudi royal family, the Bin Laden family, 9/11 and Mid-East relations. This book has a lot of facts, people and information - it is probably good to read the book twice to absorb everything.
Some appalling facts:
- Our CIA hired Saddam Hussein when he was 22 to be an assassin.
- We gave Iran and Iraq weapons of mass destruction to use on each other
- George Bush senior, during his Vice Presidency, was went to the Middle East during the 1980s as a CIA operative to give Iraq weapons of mass destruction and the media showed the meeting as "moving the peace process forward".
- Saddam killed thousands of Iranians and Kurds and we turned a blind eye to it - as long as he was willing to help us out.
The author did a good job of writing a well-researched, compelling book. I highly recommend this book, you will learn a lot.
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2004
From April 19, 2004: "NEW YORK (CNN) - A top Saudi official has assured President Bush that his country will increase oil production to lower gas prices before November to help the president's re-election prospects, according to a broadcast report Sunday."
This book is well-written, meticulously researched and very, very scary. I am a moderate Republican, but in the past four years I have become shocked at the actions of the Bush/Cheney White House. There was a time when I thought the idea of America invading Iraq on a WMD pre-text and then giving the lucrative oil contracts to Cheney's Halliburton was nothing more than leftist rhetoric. Then it actually happened. I've spent the past four years with my jaw literally agape as this administration has schemed (and succeeded in many ways) to undo 100 years of environmental progress, gone to war on fabricated evidence (uranium in Africa), alienated key allies (and lost potential support for its trillion-dollar nation-building), and budgeted billions for Mars Exploration (why now?) and Nuclear Weapons improvements (not missile defense, but weapons improvements, for God's sake).
Never before have so many pillar Republicans (O'Neil, Jeffords, McCaine, Whitman) come forth to warn the American people about the madness that is the Bush/Cheney White House. I stand aghast at what goes through Bush-supporters minds. 9/11 was conceived and carried out by Saudi Arabians - a kingdom which has our White House in its back pocket.