Like millions of Americans, 911 had a profound affect on me. I recall quite vividly thinking about 40 minutes after the second tower got hit, (see the timeline of events) hearing that the pentagon had also been attacked, that this is how Americans must have felt after hearing that Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941.
I remember thinking how I had lived for 55 years without having to suffer from the wars that every past generation has had to face. My mother, having escaped Hitler’s imminent invasion of Hungary in 1940. inculcated the seriousness of war (and bigotry) in me at an early age.
Over the next few weeks and months George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and millions of Americans believed that we were going to be attacked again. And that the next time could be much more severe. Attacks where hundreds of thousands might die from chemical or biological weapons. And the most likely person who could cause such an attack was Saddam Hussein. My prediction, at the time, was that the easiest way to cause much more fear among Americans was just one person detonating a bomb driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, or releasing sarin gas in a NYC subway car, as was done in Tokyo in 1995. At a minimum, we’d see small terrorist attacks as had been going on for years in Israel.
So what was Bush to do? Who was the most likely person to support al Qaeda? Who had been giving the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel $25,000?
Just a few years earlier, President Bill Clinton, and almost every Democrat and Republican believed that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical weapons, and would use them. Either directly, through Osama bin Laden, or any member of al Queda. In 1998 the Congress passed The Iraq Liberation Act, making regime change the “policy” of the United States.
Go to If The Bush Administration Lied About WMD, So Did These People — Version 3.0 to read quotes from some notable right wingers, like Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John Edwards, Tom Daschle, Robert Byrd, Dick Gephardt, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Milulski, Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger, Henry Waxman, Jacques Chirac, Hans Blix and others.
A bipartisan Congress passed the Iraq War Resolution 296 to 133 in the House and 77 to 23 in the Senate.
So the meme that George W. Bush had lied us into war, first perpetuated by Ted Kennedy and then enthusiastically seized on by the MSM in 2004 started the revisionist history.
I think two of Bush’s major errors were in 1) not discussing and explaining to the public the reasons why he was supporting removing Saddam and 2) relying only on the simplest explanation as sufficient reason. He assumed that everyone “got it.” That we were in serious danger must have seemed so obvious. Big error. I’m sure Bush had received huge amounts of data on threats from the CIA and the FBI, but the American didn’t.
Here are some of the reasons passed by the Congress.
The Iraq Resolution cited many factors to justify the use of military force:
- Iraq’s noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire, including interference with weapons inspectors.
- Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a “threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region.”
- Iraq’s “brutal repression of its civilian population.”
- Iraq’s “capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people“.
- Iraq’s hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the alleged 1993 assassination attempt of former President George H. W. Bush, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War.
- Members of al-Qaeda, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq.
- Iraq’s “continu[ing] to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations,” including anti-United States terrorist organizations.
- Iraq paid bounty to families of suicide bombers.
- The efforts by the Congress and the President to fight terrorists, and those who aided or harbored them.
- The authorization by the Constitution and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism.
- The governments in Turkey, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia feared Saddam and wanted him removed from power.
- Citing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the resolution reiterated that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Saddam Hussein regime and promote a democratic replacement.
This is not to imply that the Iraq war didn’t have many serious flaws in its execution. The American people would not have turned on George W. Bush if the war had been thought out much better and hadn’t deteriorated into chaos, regardless of how or why those things happened. Americans want victory when they go to war, not excuses.
One of the sad consequences of no more successful terrorist attacks not happening is that it made it seem as if going offense against al-Queda was unnecessary.
I believed, and still believe, that if Iraq remains a democracy, history will be very kind to George W. Bush’s decision.
Update: read Charles Krauthammer -The 9/11 “Overreaction.”
John at Verum Serum, suggests that Obama would make a good CIA Director in a Perry Administration.
The following list must drive the far Left and MoveOn types batty:
- April 2009 – In the first few months of his administration, Obama sent a team of SEALs to kill Somali pirates who’d taken a ship’s captain hostage. Three pirates were shot in the head, one was captured alive.
- August 2009 – Drones kill militant Baitullah Mehsud along with his wife and family.
- October 2009 – Abu Ayyub al-Masri an Al Qaeda explosives expert is killed in Pakistan.
- March 2010 – Hussein al-Yemeni an Al Qaeda planner is killed by a drone strike.
- May 2010 – Saeed al-Masri, Al Qaeda’s 3rd in command is killed by drone strikes.
- June 2010 – Al Qaeda leader Abu Ahmed Tarkash is killed in a drone strike.
- April 2011 – Obama authorizes a SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
- June 2011 – Suspected senior Al Qaeda operative Ilyas Kashmiri is killed in a drone strike in Pakistan.
- August 2011 – Drones kill the aforementioned Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.