Within twenty-four hours of the terrorist trying to blow up the plane, the White House was giving briefings by a “Senior Administration Official” who mostly like was Obama, Axelrod, or Jarrett, pointing out that the terrorist watch list was created by the Bush administration.Then the White House Counsel’s Office sent out a memo demanding any and all documentation to show that the Bush administration had done worse.Then the White House decided it needed to look into the “systemic failures” of the operation that George Bush had put in place.234 days into George W. Bush’s first contentious year in office, four planes were hijacked and used as missiles to strike the United States. Shortly thereafter, Richard Reid tried to blow up another jet.George Bush never tried to disown 9/11 or Richard Reid. He never tried to say, “hey, it was Clinton’s problem.” Sure, in fact, a lot of what led to 9/11 happened on Bill Clinton’s watch and he failed in most every measure to shut down Al Qaeda.But after 9/11, George Bush didn’t spend his first day, second day, or third day blaming Clinton. He set out to destroy Al Qaeda. After Richard Reid, we’ve been pretty darn safe flying.In fact, under George Bush leading scholars and pundits declared Al Qaeda marginalized. By 2003, the pontiffs of miasmatic beltway wisdom were near unanimous that Al Qaeda was near dismantled.You really need to read this editorial in the London Telegraph by Toby Harnden. It really hits this point where it needs hitting.
For a man who campaigned denouncing the politicisation of national security under President George W Bush, it is worth noting how intensely political Obama’s treatment of what might henceforth be known as Underpantsgate has been.His White House recognised its political vulnerability more readily than it comprehended the level of danger faced by Americans.
That last bit is the most troubling part of this.At the end of the first year of Barack Obama’s administration, there’s something moving in the shadows of Mount Doom. It wasn’t there while George Bush was in charge. But Barack Obama is no George Bush. And the strategy of blaming Bush for being weak on terror will not work after eight years of blaming Bush for being too bloodthirsty.