Clare Boothe Luce liked to say that “a great man is one sentence.” Presidents, in particular. The most common “one sentence” for George W. Bush (whose legacy is being reassessed as his presidential library opens) is: “He kept us safe.”
Not quite right. He did not just keep us safe. He created the entire anti-terror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe.
That homage was paid, wordlessly, by Barack Obama, who vilified Bush’s anti-terror policies as a candidate, then continued them as president: indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare and, most notoriously, Guantanamo, which Obama so ostentatiously denounced — until he found it indispensable.
Quite a list. Which is why there was not one successful terror bombing on U.S. soil from 9/11 until last week.