As the Republican Party and the media beatify George H.W. Bush and the Bush family, my heart grows heavy at the thought of the thousands of men, women and children who have died in the two Gulf wars initiated by the two Bush presidents.

I get angry at the thought of the Bush presidents’ involvement with the Carlyle Group, heavily invested in the military-industrial complex, where George H.W. Bush served as a senior adviser in the 1990s and George W. Bush served on the board of a Carlyle company.

I think about Carlyle’s relationship with the family of Shafiq bin Laden, which proved to be very fruitful for Carlyle as the bin Ladens became investors in some of Carlyle’s funds. One of the most significant funds that they invested in was a fund called Carlyle Partners II, a very large defense-oriented fund in which the bin Laden family was invested up until just after Sept. 11, 2001. That’s when it became appallingly clear to everyone that the bin Laden family, because they were invested in this defense fund, stood to gain financially from the war on terrorism being waged against their own brother, Osama, after 15 Saudis bombed the twin towers

Worse, the two-day Carlyle Group annual investor conference was taking place in Washington, D.C., at the Ritz-Carlton on the morning of Sept. 11, so you had all of these incredibly connected, powerful and wealthy ex-politicians, like James Baker III, Frank Carlucci and the like, all together with Shafiq bin Laden looking after his family’s investment in the Carlyle Group, watching the events of Sept. 11 unfold together. (George H.W. Bush had been at the conference the day before.) Quite a scene.

Patrick Eisenhart


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