The Difference Between Obama and Bush

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Ray Hanania

By: Ray Hanania

Had Osama Bin Laden been killed or even captured during the administration of former President George W. Bush, there would have been celebrations the likes we have never seen. Bush would have been hailed as one of the greatest American presidents, and even his loyal blind following of demagogues would be singing a new tune of oppression: dump the Constitution entirely, instead of just amending its fundamental principles in the Patriot Act, and allow a president to serve for life.

But Bush never did capture Bin Laden. That’s why I know things would have been so starkly different. Because the failure of Bush to capture Bin Laden – and it was a failure – has gone so unnoticed today even to the point where people were opining that Bin Laden was irrelevant. Remember the interview that Vice President Dick Cheney did with Wolf Blitzer on CNN days before the end of the Bush administration? Well, I’ll remind you what he said when asked by Blitzer “why” the Bush administration had not captured Bin Laden:

“My guess is at this point he’s operating in an area that’s very difficult, very hard to get to, that he’s not an effective leader at this stage,” said Cheney. “He can’t really engage his organization without coming out of whatever hole he’s hiding in. And the key thing for us, even if we got bin Laden tomorrow, is to take down his organization. And that’s what we’ve been actively doing.”

When they couldn’t capture Bin Laden, it was because he was “irrelevant.” When Obama killed Bin Laden, it’s a great thing for the world, but not Obama. That’s the politics of terrorism. Terrorism has taken countless American lives and many hundreds of thousands more non-American lives. But terrorism is a tool of politics, used in the West to achieve goals in much the same way that the Arab World demonizes Israel and allows its citizens the free speech to condemn Israel, but not their own atrocities.

What Obama did in president in only two years is exactly what Bush and Cheney failed to in more than seven years in office after the terrorism of September 11th. Obama did the right thing and made Bin Laden a priority target. Bush and Cheney made Bin Laden an opportunity to impose restrictions on the freedoms of Americans, pushing through the Patriot Laws I and II. They used Bin Laden to launch a phony unjustified war on Iraq and to win re-election when in fact their administration was devoid of any real programs for the American people. Bush and Cheney buried the truth about Weapons of Mass Destruction while feeding billions into the coffers of their campaign contributors building Halliburton in to one of the largest non-government governments in the world. Cheney was Halliburton’s CEO before he joined the White House.

They undermined freedoms, using utterances questioning their actions to undermine any of their political foes. They told the American people that their failures in providing domestic leadership were not as important as it was to fight the “War on Terrorism.” Yet, when Obama killed Bin Laden, we were reminded that Bush and Cheney apparently did not do a very good job fighting the War on Terrorism when they couldn’t even find the head of the snake. Yet, who would be surprised that they would fail to capture or kill Bin Laden, our number one avowed terrorist, when their entire eight years in office was one failure after another, transformed to look like achievements simply because Bush and Cheney had pulled the wool of the “War on Terrorism” over everyone’s eyes?

Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and media consultant. He can be reached at

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