Bush Says the World Still Respects U.S. Moral Authority

Surprised?

President Bush this morning declared emphatically that “most people around the world, they respect America,” strongly disagreeing with the idea that the country’s moral standing suffered during his time in office. He said he did what he thought was right in facing crises from Hurricane Katrina to prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, even though sometimes “things didn’t go according to plan.”

Actually, things went exactly according to plan at Abu Ghraib. Except for the fact that the plan got blown.

Bush said the greatest challenge President-elect Barack Obama and his successors will likely face is “an attack on our homeland” akin to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Such a scenario, he predicted, would make people less likely to question interrogation tactics and other extreme security measures adopted by the government during his tenure.

“Do you remember what it was like right after September the 11th around here?” Bush asked, his voice rising. “People were saying, ‘How come they didn’t see it, how come they didn’t connect the dots?’ Do you remember what the environment was like in Washington? I do. When people were hauled up in front of Congress and members of Congress were asking questions about, how come you didn’t know this, that, or the other? And then we start putting policy in place — legal policy in place to connect the dots, and all of a sudden people were saying, ‘How come you’re connecting the dots?’ “

Actually, people were fine with connecting the dots. What people objected to was the fact that the president, the vice-president, and the vice-president’s chief of staff exploited the grief, anger, and fear Americans felt in the aftermath of the worst single attack on U.S. soil to basically stage a coup against our system of government, against the Constitution and decades of legal precedent, against the foundation of law that defines who we are as a people, and against international protocols to which our country had committed itself for much of the last century. What people objected to was, and is, our government using shoddy legal arguments to justify and embrace acts that the U.S. government defined as war crimes 60 years ago and hanged people for having done.

None of that had, or has, anything to do with “connecting the dots.”

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