Legacy Of Ashes

Norm Augustine, former head of Lockheed Martin, writes about Bush’s legacy:

If Nothing Else, We’ve Been Safe


President Bush’s overall greatest achievement was that America has not suffered another 9/11 tragedy.

First off, Augustine conveniently ignores the fact that the first 9/11 tragedy happened on Bush’s watch, putting him dead last among American Presidents in terms of preventing major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Saying Bush was successful for preventing two major terrorist attacks is like saying Herbert Hoover was successful because he prevented two major economic collapses; it entirely misses the point.

Second, Augustine assumes that the fact that there hasn’t been another major terrorist attack is due solely to Bush’s counterterrorism policies, an obviously flawed assumption.  Groups like Al-Qaeda spend years preparing for major attacks; the fact that there hasn’t been another 9/11 could simply be due to the fact that nobody has tried to carry out another 9/11.  It’s like saying you have a magic ring that wards off man-eating tigers because, ever since you started wearing that ring, you’ve never been attacked by man-eating tigers.  Your explanation could be correct, sure, but it’s far more likely there are other factors at play there you’re not considering.

Plus, global terrorism has been increasing in recent years, so I don’t see how you can argue that we’re safer since terrorism is more common than it was before 9/11.  Overall, it’s a pretty silly argument to make and it sets an extraordinarily low bar to success.  As Brad at Sadly, No! says:

The fact we haven’t (yet!) all died gruesome, hideous deaths under Bush’s watch is considered an “achievement?” Are you serious? This is considered a standard for success?

Now, I don’t know if there’s some kind of document out there that lists bare minimum requirements for being president. But if there is one, I’ll bet that making sure the majority of your citizens don’t get senselessly slaughtered is at the very top of it.

Yeah, pretty much.