Sep 21st 2015

Ask the Victims of 9/11 if George W. Bush “Kept Us Safe”

by Robert Creamer

Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist and author of the recent book: "Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win," available on amazon.com.

In Wednesday night’s GOP debate, Jeb Bush made the outrageous statement that his brother George W. Bush “Kept us safe”.

Here is a news flash for Jeb: George W. Bush did not begin his term on September 12, 2001.   The worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor occurred on his watch.  And it occurred after he had systematically ignored intelligence warnings – before 9/11 – that Osama Bin Laden “was determined to strike the U.S.” and that his terrorist network might try to hijack planes to do it.

In fact terrorism was a low priority for the Bush Administration before 9/11.  And just six months after 9/11, when asked about apprehending the mastermind of those attack, Bush said, “I truly am not that concerned about him.”
 
Instead his administration was busy cherry picking intelligence to justify an attack on Iraq that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. 
   
The Iraq War did anything but “keep us safe”.  It was based on false “intelligence” that Saddam Hussein had non-existent weapons of mass destruction.  It cost over 4,000 American lives and maimed or injured tens of thousands more. It cost America trillions of dollars. Worst of all it served as a recruitment tool for Al Qaida and other terrorist networks around the world.    
 
In fact, rather than “keep us safe”, a 2006 intelligence report concluded that the War in Iraq “made the overall terrorism problem worse”.  It also kicked over the sectarian hornet’s nest in the Middle East and created the conditions that spawned Al Qaida in Iraq that ultimately turned into ISIL (there was no Al Qaida in Iraq before the invasion).  
 
Of course you can understand why Jeb Bush insists that his brother “kept us safe”.  He has surrounded himself with many of the very same foreign policy advisors that presided over the worst foreign policy record in half a century.
 
They are the same crowd that most recently tried and failed to sink the six-nation agreement to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon without a war.
 
After while it gets sickening to listen to their attempts to rewrite history and posture as tough foreign policy geniuses when in fact they conducted a foreign policy that put America and our interests at more risk and sent thousands of young men and women to their deaths in an unnecessary elective war. 
 
But the thing that is most galling is their refusal to take any responsibility for allowing the nation to be subjected to the worst attack on the homeland in 70 years.
 
It is simply outrageous that the Bush crowd would have the audacity to say they “kept us safe” after presiding over the 9/11 debacle – and the inept, ineffective, ideologically driven response that followed.
 
The Republicans have been fixated for years on the tragic death of one American Ambassador and his aides in Benghazi – even though he was knowingly taking risks to advance America’s foreign policy goals in Libya and there is not one shred of evidence of official wrong doing.
 
Can you imagine the investigations and vicious smears of Democrats that would have ensued had Al Gore been President at the time of the 9/11 attacks?  
 
Democrats did not use those horrible attacks to their political advantage. 
 
But the chutzpa required for Jeb Bush to argue that George Bush actually kept America safe is simply beyond the pale – and can’t be ignored.
 
Of course it wasn’t just Bush’s failed defense and foreign policies that left everyday Americans less secure.  His trickle down economics lead to the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression; cost 8 million Americans their jobs; and did economic damage that, years later, has just begun to heal.
 
George Bush left President Obama an economy that was hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month when he took office in 2009.   And the collapse of the financial markets on Bush’s watch whipped out $2 trillion in retirement savings.  
 
Is that what he means by “keeping us safe”.
 
George Bush sped up climate change with an energy policy written in secret by Dick Cheney and representatives of the Oil companies. 
 
And who can forget how he kept the people of the New Orleans and the Gulf Coast “safe” when they were struck by Hurricane Katrina. Over a thousand Americans died because the levies failed in New Orleans and the Bush Administration’s response was infamously inept.
 
“Keeping us safe?”
 
In response to Jeb Bush’s delusional statement at the latest Republican presidential debate that his brother George “kept us safe”, which he doubled down on a day later, Americans United for Change has unveiled a new TV ad, “Safe?” airing next week nationally on cable new stations.
 
The evidence is clear.  The best ways to keep America truly safe are never to forget just what George W. Bush did to America -- and to keep Jeb Bush and the entire Bush gang a “safe” distance away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the levers of American political power.

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