Bush Illogic 101: Bush Claims Success in Keeping America Safe

December 19, 2008

On Thursday , the AP reported that President Bush claimed on Dec. 17 during a speech at the Army War College that "there can be no debate" about his record of keeping America safe. "No debate"? Really?

Pointing out errors in Bush’s logic and comments is like shooting fish in a barrel, but since the AP reporter didn’t bother to comment on the story, and it went more or less unnoticed, I thought I’d put in my perspective.

First, Bush apparently means he has kept America safe after he failed to keep America safe. After all, it was the Bush Administration that received the infamous August 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US." One could argue that the Clinton administration could or should have done more to uncover the simmering conspiracy, but the fact is that it was under Bush’s watch that the country’s intelligence agencies got actionable information and failed to connect the dots. So Bush claiming that that "there can be no debate" about his record of keeping America safe is patently false. It would be like if, a few years from now as he retires, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stated that "there can be no debate" about his record of keeping America out of a recession—because after the worst economic recession since 1929 he took steps to try to make sure it didn’t happen again. Or FEMA Director Michael Brown touting his efforts on Hurricane Katrina as a spectacular success because twice as many people didn’t die. Heckuva job, Brownie.

Second, many studies and reports have concluded that America is no safer than it was years ago, and in fact the Iraq war has made us less safe. Bush simply cannot claim credit for the fact that another foreign terrorist attack has not occurred. He may or may not have had anything to do with it, and there may be many reasons why another attack has not occurred, from luck to good foreign intelligence. The mere fact that another Sept. 11 has not occurred does not logically imply that Bush prevented it.