This is Joshua Wehner's archaic Blog

Mistakes, accomplishments & responsibility

Dad and I were talking about Bush's mistakes and accomplishments last night.

This morning, I heard Bill O'Reilly say that one of Bush's major accomplishments was that there hadn't been another terrorist attack on the United States since 9/11.

I believe Dad said something similar last night, but this morning, hearing it again, I got to thinking. How does that work? How do you claim that as an accomplishment?

Here's what I would call "The Big Picture", I mean, this is just my opinion, my "spin", but here's what I think, anyway. Feel free to tell me where I go wrong:

  • Attacks: Americans are being attacked constantly in Iraq. Civilians have been captured and beheaded. There were attacks in Besland and Madrid. So, there have been terrorist attacks post 9/11, some of them injuring Americans. Bush can't claim "the world is safer" with me. True, there hasn't been an attack on American soil since 9/11, but…
  • "Since 9/11": The previous, American-soil-based attack would have been the WTC smoke-bombing in 1993, killing five people and injuring others. I'll give Bush credit for an attack-free three years since 9/11/2001, but so what? Three years? He wants credit for a three year span? That's not "an accomplishment", I'd say it's more like "par for the course".
  • "Since 9/11": I think it's weird that this is just a given. Just assumed. I'm not trying to allege some conspiracy here, but this looks like some serious "spin". The objective, "big picture" way to phrase this is: "There was one and only, singularly destructive attack during the Bush administration, that eclipsed any attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, but just that one."

Now, I'm not trying to blame Bush for 9/11 per se, though there are plenty of conspiracy theories for that kind of thing. I'm just saying, it's weird to put it as an assumption that he shouldn't hold any kind of responsibility for the attack that did happen on his watch, while simultaneously giving him a big credit for all the hypothetical attacks that haven't happened. In other words, I don't care which, but you can't have it both ways: either the Bush administration is responsible for preventing attacks (and failing to prevent 9/11), or they're not responsible for any of the attacks that do or do not happen.

The other thing that Dad and I talked about last night was Bush's mistakes.

The whole "mistake" thing would be easier for me to buy, if Bush had actually admitted something like that. He hasn't.

Like, at this press conference ( http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040413-20.html ) the closest he comes to naming a mistake is "the country wasn't on war footing", which isn't exactly fair (we weren't at war, so of course we weren't on war footing; besides, it sounds to me like he's blaming the previous administration). He later says, "I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one."

This press conference was held on April 14, 2004. I can think of a couple of mistakes he'd made at that point, and I'm not the president. I'm not even in the cabinet. I don't wake up every day to a briefing of the number of lives my war has cost the world. I can name a half-dozen mistakes he made, just off the top of my head. Why's it so hard for Bush to name one?

Even if he admits it; even if I become convinced that these were mistakes and not lies, these are some really bad mistakes he's made.

Permalink • Posted in: 2004 election, news, politics