George Bush Has Kept America Safer
Few will argue that the George W. Bush presidency has largely been one of disappointment. It took the President seven years to veto his first bill, seven years to call for offshore oil drilling, and seven years – and counting – to build a border wall. Ironically, he also squandered the opportunity to build upon one of his biggest triumphs, the Bush tax cuts, by not working hard enough to make them permanent. As a result, the taxpayers face a mammoth tax increase when the cuts sunset at the end of 2010.
Despite these shortcomings, the President must be given credit for his single most important success – keeping Americans safe from terrorist attack. We haven’t been hit since 9/11, and, more to the point, we haven’t been attacked in the last two weeks.
Common sense military strategy tells you to strike your enemy when he’s at his weakest, thereby inflicting maximum damage. That said, the United States finds itself in a more vulnerable position than at nearly any time in its history. Our military is stretched thin, public sentiment is sharply divided over the War, we are in the midst of a bitter presidential campaign, and, most relevant, we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It is the most opportune time for our enemies to strike.
We know the consequences of hijacked airliners being used as missiles. But there are countless other targets which, given their access in our free society, are attractive to al-Qaida. They could bomb our pipelines, attack our malls, hit our transportation infrastructure (from trains and buses to bridges and tunnels), and even blow up aircraft parked on the tarmac. All would have a devastating impact, with panic spilling into the streets and the markets plunging to record lows. A severe worldwide recession, and possibly even a global depression, would follow.
There are some who will angrily criticize Freindly Fire for "giving ideas" to terrorist groups, but that line of thinking is simply naive. Anyone who believes al-Qaida hasn’t already thought of these things, and indeed hasn’t already devised operational battle plans to carry out such attacks, needs to have his head examined. By a proctologist.
And that is exactly the point. Wanting to do something and actually being able to carry it out are two completely different things.
Al-Qaida clearly possesses the intelligence to understand the power of affecting a nation’s elections, as it did when it executed the Madrid train massacre. Elections were held just days later, and the new government immediately pulled out of Iraq. Terrorist groups would relish nothing more than doing the same thing here, the ultimate achievement for them.
So why haven’t they?
The only rational answer is that the American effort to decapitate al-Qaida, courtesy of George W. Bush, is paying off handsomely. The systematic dismantling of terrorists’ financial and communications networks, in conjunction with keeping them on the constant run, has proven to be a winning formula for making the United States a safer place. This is not to say that al-Qaida will not be a major threat for years to come. But individual terror cells, with limited command structure and financial backing, are much less a threat to Americans than a full-strength organization, such as al-Qaida was pre-September 11.
George Bush may not be on the list of favorite Presidents, but his tenacity for safeguarding America and taking the fight to terrorists worldwide should not be overlooked. We would be foolish to let partisan politics blind us to a program that, while not perfect, has exceeded most expectations.
And that is a legacy worth remembering.