In fear-driven US, there seems to be a pathetic need to see the president as some kind of god-like figure who will keep watch over us and keep us from coming to harm. The Republican debate on Wednesday was, as expected, largely fact-free and full of hyperbole and distortions but the one jaw-dropping moment for me was when Jeb! Bush! defended his brother’s record by saying that whatever else he might be accused of, “he kept us safe”. This line got applause from the audience. It was incredible that not a single person on the stage or the moderator pointed out that 9/11 happened when GW was president.
While Jeb! might like to think that his brother’s presidency began on September 12, 2001, the families of the victims on that day remember all too well who was in charge and are angry about his brother’s false claim.
Critics flooded Twitter with reminders that the 2001 terrorist attacks that took nearly 3,00 lives occurred on his brother’s watch.
“Jeb Bush’s revised version of history is pure fiction,” said Nancy Meyer, a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, in an email to International Business Times. “If we were so safe during the GW Bush administration, why did 9/11 happen at all? Richard A. Clarke of the Clinton White House tried to warn the incoming Bush administration months before the attacks, and he was turned away. The NSA [National Security Agency] briefing warning of imminent attacks that GW Bush refused to read was entitled, ‘Terrorists Determined to Strike in US.’ ”
Jim Fyfe, who lost his 31-year-old son on 9/11, said he considered Bush’s remarks Wednesday evening to be “warped.” His son, Karleton Douglas Beye Fyfe, died aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center after being hijacked.
Fyfe criticized Bush for invading Iraq in 2003 and pointed to the casualties suffered during the war. “Safe? Only if one ignores the hugh toll on our military personnel and the costs to programs that would make our lives safer against hunger, lack of education and joblessness, programs to make our infrastructure sound, and if one ignores long-term generation of hatred for the U.S. in the Middle East,” he wrote in an email to IBT.
Jeb! might get away with this whopper with other Republicans but he deserves to be ridiculed by the rest of us.
Chris Hayes discusses with Michelle Goldberg about this and two other big lies spoken during the debate.
Appearing on Stephen Colbert’s show, incoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah accurately captures the spirit of the debate.