Bandar Bush Calls it a Career

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Prince Bandar, the longest serving ambassador in Washington, D.C.; key member of one of the most heinously dictatorial royal families on the planet, billionaire donor to every presidential library built in the last 30 years, racquetball buddy of Colin Powell, blabbalicious source for Bob Woodward, enabler of Executive Branch lawbreaking, and the only diplomat meriting a full-time Secret Service detail, has mercifully retired.

If there was justice in the world, he'd be immediately locked up, and we'd get to rifle through his "30 or so locked attache cases … contain[ing] evidence of the covert operations and secret agreements that Bandar co-ordinated at the behest of King Fahd and the United States, such as records of a Swiss bank account that Bandar had personally set up for the Nicaraguan Contras" … but we don't live in that kind of world, alas.

A quick reminder of just how tight the loyal foot soldier of such a terrible dictatorship was with our own royal family:

On Sept. 13, 2001, George W. Bush invited Bandar to the White House—not to press for more liberty and less hate-financing in Saudi Arabia, which is consistently ranked in the lowest 5% of all countries in global-measured freedoms—but to hug him and smoke cigars (according to a hair-raising profile of Bandar in the March 24 [2003] New Yorker).

Why? It helps that Barbara and George H. W. Bush have all but adopted Bandar and Haifa. "The Bushes are like my mother and father," Haifa told The New Yorker. "I know if ever I needed anything, I could go to them." In the May issue of The Atlantic, Robert Baer, a retired CIA agent, wrote that, around the Bush family Kennebunkport, Me., compound, the prince is known as "Bandar Bush."

"To this day," the elder George wrote to The New Yorker, "Bandar is the only person besides the President of the United States that Bar lets smoke in our house, although both have to do it in their room with the door closed."

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  1. You don’t really think you’ll be able to tell the difference between Bandar and Turk, do you?

  2. Prince Bandar must be the most successful ambassador since Benjamin Franklin.

  3. JMoore — Yeah I do. Turk isn’t a three-decade Player, with deep personal ties to the president and his family. That certainly makes an appreciable difference, even if they both have the same basic stance, and represent the same noxious claque.

  4. The new ambassador’s name is Turki, not Turk.

    Matt, you forgot to mention that Bandar was the one who conivnced the Saudi king to allow the US to use Saudi Arabia as staging ground for Dessert Storm.

    he’d be immediately locked up

    Why him and not the many in the current US administration who were responsible for Iran-Contras?

    Bandar co-ordinated at the behest of King Fahd and the United States, such as records of a Swiss bank account that Bandar had personally set up for the Nicaraguan Contras”

    Why would King Fahad support the Contras? He was just doing a favor for his American friends.

  5. It’s pretty annoying that Bush can’t keep his hands off these guys and still he gets the rep for straight talkin’ standin’ tall blah blah.

    I’d have to say, though, talented as Bandar is, Chalabi edges him out in playing these guys like a fiddle.

  6. a — I forgot to mention 700 other things about Bandar, too. And I didn’t say anything about *not* locking up anyone from Iran-Contra, or not re-hiring them to important gov’t posts, though that boat sailed long ago. And “just doing favors for his American friends,” a Saudi specialty, isn’t always a good thing, especially in those cases when the favors allows the administration to break or subvert a law.

  7. especially in those cases when the favors allows the administration to break or subvert a law

    As a US citizen, shouldn’t you be more concerned that the administration is breaking the law, not that a foreign ambassador helped them out? If Bandar didn’t do it, the administration would have found someone else. That is my point.

  8. a — Point taken. But it wasn’t Oliver North who resigned today, it was Prince Bandar.

  9. Good riddance. Not that Bush won’t bend over for Turki.

    Kerry misstep #3,127: Not publicizing this close relationship from the rooftops. Most Americans distrust Saudi Arabia and yes, mnost American Presidents have close relationship with them, but it’s not like Bill and Hil have invited Bandar to Westchester for canasta. Though I guess Kerry wanted someone to help pay for his presidential library in case he got elected.

  10. Bandar is the only person besides the President of the United States that Bar lets smoke in our house

    Does anyone else find it disturbing that no one in W’s family refers to him as just “George” anymore, even when talking about something completely apolitical?

  11. 80’s rehash aside, but I’d rather be for the Contras than for Ortega’s ridiculous Sandanistas. Besides a mediocre Clah album, they didn’t do a whole lot else that was any good.

    And also note that they got turned out on their asses the first time they allowed an actual vote. I think Ortega snuck across the border a few years ago and now works at a car wash in Bellflower.

  12. Don, why do you have to be *for* either of them. Their country, let them figger’ it out.

  13. Mo, I’d call that Kerry Mistake #1. Even bigger than answering “Yes” to “If you knew what you know today…?”

  14. “Does anyone else find it disturbing that no one in W’s family refers to him as just “George” anymore, even when talking about something completely apolitical?”

    Well, it could mean that both George H.W. and George W. get to smoke in the house.

  15. Thank God someone else has the good sense to consider “Sandinista” a mediocre album. Way too long and not nearly as vital as “London Calling.”

  16. “Not publicizing this close relationship from the rooftops. Most Americans distrust Saudi Arabia…”

    Mo, He would have to really, really publicize it because most Americans don’t know or don’t care that Saudi Arabia is a bad actor. Most folks know that S.A. is where oil comes from and some even know that Bechtel has made a shit-load of profits (elfen ‘yee-hee-hee’ tittering) over there, but that’s about it.

  17. SR,
    So not only does George HW refer to himself in the third person, but he refers to himself as “the President of the United States” instead of former President?

    Dave,
    I’m with you, Sandanista is piss poor for a Clash album.

    joe,
    That’s true. Though not alienating an “ally” (yes SA warrants scare quotes around ally) and major trading partner does dimish the idoicy of the move a tad.

  18. saw-whet,
    I doubt it would be hard. If Kerry said, “15 out of the 19 Sept 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia” one tenth as much as he was called a flip-flopper, people would notice. It would have the added bonus of turning Bush’s Sept 11th fetishizing against him.

    In short, Kerry is an idiot and obviously too dumb to warrant being Pres.

  19. 80’s rehash aside, but I’d rather be for the Contras than for Ortega’s ridiculous Sandanistas.

    I was/am no fan of the Sandanistas, but why would you be “for” terrorists, no matter who they’re against?

    And also note that they got turned out on their asses the first time they allowed an actual vote.

    I’m afraid that’s incorrect. The first election they held was in 1984. It was monitored by around 100 international observers who found it to be free and fair (with, I believe, about a 90% turnout, which kicks our American asses). It was after this free and fair election that we supported the terrorist Contra’s to bring “freedom” to that country.

  20. I should have said, “It was after this free and fair election that we continued to support the terrorist Contra’s to bring “freedom” to that country.”

  21. Les,

    I always found it rather humorous that the coalition that won the election in 1990 included the Nicaraguan Communist Party. 🙂

  22. “So not only does George HW refer to himself in the third person, but he refers to himself as “the President of the United States” instead of former President?”

    Senator Dole doesn’t see your problem, Mo. Senator Dole’s grandchildren send him birthday cards saying, “Happy Birthday Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan., ret.)!” It makes Senator Dole weep with joy.

  23. I think Ortega snuck across the border a few years ago and now works at a car wash in Bellflower.

    I was born in Bellflower.

    Also, I think Sandinista‘s great.

  24. I was born in Bellflower.

    You and Jeff Kent.

  25. “In short, Kerry is an idiot and obviously too dumb to warrant being Pres.”

    No.
    Kerry was out of his depth in the Rovian era. A decent man who didn’t fathom until too late just how a feckless Andover cheerleader Texas oilman wannabe punk who didn’t even have the character to finish the guard duty that kept him out of combat could tar a genuine war hero.
    To volunteer for combat, serve honorably, and then have the mind and the guts to tell the public what was really going on in Vietnam, in their name. Damn what strength of character.
    Instead we have little men unmanned by 9-11, so scared they want to strip away rights, torture, give up a whole lot of liberty for a little bit of safety.
    What a disgrace.
    But Kerry is not dumb.

  26. “Matt, you forgot to mention that Bandar was the one who conivnced the Saudi king to allow the US to use Saudi Arabia as staging ground for Dessert Storm.”

    Dessert Storm? Is that one where we bombed Iraq with all that chocolate syrup?

  27. “Kerry…A decent man…”

    Yeah, just the kind of guy I’d want my daughter to marry.

  28. Kerry wasn’t an idiot. He was simply playing his part to get his fellow Bonesman and cousin re-elected, like he was told too.

  29. Kerry misstep #3,127: Not publicizing this close relationship from the rooftops. Most Americans distrust Saudi Arabia and yes, mnost American Presidents have close relationship with them, but it’s not like Bill and Hil have invited Bandar to Westchester for canasta.

    Am I the only person who read Bill Clinton’s My Life? From page 110 of the hardcover edition

    In the ethics class I took good notes, and one day in August another student, who was smart as a whip but seldom attended class, asked me if I’d take a few hours and go over my notes with him before the final exam. … [T]he guy got a B on the test. Twenty-five years later, when I became President, my old study partner Turki al-Faisal, son of the late Saudi king, was head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, a position he held for twenty-four years.

    Mo, Kerry didn’t shout that connection from the rooftops because a lot of people in DC are pretty darn close to the Saudis. Much has been made of Prince Bandar’s closeness to the Bushes, but, during his time as Ambassador, the only President he did not develop a close relationship with was Reagan.

    People with an interest in the history of the Roman republic may note that corrupt foreigners had an increasing influence as Rome slid toards monarchy.

  30. Doug-

    Since you’re in this thread, I should tell you that Hank Dietle’s is still there! I haven’t gone in yet, but I drove past it.

  31. Go there in the daytime, it’s a lot safer then.

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