Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thoughts on "The United States has gone seven years without a terrorist attack on our soil."

George Bush gave his farewell address tonight.  Most of it was you may expect; a listing of what his perceived successes were, some examples of inspirational people, and some parting words of American strength and courage through his eyes.

Most notably, in his list of accomplishes, he notes "The United States has gone seven years without a terrorist attack on our soil."

I've heard this time and time again in the past few weeks.  Every TV and radio talk show has been doing Bush recaps, and these shows invariably have two "experts": 
  1. An angry "liberal type" painfully recalling every blunder Bush has made in great detail.

  2. A tired-sounding, accepting "conservative type" who doesn't argue the blunders much, but says "Well, yeah, but the United States has gone seven years without a terrorist attack on our soil."
I think the intention is that should be the argument killer.  It implies that he has prevented many other such attacks, secretly intercepted and silently neutralized, while we slept, never to be mentioned in public.  The means may not have been pretty, but it's all justified because he kept you safe in the end.  If we disagree with his methods, it's just because we just don't know the classified horrors that he saved us from.  

If we did know all this, we'd see what a savior he was, and wouldn't we all feel like assholes for giving him a hard time?

Additionally, it makes W come off as a martyr who was heroically willing to toss himself on the fire of history to save us all.  We hate him, but he loves us, and is willing to pay the price of our 70% disapproval rating if it means America is safe.

The problem is this doesn't appear to hold up to deep thought.
  1. If there were instances of large scale, imminent attacks that Bush's people had thwarted, wouldn't we have heard something of them?  With the amount of leaks in this Administration, it seems that good news would have surely come out, especially in light of the miserable approval rating Bush has seen consistently.

  2. While attacks on American soil have indeed been nil since 9/11, that event in itself was on Bush's watch, and it is known that he was warned of the attack, but did not respond to it. This is a bit like claiming credit for not having another levee failure in a metropolitan area since Katrina.

  3. Terrorist attacks have proliferated throughout the world, we are keeping the homeland secure, but at the expense of the rest of the world, which has been under attack from London to Spain to India. 
But what I don't hear much of is what I consider most important:

Bin Laden clearly stated his tactical mission was to "bleed America to the point of bankruptcy," citing that "We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupted and was forced to withdraw in defeat." In this context, another Al Queda attack isn't necessary even if they could, as the $500,000 investment they made for perpetrating 9/11 is still yielding profits.  

His first attack is still in progress.

By the way, Bush did admit to some small fault in his speech.  He said "There are things I would have done differently, if given the chance."

Indeed.  Now get out.

Further reading: 

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