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Jeb Bush Forgot To Remember 9/11
To be fair, he looks pretty safe there
This had to be one of the more surreal moments of the GOP debate Wednesday. After Donald Trump attacked the legacy of the Great Decider Commander Guy, saying that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by the financial meltdown of 2008, "gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster those last three months that Abraham Lincoln couldn't have been elected," Jeb! had a perfectly reasonable reply, for certain values of "reasonable":
“You know what? As it relates to my brother, there's one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe,” Bush said, to huge applause. You know, apart from that one thing. And right up until that one other thing, the 1865 run of "Our American Cousin" was a huge success.
It's not as if Jeb was unaware of that one thing, because he invoked it in his very next line:
I don't know if you remember, Donald -- you remember the rubble? You remember the firefighter with his arms around him? He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe.
Sure, maybe he didn't worry too much about that "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, and dismissed the CIA briefer by saying, "All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.” But didn't you see that firefighter hugging him on the rubble? That has to balance everything out.
Or maybe it was the wars. The wars were pretty awesome, with lots of Americans kept safe (6755 total fatalities so far), especially when we decided that Afghanistan wasn't nearly as sexy as bringing democracy to Iraq, which also kept us safe, although the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis might demur if they could. Besides, as everyone knows, Iraq was completely stable after The Surge, except for how it wasn't, as Peter Beinart reminds us at the Atlantic in his thoughtful debunking of the Surge Myth:
The surge was not intended merely to reduce violence. Reducing violence was a means to a larger goal: political reconciliation. Only when Iraq’s Sunni and Shia Arabs and its Kurds all felt represented by the government would the country be safe from civil war. As a senior administration official told journalists the day Bush announced the surge, “The purpose of all this is to get the violence in Baghdad down, get control of the situation and the sectarian violence, because now, without it, the reconciliation that everybody knows in the long term is the key to getting security in the country -- the reconciliation will not happen.”
But although the violence went down, the reconciliation never occurred.
Instead, what happened was that our Iraqi ally, Nouri al-Maliki, persecuted Sunnis, who decided that instead of reconciling, they'd reconstitute al-Qaeda in Iraq as ISIS. Oops.
Remember when we said a month or so back to bookmark Beinart's article, because the Republicans are going to keep revising history to claim the Iraq War as a complete success until Barack Obama messed it up and "created ISIS"? Yeah, they're still at it, and it's still a lie. And now it's a lie that's getting thunderous applause.