# What GOOD has George W. Bush done for the USA?

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WheelsRCool
The anti-terror policies seem to have been successful thus far, if the following are accurate:

1. West Coast airliner plot: In 2002 the United States disrupted a plot to use shoe bombs to hijack a commercial airliner to attack the tallest building in Los Angeles. The plot was "set in motion" by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

"Rather than use Arab hijackers, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sought out young men from Southeast Asia whom he believed would not arouse as much suspicion," Bush said.

2. East Coast airliner plot: In mid-2003 the United States and a partner disrupted a plot to use hijacked commercial airplanes to attack targets on the East Coast of the United States.

3. The Jose Padilla plot: In May 2002 the United States disrupted a plot that involved blowing up apartment buildings in the United States. One of the alleged plotters, Jose Padilla, allegedly discussed the possibility of using a "dirty bomb" inside the United States. Bush has designated him an "enemy combatant."

4. 2004 British urban targets plot: In mid-2004 the United States and partners disrupted a plot to bomb urban targets in Britain.

5. 2003 Karachi plot: In spring 2003 the United States and a partner disrupted a plot to attack westerners at several targets in Karachi, Pakistan.

6. Heathrow Airport plot: In 2003 the United States and several partners disrupted a plot to attack London's Heathrow Airport using hijacked commercial airliners. The planning for this alleged attack was undertaken by a major operational figure in the September 11, 2001, attacks.

7. 2004 Britain plot: In the spring of 2004 the United States and partners, using a combination of law enforcement and intelligence resources, disrupted a plot to conduct large-scale bombings in Britain.

8. 2002 Persian Gulf shipping plot: In late 2002 and 2003 the United States and a partner nation disrupted a plot by al Qaeda operatives to attack ships in the Persian Gulf.

9. 2002 Strait of Hormuz plot: In 2002 the United States and partners disrupted a plot to attack ships in the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf from the Indian Ocean.

10. 2003 tourist site plot: In 2003 the United States and a partner nation disrupted a plot to attack a tourist site outside the United States. The White House did not list what site that was.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/02/09/whitehouse.plots/index.html

Also, there was the 2002 Brooklyn Bridge plot (to bring down the bridge), and the 2007 JFK bomb plot, to blow up fuel storage tanks and pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport, setting the place on fire and a good part of Queens.

Some of these plots have been ridiculed by the media, being described essentially as just silly attempts by inexperienced "terrorists" with no real skills, but delusions of grandeur. And maybe they are. But maybe they aren't. The government could foil one-hundred plots that would never work, but all it takes is one to do some major damage.

Imagine if, say, 9/11 had been stopped in its early stages...I could picture the media not making a huge deal about it and shrugging it off ("Like anyone could really hijack airliners and coordinate such an attack...") If you had said in 2000, "You know, this country is ripe open for a terrorist attack," you would have been shrugged off most likely. But one happened.

Such grand-sounding plots to hit a skyscraper in Los Angelos, or set fire to JFK airport, or bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, are only laughed at until they actually happen and take everyone by surprise.

The great trouble of protecting the United States from these attacks is that when you're successful at it, most people are completely unaware that any such threat ever existed, especially when you foil such plots early on, then no one can know for sure if they ever would have succeeded or not. And people will criticize your efforts. But what if President Bush had enacted no such surveillance plans, and taken no steps, and something else really bad did happen, God forbid?

It's a touchy subject, and I get the whole, "Those who prefer security over freedom deserve neither freedom nor security" bit too. But from what I can tell, the President was criticized for 9/11 happening under his watch, and has thus taken the necessary steps, within the law, to make sure such a thing does not happen again.

The ACLU, in order to challenge the whole thing, had to go and get a judge named Anna Diggs Taylor, a Carter appointee and very Leftist judge, to rule against it, and her ruling was then overturned by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
But from what I can tell, the President was criticized for 9/11 happening under his watch, and has thus taken the necessary steps, within the law, to make sure such a thing does not happen again.
Within the law? This is a joke, right?

PS: Some of that list is pure propaganda and/or unsubstantiated speculation. Padilla, for instance, was convicted last year, and the Government never even charged him on any bombing attempt. And some of it had little to do with US intelligence (eg: Heathrow). The CNN article specifically calls them "international efforts". Surely, GWB can't take the credit for all international efforts.

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sketchtrack
What is wrong with greed for money? Greed, when it drives a person to lie, cheat, steal, and harm other people, to get money, is evil. Greed, where you are willing to work very hard and do productive things that create wealth and help humanity at the same time, to make yourself very wealthy, I see nothing wrong with.

Greed can be good or bad, it depends.
In the case of politics, isn't cheating, stealing, and harming people where greed gets you. Greed is never a good thing in my opinion. A greedy person is a selfish person. Greed is never a good virtue. If you are rich and help humanity with your power, then you aren't greedy. A greedy person would screw humanity over to turn a profit which is what seams to be constantly happening, and the people who do those thing, (cheat, lie, and steal from the public) are the people who are usually the ones who get labeled as greedy.

As a leader, I can think of few qualities that are worse than greedy. I think greed is far worse than stupidity and ignorance as a quality a leader should have.

With the way people are taught by television now days, greed is a virtue, and lying and cheating and stealing are things people are proud of and brag about.

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WheelsRCool
Within the law? This is a joke, right?
Not from what I have read and written above.

PS: Some of that list is pure propaganda and/or unsubstantiated speculation. Padilla, for instance, was convicted last year, and the Government never even charged him on any bombing attempt.
It's listed at the White House website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051006-7.html [Broken]

Here is how GlobalSecurity.org views some of them:

Here the West Coast airliner plot was rated mostly with "some confidence:" http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/profiles/west_coast_airliner_plot.htm

The part of the Heathrow airport plot to possibly use hijacked aircraft as missiles was rated with "high confidence:"

http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/profiles/target_heathrow_airport.htm
other parts were rated differently: http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/profiles/disrupted_heathrow_airport_plot.htm

The Brooklyn Bridge plot was rated mostly with "high confidence:" http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/profiles/al-qaeda_targets_brooklyn_bridge_and_trains.htm

The British Urban Targets plot was rated mostly with high-confidence: http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/profiles/uk_urban_targets_plot.htm

So I'm sure that even if some were flakes, some were credible threats as well.

And some of it had little to do with US intelligence (eg: Heathrow). The CNN article specifically calls them "international efforts". Surely, GWB can't take the credit for all international efforts.
True, GWB can't take credit for all the efforts. But if the surveillance program contributed to these international efforts, that's still something I'd think.

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WheelsRCool
I think it depends on one's definition of greed; here is what I found at thefreedictionary.com: "Greed: An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth."

So what is wrong with that? It depends on what the greed is for.

In the case of politics, isn't cheating, stealing, and harming people where greed gets you.
Well yes, generally as a politician, greed is bad, because politicians tend to be greedy for power. Greed for power in itself is bad, because the more power one gets, the more corrupt they become.

Greed is never a good thing in my opinion. A greedy person is a selfish person. Greed is never a good virtue.
Greed for knowledge, wanting to know about everything, far more than you "need" to, I wouldn't say is bad. Greed for love, wanting everyone to love you, might seem a bit narcisstic, but I wouldn't label it as evil. Greed for wealth as long as your morals stay in check, etc...I think can be very good.

To build wealth, you have to, for the most part, provide products and services that people value. So let's say you want to become worth $4 billion, so you spend your life building businesses and investing to attain this goal. Think of all the good you accomplish! Lots of job creation, economic growth, good products/services that help people, more taxpayers for the government, plus you become wealthy, and thus can then do even more good by starting charities, contributing to charities, etc...by investing in the markets, you also provide capital for other entrepreneurs to start their businesses, thus creating more jobs, products/services, etc...all that simply because you want to acquire far more wealth than you "need." If you are rich and help humanity with your power, then you aren't greedy. Not necessarily; you might love being greedy and building wealth and accumulating money, but also greatly enjoy philanthropy and donate large sums of money to charitable causes that you truly care about. On the other hand, some rich people only donate to charity as a way to climb the social ladder; they "help humanity" but they are also greedy for acceptance. Some also only donate for tax write-off purposes. A greedy person would screw humanity over to turn a profit which is what seams to be constantly happening, Plenty would, but not all. As a leader, I can think of few qualities that are worse than greedy. I think greed is far worse than stupidity and ignorance as a quality a leader should have. With the way people are taught by television now days, greed is a virtue, and lying and cheating and stealing are things people are proud of and brag about. Well I've never heard anyone be proud of being a liar, cheat, or thief, however there does seem to be a prevailing "slacker" attitude of people proud say to never have read a book in their life, stuff like that. Greed I think is a virtue if used properly, and can be very good. For a leader of a group or team, if the leader has greed for say getting all the credit for the project, that's probably not good. If he has greed in other ways though, it can be very good I'd imagine. sketchtrack I think it depends on one's definition of greed; here is what I found at thefreedictionary.com: "Greed: An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth." So what is wrong with that? It depends on what the greed is for. Well yes, generally as a politician, greed is bad, because politicians tend to be greedy for power. Greed for power in itself is bad, because the more power one gets, the more corrupt they become. Greed for knowledge, wanting to know about everything, far more than you "need" to, I wouldn't say is bad. Greed for love, wanting everyone to love you, might seem a bit narcisstic, but I wouldn't label it as evil. Greed for wealth as long as your morals stay in check, etc...I think can be very good. To build wealth, you have to, for the most part, provide products and services that people value. So let's say you want to become worth$4 billion, so you spend your life building businesses and investing to attain this goal. Think of all the good you accomplish! Lots of job creation, economic growth, good products/services that help people, more taxpayers for the government, plus you become wealthy, and thus can then do even more good by starting charities, contributing to charities, etc...by investing in the markets, you also provide capital for other entrepreneurs to start their businesses, thus creating more jobs, products/services, etc...all that simply because you want to acquire far more wealth than you "need."

Not necessarily; you might love being greedy and building wealth and accumulating money, but also greatly enjoy philanthropy and donate large sums of money to charitable causes that you truly care about.

On the other hand, some rich people only donate to charity as a way to climb the social ladder; they "help humanity" but they are also greedy for acceptance. Some also only donate for tax write-off purposes.

Plenty would, but not all.

Well I've never heard anyone be proud of being a liar, cheat, or thief, however there does seem to be a prevailing "slacker" attitude of people proud say to never have read a book in their life, stuff like that.

Greed I think is a virtue if used properly, and can be very good. For a leader of a group or team, if the leader has greed for say getting all the credit for the project, that's probably not good. If he has greed in other ways though, it can be very good I'd imagine.
Ok, I guess there are different kinds of greed, and some worse than others, but generally greed is bad, not a virtue in my opinion. In my opinion greed is like an addiction. Note the word excessive. A simple desire to have more than you need isn't bad at all, but it can get out of hand, it can take over your life, it can leave you with no true friends, no true love, and can consume how you live your life.

If you are trying to create some kind of dynasty and to gain power to rule the world financially, then I suppose you need a lot of money to do that, so by that definition those people aren't greedy. It takes a lot of money to rule the world, but are you trying to rule the world for greedy reasons, or do you just think that you would make the world a better place by ruling it, so you are doing it for the people. It isn't what you have, but how you act that makes you greedy or not. What are your greedy actions, and what kind of person does it make you?

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Not from what I have read and written above.
Where have you read that warrantless wiretapping was legal? Where have you read that waterboarding is legal? Where have you read that the operation of CIA black sites and the use of extraordinary rendition are legal? Where have you read that suspension of habeus corpus was legal? Where have you read that the White House exercise of military tribunals in Guantanamo was legal?

True, GWB can't take credit for all the efforts. But if the surveillance program contributed to these international efforts, that's still something I'd think.
Then you have to show how the US surveillance program was contributing to those efforts.

It would be incredibly deceptive to claim that, for instance, that the Brits really depended on US help (and specifically help that would be otherwise impossible, if not for Bush) to uncover the Heathrow plot. That particular effort, in fact, wasn't even a national level effort for the most part - it was almost entirely solved by the local London police.

cristo
Staff Emeritus
It would be incredibly deceptive to claim that, for instance, that the Brits really depended on US help (and specifically help that would be otherwise impossible, if not for Bush) to uncover the Heathrow plot. That particular effort, in fact, wasn't even a national level effort for the most part - it was almost entirely solved by the local London police.
It's also incredibly pompous to make such statements as "The US and partners stopped attacks..." What he really means is "The UK security services and police forces, helped in part by the US, stopped the attacks.."

sketchtrack
It is kind of funny to think Bush did well protecting us from Terrorism because the biggest terrorist attack on the U.S. in history was during his term. It has been shown that if they had their stuff together it could have easily been prevented.

Then you can say that he prevented further attacks, yet at the same time, he created millions more terrorists and elevated world wide hate against the U.S., so I'm not sure he really did well protecting us from terrorists because now there is a bigger problem lurking in the shadows than before.

WheelsRCool
Where have you read that warrantless wiretapping was legal?
It isn't "warrantless wiretapping" from my understanding. It is a foreign surveillance program that intercepts international signals. It isn't as if the government is illegally wiretapping its own citizens. The President went through all the proper means to enact such a program, it was challenged by the ACLU, and held up by the court system.

Where have you read that waterboarding is legal?
I would say waterboarding is legal when applied to terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay; I do not believe that terrorists are subject to the rules of the Geneva Convention.

[quoteWhere have you read that the operation of CIA black sites and the use of extraordinary rendition are legal?[/quote]

What should it matter when dealing with terrorists?

Where have you read that suspension of habeus corpus was legal? Where have you read that the White House exercise of military tribunals in Guantanamo was legal?
These are captured terrorists, not ordinary U.S. citizens. They are not subject to the same rights as American citizens.

Then you have to show how the US surveillance program was contributing to those efforts.

It would be incredibly deceptive to claim that, for instance, that the Brits really depended on US help (and specifically help that would be otherwise impossible, if not for Bush) to uncover the Heathrow plot. That particular effort, in fact, wasn't even a national level effort for the most part - it was almost entirely solved by the local London police.
I am going by what was released by the White House. But so what if some of them were not really because of the President's efforts? Some of them were, such as the Brooklyn Bridge plot, the JFK plot, and the Los Angelos plot. Furthermore, if the terrorists are trying to do things in Britain, than surely they are also trying to do things here as well I'd think.

It's also incredibly pompous to make such statements as "The US and partners stopped attacks..." What he really means is "The UK security services and police forces, helped in part by the US, stopped the attacks.."
I agree, if that is the case in different instances, then that's how they should have worded it. Give credit where it's due.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
This is a tiring. You can disagree with the US Supreme Court, but that's just your opinion.

For more on what GOOD GWB has done, I agree with much of what's in this article by Zakaria:
What Bush Got Right

For the next president, simply reversing this administration's policies is not the answer.
http://www.newsweek.com/id/151731/page/1 [Broken]

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WheelsRCool
It is kind of funny to think Bush did well protecting us from Terrorism because the biggest terrorist attack on the U.S. in history was during his term. It has been shown that if they had their stuff together it could have easily been prevented.
Much of the planning for 9/11 took place during the 1990s. I would like to have seen people's reaction if Bush had announced, right upon entering office, "We believe the United States is wide open for a large-scale terrorist attack, so I'm enlarging our intelligence services a good deal, enacting a surveillance program, and the Patriot Act, etc..." many think that is too much even after 9/11. Imagine the thinking if he'd done such a thing prior to it, when something like 9/11 was considered unfathomable (if he would have even had the time, remember he entered office January 2001) and 9/11 ended up never managing to occur.

WheelsRCool
This is a tiring. You can disagree with the US Supreme Court, but that's just your opinion.
One can disagree with the Supreme Court. But one can't go against them once they rule a certain way. The Supreme Court is the law of the land, and now that they have ruled that the terrorists at Guatanamo should be tried in civilian court, that is the law.

The Supreme Court came very close to ruling against the Second Amendment recently. If they had ruled it as a collective right, I would have disagreed with them. But it would be the law for the time being (thankfully though, they ruled opposite).

For more on what GOOD GWB has done, I agree with much of what's in this article by Zakaria:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/151731/page/1 [Broken]
I see, thanks.

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sketchtrack
The thing is that many if not most of the detainees are actually innocent. Many of them were detained because they had a similar name to someone they were looking for and this in a country where many people share the same name. They don't get tried before being detained and they get tortured innocent or not.

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sketchtrack
Much of the planning for 9/11 took place during the 1990s. I would like to have seen people's reaction if Bush had announced, right upon entering office, "We believe the United States is wide open for a large-scale terrorist attack, so I'm enlarging our intelligence services a good deal, enacting a surveillance program, and the Patriot Act, etc..." many think that is too much even after 9/11. Imagine the thinking if he'd done such a thing prior to it, when something like 9/11 was considered unfathomable (if he would have even had the time, remember he entered office January 2001) and 9/11 ended up never managing to occur.
They knew that an attack using our own planes against us was going to be attempted and yet did nothing about it. Who cares if the planning happened before he was in office. What is the point of having a patriot act if you already have the intelligence to stop terrorism but don't use it?

WarPhalange
Much of the planning for 9/11 took place during the 1990s. I would like to have seen people's reaction if Bush had announced, right upon entering office, "We believe the United States is wide open for a large-scale terrorist attack, so I'm enlarging our intelligence services a good deal, enacting a surveillance program, and the Patriot Act, etc..." many think that is too much even after 9/11. Imagine the thinking if he'd done such a thing prior to it, when something like 9/11 was considered unfathomable (if he would have even had the time, remember he entered office January 2001) and 9/11 ended up never managing to occur.

http://articles.latimes.com/2002/sep/25/nation/na-intel25

Keyser Söze
http://www.newsweek.com/id/151731/page/1 [Broken]
Thanks for the link Gokul! That was a really informative and useful article.

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WheelsRCool
I wouldn't say they "knew" per se of 9/11, more that there were a lot of indicators at the time, but not enough people paying attention. Sort of like economic bubbles; after they occur, all the indicators seem like they were blaringly obvious. But when it's occurring, many fail to notice.

WarPhalange
I wouldn't say they "knew" per se of 9/11, more that there were a lot of indicators at the time, but not enough people paying attention.
Bush was shown the indicators and either didn't think it was a big deal, ignored it, or didn't even read it in the first place.

WheelsRCool
Bush was shown the indicators and either didn't think it was a big deal, ignored it, or didn't even read it in the first place.
From what I understand, President Bush was made aware of the threat of a possible attack, and notified the proper intelligence agencies, but the CIA, FBI, etc...failed to connect the dots. Here is an article CBS wrote about it in 2002: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/16/attack/main509294.shtml

mheslep
Gold Member
They knew that an attack using our own planes against us was going to be attempted and yet did nothing about it.
That is false, crackpottery.
Who cares if the planning happened before he was in office.
Anyone serious about preventing mass murder. And more than just paper planning occurred prior to the Bush administration; the first hijackers entered the US in January 2000 and started flight training in 2000.
What is the point of having a patriot act if you already have the intelligence to stop terrorism but don't use it?
The original point was that the intelligence community was fractured and uncooperative amongst itself making the intelligence process ineffective especially in areas where international intelligence and domestic law enforcement intersect. I make no comment (here) about the actual effect of the P.A., just the original point.

mheslep
Gold Member
Dr Zakaria's Newsweek piece reads like a job application for State or NSC in the Obama administration: "Look how I have ever so eloquently distanced us from any and all Bush administration policies while allowing us to continue some of these policies if necessary. Yes, Assistant Secretary would be nice, thank you"

sketchtrack
They had the intelligence they just didn't take it seriously. '

I believe that after the horror of 911, given the same laws and same intelligence they would take it seriously the next time.

G.W has profoundly impressed apon the world. The people are demanding higher ethics and better scrutiny of electoral fraud.

The international community have enlightened american citizens to the consequences of aggressive foriegn policy.

People seem to want better diplomacy and higher integrity, largely because of GW