Top 10 Reasons Why Conservatives are Weaker on National Security

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” is a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln.  Yet, as wise a man as our 16th President was, apparently ex-mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani disputes this saying and believes that all of the people can be fooled all of the time.  Recently in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Giuliani said of the December 25, 2009, attempted terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Nigerian born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab:  “What he [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did – one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror.  We had no domestic attacks under Bush.” Perhaps “Mr. 9/11” was not trying to fool all of the people.  Maybe he was genuinely amnesiac (and so too might Stephanopoulos have been since he did not challenge Giuliani’s bizarre statement).  Giuliani apparently forgot that 9/11 and the attempt by Richard Reid – the shoe bomber – to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 both happened on Bush’s watch

I don’t think most people are amnesiac when it comes to the biggest attack ever to have occurred on US soil.  I do believe Giuliani was trying to capitalize on the false idea that most people have that conservatives are strong on national security – and by extension the war on terrorism – and that liberals are weak.  However, it wasn’t the strange omission of 9/11 that most struck me about Rudy’s statement; it was the recommendation that Obama should somehow follow Bush’s example on fighting terrorism.  I decided to examine what some of those right things G.W. Bush and his conservative cohorts did or did not do prior to and after the most calamitous act of terrorism ever to have occurred on American soil.  These are my top ten reasons why Rudy and company should pipe down when trying to portray the failed underwear bomber incident as a sign of Obama’s weakness on terror.  Paul Schaeffer play some delusional background music for us.

1.    The Bush Administration failed to act upon the (PDB) presidential daily briefing of August 6, 2001 which warned of an eminent attack by Al Qaeda upon the US.  Seventeen days later George Tenet, former director of the CIA, was briefed on the report by the FBI that Zacarias Moussaoui had been taking flying lessons – in a 747 trainer.

2.    The Bush Administration ignored warnings in January 2001 from the outgoing Clinton national security team that Al Qaeda and its sleeper cells in the U.S. were the major security threat facing the U.S.

3.    Bush ignored the Hart-Rudman Commission set up by Clinton by Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Gary Hart (D-CO0 and Warren Rudman (R-NH).  The commission’s final report issued in January 2001 warned of large-scale terrorist attacks on American soil, and specifically of “a weapon of mass destruction in a high-rise building.”

4.    The Bush Administration failed to take action against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan even after determining in February 2001 that Al Qaeda was responsible for the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole.

5.    Bush announced a New Office of National Preparedness for Terrorism within FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) but cut FEMA’s Budget by $200 million.

6.    The Bush Administration continued to oppose for more than a year any independent investigation of the intelligence failures that preceded 9/11.  President Obama, being “Mr. The Buck Stops Here” that he is, not only ordered such a review, but has accepted full responsibility for security weaknesses that may have lead up to this attempt at a terrorist attack.

7.    In the summer of 2002, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved by 19-0 a bill to tough security standards at chemical plants.  The chemical industry lobbied Republicans to reject it, and the White House let the bill die.

8.    In March 2002 Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham asked the Bush Administration for $380 million to protect nuclear weapons facilities.  The White House approved $26 million of Abraham’s request.

9.    During the Bush Administration, The Coast Guard estimated it would cost $4.5 billion to secure U.S. seaports.  In the year and half following 9/11, they received just $318 million.

10.    The INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) a year and a half after 9/11 had 14 agents to track down 1,200 illegal immigrants from countries were Al Qaeda was active.  Bush turned down $52 million request to hire more agents.

I wondered as I watched Rudy, and listened to other conservatives, if any of these facts rang a bell.  I wondered where this chorus of conservative voices was in opposing these actions which frustrated the war on terrorism and weakened American’s security under G.W. Bush.  I wonder if they really want Obama to be more Bushian in the strategies he employs in war on terror.  I wonder if they will continue on in defiance of Abraham Lincoln’s aphorism.  They are always boasting that Lincoln was a Republican.  Perhaps they should heed that great Republican’s words about the uselessness of trying to continue to misshape people’s perceptions about reality.

I am a native Missourian with a B.A. in English and minors in creative writing and Journalism. I attended the University of Missouri and edited have several newspapers and newsletters. I have worked in several fields but lately have worked in the legal field (not an attorney). My site is www.myhumbleopinion.org

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