Ten Ways George W. Bush Didn't Keep Us Safe

Ten Ways George W. Bush Didn’t Keep Us Safe

Presidential wannabe Jeb Bush has been promoting his theory lately that his brother, former President George W. Bush, “kept us safe” during his eight years in the White House, going so far as to blame 9/11 on Bill Clinton. Bush found himself in a defensive stance since future-former 2016 candidate Donald Trump accurately pointed out that Bush did not, in fact, keep America safe… and that, ladies and gents, is the first time ever that Donald Trump has ever been right about something. Fancy that!

Sorry Jeb, but no, your brother did not keep America safe. I could probably list off a hundred examples here and now that illustrate all the ways George W. Bush didn’t keep us safe, but I think most people are intelligent enough to recognize that Bush was arguably the worst president America has ever suffered through, so let’s just knock this down to the top ten, shall we?

(1) September 11th, 2001

The worst terrorist attack in American history happened on George W. Bush’s watch. I hate agreeing with Donald Trump (no, seriously, it makes me sick to my stomach, and while I can’t tell if I want to vomit or poop, I’m sure I need to run to the bathroom soon), but on this single, solitary thing, he’s actually correct.

Bush was warned ahead of time that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were determined to attack the United States, but that memo had too many big, fancy college words in it, so it was effectively a coaster for his gross non-alcoholic beer. And when the attack did eventually come, as foretold by said memo, Bush sat in the classroom he was visiting at that moment for seven whole minutes before doing anything. Seven minutes! Some defend Bush for sitting there, saying he shouldn’t cause a panic by rushing out of the room, but let’s be real about this: Bush wanted to know how My Pet Goat ended. He was already emotionally and intellectually invested in that gripping saga. So maybe it’s unfair for us to criticize him on that?

(2) Hurricane Katrina

Yes, I agree it’s unfair to blame a hurricane on a president, and yes, I appreciate that the shitty response to Katrina was a failure at every level of government. But the failure at the federal level? Yep… all Bush’s fault. Bush gave the title of FEMA director to his friend, Michael Brown, a former supervisor for horse show judges, who screwed up FEMA’s response to Katrina in every conceivable way. Make no mistake: if Bush had given that job to someone qualified, who knew the agency and understood what their job entailed, the federal response to Hurricane Katrina would’ve been infinitely better.

(3) The worst recession since the Great Depression

Safety doesn’t only come in the form of fighting foreign armies and terrorism, but in keeping Americans out of poverty and away from starvation. Bush’s administration created the worst economic recession in American history since the Great Depression, dwarfing every other recession in the many decades between. More than 1.2 million people lost their homes due to Bush’s recession. Ask them how safe they felt with Bush at the helm.

(4) The utterly pointless war in Iraq

Iraq was a useless (and unfunded) war that cost us the lives of thousands of American soldiers, with a six-figure civilian body count. It cost us trillions of dollars and exploded the national debt. All of that hurts America a hell of a lot more than it kept any of us safe, especially given the fact that Saddam Hussein wasn’t a threat to the United States whatsoever.

(5) Strengthening Global Terrorism

Bush likes to think of himself as a crusader (or “Decider”) against terrorism, but truth be told, his shitty policies and haphazard occupations have done more to help grow terrorist organizations than weaken them. Rendition, torture, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay… these headlines were effectively recruitment tools for terrorist outfits during Bush’s presidency, and are still used to this day, seven-plus years after Bush left office. His aggressive foreign policy and the Iraq war contributed greatly to the birth of ISIS. Make no mistake, folks: if Bush were never president, ISIS wouldn’t exist, and if they did, they certainly wouldn’t be nearly as powerful or hold as much land as they do today.

(6) The BP Oil Spill

The 2010 BP oil spill was one of the worst man-made natural disasters in the history of the world, and while I’m sure this will feed into the conservative anti-liberal mantra of claiming we love to blame Bush for everything, guess what? The Bush administration is nearly as responsible for the BP oil spill as BP themselves are.

Bush dramatically deregulated the Minerals Management Service, or MMS, and opened the doors for big oil to do practically whatever they wanted. Bush was effectively allowing huge oil companies like BP, Exxon, and others to toss the MMS onto a pinball machine and go to town on the agency, and what did we end up with as a result? Utterly lax regulatory processes and too few inspectors, with weakened protocols, to manage offshore oil drilling operations. BP are 80% responsible for the spill, but Bush? He takes up a solid 15% as well.

(7) Worsened Foreign Relations

Bush’s tenure in the White House turned the United States into the laughing stock of the rest of the world, emboldening Russia and China, strengthening global terrorism, souring our relationship with the UN, lessening our value in the UN security council, and other horrible things. None of that makes us safer… it does the opposite, actually.

(8) Completely ignored climate science

Bush was, without question, the single worst president for the environment in American history. He abandoned his campaign pledge to reduce carbon emissions, rejected the Kyoto protocol, and slashed budgets for fighting climate change… and all of that was just in his first year in office alone. Bush’s presidency only lasted eight years, and yet he managed to set America back in the fight against climate change by a solid twenty years or more. And seeing as how this is one of the greatest threats the human race is facing today, I’d say this falls into the “not keeping us safe” category.

(9) No Child Left Behind left lots of children behind

Safety doesn’t just include what’s happening right now, but what happens in the future as well, and No Child Left Behind was an utter failure, a fact most Americans agree on. Bettering education standards and strengthening the nation’s collective intellect is of critical importance, especially during this, the information age. These will be America’s future leaders. The people who invent lifesaving medicines and devices. Keeping America safe means keeping Americans intelligent, and No Child Left Behind is counterintuitive to that.

(10) The Patriot Act

The Patriot Act was designed in an effort to keep America safe, and in some ways, it succeeded. Helping law enforcement in any number of ways, reducing the amount of time needed to prevent attacks… the Patriot Act did have a number of benefits. But it also poised numerous threats to innocent American citizens, too. The suspension of Habeas Corpus, allowing warrantless wiretapping and arrests, rendition, false arrests, false detention… the Patriot Act did a lot to set back the freedom of American citizens, and that in itself made America less safe.

George W. Bush did NOT keep us safe:

Cover photo by mysistersabarista

Matt Terzi is a political satirist and essayist from Binghamton, New York, who has written for some of the most prominent satire publications in the country. He’s now moving into more “serious” subject matter, without losing touch with his comedic roots