News Release

Is Bush Addressing the Root Causes of Terrorism — or Aggravating Them?

CHALMERS JOHNSON
Available for a limited number of interviews, Johnson is the author of the new book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. He is also author of the widely-noted Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. His most recent article is “Evil Empire: Is Imperial Liquidation Possible for America?”

Johnson said today: “Bush claimed in his news conference today, as he often does, that he is addressing the root causes of terrorism through the war in Iraq. In fact, much of what he has done is the exact opposite — it is aggravating the root causes of Al-Qaeda terrorism. He did this first and foremost by treating 9/11 as a war instead of an emergency action. … We helped spawn Al-Qaeda with the largest single clandestine operation, our backing the mujaheddin in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The three factors which Bin Ladin himself cites as causes of 9/11 were U.S. troops on the Arabian peninsula, the sanctions against Iraq which caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children and our backing of Zionist colonization. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with that, but we need to look at the actual root causes if we’re going to solve this problem.”
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RANDALL HAMUD
Hamud is editor of the book Osama Bin Ladin: America’s Enemy In His Own Words. He said today: “Bush regularly claims that Bin Ladin attacked us for our freedoms, but back in 2004 Bin Ladin said that if that was his motive, why wasn’t he attacking Sweden? The issue is U.S. occupation forces in the region as well as U.S. backing of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, U.S. exploitation of Arab oil wealth and U.S. support for autocratic regimes throughout the Mideast. Contrary to his claim that he is now pushing for democracy, Bush is helping Israel attack the democratically-elected Palestinian government and backing the autocratic regimes of Mubarak in Egypt and Musharraf in Pakistan.

“Also, contrary to what Bush said today about Saddam Hussein choosing war in 2003 and Bush allegedly trying diplomacy: In fact, Saddam Hussein was desperately trying to comply; he let the UN inspectors in. They had to leave because Bush stopped their work — which would have revealed no Iraqi WMDs — and Bush chose to begin bombing.”
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ISAIAH POOLE
Executive editor of TomPaine.com, Poole said today: “Bush’s news conference was filled with stock phrases and he hasn’t seemed to adjust to the reality that those stock phrases don’t mean much to the American public anymore. Bush claims that Iraqis are better off than under Saddam Hussein and that the U.S. is safer than when Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, but in many respects that’s not true. Most obviously, Al-Qaeda, which never would have a significant foothold in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, now has one. The ‘war on terror’ against Al-Qaeda has actually made Al-Qaeda stronger.”

Before the invasion of Iraq, TomPaine.com ran ads of Osama Bin Ladin — in an Uncle Sam-style poster — saying “I Want YOU to Invade Iraq.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020