Bandar Bush Calls it a Career


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."