Friday, September 18, 2015

JEB!: Bro President Bush Kept Us - Safe?

During the GOP's September presidential debate last week, Jeb Bush said his brother, President George W. Bush, kept us safe:
Jeb said: “You know what? As it relates to my brother, there is one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe.

I don’t know if you remember, Donald. You remember the rubble?

You remember the firefighter with his arms around it? He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism and he did keep us safe.”
News flash for Jeb: The worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor occurred on his brother's watch and he is responsible for the pile of rubble that had been the World Trade Towers.  He is also responsible for the rubble at the Pentagon and the deaths of the courageous passengers and crew of United Flight 93 on 9/11.

If Jeb Bush wants to continue using his brother as an example of why he should be president, the American people need to be reminded of exactly what happened during those years and the resulting consequences that we are continuing to deal with, including the fact that 9/11 happened under Bush’s watch, which is the exact opposite of keeping us safe.

Here are some more news flashes for Jeb:
  • The worst Economic Recession Crash since the 1928 Great Depression Crash, stoked by Republican ideology of unregulated banking and financial markets, occurred on his brother's watch in 2008. 
  • The worst flooding disaster of a great American city, New Orleans, occurred on his brother's watch in 2006.
  • Bush-Cheney administration falsely represented intelligence related to Iraq's supposed WMD program and Saddam's alleged links to Al Qaeda as an excuse to start a 10 year long war in Iraq that claimed the lives of nearly 4,500 service men and women and sent home over 32,000 wounded soldiers - not counting PTSD wounds. 
  • George Bush sped up climate change with an energy policy written in secret by VP Dick Cheney and representatives of the Oil industry. 
President George W. Bush kept us safe on 9/11?

The 9/11 attacks occurred after Bush and members of his administration had heard and systematically ignored eight months of intelligence warnings - before 9/11 - that Osama Bin Laden terrorist network was planning to hijack planes and fly them into high value buildings.

In transition planning just before President Bush took the oath of office, President Clinton's security advisers warned members Bush's incoming administration about Osama Bin Laden terrorist network. Warnings also dismissed by Bush and his administration.

Republicans have claimed former President George W. Bush kept America safe to convince Americans that they can be trusted to lead on national security issues. But they pretend that his presidency began the day after 9/11 instead of eight months earlier.

And for those eight months they ignored warnings from intelligence agencies that an attack was imminent from terrorists who planned to hijack passenger jets and fly them into high value buildings. After that attack happened on 9/11 Pres. Bush and others in his administration claimed there was no way to know such attacks would happen.

Among the many warnings given to Bush administration officials, from the weeks before Bush took the oath office to the day before 9/11/2001, one warning was given on July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. On July 10th,  then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counter terrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away.
He and Black hoped they could finally convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action. For months, Tenet had been pressing Rice to set a clear counter terrorism policy, including specific presidential orders called "findings" that would give the CIA to take action. Tenet and Black met with Rice on July 10th but felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn't want to swat at Osama Bin Laden terrorist network flies.
On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal. The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001.

By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible. But some in the administration considered Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.

In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real. “The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden,” the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government’s transliteration of Bin Laden’s first name. Going on for more than a page, the document recited much of the evidence, including an interview that month with a Middle Eastern journalist in which Bin Laden aides warned of a coming attack, as well as competitive pressures that the terrorist leader was feeling, given the number of Islamists being recruited for the separatist Russian region of Chechnya.

And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed. Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have “dramatic consequences,” including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but “will occur soon.” Some of the briefs again reminded Mr. Bush that the attack timing was flexible, and that, despite any perceived delay, the planned assault was on track.

Yet, the White House failed to take significant action. Officials at the Counter Terrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counter terrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else.

That same day in Chechnya, according to intelligence I reviewed, Ibn Al-Khattab, an extremist who was known for his brutality and his links to Al Qaeda, told his followers that there would soon be very big news. Within 48 hours, an intelligence official told me, that information was conveyed to the White House, providing more data supporting the C.I.A.’s warnings. Still, the alarm bells didn’t sound.

On July 24, Mr. Bush was notified that the attack was still being readied, but that it had been postponed, perhaps by a few months. But the president did not feel the briefings on potential attacks were sufficient, one intelligence official told me, and instead asked for a broader analysis on Al Qaeda, its aspirations and its history. In response, the C.I.A. set to work on the Aug. 6 brief.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush officials attempted to deflect criticism that they had ignored C.I.A. warnings by saying they had not been told when and where the attack would occur. Throughout that summer, there were events that might have exposed the plans, had Bush alerted government agencies, airport security offices and the airlines. Indeed, even as the Aug. 6 brief was being prepared, Mohamed al-Kahtani, a Saudi believed to have been assigned a role in the 9/11 attacks, was stopped at an airport in Orlando, Fla., by a suspicious customs agent and sent back overseas on Aug. 4. Two weeks later, another co-conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui, was arrested on immigration charges in Minnesota after arousing suspicions at a flight school. But the dots were not connected, and Washington did not react.

Throughout the summer of 2001, there were events that might have exposed the plans, had the President Bush put the government and airports and the aviation industry on alert.  The 9/11 attacks could have been stopped, had the Bush team reacted with urgency to the warnings contained months of daily intelligence briefings. That may be the most agonizing reality of all.

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 advisers 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 a 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.

Fact is, Republicans are incapable of keeping us safe. 

In fact, they’re decision to go to war in Iraq as part of the War on Terror made even less safe because it has created new enemies while empowering old ones.

We now have ISIS sweeping Syria and Iraq while Iran acquired thousands of nuclear centrifuges and gained more power in the region. Iran didn’t even have centrifuges before Bush took office.

No comments:

Post a Comment