He Kept Us Safe?

There has been loud and growing sentiment on the so-called “Right” (i.e. the Rush Limbaugh/Fox News “Right”) about how, for all his failings, President Bush has kept us safe.


By what metric is this being judged?  Is it merely stacked up against the also shoddy record of the Clinton Administration?  During Clinton’s time in office only six people were  killed on American soil (by foreign terrorists because I am assuming that is who these pundits are focusing on and not “lone wolf”/homegrown terrorists like Timothy McVeigh – which even taken into account would not come close to the body count stacked up on Bush’s watch).  During Bush’s time in office, as liberal pundits are quick to point out, three thousand people perished in terrorists attacks on American soil.  This does not give the full picture, though.  During Clinton’s time in office the U.S. was attacked overseas (i.e. the 1998 African embassy bombings), just as it has been during the Bush Administration.  Americans were attacked in the Bali nightclub bombings, and American allies have been attacked on more than one occasion (the 7/7 bombings on the London Underground and bus stations and the 2004 Madrid train bombings).  Moreover, the Bush Administration has played right into Al Qaeda’s hands by putting its troops in their crosshairs through the occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan – not to mention Al Qaeda’s stated goal of bankrupting America just like the Afghan Jihad did to the Soviet Union.  While our own profligate spending holds much of the blame for our current economic woes, the hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown down tubes in our fruitless prosecution of the War on Terror only accelerates that process.

Charles Pena, in his article “Why Lightning Hasn’t Struck Twice” at Antiwar.com, has an even better take on why the U.S. has not suffered another domestic terrorist attack.  His position is that the mathematical probability that any American would be killed in a terrorist attack is on par with being struck by lighting and has nothing to do with the Bush Administration’s Constitution-gutting policies.  He says,

“[W]e assume with absolute certainty that there would have been another terrorist attack (despite the actual odds). Therefore, we associate the lack of an attack with any and all actions we have taken. To be sure, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan has likely weakened al-Qaeda’s operational capability to carry out a second 9/11 (although the fact remains that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s senior leadership are still alive and well, and as such, an inspiration to other would-be terrorists, even if they are not card-carrying members of al- Qaeda).”

So, while everyone is thanking President Bush for keeping us safe from the terrorists, don’t forget to thank him for the fact that you haven’t been struck by lightning in the past eight years (unless of course you have been struck by lightning in the past eight years, then please, feel free to blame the president all you like).

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