We all know President Bush vacationed excessively, spending 1,020 days of his presidency on vacation. In 2001, he spent the entire month of August at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. On August 6, 2001, Bush received a briefing from the CIA saying that Al Qaeda is interested in hijacking U.S. commercial airliners. “The system was blinking red. By late July it could not get any worse.” -(CIA Director George Tenet to the 9/11 Commission). With that knowledge, he takes one of the longest presidential vacations (August 3-September 3) with some knowledge of terrorist threats.
He communicates minimally with NSA and CIA intelligence while away at Crawford and when he returns, he schedules a trip to Governor Jeb Bush’s state of Florida. Finding the agenda and “daily rundown” of Bush from Labor Day 2001-9/11 is not so easy. There is not much written on that time spent at the White House between September 3- September 9, 2001. I thought it’d be interesting to imagine President Obama in Bush’s position and venture a guess on how long impeachment hearings would commence after that awful Tuesday morning changed everything.
Consider the relative safety of the state of Florida if he suspects something may go down on 9/11. No one outside the inner-sanctum of the Bush/Cheney intelligence community suspected anything was coming so no eyebrows would be raised by the publicity trip. On September, 10, 2001: At 6:30 p.m., President Bush arrives at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida. He is in Florida as part of a weeklong effort to place a national spotlight on education and reading, and visited a school in Jacksonville earlier in the day. In preparation for the president’s visit to the resort, all guests have been cleared out of the building “to make way for the invasion of White House staffers, aides, communications technicians—even an antiterrorism unit.” Overnight, snipers and surface-to-air missiles are located on the roof of the Colony and adjacent structures, to protect the president. “The Coast Guard and the Longboat Key Police Department manned boats that patrolled the surf in front of the resort all night. Security trucks with enough men and arms to stop a small army parked right on the beach. An Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane circled high overhead in the clear night sky.” (My emphasis in bold) Whether this is a typical level of security for a presidential visit, or is increased due to recent terror warnings, is unstated. The next day, President Bush made an appearance at another school in Sarasota, Florida and we all unfortunately remember the book My Pet Goat forever.
It’s should be outrageous, but we’ve never been given full access to the findings of the 9-11 Commission. I thought it was worth a look back in history to see how things have changed when it comes to the culpability and treatment of the President of the United States. Every vacation President Obama has taken has been mired in outrage and disgust from those on the right side of the aisle. The GOP-led commotion about four dead Americans in Benghazi and the subsequent, costly hearings that have ensued levies far greater criticism and blame on the Obama Administration than the Bush Administration EVER received for not keeping us safe from terrorists in 2001.
Now an American POW has been swapped for five Gitmo detainees and the rush to judgement about the circumstances surrounding Bowe Bergdahl’s capture in 2009 have been harsh, to say the least. In fact, the right has changed their tune on the matter more radically than I initially realized. Ex-Bush administration official John Bellinger told Fox News that “we don’t leave soldiers behind” and defended Obama’s decision to make the trade. “I think we would have made the same decision in the Bush administration.”
The point is, no one ever called President Bush unpatriotic, traitorous or dishonorable. Never. Anyone who called him out on starting a war on false pretenses or advising the administration against occupying Iraq with too small a force (Shinseki) was censured and berated by the media and Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. No one could ever have imagined the inconsistent and hypocritical treatment of President Obama versus the unearned respect the Bush Administration received. It is just mind-numbing. It is just further proof the media is ANYTHING but liberal. The simple fact that a smear campaign has been launched against a POW before he has even been released from a military hospital proves that point absolutely.
Now back to Bush; how many lives, how many trillions of dollars, were lost under his “watch,” for NO legitimate reason other than to make a few very select, inner-circle, rich fat-cats even richer? It embarrassed me, you, and most Americans: the world has laughed at the U.S. for many years now. By contrast, all of Obama’s logical policy decisions are criticized incessantly and still, he keeps trying and by some miracle, he…succeeds. This is why the Republicans can’t stand this president. He can do what they cannot: govern.