Our world changed on 9/11. Most of us remember exactly what we were doing when we heard the news of the terrorist attacks. Indeed, most of us remember what President Bush was doing when he first heard the news…So, President Bush was reading children a book when news came that the World Trade Center had been hit. What did he do then? He kept his bearings and delivered a message televised to the country just hours later. You will recall that John Kerry tried to lambaste him for doing this too, until it was uncovered that he had reported that he himself “could not even think” upon hearing the news.
To say that “he kept sitting there for twenty minutes with a baffled look on his face” is a blatant, ridiculous, falsehood. Even Michael Moore said it was seven minutes. To even belly ache about this at all is beyond absurd. This man was President of the United States on September 11, 2001, not exactly an enviable position. It was decided that it was not safe to return to the White House the morning of 9/11. No kidding. Most of us will recall the story of Flight 93, which as far as we can tell was headed for the White House or Capitol, and as far as we can tell would have hit their intended targets were it not for the brave efforts of the passengers on board who happened to already be aware of the earlier attacks and took sacrificial action to prevent even worse carnage.
He was “paralyzed” in the days following 9/11? For someone who claims that we were “all frozen in front of our TVs” this smacks of serious selective amnesia. Not only did he address the nation just hours later but just days later, at Ground Zero itself, he ventured away from the speech’s expected course to speak freely with the crowd and rescue workers. When someone in the crowd yelled out: “George, we can’t hear you!” Bush responded, “I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” resulting in cheers from the crowd. Mr. Iacocca calls Mr. Bush at this moment “paralyzed,” while not mentioning the fact that the United States has not seen a terrorist attack since.
But what has happened since?
Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies communicate with each other better than they did before September 11. Numerous terrorist cells have been broken up and several major terrorist plots have been thwarted by U.S. and British intelligence, including one involving the prospect of several jumbo jets exploding in mid-air en route from London to the States. The Brooklyn and Golden Gate Bridges. Fuel lines connecting the boroughs of New York. The Fort Dix Six. The plot to explode the Sears Tower. These are just a few of the ones that we know about. So President Bush said he does not listen to the polls — because the “polls stink?” President Bush garnered not only the most votes ever of anyone running for any office in the history of the United States, but also enjoyed the highest approval rating of any President ever. And Bush has consistently said he does not pay attention to the polls. Would you rather someone who didn’t say this, i.e. Bill Clinton, be President during 9/11? You will recall that 9/11 was not the first time that terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.
The embassy bombings… the USS Cole… and 9/11 all took place in a span of a mere 37 months. Yet, 9/11 was the first and the last that was on Bush’s watch. And there have been 2,400 days and counting since, Mr. Iacocca. Would you have predicted that on September 12, 2001? Past American hesitation in the face of attacks on our interests gave our enemies reason to perceive America as being, in Osama bin Laden’s words, a “weak horse,” and convinced them to pursue more. Al Qaeda has repeatedly said that part of its rationale for 9/11 was the belief that, based on years of observations, that the greatest country in the world was a toothless tiger. After the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, there was no retaliation. During the Clinton administration, America left Somalia in the wake of the “Black Hawk down” incident in Mogadishu. Following the first WTC attack that same year, we held no regime responsible. (the killing of our soldiers in Saudi Arabia and on the USS Cole, Clinton responded with a handful of cruise missiles against a country that harbored thousands of terrorists.) Now, our enemies see us piddling over the costs of Iraq, our counterterrorism measures, and Guantanamo Bay.
Under President Bush, the United States military engineered the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan, extracting a dangerous haven of al Qaeda and international terrorism from which the 9/11 terrorists drew aid, comfort, and safe harbor. Bin Laden is living under a rock in a cave (assuming he’s alive at all, which French and Saudi intelligence have reported that he is not), while 95% of Al Qaeda’s top dogs are either dead or in custody, cooperating with U.S. intelligence. The Bush administration has succeeded in badly damaging al Qaeda and making it very difficult for terrorism to take root upon American soil.
A majority of Democratic senators voted for the war. John Kerry himself acknowledged that in certain situations pre-emptive military action had always been an acceptable strategy of the U.S. When he was running for President Kerry claimed that he only voted to authorize force against Iraq because Mr. Bush promised he would only use that authority as a last resort after exhausting diplomatic avenues and even more weapons inspections. The resolution placed no such conditions on Mr. Bush, and he made no such assurances regarding his acquiescing to the tyrant any longer.
Hillary Clinton made the same claim, as well as insisting that President Bush duped her on the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) — though she admitted she failed to even read the intelligence reports made available to senators. She has voted to fund the war no less than 10 times. Most of Congress was convinced that Saddam Hussein was a bloodthirsty, genocidal mass murderer and that he used his wealth to acquire dangerous weapons, and they were convinced that such savagery is not acceptable in our post-9/11 world. Many Democrats are on video claiming this. Congress crafted 23 formal causes for invasion of Iraq, only one of which was the prospect of WMD.
The director of central intelligence appointed by President Clinton, George Tenet, assured Bush in 2002 that Saddam having them was a “slam dunk case.” The events of 9/11 were the catalyst to see Iraq’s refusal to abide by U.N. resolutions in a clearer light. In 2002, senator Jay Rockefeller told the Senate, “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.” These remarks by Democrats are curious given the fact that Harry Reid called the Senate into secret session to discuss whether Bush administration officials had exaggerated pre-war intelligence about Iraq.
Those (including many of the above) who are now calling for withdrawal from Iraq have the moral responsibility to demonstrate that this would make the U.S. safer. They have not. They must show that slaughter of epic proportions would not directly follow. They have not. However acceptable these Democrats may find defeat, the consequences would be devastating. Our military is doing a tremendous job in Iraq, real progress is being made on many fronts, but today, just as then, it’s as if the media is trying to turn it into defeat.
Saddam Hussein’s capture was a swift and successful complex military operation considered by many to be the most efficient ever — and there is now a democratically elected government in this powerful Arab Muslim nation. When Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Allied troops were outnumbered nearly 3 to 1 by Saddam’s military, yet it took just three weeks to liberate Baghdad. Apparently Democrats found little positive about this historic development.
Granted the road that followed has been more difficult than expected. But at the same time just how barbaric Saddam had been was understated by the media: it was too risky to elaborate on the mass graves of dissidents, the thousands of Kurds gassed to death, the camps where he trained terrorists. Other Middle Eastern states are moving toward democracy as well. This will be seen as a major geopolitical change in a region characterized by despotism and instability. The United States and coalition are there to train, coach, and respond to crises as the new government learns by doing, sometimes by failure.
The day after Hussein was captured, Libya’s Col. Gadhafi informed U.S. diplomats he would terminate his nuclear weapons programs if the U.S. and Britain would lift the economic sanctions against him. Negotiations began immediately. Meanwhile political changes in Europe show that the anti-Bush, anti-America tide that the media likes to stress may be turning. The winners of the most recent major elections in France, Germany, and South Korea are decidedly pro-American and have reached out to form a more closer alliance with the U.S. on a number of fronts. And in Africa, President Bush has granted more humanitarian aid to fight disease and hunger than any other president in history.
So Mr. Iacocca lived through WWII and the Korean War. Well, this is the 21st century and we are now having to shore up a new kind of defense — one against fanatical terrorists and fanatical leaders of rogue regimes.
The terrorist attacks collectively sucked trillions of dollars out of the U.S. economy before Bush had eight months in the White House. Yet Bush’s tax cuts prevented an economic collapse in its wake. Unemployment has been low, and inflation has been kept in check, hovering at 20-year lows. Productivity is up, family wealth stands at a record $54 trillion plus, and real, after-tax income has grown 15% since 2001. The inflation-adjusted GDP averaged more than 3% (in the 2nd quarter of 2007). Bush’s tax cuts have also helped overcome other big blows, such as the Enron scandals, Hurricane Katrina, and the bursting of the dot com bubble.
Mr. Iacocca speaks often about President Bush’s other “failures,” such as his attempt to save Social Security and improve border protection. No word is mentioned about the fact that his predecessor made little attempt to accomplish either. Then again, nor is al Qaeda mentioned at all. President Bush bravely tried to sell the idea of having workers put some of their payroll taxes into personal investment accounts they would own and that would yield higher returns on their money and thereby build a larger nest egg than Social Security could. It was the House and Senate Democratic leaders who knifed Bush’s attempts in 2005, with their campaign claiming that the system was already in good shape and that stocks were too risky for the average American.
Liberals seem to have forgotten that President Clinton proposed letting the government invest some payroll taxes into the stock market in the belief that the higher returns could be used to finance future benefit checks. The idea of the government owning huge portions of the economy is socialism and would wreak havoc on the economy. Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential candidates who told voters that the system was just fine have said nary a word about it in their current campaigns, while the idea seems to be alive and well among their Republican counterparts. And Mr. Iacocca tries to lay the blame for Social Security being on “life support” on President Bush.
Mr. Bush was the first president in modern times to have the political courage (one of Iacocca’s ‘C’ words) to try to avert a storm of red ink in Social Security over the next generation. So the President likes to go to his ranch in Texas. It uses up a tiny fraction of the energy that Al Gore’s mansion does. And if you want to talk about a President’s extra-curricular activities to sell some books, might I suggest those of Bill Clinton’s might sell more.
If the “thumping” of 2006 “woke Bush up,” why is Iacocca still belly aching? This rant has no new ideas, at least none that would actually work — much like the current Democrat-led Congress that currently has an approval rating even lower than that of President Bush. Regarding their handling of the war, Congress currently has an approval rating of 3%. As this is being written, Senator Reid himself too has an approval rating lower than Bush.
In the months since their swearing in, the Democrat controlled Congress has: passed a budget that would raise our taxes more than ever before (which will cost the average American family more than $3,000 per year), tried to pass legislation to force conservative talk radio shows off the air (whilst Air America goes bankrupt), and have of course voted over and over to try and force a premature surrender in Iraq. The term “do-nothing” Congress seems to have left the vocabulary of Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid since the Democrats took control. Meanwhile Senator Reid has no problem claiming that this “war is lost.” He claims that the new Iraqi government needs to work out their “political differences,” while stirring up political strife himself over here.
What happened to the courageous party of Harry S Truman? Truman was also a very unpopular president (with numbers even lower than Bush’s) during an equally unpopular war, and his reputation has been rehabilitated by the passage of time, and historians consider his presidency to be among the best. Another war president, Abraham Lincoln, was at one time hated by a full half of the population. So gas prices skyrocketed. Guess what, the President has little to do with that, no matter who it is. When the tide has turned, you don’t hear any of these belly achers thanking the Bush administration. You’d think that a big wig in the auto industry would know this. It’s just yet another red herring the Bush haters use to try to get people to back their cause.
I “can’t call myself a patriot if I’m not outraged?” Well Mr. Iacocca, maybe you could explain this. Islamic extremists kill Americans in cold blood, and there is no widespread outrage. Meanwhile, American soldiers play Britney Spears’ music for detainees and there are investigations. Iacocca may be outraged, but his outrage is directed at precisely the wrong direction. For all the vitriol he spews at President Bush, this rant does not even include the words “Islamist,” “terrorist/terrorism,” “extremist,” or “bin Laden.” Since Iacocca’s book was published, President’s Bush’s much critiqued troop surge in Iraq has seen important, undeniable successes, which many of the Democrats refuse to accept, particularly those invested in a defeat they could blame on Bush/Cheney. General Petraeus argued convincingly in September 2007 that we are making real progress there, that the downward spiral of violence has been turned around, and the battle against al Qaeda there is succeeding. The surge has driven the terrorists out of key provinces, while giving the Iraqis time to strengthen their own military. The Washington Post reported on Page 1 that American troops have dealt “devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al Qaeda in Iraq.” On November 19 it editorialized, “By every metric used to measure the war — total attacks, U.S. casualties, Iraqi casualties, suicide bombings, roadside bombs — there has been an enormous improvement since January.”
A main problem with our efforts in Iraq is having lost the war at home. Most Americans go about their lives day to day without nearly the amount of sacrifice in earlier wars, yet we have too many armchair generals with their own agendas who want us to surrender. No Congressman challenged Dwight Eisenhower to set a timetable for redeployment from Europe during World War II. No one summoned him home to answer the type of questions Petraeus has in the midst of the Battle of the Bulge. No one summoned Admiral Nimitz after Iwo Jima to ask, “can you give us any idea as to how long it will take” to defeat Japan?
Meanwhile as 2007 came to an end, we saw that the federal budget deficit got smaller and is now only about 1 percent of GDP, which is much less than the average over the last half-century. The economy grew in every quarter of 2007 (4.9 percent in the last, averaging almost 3 percent annual growth since 2001), despite the subprime mortgage problem and energy prices, obstacles that would have derailed many global competitors. It’s easy for the Bush critics to try to discredit, disgrace and defame our president – that’s what they do. What’s not so easy for them to do is to refute irrefutable facts, no matter how they might try.
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