Bush Illogic 101: Bush Claims Success in Keeping America Safe

December 19, 2008

On Thursday , the AP reported that President Bush claimed on Dec. 17 during a speech at the Army War College that "there can be no debate" about his record of keeping America safe. "No debate"? Really?

Pointing out errors in Bush’s logic and comments is like shooting fish in a barrel, but since the AP reporter didn’t bother to comment on the story, and it went more or less unnoticed, I thought I’d put in my perspective.

First, Bush apparently means he has kept America safe after he failed to keep America safe. After all, it was the Bush Administration that received the infamous August 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US." One could argue that the Clinton administration could or should have done more to uncover the simmering conspiracy, but the fact is that it was under Bush’s watch that the country’s intelligence agencies got actionable information and failed to connect the dots. So Bush claiming that that "there can be no debate" about his record of keeping America safe is patently false. It would be like if, a few years from now as he retires, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stated that "there can be no debate" about his record of keeping America out of a recession—because after the worst economic recession since 1929 he took steps to try to make sure it didn’t happen again. Or FEMA Director Michael Brown touting his efforts on Hurricane Katrina as a spectacular success because twice as many people didn’t die. Heckuva job, Brownie.

Second, many studies and reports have concluded that America is no safer than it was years ago, and in fact the Iraq war has made us less safe. Bush simply cannot claim credit for the fact that another foreign terrorist attack has not occurred. He may or may not have had anything to do with it, and there may be many reasons why another attack has not occurred, from luck to good foreign intelligence. The mere fact that another Sept. 11 has not occurred does not logically imply that Bush prevented it.



#1 JohnHuey on Friday December 19, 2008 at 12:17pm

I think that the reason that there has been no successful attack on US soil is because the US is doing exactly what the terrorists wanted us to do post-911.  They wanted us to over-extend ourselves in the middle east.  They wanted us to alienate moderate Islamic countries.  They wanted us to stain our relationship with our Western allies.  Under the guise of ‘protecting America’, Bush has played right into our enemies hand.

#2 nmtucson (Guest) on Friday December 19, 2008 at 2:20pm

Nice post. This reminds me of the old, old joke about the guy banging sticks together to “keep away the tigers”. When someone notes that “there are no tigers around here” he replies “see it must be working.” Flawless illogic.

And of course, the problem lies in knowing that you cannot prove a negative. As long as we have no “tigers” attacking us, he can say he has kept us safe and we cannot say how many ways that statement fails the test of logic.

I could just as easily say that *I* have kept America safe these past 8 years, perhaps by radiating my vehement dislike of this president, or by wishing for or “visualizing” world peace, or by not believing that the terrorists have the organized wherewithall to do something like that again. Who can say my actions did not preserve our collective safety? I dare you to prove me wrong!

#3 Ben "Spreader of Memes" Radford (Guest) on Friday December 19, 2008 at 3:36pm

NM Tucson- Yes, the tiger joke is an excellent example. I used it at the beginning of a chapter in my book “Media Mythmakers,” about the illusion of effectiveness in public policy. And keep up those visualizations, you’re doing a great job!

#4 Rahne (Guest) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 at 6:53am

Good foreign intelligence? Ha, I doubt that. The people who coordinate information may be doing better than they were pre-9/11, but I really don’t know about the actual information coming in.

#5 Max (Guest) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 at 6:48pm

We have no tigers attacking us? They only attack England, Spain, Bali, India, Afghanistan, and Iraq, but not America for some reason?

If it’s due to good foreign intelligence, could that be related to Bush’s pressure on Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, or even related to NSA’s controversial wiretapping program?

Would Saddam still be in power and Iran possess nukes by now if it weren’t for Bush?

Of course there can be plenty of debate, but don’t assume you know which side will win.

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