For 18 years, the company has recruited political
notables from around the world. James Baker III, former U.S.
Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and staff member
under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush; Frank C. Carlucci,
United States Secretary of Defense from 1987 to 1989; George
H.W. Bush, former president of the United States; Fidel Ramos,
former president of the Philippines; Frank McKenna, current
Canadian ambassador to the United States; Park Tae Joon, former
prime minister of South Korea; and Alice Albright, daughter
of ex-Secretary of State Madeline Albright, to name a few.
Through the Carlyle Group, President G. W. Bush worked for
the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia. The bin Ladens
been huge investors in Bush Senior’s former firm.
The group’s vast connections allow it to interlock its
political influence with the buyout business. They purchase companies
that are struggling, fix and resell them at a huge profit. These
companies specialize in everything from defense contractors to
telecommunications and aerospace. This intermingling is the so-called “iron
triangle” of defense, government, and industry. When the
New York City World Trade Center towers came down, the Carlyle
Group’s financial future brightened.
Red flags have to be raised given the relationship with Saudi
Arabian government which has been criticized for not cooperating
in the war on terrorism and for financially supporting terrorist
attacks on Israeli and U.S. interests.
More red flags need to be raised over President G.W. Bush,
who has helped create a $7 trillion dollar national debt
enriched his and his father’s business interests. Some
wonder if this is how the president will get rich. He will just
inherit Bush Senior’s millions. No one has frozen the Bush
family accounts because of their connections with terrorism.
Why is that?
Certainly, war is proving to be successful for the conglomerate.
The Carlyle Group has owned a company named United Defense for
nearly a decade. The company makes the controversial Crusader,
a 42-ton, self-propelled howitzer that operates like a tank.
It can lob ten 155-mm shells per minute as far as 40 kilometers.
The Clinton administration argued that it was a “relic
of the cold war era—to a heavy and slow for today’s
warfare.” The Pentagon recommended that the program be
suspended, but thanks primarily to the Carlyle Group, the Crusader
is still being purchased by the Pentagon. Those close to the
situation speculate that the reason Donald Rumsfeld decided to
keep the Crusader active is because Mr. Rumsfeld and The Carlyle
Group’s Carlucci are close friends (They were wrestling
partners during their Princeton University days).
Also, serious problems lie with the mixing of politics with
business. James Baker, Carlyle’s senior counselor, has been simultaneously
trying to persuade the world to forgive Iraq’s debt while
toiling for Carlyle to recover money from Iraq. The group has
joined a consortium, according to an article in The Guardian
(“Bush special envoy embroiled in controversy over Iraq
debt,” Naomi Klein, Oct. 13, 2004) that has secretly been
trying to collect $27 billion on behalf of Kuwait. The group
claims that Baker would not be able to personally profit, but
the consortium would make millions.
The Carlyle Group and the Bush administration are walking a
thin line by mixing the political clout with business profits.
American people need to pay closer attention to and question
the Carlyle Group’s monetary profits.