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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 toIf 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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
During a campaign speech on July 3, 2008, then-candidate Obama said:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up the national debt from 5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added 4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have 9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
This video posted in September 28, 2008, has gotten over 6 million hits – The Bush Admin and Senator McCain warned repeatedly about Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac and what thus became the 2008 financial crisis — starting in 2002 (and actually even earlier — in the Clinton and Carter White Houses. Democrats resisted and kept to their party line, extending loans to people who couldn’t afford them — just like you would expect of socialists. See our web site for more.
Great stuff to watch. I spent years whining that George W. Bush’s major deficiency was his inability to explain to people why he was doing what he was doing, in a direct and simple way. Christie doesn’t suffer from that. It’s not enough to try to do the right thing – you have to bring people with you.
The next time you hear Obama, or some Democrat blaming our huge deficit on George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, quote this excellent post by Bruce McQuain:
Democrats are particularly fond of that meme because it provides them the opportunity to again shift the blame for something on their arch enemy, George Bush. It is also a convenient way to claim they’re blameless for all of these trillions of dollars in deficit spending that has taken place over the years.
It would be nice to see this chart in the New York Times.
How many times have we heard about the trillions of dollars spent (as if a vast majority of the Congress didn’t approve the war).
According to the CBO’s numbers, the Iraq war has cost $709 billion. Not the wild estimates by some on the left (to include the absurd claims by James Carville and others that the war cost $3 trillion). And look carefully at the added cost of the war on top of the federal deficit spending shown in red.
Notice anything? Now think back – who was in charge of Congress from 2003 – 2007? And what was the trend in overall deficit spending – including the cost of the Iraq war – through 2007. Any impartial observer would point out the trend was downward. The party in charge of Congress at the time was the GOP.
Oh, by the way, via Gateway Pundit.: 71% of Americans Believe Iraq Is Better Today and Give Bush the Credit
Below is the text of one of those emails we all get from friends. I had no way of knowing if it was true. After I forwarded it to 2 family members I got curious as to why I had never heard about this visit, so I did a little digging.
Here’s the original email:
The doctor had his TV on in his office when the news of the military base shootings at Ft. Hood , TX came on. The husband of one of his employees was stationed there.
He called her into his office and as he told her what had happened, she got a text message from her husband saying, “I am okay.” Her cell phone rang right after she read the message. It was an ER nurse,” I’m the one who just sent you a text, not your husband. I thought it would be comforting but I was mistaken in doing so. I am sorry to tell you this, but your husband has been shot 4 times and he is in surgery.”
The soldier’s wife left Southern Clinic in Dothan , AL and drove all night to Ft.Hood. When she arrived, she found out her husband was out of surgery and would be OK. She rushed to his room and found that he already had visitors there to comfort him. He was just waking up and found his wife and the visitors by his side. The nurse took this picture.
What? No news crews and cameras? This is how people with class respond and pay respect to those in uniform. I sent my cousin in Fayetteville , N.C. (Retired from Special Forces) that picture of George W. visiting the wounded at Ft. Hood . I got this reply:
What is even better is the fact George W. Bush heard about Fort Hood, got in his car without any escort, apparently they did not have time to react, and drove to Fort Hood. He was stopped at the gate and the guard could not believe who he had just stopped. Bush only asks for directions to the hospital then drove on. The gate guard called that “The President is on Fort Hood and driving to the hospital.”
The base went bananas looking for Obama. When they found it was Bush, they immediately offered escort. Bush simply told them to shut up and let him visit the wounded and the dependents of the dead.
He stayed at Fort Hood for over six hours, and was finally asked to leave by a message from the White House.
Obama flew in days later and held a “photo” session in a gym, and did not even go to the hospital.
I Googled “george w bush Ft Hood visit” and then went to FactCheck.org. Here’s the short answer:
Q: Did President George W. Bush drop everything to visit Ft. Hood victims? Was he ordered away by the Obama administration?
A: Bush did visit the wounded at Ft. Hood, but a Bush spokesman says that his visit was coordinated with base officials and that he was not asked to leave by the White House.
Here’s the Full Answer:
The e-mail contains a grain of truth. President George W. Bush did visit the wounded at Ft. Hood only a day after the tragic Nov. 5 shooting spree on the base, as was reported publicly at the time by a number of news outlets. But since then, we’ve had a steady stream of queries about this chain e-mail’s description of the visit, in which the author embellishes the facts considerably. Army officials would not comment, so we spoke to Bush spokesman David Sherzer, who was happy to set the record straight.
One of many disappointments during the GW Bush era was how quickly, in 2005, wimpy Republicans ran from the newly re-elected president’s effort to realistically confront the obvious (to some) insolvency of Social Security. Naturally the Dems with, MSM support, instantly demagogued the issue claiming Republicans wanted to hurt senior citizens. After all, conservatives are evil.
I supported George W. Bush in most aspects of his Presidency, so I find it interesting how time is eroding my opinion of him.
While I was always unhappy with the profligate spending, I blamed the Republican Congress more than him. And I could never understand why he never vetoed a single bill in his first term. But ever since the TARP, it got completely out of control. And worst of all, it gave Obama the chance to say over and over and over, that he inherited the economic “crisis.”
Today I read an article by the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund, suggesting what may be new insight into GWB.
But conservatives now have a partial explanation for why Mr. Bush caved so frequently on issues ranging from spending to massive bailouts of entities such as General Motors. He didn’t consider himself that much of a conservative, at least in the movement sense.
This is hard to believe, but I believe it.
“What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?” His aide explained that he meant the conservative movement, but quickly realized the president didn’t understand. So Mr. Latimer launched into an explanation, only to meet silence from the president.
“Let me tell you something,” the president finally said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement.”
All very disappointing.
I still believe that History will at least view Bush’s foreign policy favorably.
While I frequently disagree with David Brooks, I always read his columns.
Assuming that he has his facts right, he makes the case that there was a very serious & strong disagreement between George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Then he goes into how close Obama and GWB are pretty much on the same page.
President Obama and Dick Cheney conspired on Thursday to propagate a myth. The myth is that we lived through an eight-year period of Bush-Cheney anti-terror policy and now we have entered a very different period called the Obama-Biden anti-terror policy. As both Obama and Cheney understand, this is a completely bogus distortion of history.
Brooks posits that what most people think of as the Bush-Cheney era lasted only about 3 years. By 2005, the Bush-Rice-Hadley era had begun, and they were trying to close Gitmo.
Throughout the second Bush term, officials were trying to close Guantánamo, pleading with foreign governments to take some prisoners, begging senators to allow the transfer of prisoners onto American soil.
Then it gets more interesting, leaving the conventional wisdom (or lack thereof) behind. It’s really Bush who halted waterboarding, in opposition to what Cheney wanted.
Cheney and Obama might pretend otherwise, but it wasn’t the Obama administration that halted the practice of waterboarding. It was a succession of C.I.A. directors starting in March 2003, even before a devastating report by the C.I.A. inspector general in 2004.
Cheney, who sincerely believes he was right then, (and I believe he is right now), is attacking the Bush administration, as well as the Obama administration – that is adopting the same policies as Bush.
The Bush hatred we are seeing in the media today belongs in the long catalogue of human psychopathology — not rational behavior. The latest version is the shoe-throwing incident in Iraq. Iraq happens to be a hot war zone, in which tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed by hidden bombs. Bush’s protective detail had no way of knowing whether an assassinaton attempt was under way, in just the way Saddam tried to assassinate George H.W. Bush, Sr. At the end of his two terms of office, the President flew to Iraq, into harm’s way, knowing the dangers, to hold an open press conference.
But our media harbor such bitter hatred for him that they turned a potential bomb-throwing incident — by one of their own — into a joke, just another reason to sneer at the President. If anybody threw a cream pie at Obama, screaming headlines would be launched for days afterward. Nothing but sneers followed the potential attack on George W. Bush, which he fended off with his usual grace and humor. I have never known a US president to be treated as disgracefully as this one. The political case against him is based almost entirely on media falsehoods, slanders, and greed for power. Not much rationality there.
Our public melodrama is therefore being driven, not by facts and reason, but by the most primitive emotions that prey on human minds. Human brains haven’t changed much in the last thirty thousand years. Homo sapiens is a lot more prosperous species than ever, but prosperity just allows those ancient demons to come out more freely. If we were huddled by a small fire in a cave, hungry and miserable, we could not indulge our fantasies as much as the pop media now allow themselves to do. Prosperity permits our primitive urges to flourish on the public stage.
President George W. Bush is being crucified in the public square in spite of his plain decency and goodness, and in spite of his remarkable success in winning two difficult wars to protect this nation from harm. All wars are hard; all wars involve mistakes and self-correction. All wars, if they are to be won, come at a cost.
While it is natural enough for conservatives to be upset by the blatant unfairness of the propaganda media — indeed, by their visible madness — if we just take a little mental distance, we can easily see an ancient anthropological drama: The crucifixion of the reigning king, along with the messianic glorification of a new one, who will surely rescue us from our media-driven despair. (Of course the new king will also grow weaker in time, in spite of his charismatic magic …) This is the stuff of Shakespeare and Sophocles. George W. Bush’s “head is bloody but unbowed,” to quote the poem Invictus, (“undefeated’) the Victorian answer to political witchhunts.
The novelist Mary Renault described the whole ordeal in her classic story, The King Must Die. Renault based her tale on legends of royal sacrifice from the ancient Mediterranean world — in Greece, Asia Minor, Crete, Italy, and elsewhere. Read it if you want to understand Bush hatred and Obama worship. Her source was Sir James Fraser’s remarkable book, The Golden Bough. While anthropologists have backed off Fraser’s claim that king sacrifice is universal, the respected scholar James D. Brown argues that the evidence favors “Oedipal rebellion” as a universal among native peoples studied over more than a century. We no longer hang our kings physically, but the Left and the media act just like the lynch mobs of old. Listen to their voices and you’ll hear the ancient roar of the mob.
We can watch the tragicomedy of our psychopolitics unfold and still keep some perspective. Think of it as a stage play like King Lear, and pray that reason prevails in the end. The Leftist media are actors playing the ancient role of the politically envious, who exist in every tribal culture where the head of the clan sleeps uneasily, fearful of plots and assassination attempts. All politics is not just local, as the Washington saying goes, but deep down it is tribal.
What is hopeful today is what was hopeful at the American founding: the use of constitutional means to channel our loves and hates into a fairly reasonable course of common action. The majority of Americans are pretty sane and rational; they don’t trust the political class, and they are deserting the Big Media in the tens of millions even now. The American Founders knew all about vulgar mobs, and lived to see them in the French Revolution of 1789, with Napoleon rising on top of the revolutionary chaos to explode into a mass war of conquest in Europe. The Founders despised all that. They designed the Constitution to steer a steady course in spite of mobs and demagogues. It has worked magnificently for two centuries, and with luck and courage, it will hold.
Alexander Hamilton famously said, “The people? The people is a great beast!” But that was not accurate: We are all “the people,” as the Declaration of Independence tells us. “The people” are the source of all good and bad things. The people — properly balanced by a constitutional apparatus — have brought prosperity that was unimaginable two hundred years ago. The people harbor wisdom and common sense in a way that snobbish elites soon forget. Conservatism is skeptical about human nature, but not cynical or despairing. Nor do we look to messianic leaders like Barack Obama to solve our problems. We look to muddle through, to give individuals the space to grow and succeed, to stand against the mobs, to fail at times, and then to fight again.
Whenever conservatives see yet another mob movement from the Left, we feel it is our obligation to stand in opposition. It is not unpatriotic to criticize the messiah of the moment — though the Left will say so. It is our duty. We can do so with reason, with humor, and with clear thinking about the bad ideas the Left seems to carry around like a scratchy case of the fleas.
President Bush is not a theoretical politician. He is a practical man. He has constantly made the best decisions by his lights, sometimes against his own ideals, because reality sometimes makes things like war necessary; sometimes it makes massive bailouts necessary. The conservative question is always, “What is the realistic alternative?”
The end product of conservative politics is a mix of realism and idealism. Bush has liberated some fifty million Muslims, including one Arab journalist who just hurled his trendy hush puppies at him in an ancient gesture of contempt. That man is alive today because of George W. Bush — Saddam would have fed him screaming into a plastic shredder. Compared to Obama and the corruptocrats, Bush will soon look like an American hero. Just watch it happen.
Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what September 11, 2001 did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war. I call this new war World War IV, because I also believe that what is generally known as the cold war was actually World War III, and that this one bears a closer resemblance to that great conflict than it does to World War II. Like the cold war, as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize, the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism, yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of Communism; it is global in scope; it is being fought with a variety of weapons, not all of them military; and it is likely to go on for decades.
What follows from this way of looking at the last five years is that the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be understood if they are regarded as self-contained wars in their own right. Instead we have to see them as fronts or theaters that have been opened up in the early stages of a protracted global struggle. The same thing is true of Iran. As the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11, and as (according to the State Department’s latest annual report on the subject) the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism’s weapon of choice, Iran too is a front in World War IV. Moreover, its effort to build a nuclear arsenal makes it the potentially most dangerous one of all.