Yes, George W. Bush kept us safe

Donald Trump says it is ridiculous for Jeb Bush to claim that his brother, President George W. Bush, “kept us safe.” “The World Trade Center came down during his reign,” Trump says. “He was the president at the time, and you know, you could say the buck stops here.”

Blaming Bush for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is an absurd, left-wing talking point. The fact is, when Bush took office on Jan. 20, 2001, planning for 9/11 was well underway. Bush inherited a world where terrorists had been permitted safe haven in terrorist states and were engaged in a virtually unimpeded offensive. Under his predecessor, they had launched a string of attacks against the United States: the first effort to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993; the murder of 19 American airmen at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia three years later; the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, which caused the deaths of 17 American sailors.

In none of these cases was there a forceful U.S. response. As a result, al-Qaeda was convinced that the United States was soft and that if they hit us hard enough, we could be forced to retreat and withdraw as we had in Beirut and Somalia.