Sunday, January 18, 2009


When it comes to the Bush Administration, claims of success bear no relation to reality

Mr. Peter Wehner, a former assistant to President Bush, contends in a White House sponsored USA Today editorial (January 16, 2009) that Mr. Bush's presidency was successful because he met his responsibility "to keep Americans safe" after the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks. I don't know on what planet Mr. Wehner has lived during the last eight years, but on mine President Bush took office on January 20, 2001, not on September 12, 2001. In January of 2001, Mr. Bush's National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice was warned by her immediate predecessor, outgoing Clinton advisor Sandy Berger, that a critical threat to America's security was Islamic terrorism. This was a reasonable conclusion based on the fact that Islamic terrorists had blown up a truck bomb in New York City on February 26, 1993, in an unsuccessful attempt to bring down a World Trade Center tower, killing six and injuring over 1,000; they had blown up an American military barracks in Khobar, Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996, killing 19 American servicemen; on August 7, 1998, they had blown up two American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 223 and wounding over 4,000; and they had attacked the destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, just months earlier, on October 12, 2000, killing 17 American sailors.

Ms. Rice and President Bush did exactly nothing with that information or with the warning from Mr. Berger. They failed to convene the anti-terrorism subcommittee of the National Security Council (NSC) during the next eight months while Al Qaida was finalizing its plans for the September 11, 2001, attacks.

On August 6, 2001, President Bush received from the CIA a Presidential Daily Brief headlined "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." Mr. Bush ignored that warning and went on a month long vacation to Crawford, Texas.

On September 12, 2001, the day after the attacks, President Bush suggested to NSC anti-terrorism expert Richard Clarke that Iraq was connected to the attacks and asked him to find evidence to justify a military strike against Iraq. In spite of the fact that the subsequent investigation by Clarke produced a memo signed off by the CIA and FBI which concluded Iraq was not connected to the 9-11 attacks, President Bush spent the next year inciting a false sense of imminent danger from Iraq with gross exaggerations and outright lies (that Iraq was on the verge of deploying nuclear weapons), and in March of 2003 he ordered an invasion of the wrong country, causing the unnecessary deaths, to date, of 4,228 American servicemen, with 43,993 wounded.

That's the planet I live on, and President Bush was an utter failure at "keeping Americans safe" if you count 3,000 Americans, including innocent passengers on four airplanes, in the World Trade Center Towers, and in the Pentagon, on 9-11-01, and if you count those who were sent to fight the wrong war in the wrong country from March of 2003 to the present.

And one final thought: on December 14, 2001, President Bush vowed to get Osama bin Laden, "dead or alive." How has that worked out so far, Mr. Wehner?


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