Vice President Dick Cheney responded to the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington by steering the United States into an even closer partnership with Pakistan, a country that had long been identified as a safe haven for the very Islamic jihadists Cheney claimed to abhor. Ahmed Rashid, the internationally-respected analyst of relations between Pakistan and the United States recalls that, in the years following the attacks, "(The) Bush Administration's major policy decisions were run out of Vice President Dick Cheney's office with the help of Donald Rumsfeld. Cheney had a warm and personal relationship with Musharraf and did not want to see the United States take on the (corruption of the) Pakistani army when the United States was so preoccupied with Iraq."
Cheney, who with his clique of neoconservative compatriots, guided the Bush administration's response to 9/11 in the months and years following the attacks, was determined to engineer an occupation of Iraq, which did not harbor al-Qaeda operatives. But Pakistan, long an operational base for extremists, faced no threat of occupation or even of accountability. Instead, Pakistan got huge increases in U.S. military and humanitarian aid and massive structural support for the military dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf, who used the U.S. money and military might to maintain his rule while contributing little of value to the war on terror.