After attending a cheery little GOP Christmas party, and in the charitable spirit of the season, Wall Street Journal columnist and Republican stalwart Peggy Noonan reflected on the Bush years Friday. (You can read the full column by clicking here.) She declares that when historians look back on Bush and try to sum it all up, they will most likely say something like: "At least he kept us safe." Merry Christmas President Bush. Ms. Noonan then advises the Democrats to pay proper attention to the warnings contained in national security studies. Darn good advice.
But strangely, her column avoids any mention at all of the rather strongly worded security warning that was contained in the Presidential Daily Briefing delivered to President Bush one month before the 9-11 attacks. Titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US," the warning contained the rather prescient observation that: "FBI information...indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." Sadly, that warning to Bush gained little traction with Republicans and 2,973 people died on 9-11. There was no mention of those dead in the column.
Ms. Noonan also avoids any mention of the 4,209 US service men and women who have been killed in Iraq, where the terrorists could simply walk to work. No mention of the 30,000 wounded. No mention of the 445 US contractors killed in Iraq. No acknowledgment that many of these men and women were in the National Guard and were called away from their useful civilian jobs in America as firemen, policemen, doctors and lawyers, and sent to die in a reckless and needless war in Iraq.
There was no mention of how the "safety" theme played out as a feckless FEMA responded to a predictable Katrina. There was not a word about the Americans civilians who have been killed by terrorists in such far flung spots as Bali and Mumbai. All the dead and the maimed, the wounded and the wasted must feel better knowing that at least they are safe.
There was also no mention of the negative effects on our national security caused by the Great Meltdown of '08. No mention of the failure to provide adequate care to our returning wounded heroes. Not a peep about the crippling effects the trillion dollar cost of the war will have on future generations.
And this is what Ms. Noonan declares to be "keeping us safe." Her failure to note the true cost of the Bush Administration's arrogant incompetence and mindless belligerence suggests that Ms. Noonan, and many others at her cheery little Republican Christmas party, spent far too long at the punch bowl drinking the neo-con kool-aid. Me, I still see dead people. Merry Christmas Ms. Noonan.