Reading time – 2 minutes, 19 seconds . . .
To you: Betcha you’re going to have an opinion on this.
To Jeb: You told the lie again, a lie that has been repeated since 2002, this time at the CNN Republican candidate debate. You defended your brother’s legacy by telling us that he kept us safe. Let’s check out your claim.
The attack on September 11, 2001 came on George W. Bush’s watch. 2,996 people died that day and 422,000 New Yorkers have suffered from PTSD because of that attack. It happened after he had been warned repeatedly about an imminent attack on the U.S. by Islamist extremists, warnings which he dismissed and ignored. Jeb, you might want to check with some of the survivors and family members of those who died on that awful day as to whether your brother kept us safe.
President Bush lied to Congress and to the American people, claiming that Saddam was in league with al Qaeda, something that is absurd on its face. al Qaeda membership was entirely religious extremists and Saddam was a secularist who hated them.
Your brother lied about a WMD threat from Saddam Hussein. Perhaps you recall his National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice stoking fear by telling us that the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud. And you might also remember the lies about the yellow cake (ref: Amb. Joseph Wilson’s report) and the aluminum tubes. Secretary of State Colin Powell repeated those lies to the UN.
At the same time President Bush was calling for an authorization to use force against Saddam, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was calling for restraint. They were the experts doing the inspections and they were finding no weapons of mass destruction or even a hint of them, so, Jeb, your brother actually protected us from nothing at all.
Without question Saddam was a bad guy, but consider what had been going on in the Middle East and what the present world circumstances might be if we had not invaded and overthrown him.
Saddam’s army had fought a war with neighboring Iran for years and they were bitter enemies. Had Saddam been left in power he would have been a natural check on Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapon capabilities. He was brazen enough to have attacked Iran to protect himself from such a threat and we might not be concerned with a nuclear Iran today. Instead, we live with a negotiated agreement, hoping it will prevent an Iranian nuclear threat. By attacking Iraq, just how safe did your brother keep us?
Saddam was a brutal dictator, but he kept rival factions in check in the Middle East. Were he still in power there would be no ISIS/ISIL. There would have been no beheadings, rapes, torture, murders, destruction of ancient sites or any of the rest of the carnage. There would be no caliphate and Americans would not be getting recruited to join that savage bunch and wage jihad on fellow Americans.
6,855 American military people were killed in those unnecessary wars (counting all coalition forces the number is 8,301). About 2/3 were killed in Iraq and 1/3 in Afghanistan and over 300,000 American military people are suffering from PTSD. (Check here and here for more on that. Note that the estimate of the number of our military people with PTSD from those wars has grown significantly since the Rand Corporation report in 2008 and has been estimated at over 500,000.) And all that warring cost us trillions of dollars that we put on the national credit card for our children and grandchildren to pay and which will drag down our economy for decades. None of that would have happened without the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Your brother didn’t do a very good job of protecting our military folks or securing safety for our future.
Your brother’s administration ordered the torture of prisoners in full and obvious violation of international law and United States law. We are still detaining dozens of prisoners at Guantanamo and will never know what happened to so many who were sent to “black sites.” In the process of all that, we became despised by millions and the torture we did has been used as a recruiting tool for yet more religious extremists to volunteer to attack Americans.
Absent the dishonest invasion of Iraq there would be no flood of refugees from Iraq and somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 Iraqis would still be alive. The number is uncertain because we made no attempt to measure either Iraqi deaths or the number of those who fled their homes to avoid war or those who are doing so now.
You tell us that your brother, the former president, kept us safe, yet you offer no proof or even a hint of support for your claim. It might be inferred, based on what has been said by former Bush administration people, that because there were no additional massive attacks on America like 9/11 that your brother kept us safe. Tell that, though, to the citizens of Madrid and London and to the people who were on the airplane with the shoe bomber.
2,996 people died in New York, 6,855 of our military are dead, hundreds of thousands are dead or displaced in Iraq, ISIS poses one of the greatest threats to humanity, Iran has made great progress toward getting a nuclear bomb to use on Israel and on the United States . . . the list of horrible things caused by your brother could go on and on and none would exist if we had not invaded Iraq.
Your brother kept us safe? It’s a great, chest-thumping bumper sticker, Jeb, but it’s a lie.
PS – pass this along to Dick Cheney.
Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.
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Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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