Friday, January 8, 2010

New Right Wing Myth: No Domestic Terror Attacks on Bush's Watch

With the recent failed terrorist attack on Christmas and the Ft. Hood shooting a month or so prior to that, the right in this country (aided and abetted by the media) have invented a line of attack in its quest to regain control of Congress. The new talking points recited by everyone on the right goes something like this, "There have been two terrorist attacks on America since Obama took office, and there were none under Bush. Therefore, Obama is weak on terrorism and Bush was right all along." This lie has been repeated in the media by Dana Perino, former WH press secretary under Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Karl Rove, the entire staff of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and countless right wing bloggers and Republican elected officials.

Let's examine the new talking point, shall we. Let's first look at the biggest domestic terror attack in US history: 9/11/01. This attack occurred while George W. Bush was in office, therefore, it was under "his watch." The Bush Administration was given numerous warnings, most notable among them was the August 2001 briefing entitled, "Bin laden determined to strike in the US." This briefing detailed what counter terrorism officials had learned up to that point about Bin Laden and Al Qeada, listed its previous attacks, and related the "chatter" about airline hijackings, and about possible Al Qeada members receiving flight training in the US. In 2002, Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer said this on pre-911 intel, "It is widely known that we had information that bin Laden wanted to attack the United States or United States interests abroad." Widely known.

This was hardly the only warning. In the 9/11 commission's report, it stated that the "F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their security branch that mentioned Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence summaries in that time." Fifty-two reports!!! Nothing was done. It has been widely documented that terrorism expert Richard Clarke (who had worked for both Bush Administrations and the Clinton Administration) had requested a meeting with Bush's senior National Security staff numerous times to discuss what he said was an imminent attack from Al Qeada. He was denied such a meeting.

The US government was warned, ahead of 9/11, that an attack was coming by the French and Egyptian governments, yet nothing was done. In July 2001, then Attorney General John Ashcroft, based on a new, secret reassessment of the threat level for domestic air travel, was told that he could no longer fly commercial airlines, and had to fly private. This new threat was not shared with the public.

There were hundreds of other warnings not heeded by the Bush Administration, yet no one at the time attacked Bush, Cheney, Condoleeza Rice or any other administration official after the attacks. It was considered unseemly.

So, 9/11 was on Bush's watch, as was the next act of domestic terror: the anthrax attacks. These occurred shortly after 9/11, and the culprit was never charged or convicted. The FBI claimed it knew who had committed the attacks, but the "person of interest" was dead before he was named or charged. The attack will remain unsolved.

A few months later came the "shoe bomber" attack in late 2001. In this case, a member of Al Qeada tried to detonate his shoes filled with explosives while on an airplane. He failed, and was apprehended.

In July 2002, an Egyptian named Hesham Mohamed Hadayet stormed the El Al Airlines ticket counter at LAX and killed two people and wounded four. The FBI concluded that the attack was terrorism.

In October 2002, the residents of the Washington DC metro area were under terrorist attack from John Allen Muhammed, who came to be known as the "DC Sniper." Including earlier attacks in Louisiana and Alabama, Muhammed killed 13 people and critically injured three others.

In 2006 came the attack in Chapel Hill, NC. In that attack, Mohammed Taheri-azar drove his truck into a crowd of UNC college students. He made his intentions very clear, "I aimed to exact casualties from an enemy responsible for thousands of casualties among Allah's followers," he stated to the media. He also referred to Mohammed Atta as one of his role models.

In this brief post, I came up with six domestic terror attacks under the Bush Administration, and I bet I am forgetting some.

Note to right wingers: You might think the American people are stupid and don't remember the failures of the Bush Administration to keep the country safe. We are not stupid. The talking point about no attacks under Bush is a bald faced lie and everyone who says it is a liar.

3 comments:

T. Paine said...

Sounds to me like you are lumping all Muslims with al Qaida, Splash. The DC Sniper, Chapel Hill dude, and LAX bomber were indeed disgruntled terrorist muslims, but they were not associated with al Qaida or any other terrorist groups of which I am aware.

They were lone wolf domestic muslim terrorists, not too different from the lone wolf domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh.

Bush did a lot of things very poorly, especially as you point out very well the failure to heed intelligence regarding the pending 9/11 attacks.

That being said, al Qaida was put on defense after Bush took the war to them and no other attributable al Qaida attacks were successful against the United States on his watch after that.

That is the distinction you are missing, Splash.

By the way, it might interest you to know that there are some fairly high-placed liberals on Fox News, including Mara Liason and Juan Williams, both of which are also employees of that right-wing bastion known as NPR. Also, Geraldo Rivera and even Shepard Smith are often sympathetic to Obama and leftist causes.

The reason FOX seems more right wing to you folks on the left is because it will actually report BOTH sides of an issue, unlike the state run media which runs in sympatico with the Obama administration 90% of the time.

Dave Splash said...

(contd)

What I presented here were domestic acts of terrorism - perpetrated by Muslims -- that occurred during Bush's time in office. The right wing talking point states that no "domestic acts of terror" occurred under Bush (conveniently ignoring 9/11), yet I found some. To me, that proves my point, and shows the argument presented by Giuliani, Hannity, Ingraham, et al to be false.

no other attributable al Qaida attacks were successful against the United States on his watch after that I'm not so sure about that. Refer to my comments regarding the LAX and Chapel Hill incidents. How do we know they were not Al Qeada? And the LAX incident was successful. Plus, US interests were attacked numerous times throughout Bush's tenure. CIA officers were killed, embassy employees were killed, US soldiers were killed and wounded, contractors were killed and maimed, state department workers were kidnapped and murdered. I could go on and on. You see, when you make the criteria so small that nothing fits, it sure does look like Bush was amazing on terrorism.

As for Fox News...Puh-lease! That is the Republican National Committe's channel. It is 24 hour a day bias. News flash! Juan Williams is not a liberal, and neither is Geraldo Rivera. They were at one time, but not in the last decade or so. And if allowing a few liberals here and there on air means there is no bias, then what about MSNBC gave Joe Scarborough his own show! Pat Buchanan is on air multiple times a day, as are dozens of Republican strategists. Alan Keys and Tucker Carlson both had shows on the network. CNN employs Lou Dobbs (until recently), Bill Bennett, Mary Matalin, and probably more, but I don't watch that channel.

If you think Fox News gives "both sides" then I'm afraid, Paine, that you don't know what the liberal side actually is. Because it is definitely not represented on Fox.

Dave Splash said...

Couple of things. It is the right that tends to lump all Muslims together. Republicans have attacked personally the two Congressmen who are Muslim, and have frequently referred to the struggle against terrorism as a battle against Islam. I have gone to great lengths in numerous posts NOT to taint all Muslims with a broad brush. However, one of the main criticisms that I and others on the left have had about conservative cheer leading for more and more war, is that every time we invade, occupy, or bomb a Muslim country (no matter how justified we may feel it is), we inspire thousands of new jihadists. Therefore, we are increasing the rolls, as it were, for Al Qeada.

There is no formal joining mechanism for Al Qeada. You don't get a membership card and have to spend some time as a pledge. Al Qeada springs up all over the world because individuals or groups of angry Muslims are inspired to join. There was no Al Qeada in Iraq, for example, prior to the US invasion, yet a "chapter" formed shortly thereafter. Who's to say that the guy from LAX, the DC sniper, or the Chapel Hill guy were not Al Qeada? Because Bush and Cheney don't say it? In the LAX and Chapel Hill cases, the actors were most definitely and explicitly inspired by Al Qeada. To me, it is a distinction without a difference.

And if a "disgruntled" lone Muslim doesn't count as Al Qeada, then why does the Ft. Hood shooter? He had contact with a radical cleric. That doesn't make him Al Qeada. That makes him a US Army officer with a penchant for extremism. Did he receive orders from Bin Laden to do what he did, or was he inspired by Al Qeada, prodded by a cleric, and pushed by his own lonliness and alienation into violence?

It seems to me that you, free0352, and the right wing media want to have it both ways. Any attack that Bush failed to stop was insignificant, not Al Qeada, no big deal. Any mistake that Obama makes is missing the new 9/11, is irresponsible, shows he doesn't care about defending the country, etc.