No, really, I don't get it. I could have understood, if not condoned, it coming from John McCain in 2008 or even Mitt Romney in 2012; it took a long, long time for the stench of the loathing unpopularity that Dubya allowed the Left to inflict upon him unopposed to dissipate. But now? A recent poll indicated that a narrow majority of Americans look back on the Bush43 years positively. The tragedy, of course, is that it's taken seven years for the malevolent, across-the-board follies of Barack Obama and the comprehensive, across-the-board disasters at home and abroad to finally, pyrrhically rehabilitate President Bush's reputation. But that has finally taken place, in too-little, too-late fashion.
So why is Donald Trump trying so hard to misdirect the blame for 9/11 from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush?:
GOP [co-]front-runner Donald Trump is tripling down on blaming President George W. Bush for the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said the president is ultimately responsible for what happens on his watch, pointing out three things he would have done differently were he in the White House in 2001.
"You always have to look to the person at the top," Trump told the Post. "Do I blame George Bush? I only say that he was the president at the time, and you know, you could say the buck stops here."
Which, on the face of it, is true, but is not remotely that simple or cut & dried.
Trump's three points of disagreement with Bush: Immigration policy, cross-departmental communication and foreknowledge an attack was likely.
"We had very weak immigration laws," Trump said. He said that under "the strong laws that I’m wanting, these terrorists wouldn’t have been in the country."
Bush had been POTUS for eight months. Not sufficient time to have pushed a strengthening of immigration laws through a divided Congress even if he had been an immigration hawk, in addition to his tax cut and No Child Left Behind legislation. Whereas Bill Clinton was president for eight years, and never bothered to secure our borders either. Why does he get a pass?
The FBI, National Security Council, and CIA weren’t talking to each other about what they knew about possible threats, and the fact was well-known, Trump said. "If I'm president, I want to have my three most important agencies talking to each other and coordinating with each other."
The infamous "wall of separation" that prevented the 9/11 "dots" from being connected. But that, too, was a policy instituted and imposed by the preceding Clinton Regime.
And Bush's CIA Director George Tenet "knew in advance that there would be an attack, and he said that," Trump said.
"An" attack, yes. The jihadist "chatter" was building to a crescendo as the summer of 2001 wound down. But the specifics were not known, precisely because of that aforementioned Clintonoid "wall," and nobody could have imagined the location, scope, and tactics of the attack that was imminently to come. That's what made it so spectacular and shocking - precisely the effect that Osama bin Laden was going for. Sometimes the bad guys simply make a good play.
While insisting, "I don’t blame anybody," Trump added that "perhaps something could have been done that was obviously better than the worst attack ever perpetrated on the United States."
Sure - by Bill Clinton. He allowed al Qaeda to rise to the level of an existential threat against the U.S. mainland itself. He, on three separate occasions, passed on capturing bin Laden due to the "lawfare" mentality of not being confident they could make criminal charges stick against him in a federal court. And so the threat built and built and built and then Sick Willie dumped it in Dubya's lap where it exploded.
And yet Trump absolutely is blaming the forty-third POTUS for the first enemy attack against U.S. territory since Pearl Harbor.
I guess there is one possible motivation: to taint Dubya's kid brother by association. Jeb was quick to come to George W.'s defense:
That latter part is especially true. President Bush did avert any further mass-casualty attacks against our country. He also got the ball rolling on hunting the jihadist vermin back to their state-sponsored layers and eradicating both (though he obviously didn't finish the job by leaving Iran and Syria intact - but then Barack Obama would have reversed those victories as well). You would think that what Dubya did after 9/11 would be at least as important as what he ostensibly failed to do before it - something around which the American people have finally starting coming. Which gets us back full circle to why Trump is engaging in this passive-aggressive Bushophobia.
You could say that this is just Trump being Trump. But even Ben Carson is ragging on Bush The Son as well:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he doesn't agree with front-runner Donald Trump's assertion that former president George W. Bush is to blame for the 9/11 terror attacks, but added that a more aggressive policy could have captured the mastermind of the attacks sooner.
Classic Monday-morning quarterbacking.
Carson, appearing Sunday on ABC's This Week, said Bush should have declared energy independence after the attacks and that would have forced moderate Arab governments to turn terrorist leader Osama bin Laden over to the United States.
Except, of course, that bin Laden wasn't in a "moderate" Arab country for and from which to turn him over. And I will reiterate yet again that the "War On Terror" was not, is not, and never will be a hunt for one man, but is and always will be the clash of civilizations that nobody wants to admit it really is.
Besides which, presidents, constitutionally speaking, cannot unilaterally declare energy independence, and Barack Obama sure as hell has never done so, and bin Laden was bagged despite that. So I don't think that Dr. Carson has really thought this process through.
Host George Stephanopoulos noted that the Saudi government, then the world's top oil supplier, already had kicked bin Laden, a Saudi citizen, out of their country.
"Well, you may not think they had any loyalty to him, but I believe otherwise," Carson said. "They would have known where he was. You know, there were indications for instance during the Clinton administration that they knew exactly where he was, but didn't necessarily pull the trigger. If we could tell where he was, I'm certain they knew where he was."
Maybe, maybe not. But given where he was - Pakistan, with all the complications of an unstable Muslim country with nuclear weapons shot through and infiltrated by jihadists - even if the Saudis did know his whereabouts, that would have been only the beginning of the process. And, again, bagging one Islamic Fundamentalist kingpin could not win the war, because there will always be others that rise in his place, as has indeed happened.
As I asked about Trump, so I wonder about Gentle Ben: How does attacking George W. Bush help him with Republican primary voters? Doesn't it make him look like he's following Trump's lead in a direction that is not so subtly pro-Hillary? That hardly bolsters confidence in Dr. C's political acumen, if you ask me.