Republicans are scrambling to give themselves and George W. Bush credit for the death of Osama Bin Laden, but it was just 6 months after 9/11 when during a press conference Bush declared that he wasn’t concerned about Bin Laden.
On March 13, 2002 then President Bush said, “We haven’t heard much from him. And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don’t know where he is. I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run.”
Bush continued, “I was concerned about him when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban. But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became — we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his Al Qaeda killers anymore.”
Later we would find out that Bush was no longer concerned about Bin Laden because his administration had already turned its attention towards what they saw as unfinished business in Iraq. Because George W. Bush was not concerned, the families of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks were left without justice.
Because George W. Bush was not concerned about Bin Laden, 4,452 American troops have lost their lives in Iraq. Those Americans died because the Bush administration gave up on capturing Osama Bin Laden and decided to focus on a war that they thought they could easily win.
In the coming days there will be lots of explanations coming from the right of why George W. Bush deserves credit for the death of Osama Bin Laden, but the truth is very simple and straightforward.
George W. Bush didn’t care, and Osama Bin Laden lived.
Barack Obama cared, and Bin Laden is dead.