Friday, January 8, 2010

Conservative commentators mix up history: "No terror attacks during Bush's presidency"

A couple of conservatives are purporting a lie as truth regarding George W. Bush's record on the war on terror. And it's spreading like wildfire.

It began with Dana Perino, former Bush administration Press Secretary. Speaking on FOX News' Hannity, Perino made the claim that we aren't as safe under President Obama as we were under the leadership of President Bush.

Perino even went as far as to say that under President Bush's tenure, America hadn't seen a terrorist attack.

"We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term," Perino told Hannity.

Wait...huh? That's a pretty hefty claim to make, considering that, under Bush's first YEAR as president, we saw the attacks of September 11, witnessed terror in the form of the anthrax killer, and captured would-be airplane terrorist Richard Reid, otherwise known as the "Shoe Bomber."

Apparently, the commonly held opinion that we should "Never Forget" September 11, often stated by conservatives, doesn't include the belief that we should remember anything about what year the attacks happened in.

Perino's statements happened in November. After a clear misstatement like hers, you'd think that prominent conservative politicians would have learned better.

But just this week, former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani -- the very person who was mayor during the terrorist attacks of September 11 -- made the very same claim.

"What [Obama] should be doing is following the right things Bush did," Giuliani said. "One of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama."

Three major points come from Giuliani's comments.

First, as already pointed out, President Bush had TWO events of terror in his first year in office -- September 11 and the anthrax attacks -- and ONE attack that didn't quite succeed, thankfully -- the shoe bomber Richard Reid, which only failed due to the heroic efforts of that flight's passengers. Or can't the NYC mayor remember the attacks that catapulted him onto the national scene, propelling him as a potential Republican candidate for president in 2008??

Second, the statement by Giuliani asserts that Obama isn't treating the war on terror as a real war. While it's true he has used the term less often than Bush did, Obama has acknowledged the war on terrorism several times during his presidency, including his first day of office in his inauguration speech.

Finally, Giuliani's remarks redefine what is considered a terrorist attack -- at least when it's a liberal president in power. The incident at Ft. Hood -- hardly a highly-orchestrated example of jihadism -- is part of the war on terror in Giuliani's, and many other conservatives', minds. Though the event may have caused a mass panic nationwide, fitting some definitions of terrorism, it doesn't exactly match the terrorist event that occurred under Bush's watch during the first year of his presidency.

In other words, to Perino, Giuliani, and other conservatives, it goes like this: terrorism under George W. Bush, no big deal; slightest example of terrorism under Obama (questionable in terms of whether it's part of the war on terror)...HOLY $%@&!!!

Hypocrisy doesn't even begin to describe how Perino and Giuliani are acting -- when you ignore an event as catastrophic as the September 11 attacks, all in order to make a political statement against a president with an opposing point of view, it can't even begin to be described. Suffice it to say, Perino and Giuliani are quite simply hacks -- a word I have never used to describe anyone in all my years of writing.

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