Michael Moore: Answers please, Mr BushMarch 8, 2008 – 2:53 PM
Michael Moore fired his opening salvo against George
Bush and his rightwing cronies with his bestseller
Stupid White Men. Now the president is in his sights
again. In this second extract from his new book he
asks his old enemy seven awkward questions
Monday October 6, 2003
I have seven questions for you, Mr Bush. I ask them on
behalf of the 3,000 who died that September day, and I
ask them on behalf of the American people. We seek no
revenge against you. We want only to know what
happened, and what can be done to bring the murderers
to justice, so we can prevent any future attacks on
our citizens. 1. Is it true that the Bin Ladens have had business
relations with you and your family off and on for the
past 25 years?
Most Americans might be surprised to learn that you
and your father have known the Bin Ladens for a long
time. What, exactly, is the extent of this
relationship, Mr Bush? Are you close personal friends,
or simply on-again, off-again business associates?
Salem bin Laden – Osama’s brother – first started
coming to Texas in 1973 and later bought some land,
built himself a house, and created Bin Laden Aviation
at the San Antonio airfield.
The Bin Ladens are one of the wealthiest families in
Saudi Arabia. Their huge construction firm virtually
built the country, from the roads and power plants to
the skyscrapers and government buildings. They built
some of the airstrips America used in your dad’s Gulf
war. Billionaires many times over, they soon began
investing in other ventures around the world,
including the US. They have extensive business
dealings with Citigroup, General Electric, Merrill
Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and the Fremont Group.
According to the New Yorker, the bin Laden family also
owns a part of Microsoft and the airline and defence
giant Boeing. They have donated $2m to your alma
mater, Harvard University, and tens of thousands to
the Middle East Policy Council, a think-tank headed by
a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles
Freeman. In addition to the property they own in
Texas, they also have real estate in Florida and
Massachusetts. In short, they have their hands deep in
Unfortunately, as you know, Mr Bush, Salem bin Laden
died in a plane crash in Texas in 1988. Salem’s
brothers – there are around 50 of them, including
Osama – continued to run the family companies and
After leaving office, your father became a highly paid
consultant for a company known as the Carlyle Group –
one of the nation’s largest defence contractors. One
of the investors in the Carlyle Group – to the tune of
at least $2m – was none other than the Bin Laden
family. Until 1994, you headed a company called
CaterAir, which was owned by the Carlyle Group.
After September 11, the Washington Post and the Wall
Street Journal both ran stories pointing out this
connection. Your first response, Mr Bush, was to
ignore it. Then your army of pundits went into spin
control. They said, we can’t paint these Bin Ladens
with the same brush we use for Osama. They have
disowned Osama! They have nothing to do with him!
These are the good Bin Ladens.
And then the video footage came out. It showed a
number of these “good” Bin Ladens – including Osama’s
mother, a sister and two brothers – with Osama at his
son’s wedding just six and a half months before
September 11. It was no secret to the CIA that Osama
bin Laden had access to his family fortune (his share
is estimated to be at least $30m), and the Bin Ladens,
as well as other Saudis, kept Osama and his group,
al-Qaida, well funded.
You’ve gotten a free ride from the media, though they
know everything I have just written to be the truth.
They seem unwilling or afraid to ask you a simple
question, Mr Bush: WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
In case you don’t understand just how bizarre the
media’s silence is regarding the Bush-Bin Laden
connections, let me draw an analogy to how the press
or Congress might have handled something like this if
the same shoe had been on the Clinton foot. If, after
the terrorist attack on the Federal Building in
Oklahoma City, it had been revealed that President
Bill Clinton and his family had financial dealings
with Timothy McVeigh’s family, what do you think your
Republican party and the media would have done with
Do you think at least a couple of questions might have
been asked, such as, “What is that all about?” Be
honest, you know the answer. They would have asked
more than a couple of questions. They would have
skinned Clinton alive and thrown what was left of his
carcass in Guantanamo Bay.
2. What is the ‘special relationship’ between the
Bushes and the Saudi royal family?
Mr Bush, the Bin Ladens are not the only Saudis with
whom you and your family have a close personal
relationship. The entire royal family seems to be
indebted to you – or is it the other way round?
The number one supplier of oil to the US is the nation
of Saudi Arabia, possessor of the largest known
reserves of oil in the world. When Saddam Hussein
invaded Kuwait in 1990, it was really the Saudis next
door who felt threatened, and it was your father,
George Bush I, who came to their rescue. The Saudis
have never forgotten this. Haifa, wife of Prince
Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US, says that your
mother and father “are like my mother and father. I
know if ever I needed anything I could go to them”.
A major chunk of the American economy is built on
Saudi money. They have a trillion dollars invested in
our stock market and another trillion dollars in our
banks. If they chose suddenly to remove that money,
our corporations and financial institutions would be
sent into a tailspin, causing an economic crisis the
likes of which has never been seen. Couple that with
the fact that the 1.5m barrels of oil we need daily
from the Saudis could also vanish on a mere royal
whim, and we begin to see how not only you, but all of
us, are dependent on the House of Saud. George, is
this good for our national security, our homeland
security? Who is it good for? You? Pops?
After meeting with the Saudi crown prince in April
2002, you happily told us that the two of you had
“established a strong personal bond” and that you
“spent a lot of time alone”. Were you trying to
reassure us? Or just flaunt your friendship with a
group of rulers who rival the Taliban in their
suppression of human rights? Why the double standard?
3. Who attacked the US on September 11 – a guy on
dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friend,
I’m sorry, Mr Bush, but something doesn’t make sense.
You got us all repeating by rote that it was Osama bin
Laden who was responsible for the attack on the United
States on September 11. Even I was doing it. But then
I started hearing strange stories about Osama’s
kidneys. Suddenly, I don’t know who or what to trust.
How could a guy sitting in a cave in Afghanistan,
hooked up to dialysis, have directed and overseen the
actions of 19 terrorists for two years in the US then
plotted so perfectly the hijacking of four planes and
then guaranteed that three of them would end up
precisely on their targets? How did he organise,
communicate, control and supervise this kind of
massive attack? With two cans and a string?
The headlines blared it the first day and they blare
it the same way now two years later: “Terrorists
Attack United States.” Terrorists. I have wondered
about this word for some time, so, George, let me ask
you a question: if 15 of the 19 hijackers had been
North Korean, rather than Saudi, and they had killed
3,000 people, do you think the headline the next day
might have read, “NORTH KOREA ATTACKS UNITED STATES”?
Of course it would. Or if it had been 15 Iranians or
15 Libyans or 15 Cubans, I think the conventional
wisdom would have been, “IRAN [or LIBYA or CUBA]
ATTACKS AMERICA!” Yet, when it comes to September 11,
have you ever seen the headline, have you ever heard a
newscaster, has one of your appointees ever uttered
these words: “Saudi Arabia attacked the United
Of course you haven’t. And so the question must – must
– be asked: why not? Why, when Congress released its
own investigation into September 11, did you, Mr Bush,
censor out 28 pages that deal with the Saudis’ role in
I would like to throw out a possibility here: what if
September 11 was not a “terrorist” attack but, rather,
a military attack against the United States? George,
apparently you were a pilot once – how hard is it to
hit a five-storey building at more than 500 miles an
hour? The Pentagon is only five stories high. At 500
miles an hour, had the pilots been off by just a hair,
they’d have been in the river. You do not get this
skilled at learning how to fly jumbo jets by being
taught on a video game machine at some dipshit flight
training school in Arizona. You learn to do this in
the air force. Someone’s air force.
The Saudi air force?
What if these weren’t wacko terrorists, but military
pilots who signed on to a suicide mission? What if
they were doing this at the behest of either the Saudi
government or certain disgruntled members of the Saudi
royal family? The House of Saud, according to Robert
Baer’s book Sleeping With the Devil, is full of them.
So, did certain factions within the Saudi royal family
execute the attack on September 11? Were these pilots
trained by the Saudis? Why are you so busy protecting
the Saudis when you should be protecting us?
4. Why did you allow a private Saudi jet to fly around
the US in the days after September 11 and pick up
members of the Bin Laden family and fly them out of
the country without a proper investigation by the FBI?
Private jets, under the supervision of the Saudi
government – and with your approval – were allowed to
fly around the skies of America, when travelling by
air was forbidden, and pick up 24 members of the Bin
Laden family and take them first to a “secret assembly
point in Texas”. They then flew to Washington DC, and
then on to Boston. Finally, on September 18, they were
all flown to Paris, out of the reach of any US
officials. They never went through any serious
interrogation. This is mind-boggling. Might it have
been possible that at least one of the 24 Bin Ladens
would have possibly known something?
While thousands were stranded and could not fly, if
you could prove you were a close relative of the
biggest mass murderer in US history, you got a free
trip to gay Paree!
Why, Mr Bush, was this allowed to happen?
5. Why are you protecting the Second Amendment rights
of potential terrorists?
Mr Bush, in the days after September 11, the FBI began
running a check to see if any of the 186 “suspects”
the feds had rounded up in the first five days after
the attack had purchased any guns in the months
leading up to September 11 (two of them had). When
your attorney general, John Ashcroft, heard about
this, he immediately shut down the search. He told the
FBI that the background check files could not be used
for such a search and these files were only to be used
at the time of a purchase of a gun.
Mr Bush, you can’t be serious! Is your administration
really so gun nutty and so deep in the pocket of the
National Rifle Association? I truly love how you have
rounded up hundreds of people, grabbing them off the
streets without notice, throwing them in prison cells,
unable to contact lawyers or family, and then, for the
most part, shipped them out of the country on mere
You can waive their Fourth Amendment protection from
unlawful search and seizure, their Sixth Amendment
rights to an open trial by a jury of their peers and
the right to counsel, and their First Amendment rights
to speak, assemble, dissent and practise their
religion. You believe you have the right to just trash
all these rights, but when it comes to the Second
Amendment right to own an AK-47 – oh no! That right
they can have – and you will defend their right to
Who, Mr Bush, is really aiding the terrorists here?
6. Were you aware that, while you were governor of
Texas, the Taliban travelled to Texas to meet with
your oil and gas company friends?
According to the BBC, the Taliban came to Texas while
you were governor to meet with Unocal, the huge oil
and energy giant, to discuss Unocal’s desire to build
a natural-gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan
through Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and into
Mr Bush, what was this all about?
“Houston, we have a problem,” apparently never crossed
your mind, even though the Taliban were perhaps the
most repressive fundamentalist regime on the planet.
What role exactly did you play in the Unocal meetings
with the Taliban?
According to various reports, representatives of your
administration met with the Taliban or conveyed
messages to them during the summer of 2001. What were
those messages, Mr Bush? Were you discussing their
offer to hand over Bin Laden? Were you threatening
them with use of force? Were you talking to them about
7. What exactly was that look on your face in the
Florida classroom on the morning of September 11 when
your chief of staff told you, ‘America is under
On the morning of September 11, you took a jog on a
golf course and then headed to Booker elementary
school in Florida to read to little children. You
arrived at the school after the first plane had hit
the north tower in New York City. You entered the
classroom around 9am and the second plane hit the
south tower at 9.03am. Just a few minutes later, as
you were sitting in front of the class of kids, your
chief of staff, Andrew Card, entered the room and
whispered in your ear. Card was apparently telling you
about the second plane and about us being “under
And it was at that very moment that your face went
into a distant glaze, not quite a blank look, but one
that seemed partially paralysed. No emotion was shown.
And then … you just sat there. You sat there for
another seven minutes or so doing nothing.
George, what were you thinking? What did that look on
your face mean?
Were you thinking you should have taken reports the
CIA had given you the month before more seriously? You
had been told al-Qaida was planning attacks in the
United States and that planes would possibly be used.
Or were you just scared shitless?
Or maybe you were just thinking, “I did not want this
job in the first place! This was supposed to be Jeb’s
job; he was the chosen one! Why me? Why me, daddy?”
Or … maybe, just maybe, you were sitting there in
that classroom chair thinking about your Saudi friends
– both the royals and the Bin Ladens. People you knew
all too well that might have been up to no good. Would
questions be asked? Would suspicions arise? Would the
Democrats have the guts to dig into your family’s past
with these people (no, don’t worry, never a chance of
that!)? Would the truth ever come out?
And while I’m at it …
Danger – multi-millionaires at large
I’ve always thought it was interesting that the mass
murder of September 11 was allegedly committed by a
multi-millionaire. We always say it was committed by a
“terrorist” or by an “Islamic fundamentalist” or an
“Arab”, but we never define Osama by his rightful
title: multi-millionaire. Why have we never read a
headline saying, “3,000 Killed by multi-millionaire”?
It would be a correct headline, would it not?
Osama bin Laden has assets totalling at least $30m; he
is a multi-millionaire. So why isn’t that the way we
see this person, as a rich ***** who kills people? Why
didn’t that become the reason for profiling potential
terrorists? Instead of rounding up suspicious Arabs,
why don’t we say, “Oh my God, a multi-millionaire
killed 3,000 people! Round up the multi-millionaires!
Throw them all in jail! No charges! No trials! Deport
Keeping America safe
The US Patriot Act and the enemy combatant designation
are just a hint of what Bush has in store for us.
Consider a brainchild of Admiral John Poindexter, an
Iran-contra perp, and the Defence Advanced Research
Projects Agency (Darpa): the “policy analysis market”,
which the government was to put up on a website.
Apparently, Poindexter reasoned that commodity futures
markets worked so well for Bush’s buddies at Enron
that he could adapt it to predicting terrorism.
Individuals would be able to invest in hypothetical
futures contracts involving the likelihood of such
events as “an assassination of Yasser Arafat” or “the
overthrow of Jordan’s King Abdullah II”. Other futures
would be available based on the economic health, civil
stability and military involvement in Egypt, Iran,
Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.
All oil-related countries.
The proposed market lasted about one day after it was
revealed to the Senate. Senators Wyden and Dorgan
protested the Pentagon’s $8m request, and Wyden said,
“Make-believe markets trading in possibilities that
turn the stomach hardly seem like a sensible next step
to take with taxpayers money in the war on terror.” As
a result of the uproar over this, Poindexter was asked
to step down.
Giving Saddam the key to Detroit
In Las Vegas, an armoured fighting vehicle was used to
crush French yogurt, French bread, bottles of French
wine, Perrier, Grey Goose vodka, photos of Chirac, a
guide to Paris and, best of all, photocopies of the
French flag. France was the perfect country to pick
on. If you’re a cable news company, why spend
priceless reporting time on investigating whether Iraq
really does have weapons of mass destruction when you
can do a story about how rotten the French are?
Fox News led the charge of pinning Chirac to Saddam
Hussein, showing old footage of the two men together.
It didn’t matter that the meeting had taken place in
the 1970s. The media didn’t bother to run (over and
over again) the footage from when Saddam was presented
with a key to the city of Detroit, or the film from
the early 1980s of Donald Rumsfeld visiting Saddam in
Baghdad to discuss the progress of the Iran-Iraq war.
The footage of Rumsfeld embracing Saddam apparently
wasn’t worth running on a continuous loop. Or even
once. OK, maybe once. On Oprah.