Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Frank Rich Counters Right-Wing Revisionism

Now that the Texas Board of Education has approved a social studies curriculum straight out of the right-wing spin machine, one can only anticipate the "history" students will learn about the failed Bush presidency. Frank Rich (left), in "The New Rove-Cheney Assault on Reality," reminds us that "the revisionist floodgates" are already opened.

Dana Perino, Bush's press secretary, and Rudy Giuliani said that we had no terrorist attack during the previous administration. Karl Rove, in his memoir "Courage and Consequence," portrays his former boss as an "apostle of containment" in foreign affairs. Dick Cheney's daughter Liz, founder, with neocon William Kristol, of "Keep America Safe," holds Bush "blameless for the post-9/11 resurgence of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Iran." For attacking Justice Department attorneys who defended Guantanamo detainees, Liz Cheney has been criticized by both liberals and conservatives.

As this crowd calls President Obama "soft on terror," it's worth remembering which administration's foreign policy disasters still affect us today. Rich provides this much needed historical account:

Obama may well make — or is already making — his own mistakes. And he will bear responsibility for them. But they must be seen in the context of the larger narrative that the revisionists are now working so hard to obscure. The most devastating terrorist attack on American soil did happen during Bush’s term, after the White House repeatedly ignored what the former C.I.A. director, George Tenet, called the “blinking red” alarms before 9/11. It was the Bush defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who lost bin Laden in Tora Bora, not the Obama Justice Department appointees vilified by Keep America Safe. It was Bush and Cheney, with the aid of Rove’s propaganda campaign, who promoted sketchy and often suspect intelligence about Saddam’s imminent “mushroom clouds.” The ensuing Iraq war allowed those who did attack us on 9/11 to regroup in Afghanistan and beyond — and emboldened Iran, an adversary with an actual nuclear program.

...If we are really to keep America safe, it’s essential we remember exactly which American politicians empowered Iran, Al Qaeda and the Taliban from 2001 to 2008, and why. History will be repeated not only if we forget it, but also if we let it be rewritten by those whose ideological zealotry and boneheaded decisions have made America less safe to this day.

No comments: