You are herecontent / Bin Laden's Little Helper

Bin Laden's Little Helper

By Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian UK

US administration lectures about God delivered to Muslims are a dangerous folly.
President Bush has no adviser more loyal and less self-serving than Karen Hughes. As governor of Texas, he trusted the former Dallas television reporter-turned-press secretary with the tending of his image and words. She was mother hen of his persona. In the White House, Hughes devoted heart and soul to Bush as his communications director until, suddenly, she returned home to Texas in 2002, citing her son's homesickness. There were reports that Karl Rove, jealous of power, had been sniping at her.

From her exile, Hughes produced Ten Minutes from Normal, a deeply uninteresting and unrevealing memoir. Long stretches of uninformative banality are broken by unselfconscious expressions of religiosity - accounts of how she inserted Psalms 23 and 27 into Bush's speeches after 9/11, the entire sermon she delivered aboard Air Force One on Palm Sunday. Hughes quotes the then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice: "I think Karen missed her calling. She can preach."

When two undersecretaries of state for public diplomacy resigned this year in frustration, in the face of the precipitous loss of US prestige around the globe, Bush found Hughes a new slot. She may be the most parochial person ever to hold a senior state department appointment, but the president has confidence she can rebrand the US.

This week, Hughes embarked on her first trip as undersecretary. Her initial statement resembled an elementary school presentation: "You might want to know why the countries. Egypt is, of course, the most populous Arab country... Saudi Arabia is our second stop; it's obviously an important place in Islam and the keeper of its two holiest sites ... Turkey is also a country that encompasses people of many different backgrounds and beliefs, and yet is proud of the saying that 'All are Turks'."

Hughes appeared as one of the pilgrims satirized by Mark Twain in his 1869 book Innocents Abroad, on his trip on the Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion. "None of us had ever been anywhere before; we all hailed from the interior; travel was a wild novelty... We always took care to make it understood that we were Americans - Americans!"

Hughes's simple, sincere and unadorned language reveals the administration's inner mind. Her ideas on terrorism and its solution are straightforward. "Terrorists," she said, "their policies force young people, other people's daughters and sons, to strap on bombs and blow themselves up." That is: somehow, magically, these evil-doers coerce the young to commit suicide. If only they would understand us, the tensions would dissolve.

"Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans' lives," she said. When an Egyptian opposition leader inquired why Mr Bush mentions God in his speeches, Hughes asked him whether he was aware that "previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our constitution cites 'one nation under God'."

"Well, never mind," he said.

With these well-meaning arguments, Hughes has provided the exact proofs for Bin Laden's claims about American motives. "It is stunning to the extent Hughes is helping bin Laden," says Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist who has conducted extensive research into the motives of suicide terrorists and is the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. "If you set out to help bin Laden," he says, "you could not have done it better than Hughes."

Pape's research debunks the view that suicide terrorism is the natural byproduct of Islamic fundamentalism or some "Islamo-fascist" ideological strain, independent of certain highly specific circumstances.

"Of the key conditions that lead to suicide terrorism in particular, there first must be the presence of foreign combat forces on the territory that the terrorists prize. The second condition is a religious difference between the combat forces and the local community. The religious difference matters in that it enables terrorist leaders to paint foreign forces as being driven by religious goals.

"If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the US occupation of the Arabian peninsula driven by our religious goals and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims but also secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case."

The undersecretary's blundering tour of the Middle East might be the latest incarnation of Innocents Abroad. "The people stared at us everywhere, and we stared at them," Twain wrote. "We bore down on them with America's greatness until we crushed them."

But the stakes are rather different from those on the Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion. "It would be a folly," says Pape, "were it not so dangerous."


Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is the author of The Clinton Wars.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

In a nation where most people actually believe that the WTC twin towers were brought down by Osama Bin Laden's suicide skyjackers, its not surprising that we haven't yet figured out that the official 9/11 story is an elaborate fairytale. The consequences of our national stupidity are all around us today. The needless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and who knows where else! A lunatic president who lies and blunders, a congress who does nothing but work against our interests, and a public who prefers to let the TV think for them. Here we are, at the most perilous juncture in our nation's history and we don't even have the slightest clue of how we got here, or how to get out of this mess! Too foolish to work for our common interests, we've compounded the error by splitting up in ridiculous factions and sending the same do nothing politicians back to washington year end and year out? Yet we have the nerve to ask, "where are the Democrats"? The problem is not that Bush is dumb, he most certainly is, the problem is that the American people are even dumber!

Well said Gerald...and what do you suggest be done.
The WTCs was an inside job. The elections in 2000 and 04 stolen.
What actions in the place of our stupidity do you suggest organizing and with whom. You are right about all these factions, I have been writing to many of them in terms of how to organize the nation...
No reply as of yet other than keeping the spotlight on what we know to be the truth. Maybe we are going to reach the critical mass one way or another for all to balance or....?

We've arrived here in the 21st century more politically backward, and ignorant, than at any other time in our history! More importantly, we've little idea what's really going on here at home, or abroad! As a nation we'll continue to compound our problems by failure to grasp the following facts:

1. The mainstream media is public enemy number one.
2. The Dem and GOP leadership are public enemy number two.
3. The Bush Whitehouse is public enemy number three.
4. The official 9/11 story is a lie.
5. The "War on Terror" is a hoax.
6. The above factions are really working to trick us into WWIII.

Any group or leader who's not aware of, or denies the above facts, is basically part of the problem. The American people today largely exist in a media managed "La La land". We're entrapped there by our smugness, detachement from reality, and abandonment of the vital political virtures handed down from our nation's founders. Most of us have been completely fooled by a media borne barrage of world-class deception. The truth however is not any less true, just because people don't believe it! Only those firmly rooted in the truth can help the situation. Such individuals working individually, or in groups, to raise public awareness of any of the above facts, will be helpful. Best of luck!

No matter what, it seems that the American press will report nothing, so we depend on Michael Moore to reveal so many unanswered questions. Some of the answers were there all along in the British press, alternative internet sources, and in Ken Lay's (Enron) actual letter too:,1300,556279,00.html

The 'smoking gun' letter :

The official story for 9/11 is a total fabrication. Anyone pushing the official story is either a liar or a fool. Since the mainstream media has worked diligently to suppress critical 9/11 facts which easily destroy the official story, the American people actually have no idea of what really occurred on that day! 9/11 is best understood as a high tech illusion! Designed to make people think they saw, exactly what the government told them they saw! The official story is designed to decieve, not inform! Even though the truth of 9/11 is available to all interested in the facts, most Americans choose not to study the facts! The official 9/11 story is therefore widely accepted as "true", not because the facts prove it to be so (they actually prove it to be false), but simply because respected "experts", government officials, and the media, say it is "true"! We will continue to suffer the consequences of such mindboggling stupidity!

Saw Karen Hughes on the national news last night. Beautiful scenes of her walking the streets of Eqypt and Turkey and other countries, interacting with the local people and children.

Why no scenes of her walking the streets of Baghdad?

According to an article in the 9/21 edition of USA Today:

Hughes has no Muslims on her senior staff. Her top assistant, Dina Powell, is of Egyptian Christian origin

It would be sort of fun to watch her fail, if the underlying issues weren't so important.

Also, an insightful question from (paraphrased) Did anybody ask Karen Hughes what she knows about the Plamegate scandal? Eventhough she was on sabbatical at the time, she was still a close confidant of the prez.

Ben in DC

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Find the perfect Purple Bridesmaid Dresses for your bridesmaids from




Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.