Don’t Let the Revisionists Get Away With it

Its already started:



Its as if Dubya and Obama were two pitchers who combined for a legendary pitching performance: Dubya the starter, and Obama the reliever.

The lives and legacies of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden have been inextricably intertwined since Sept. 11, 2001.

Two days after bin Laden’s terrorist operation killed more than 3,000 Americans, Bush declared, “We will not rest until we find him.” It was Bush who authorized the CIA to use the harshest interrogation tactics in U.S. history. Then came Tora Bora, Guantanamo Bay, waterboarding, rendition, terrorist strikes in London and Madrid, and more than 6,000 U.S. military casualties in twin wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now that bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces on a mission first assigned by President Bush, aided by evidence gained from “enhanced interrogation techniques” authorized by the former president, Bush’s frustrating “mission impossible” has, in the dead of night, turned into “mission accomplished.”

And in an instant, Bush’s fruitless search for bin Laden was hailed across the political spectrum as a determined effort that paved the way for his successor’s success.

The Houston Chronk says it, so it must be true, eh?

“He never wavered in that mission” to capture or kill bin Laden, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday at a news conference near Ground Zero.


How interesting that the Houston Chronk is basically an echo chamber for the latest Dubya-canonization meme from Fox ‘News’:

Fox & Friends had wall-to-wall coverage of the celebrations inspired by news of Osama bin Laden’s death this morning, and had on lots of analysts to discuss the Obama administration’s big victory in the so-called “war on terror”.

To do that, strangely enough, they had on all sorts of commentators, including various politicians, such as Karl Rove, and featured statements from the likes of Dick Cheney. Oddly enough, not a single segment managed to include a Democratic politician or even one person from the Obama administration.

Instead, what we heard all morning was how George W. Bush deserves credit too! They even ran a segment featuring Bush vowing in 2001 he would eventually get Bin Laden, with the longest time frame being a year from then.

As Steve Benen puts it:

There’s a fair amount of this rhetoric bouncing around this morning, and it’s not especially surprising — Republicans aren’t going to credit President Obama, regardless of merit, so it stands to reason they’ll try to bring George W. Bush into the picture.

If this is going to be a new GOP talking point, we might as well set the record straight.

In March 2002, just six months after 9/11, Bush said of bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him…. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.”

In July 2006, we learned that the Bush administration closed its unit that had been hunting bin Laden.

So, while we’re on the subject of 2001 and units….

Barack Obama is not Randy Johnson to Dubya’s Curt Schilling.

Rather, the year is 1986 and Barack Obama is the New York Mets to Dubya’s Bill Buckner – not to imply that Obama was lucky but, rather, that the Bush family is on one team and the rest of us are on another.

But reality has never gotten in the way of a conservative Texas ‘news’ outlet fluffing the Bush family.

If history is any guide, the successful U.S. military operation is likely to boost the sagging popularity of President Barack Obama. But for Bush, the terrorist leader’s death also could alter public perceptions of his presidency.


Hopefully it will remove all doubt that Dubya didn’t give a damn about finding bin Laden and, instead, was only concerned about ejaculating on Iraq.

“It’s certainly a validation of the policies that President Bush put in place following the attacks of 9/11,” said Midland businessman Donald Evans, a close Bush friend and former commerce secretary. “President Obama has looked back at how President Bush led the war on terrorism and I think he drew many lessons from that.”

Bush left office in January 2009 as the least popular president in three decades. But lawmakers from both parties said Monday that his aggressive efforts to combat al-Qaida will burnish his legacy. A small group of Texans gathered outside Bush’s Dallas home Monday, leaving behind American flags and patriotic, red, white and blue balloons.

“President Bush has been proven correct,” said Rep. Al Green, D-Houston. “He indicated that he would bring bin Laden to justice or we would bring justice to bin Laden. While President Bush isn’t president, I do believe President Obama finished what President Bush started.”

Some elected officials said the interrogation tactics approved by Bush may have played a key role in locating bin Laden.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, an Austin Republican, told the Houston Chronicle that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided U.S. interrogators the name of a courier trusted by bin Laden, enabling U.S. officials to eventually track the courier to the compound where bin Laden was found and killed on Sunday by a helicopter-borne team of Navy SEALs.

McCaul, a former federal prosecutor who handled counterterrorism duties in Texas for the Justice Department, said Mohammed had surrendered the crucial information some time after being subjected to the “aggressive interrogation techniques for which the Bush administration was criticized.”

The practices used on detainees at Guantanamo have fueled deep divisions over the value and ethics of harsh interrogation techniques, but supporters now point to the intelligence gathering as one way in which critical information was collected over a period of years.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said intelligence obtained at Guantanamo prison that led to bin Laden’s death was “a direct result of President Bush’s orders.”

“President Bush set into motion the mission to bring down bin Laden,” she said, “and President Obama carried it through to completion.”

How’d that campaign for Texas governer go, eh Kay?

Still, said Mark P. Jones, chairman of the political science department at Rice University, the killing of bin Laden is “bittersweet for President Bush.”

“On one level, he’s happy to see him receive the justice that he deserved,” Jones said. “On another level, he has to be disappointed it didn’t happen on his watch. It reminds people that he failed in the capture or death of bin Laden.”

You know…

Maybe I’m being too harsh with Bill Buckner.  After all, he was a good player who made a bad play – just at the worst possible time.

Perhaps Dubya is actually Manny Ramirez.

The fate of bin Laden was one of several unsettled matters that academics say will influence Bush’s ultimate place in history. These include the nation’s economic situation, the fragile stability of Iraq, the future of war-torn Afghanistan and the fate of democracy movements in undemocratic nations in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Certainly, President Bush handed off two unresolved wars and an economic collapse to his successor,” said Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson. “Anything that takes the edge off those problems – bin Laden’s death, economic recovery, and easing out of Iraq and Afghanistan – will help President Bush’s legacy, at least at the margins.”

So, to stick with the baseball comparisons, I guess that would make the ‘journalists’ who can’t be bothered to mention:

Would they collectively be Eddie Gaedel?

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