This is another one I forgot about, and the story seems moot in light of J.E.B. having dropped out of the race. Except that the underlying story is America’s role in the world, and that is is a rather perpetual topic of debate and therefore a perpetual source of news.

So, there they went again…

Trump “attacked” the Bush family
Donald Trump Doubles Down on Attacks of Bush Family – ABC News

JEB says W “kept us safe”
After Claiming His Brother ‘Kept Us Safe,’ Jeb Bush Tries To Blame Bill Clinton For 9/11 | ThinkProgress

So what are the facts?

1. Clinton’s minions set up a firewall between the CIA and the FBI. As a result these vital agencies could not share intelligence about cases which start overseas and continue here at home. A side effect was that even field offices of the FBI had great difficulty cooperating with each other. All this was revealed in the news media as the post-9/11 investigations unfolded. (Jamie Gorelick’s wall – Washington Times)

2. By the time the 9/11 tragedy had occurred, G. W. Bush had been in office 9 months. You would think that would be sufficient time to review the widely known mess that Clinton bequeathed to Bush, but obviously not. Was that “Bush’s fault”? Well, who else?

3. On 9/11 the Twin Towers came down, and three thousand Americans died. Obviously Bush had not “kept us safe.” The Clinton firewall prevented the CIA and the FBI from putting the pieces together in time to prevent the attack. Was that “Bush’s fault”? Well, who else?

4. To his credit, Bush did respond the way we’d expect, based on consensus and common sense: he moved to destroy this evil at the source. Initially he send special forces into Afghanistan who fought alongside local militias to clean up that rat’s nest. (Later, it took a much greater effort on our part,)

5. Eventually Bush did break down the Clinton firewall between the CIA and the FBI.

6. But he went far beyond that, he gave us the Patriot Act, the NSA, the TSA, and the Department of Homeland Security, all of which trample on if not totally obliterate the Bill of Rights. Don’t you feel safe? Yes, that one is indeed “Bush’s fault.” He should have vetoed all this crap.

7. In that regard, 0bama managed to prove Ben Franklin’s warning: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, shall have neither Liberty nor Safety. We the people put up with increasing inconveniences, restrictions and serious infringements of our constitutional rights, and still we are victims of “lone wolf” or “domestic terrorist” attacks such as in San Bernardino. Don’t you feel safe? Those attacks may no longer be “Bush’s fault,” but he is the one who set up the mechanism for the unprecedented erosion of the Bill of Rights which still did NOT keep us safe from such attacks.

8. In spite of common sense evident in the saying “when seconds count, the police are minutes away,” enemies of our constitutional rights are still working to disarm us and to keep us from defending ourselves in accordance with our constitutional rights. Don’t you feel safe? This may not be “Bush’s fault” either, but he certainly did nothing to press the issue in favor of self-defense and the Second Amendment.

The matter of Iraq and Saddam Hussein was a bit more murky and proved to be much more problematic.

9. Yes, Saddam Hussein boasted of having a program to develop and deploy WMDs, train and support terrorists, etc. He gassed the Kurds. He launched a brutal war on Iraqi Shiites. His sons tossed athletes into wood chippers for the sin of losing an international game. So Bush moved against Iraq, with full and enthusiastic support by Congress and the people. In a very real sense we Americans liberated the Iraqis from a brutal dictatorship, complete with scenes reminiscent of WW2 and the fall of the USSR.

10. But then came the realization that the Sunnis and their Ba’athist ruling class was determined NOT to cooperate with us. Instead of maintaining civil order and continuing the essential operations of an established civilian government, they went home. Bureaucrats, office workers and policemen, they just went home. The liberators became occupiers and the occupiers were seen as the new oppressors — yet again, foreigners and infidels.

11. In response to that challenge, Bush decided on “nation building.” If we managed to democratize Germany and Japan after WW2, surely we can do the job in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a no-brainer.

12. Well, it did prove to be a no brainer, indeed — as in a total lack of brains. Germany after WW2 had a 14 year history of naziism but for the previous 1000 years Germany was in the center if not at the forefront of Western Christian civilization. On the other hand, Iraq and Afghanistan have a 1400 year history of Islam. Germany may have been fragmented into dozens if not hundreds of principalities for most of its history, but they all shared a common culture and language, even if religiously they were divided between Catholics and Protestants, and even if geographically and temperamentally they were as different as Prussians and Bavarians. But both Iraq and Afghanistan are artificial countries cobbled together by the British (during the days of the Empire) deliberately disrespective of tribal or natural geographic boundaries, without any sense of ethnic or religious cohesion between incompatible parts of tribes and sects, deliberately lumping parts of them into one country and lumping the other parts of the same tribes and sects into another country. Is that a recipe for failure? Is the Pope catholic?

13. It was not obvious how big a failure “nation building” was doomed to be until 0bama announced a withdrawal date and actually did withdraw our troops long before a well trained, well equipped and effective native force could replace them. Yes, that too is “Bush’s fault” because he aligned his foreign policy with the preservation of these unnatural boundaries in foreign lands where he had no business to go “nation-building.”

So after all this, what’s the bottom line? Of course hindsight is 20/20, yet two glaring facts stand out.

(1) OF COURSE you DO reexamine the critically fatal decisions of your predecessor, especially one with a record on foreign policy and trade such as Clinton. Bush did NOT do that; that makes it “Bush’s fault.”

(2) OF COURSE you DO NOT engage in “nation building;” that is, reconstructing the culture, values and institutions of a foreign country, no matter what root causes you identify as the source of the problems we have with them. Islam does NOT have a tradition of democracy, tolerance of minorities, or respect for other religions; Islam does NOT foster anything but condemnation and contempt for western ideals of liberty and individual rights. Bush ignored that basic fact; that makes it “Bush’s fault.”

Everything else is just smoke and distraction. Saddam Hussein DID have the publicly stated intention and the programs in place to develop all sorts of WMDs. Maybe Bush should have foreseen that the Baathists would NOT cooperate with the “occupation.” But those were failures in intelligence, analysis or judgement, rather than intentional misdeeds. They do NOT amount to “Bush lied, people died.”

No, it was NOT “Bush lied, people died.” It’s 0bama who squandered Bush’s hard-won gains, and threw our servicemen’s sacrifice back in their face.


Meanwhile (between the time this was in the news and the time I remembered that I drafted this note but forgot to post it) the Bush family made a big push for J.E.B. in the South Carolina primary, and in spite of the deep affection that veterans have for Bush 43, they knocked JEB out of the race. And Hillary, the co-architect of 0bama’s betrayal of our veterans and their sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq, is on her way to the coronation as the next Democrat*ic* candidate for president.