By: Ronald Kessler
In his speech at West Point, President Obama claimed credit for having had “more success in eliminating al-Qaida leaders in recent months than in recent years.”
It was Obama’s usual effort to knock the Bush administration, either explicitly or implicitly. But as is so often the case, his comparison was misleading.
While more al-Qaida leaders have indeed been killed by Predator drones this year than in previous years, the primary reason is that President Bush was farsighted enough to order a threefold increase in the number of drones.
Since it takes several years to increase production and install remote-control facilities, the benefits of Bush’s decision are only now showing up.
While Obama deserves credit for continuing the Predator strikes, Bush kept us safe for eight years and made the current success possible by transforming the way the war on terror is fought.
Aside from the increase in drones, Bush made the FBI more prevention-oriented. He established the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va., where 200 analysts from the CIA and FBI sit side by side analyzing threats 24 hours a day.
Secure video conferences three times a day include representatives from all parts of the intelligence community and the White House, analyzing threats and parceling out leads.
Bush’s Patriot Act tore down the so-called wall that Attorney General Janet Reno imposed, a wall that prevented FBI agents from sharing information with each other and with the CIA.
The act allowed the FBI to wiretap terrorists, regardless of what phones they happen to use, as the FBI already did in organized crime cases.
For all the talk about Bush excesses, the fact is that no abuse — meaning an illegal act for political or improper purposes — has been found.
Obama knows Bush is responsible for the current success.
For Obama, it is standard operating procedure to deny credit or, conversely, to blame others.
In a press conference with Mexican president Felipe Calderon, Obama recently cited a Mexican proverb: “Tell me who you walk with, and I will tell you who you are.”
For 20 years, Obama listened to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and his paranoid blame-America accusations, never acknowledging how far the country has come when it comes to promoting equality.
As with the man Obama walked with for 20 years and considered his mentor, playing the blame game and denying credit is part of Obama’s character.