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Norm R. Augustine
Technology/Civic Leader

Norm R. Augustine

A former president of the Boy Scouts of America and chair of the American Red Cross, Norm Augustine is the retired Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

If Nothing Else, We've Been Safe

What have been George Bush's leadership strengths? That is a question that will perhaps best be answered with the perspective of history, considering that Lincoln, was at one time despised by half the country and questioned by many in the other half. There is also the dilemma of whether leaders must be fully successful to be judged good leaders (case in point: Robert E. Lee).

President Bush's overall greatest achievement was that America has not suffered another 9/11 tragedy. Few among us would have predicted that our nation would go nearly eight years, and hopefully more, without another major attack on our own soil. President Bush holds strong convictions--strengths of such remarkable leaders as President's Truman and Reagan. The key, of course, is to have the correct convictions. Whatever the case, President Bush held what was the toughest leadership job in the world--one likely to be exceeded in difficulty during President-elect Obama's tenure.

Leaders need to be scored much as bull riders in rodeos: based on how well they rode as well as on how hard the bull bucked. Of course, it's still a good idea not to antagonize the bull.

By Norm R. Augustine

 |  January 7, 2009; 10:19 AM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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What about the 4000+ troops who were needlessly killed in Iraq, and the tens of thousands injured? B*sh didn't keep THEM safe. He sent them to fight and die for dubious reasons based on deception and lies; he sent them without proper armor and equipment; he sent them without an exit strategy or a plan for victory. B*sh is responsible for more American deaths than Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: jasperjava | January 20, 2009 9:46 AM
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It is absolutely incorrect to say that we have been safe for the past seven years, that there have been no additional attacks on US soil since then. That is not the full truth! The fact is that the administration of GWB did not protect us from the WTC attack in 2000, even though there was intelligence that an event was being planned. The issue was not in the past seven years, but the past eight! To frame it any other way is just spin! It is not full truth!
Stop the nonsense!

Posted by: athome1 | January 18, 2009 1:40 PM
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There has been no attack because few appropriate ones were planned. The major attack happens within one year of the next presidents office entry. Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 are very similar in this matter. THe daily news that informs you about crime, theft and murder are also appropriate speaking points. Why is that? THe only person that can truly stop terrorism is the perp themselves. Hurricanes will always happen and terrorism is likely. Bush can neither take credit for lack of terrorism any more than lack of hurricanes. He can't truly prevent good planning. This is why 9/11 succeeded. The robbers were faster than the cops. it happens everyday. Our occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with national security. Our breached privacy has nothing to do with national security. Bystanders did a better job busting the Ft. Dix plot then the CIA or CenCOM did. Bush and Cheney have a legacy alright. Continuing the intended oil drilling on Sadams soil just as they were doing back in the first Gulf War. Bin Laden is actually a diversion because he really had nothing to do with 9/11. He did politically benefit but it wasn't literally his planning team. I want to know if Bush/ Cheney were drilling oil to appease China's sugardaddy debt status or whether it was for domestic oil contractors.

Posted by: lucy-fir | January 17, 2009 3:05 AM
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I agree that safety at home is a big accomplishment of the presidency of George W Bush. It is refreshing to have thinking folks make their voices heard and rise above the new trends of destroying an honorable man's image just has he leaves eight years of service to the country.

Posted by: moforums | January 15, 2009 7:55 PM
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First, how about the Anthrax attacks? Second W's war on terror killed more Americans than 9/11. The only thing Bush has accomplished is whipping up the lunatic fringe in this country hell bent on thinking anyone from the Middle East is "terrorist" and waterboarding is OK.

Posted by: nodonjuan | January 12, 2009 2:11 PM
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Is Mr. Augustine hopelessly deluded, or an unrepentant partisan hack?

Certainly he knows that no one takes his baloney at face value.

Posted by: PacNW | January 11, 2009 4:20 PM
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Of course this assertion that Bush has kept us safe is only believable if Bush became president on Sept. 12, 2001. The evidence is clear that Bush was warned that Bin Liden was planning to attack targets within the US and that he and his administration ignored the warnings. Bush's leadership will be remember for arrogance, ignorance and incompetence

Posted by: GOrwell2 | January 11, 2009 1:43 PM
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"If nothing else we've been safe" Are you kidding me - talk about re-visionism. Do we remember that 911 happened under the Bush watch and he was warned numerous times and didn't respond until after the attack. At which point he invaded a country that had NOTHING to do w/ 911 - and then 4000 soldiers have died - for a lie. I don't think the families of the dead soldiers would think their kids were safe. Or what about the 1 million dead from Iraq? this Administartin has caused nothing but pain and suffering here in America and abroad. Quit trying to change history!

Posted by: mtdon | January 11, 2009 12:07 PM
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Two truisms: The odds are 99.9 to 1 that an Al Gore administration would not have ignored the intelligence warnings that showed an imminent attack on the U.S. by Al Queda was in the advanced implementation stage; an Al Gore administration would have brought Bin Laden to justice rather than wage a war of choice against the wrong foe.

Posted by: PaulofAnnapolis | January 11, 2009 11:40 AM
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So George Bush kept us safe, AND AL GORE WOULDN"T HAVE KEPT US SAFE? In what alternative universe do you columnists live in anyway? Do you think that any other president would not have kept us safe? At least with Gore we would have had only one war to contend with (How do we know this? Gore has said he would not have invaded Iraq), as well as at least half a trillion more in the Treasury and probably two or three thousand Americans and a couple of hundred thousand Iraqis still alive.

So George Bush kept us safe? That is still to be determined.

2001 was one of the worst years in US history. That almost every American can agree upon. The terrorists brought down the WTC. Hard to believe that that was not the worst thing that happened to America that year. The worst thing occurred around January 20th, the day that George W. Bush, THE ABSOLUTE WORST PRESIDENT IN US HISTORY - A FACT, NOT AN OPINION - took the office of the presidency.

People like this one, this Augistino or whatever, should stop trying to explain this away and great newspapers like the POST should stop publishing drivel like this. Leave that to that pseudo news garbage network, Fox.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | January 11, 2009 9:56 AM
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Yes, I can see why you hit on the bull rider analogy, as your comment was nothing more than unadulterated BULL.

Posted by: marecek | January 11, 2009 3:29 AM
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What do you mean he kept us safe? The wall street cartel has done more damage to the American family than Osama Bin Laden could ever have hoped for in his most fervent desires for our downfall.

Posted by: tgkthree | January 11, 2009 2:58 AM
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Bush did NOT keep us safe.


Posted by: PacNW | January 10, 2009 11:02 PM
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"President Bush's overall greatest achievement was that America has not suffered another 9/11 tragedy." You must be joking. That's not an achievement, that's a coincidence. I'm sick of this idiotic piece of "evidence" that the Bush administration has been successful at fighting terrorism.

How about saying that most other president's greatest achievements were not suffering ANY Pearl Harbor or 9/11-type tragedies? That makes about as much sense.

Posted by: grant5 | January 10, 2009 10:42 PM
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The mantra that Bush has kept us safe since 9/11 is just a way of obscuring the fact that Bush ignored repeated warnings about an imminent attack in the weeks leading up to 9/11. In his usual clueless fashion, he just floated past the warnings.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | January 10, 2009 10:07 PM
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Augustine, you are a pathetic joke. Like your President. Here's his stooge, I mean the Deputy Press Secretary Stanzel yesterday:

White House Press Conference, January 9:

...Q: The Administration has been boasting about the success of the President's war on terror, yet data compiled by the RAND Corporation show that the global rate of terrorism, as measured by the number of people killed per year, increased by almost fivefold during the Bush presidency. And according to the government's own terrorism statistics, 2007 was the worst year ever, with over 22,000 people killed worldwide. Does the President consider that record a success?

MR. STANZEL: The President considers it very much a success that we have kept this nation safe since the devastating attacks of 9/11. The magnitude of the attacks on 9/11 were unprecedented, unseen, when 19 individuals armed with box cutters flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and were fought and died in a field in Pennsylvania.

We have taken the fight to the terrorists. It has been this President's sole mission throughout his presidency to confront those threats where they are. He has a much talked about Bush Doctrine. The President has made it very clear that if you aid, abet, house, feed, fund a terrorist, you are just as guilty as the terrorist, and that we will also confront the challenges where they emerge so we don't have to face them here at home. And we will work to spread an ideology of hope and freedom, which will be the ultimate tool in combating terrorism around the world.

So I'll move on. Yes, go ahead --

Q But shouldn't the anti-terrorism efforts reduce terrorism rather than increase it?

MR. STANZEL: Well, I guess you should ask the question, have terrorists -- do terrorists continue to try to kill innocent civilians around the world? Yes, they do. Should we then just take a step back and decide, no, we shouldn't confront those challenges?

Q But you can try a --

MR. STANZEL: I'm done, I'm going to move on.

You should move on, too. This piece you wrote is absolute garbage.

Posted by: Wellstone | January 10, 2009 5:48 PM
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Dear Mr. Augustine,

I have spent my life savings on a rock that prevents tigers from mauling me. Even though I am broke and forced to type this from a public library, I have not been mauled by a tigers in my life, so by your logic this has been the best investment ever.

Even though George Bush might have destroyed the economy, the environment, and stretched our military to the breaking point, at least we have not all died from a horrible terrorist attack. Why can't those DFHs be happy for him?

Posted by: amendele | January 10, 2009 10:24 AM
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Counting 9-11, Bush was by far the worst President at keeping us safe. Not counting 9-11, he was exactly equal with all other Presidents (that is, if you also don't count dead soldiers, or attacks on our allies and interests around the world, or the anthrax poisonings).

Anyway, great article, not counting your entire thesis being exactly wrong.

Posted by: okjuggler | January 10, 2009 10:17 AM
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Thanks very much for pointing out how much better a job President Clinton did at keeping us safe than President Bush has done.

What's that? Over 3,000 days elapsed between the first WTC attack and 9/11? Why that "must" mean Clinton "kept us safe," right?

Oh, but I forget about the African embassy bombings and the USS Cole, attacks on US interests overseas.

But.....doesn't that mean the "Bush Kept Us Safe" meme forgets 4,000 American dead in Iraq, 600 in Afghanistan, and unknown others in classified operations elsewhere in the world should count against Bush's record?

Posted by: HemlockforGadflies | January 10, 2009 9:43 AM
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Why would any terrorist feel the need to
attempt to come here to do the nasty deed,
When it is painfully and truly visible, that This president and his policies along with his corporate supporters have either killed,maimed or caused bodily injury to millions of Americans and the creatures that inhabit it's soil.We are the true "Walking Dead", and we number in the millions. What was that you were saying being safe?

Americans kill more Americans than Bin and his co-horts could ever dream of killing.
So they backed off when they saw we were doing a better job of it than them.Corporate America is efficient,cruel
and profitable in their drive for the dollar, and they don't lose any sleep over their lack of morals.

Posted by: victorlove1 | January 10, 2009 9:13 AM
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As others have suggested, it has become sickening to repeatedly hear that George Bush "kept us safe." Ignoring for a moment that the 911 murderers were incredibly lucky to pull off their feat (lax airport security and Rice's dismissal of a report indicating an immediate threat smoothed their way), the presidency did not begin on Sept. 12, 2001.

Far from keeping us safe, Bush made us vulnerable.

Posted by: b8ovenbest | January 10, 2009 7:26 AM
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If Bush gets credit for there not being another 9/11 style attack, everyone else gets credit also. In fact, I claim credit for the fact that the Golden Gate Bridge didn't fall into the San Francisco Bay last year. Let's see what else that didn't happen for which I can claim credit.

Posted by: Frazil | January 10, 2009 7:20 AM
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Mr. Augustine, you were a CEO? Your Lincoln comparison is superficial and historically naive. During Bush's watch several thousand Americans were killed on 9/11! Bush did not keep us safe! Then Bush killed even more Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senility has set in with you, right?

Posted by: SpaceCity | January 10, 2009 4:12 AM
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hahahaha. Just a moment need to take a breath...hahahahahaha. Whew... and then there's this bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in. George Bush what a guy.

Posted by: adobelane | January 10, 2009 4:02 AM
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I firmly disagree. Giving credit to Bush for keeping us safe is a stretch of the truth. Sure he took some of the obvious measures that any leader would take after being attacked. But all Americans were put on notice after the sucker punch of 9/11 and it is the people of America who man the borders and checkpoints who did the work of keeping America safe. Bush in fact botched the capture of Osama Bin Ladin who still is at large. Bush takes credit where credit does not belong. Instead credit for our safety belongs to those who actually do the work and to all Americans who became vigilant against our adversaries.

As a nation we became more informed about the threat that George W Bush ignored for reasons of partisanship. Do not forget, that in the first months of his administration, George W. Bush cancelled NSA meetings that were focused on the threat of Al Queda which were scheduled during the Clinton administration. Bush's agenda was Saddam and Iraq, not Al Queda! Richard Clark, who warned of an attack was marginalized due to his ties to the Clinton administration. Later, Bush did nothing to address the daily brief which stated that an Al Queda attack was imminent. Yet after 9/11 Bush capitalized on the attack as an excuse to start a war with a nation who had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11. Countless civilians have died as a result of this action. Our nation's treasure has been spent and our military spread thin. The result of this is a resurgence of Al Queda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet no single person I can think of has benefitted more from 9/11 than George W Bush unless it is those who profit from arms sales.

Despite George Bush's initial popularity and his ability to drive our nation's agenda, animosity against the United States greatly increased. There will be generations of people who will seek revenge for the mayhem and carnage caused by Bush's naivety and arrogance. If we have learned anything it is this, people will wait for as long as necessary to seek revenge. Seven years or seventy, Bush's legacy will come back to haunt us no matter how many civilians we endanger or "terrorists" we slaughter.

Posted by: rwb1 | January 9, 2009 7:02 PM
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