CAIRO, Egypt – Terror mastermind Usama bin Laden (search) claimed in new video footage broadcast Wednesday that President Bush (search) ignored warnings against invading Iraq because he was dazzled by the country's "black gold" and ended up leading the United States into a quagmire.
The full video, portions of which were broadcast Friday, was posted on a Web site used by Islamic groups Wednesday. The tape show the author of the Sept. 11 attacks accusing Bush of acting out of what he calls "private" interests — and allusion to his oil business past.
Bush ignored the warnings because "the darkness of the black gold blurred his vision and insight, and he gave priority to private interests over the public interests of America," bin Laden says in the portions of the tape that the Arab network Al-Jazeera (search) did not broadcast Friday.
"The war went ahead. The death toll rose. The American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threaten his future," bin Laden said.
Accusing America of oppressing and killing Arabs, bin Laden asks: "Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor objectionable as terrorism? If it is, then it is unavoidable for us."
Al-Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, published a transcript of the full tape on its Web site on Monday. The transcript matches the video posted on the Islamic Web site.
Analysts say bin Laden issued the tape in a bid to influence the U.S. presidential elections, which took place four days after Al-Jazeera broadcast it.
In another partial portion of the video released Monday, bin Laden vowed to bleed America to bankruptcy, boasting that for every $1 Al Qaeda has spent on terrorist strikes, it has cost the United States $1 million in economic fallout and military spending, including emergency funding for Iraq and Afghanistan.
"As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers," bin Laden said, estimating the deficit at more than $1 trillion.
Actually, the war against terror and other factors have resulted in an expected $377 billion shortfall for 2003 — the highest deficit since World War II accounting for inflation. The total U.S. national debt is near the $7.4 trillion statutory limit.
The terror mastermind credited the religiously inspired Arab volunteers that he fought with against the Soviets in Afghanistan with having "bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat." He suggested the same strategy would work against the United States.