“At Least He Kept Us Safe”

If the last 8 years of George Bush have meant anything, which they definitely do, the one thing that we can all say is that there were no other terrorist attacks after 9/11/01. Peggy Noonan says it wonderfully today in the Wall Street Journal

There was no grousing about John McCain, and considerable grousing about the Bush administration, but it was almost always followed by one sentence, and this is more or less what it was: “But he kept us safe.” In the seven years since 9/11, there were no further attacks on American soil. This is an argument that’s been around for a while but is newly re-emerging as the final argument for Mr. Bush: the one big thing he had to do after 9/11, the single thing he absolutely had to do, was keep it from happening again. And so far he has. It is unknown, and perhaps can’t be known, whether this was fully due to the government’s efforts, or the luck of the draw, or a combination of luck and effort. And it not only can’t be fully known by the public, it can hardly be fully known by the players at all levels of government. They can’t know, for instance, of a potential terrorist cell that didn’t come together because of their efforts.

At the very least, President Bush delivered on what he HAD to. Maybe there was overreaching with Iraq and the concept of this global, multilevel, multifront, war on extremism. So maybe he didn’t deliver on the goals he wanted to but didn’t HAVE to deliver on. What seems to be developing in the zeitgeist is that the most salient fact is that we were, in the final analysis, safe.


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