Alex Massie

Did Bush keep America safe?

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Commenting on this post, Juliana raises a talking point one hears quite often. "Bush was not perfect by a long chalk but he kept America safe for his two terms. Now he is gone Obama is handing America to the terrorists and the jihadists and the brainwashed in North Korea on a plate." Leaving aside the point that it seems unlikely Obama can be "handing" the United States to the jihadists and the North Koreans (does this mean the terrorists and Pyongyang will then have an elimination bout to determine the overall, undisputed champion?) there's one awkward fact that merits repeating: more Americans were killed by foreign terrorists on George W Bush's watch than during any other presidency.

Sure, there has not yet been any second 9/11 but if one gives the Bush administration some credit for that then it seems fair to point out that the 9/11 responsibility buck probably should stop with him too. As it happens, I tend to think we apportion blame and praise too readily, but you can't honestly claim all the good things without acknowledging the inconvenient facts too. And "Apart from 9/11 Bush kept America safe" doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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