Thursday, December 18, 2008
President Bush took credit yesterday for "keeping America safe" from terrorists since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, arguing that his administration had prevented more bloodshed at home through aggressive policies and that such a result should outweigh any second-guessing of his methods.
As he nears his final month in office, Bush told a friendly audience at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., that he took "a deliberate and comprehensive approach" to preventing terrorism that combined military action overseas with strong defensive measures at home.
"While there's room for an honest and healthy debate about the decisions I made -- and there's plenty of debate -- there can be no debate about the results in keeping America safe," Bush said. "Here at home, we've prevented numerous terrorist attacks."
Looking back at Sept. 11, when more than 3,000 people were killed, Bush said that "virtually no one would have predicted that more than seven years would pass without another terrorist attack on our soil."
"It's not a matter of luck," he continued. "It is a tribute to the dedicated men and women who work day and night to defend our great land. It's the result of tough decisions that we began making immediately after September the 11th."
Bush made a rare reference to Osama bin Laden, the fugitive al-Qaeda leader who has eluded capture by U.S. forces for the past seven years. "We have delivered a devastating blow to al-Qaeda in the land Osama bin Laden once called the central battleground in the war on terror," Bush said of Iraq.
The president focused on the defeat of the Taliban and the holding of elections in Afghanistan, making no mention of the rapidly deteriorating security situation there. Bush made unannounced visits to Afghanistan and Iraq over the weekend.
In Washington, Bush homeland security adviser Kenneth L. Wainstein also highlighted the administration's counterterrorism efforts when he sat down with reporters. Wainstein cited the USA Patriot Act, intelligence and homeland security reorganizations, and the removal of legal barriers to cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement agents as important steps.
Wainstein noted that al-Qaeda or its followers have often struck within days or months of political transfers, including the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993; the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; and the Madrid train bombings in March 2004."The people that I've been working with [on President-elect Barack Obama's transition team] recognize that the terrorist threat is real," Wainstein said. "Based on my discussions with them, they recognize it takes intense and sustained focus." source
Still kicking this dead 'dog' long after he's been gone.
Bush said that "the struggle against terror will be a generational conflict."
"Around the world, we're driving the terrorists from their safe havens. We are choking off their financing. We are severely disrupting their operations."
"Together with our allies, we've killed or captured hundreds of Al-Qaeda leaders and operatives, including the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."
In an interview earlier this week, Vice President Cheney admitted to personally approving the torture of high-profile detainees. In a new interview with the Washington Times, Cheney stridently defended the Bush administration’s torture policies, saying, “I feel very good about what we did. I think it was the right thing to do.” He added emphatically that he would “do exactly the same thing again.”
Most audaciously, Cheney specifically defended the morality of torture, suggesting that it would have been immoral for the United States to not torture:
“In my mind, the foremost obligation we had from a moral or an ethical standpoint was to the oath of office we took when we were sworn in, on January 20 of 2001, to protect and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. And that’s what we’ve done,” he said. […]
“I think it would have been unethical or immoral for us not to do everything we could in order to protect the nation against further attacks like what happened on 9/11,” Mr. Cheney said.
Cheney insisted that the torture policies he helped craft were “directly responsible for the fact that we’ve been able to avoid or defeat further attacks against the homeland for 7 1/2 years.”
Torture has endangered, not protected, American lives. Military experts say that the U.S.’s torture policies have been the single greatest recruiting tool for al Qaeda. A former interrogator who worked in Iraq stated unequivocally, “The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.”
GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: "I will be known as somebody who saw a problem and put the chips on the table to prevent the economy from collapsing.
I'm a free market guy, but I'm not going to let this economy crater, in order to preserve the free market system."