Three thousand people died in terrorist attacks in the United States under President George W. Bush. Thirteen have died under President Obama. What does this record tell us about Obama’s management of terrorism? Nothing. According to Republicans, it’s an accident. “Yes, we have been lucky,” House Republican Leader John Boehner asserted Thursday. “But luck is not an effective strategy for fighting terrorism.” In case anyone missed the theme, Boehner’s office titled his press release,”Luck Is Not an Effective Strategy for Fighting Terrorism.”
Oddly, though, luck seems to have taken a vacation between Sept. 11, 2001, and Jan. 20, 2009. During those magical years, after the unforeseeable misfortune of the Sept. 11 attacks, the scarcity of American deaths at the hands of terrorists was a direct result and vindication of Bush’s anti-terrorism policies. How do we know this? Because Republicans told us so. Here’s what they said about luck during those years.
Our nation has been protected by more than luck. It is no accident that we haven’t been hit in more than four years. We’ve been protected by sensible policy decisions, by decisive action at home and abroad, and by round-the-clock efforts on the part of people in the armed services, law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security.
—Vice President Dick Cheney, Jan. 19, 2006
It’s not an accident that we haven’t been struck in the last four years. Some people think well, it’s just dumb luck. No, it’s not. It’s because the President has made some very good decisions, because we’ve had first-rate military and intelligence capabilities working on this problem. It’s because we’ve aggressively gone after the terrorists wherever we could find them.
—Cheney, Feb. 7, 2006
We have been protected by a lot more than just dumb luck. We’ve been protected by sound policy decisions by the President. …
—Cheney, April 17, 2006
The fact that we have not had a major terrorist attack in this Nation since 9/11 is no accident. The focused efforts of our intelligence officials have helped detect and prevent attacks, and we as a nation are safer as a result.
—Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, House floor, June 16, 2006 (Boehner present)
The relative safety of the recent past is no accident. We’ve been safe because of the hard work every day, around the clock—and men and women involved in law enforcement, in homeland security, and the especially in the United States military have done a superb job for all of us.
—Cheney, July 7, 2006
No one can guarantee that we won’t be struck again. But to have come this far without another attack is no accident. We have been protected by sound policy decisions by the President. …
—Cheney, Aug. 28, 2006
It is more than luck there has not been another major attack since 9/11.
—Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., House floor, Sept. 13, 2006 (Boehner present)
To have come this far without another attack is no accident. A lot of things can go wrong in a war. But I’m happy to relate that many things have gone right. We’ve been protected by sensible policy decisions by the President. …
—Cheney, Sept. 19, 2006
Our country has gone more than five years now without another 9/11. This is no accident. Nobody can guarantee that we won’t be hit again, but America is safer today and has been safe for the last five years because we’ve conducted this war on the offensive and because we’ve used every legitimate tool at our command to protect the American people.
—Cheney, Oct. 4, 2006
Our country has gone more than five years now without another 9/11. This is no accident.
—Cheney, Oct. 6, 2006
To have come this far without another attack is no accident.
—Cheney, Oct. 25, 2006
We’ve been successful at defending against further attacks. But it’s not easy. It’s not dumb luck. It doesn’t just happen. It’s because we’ve got a lot of good people who spend a lot of time, devote their entire professional lives, if you will, to this mission.
—Cheney, April 14, 2007
It is more than luck there hasn’t been another major attack since 2001.
—Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., Sept. 10, 2007 (Boehner present)
Since 9/11, our administration had to make a lot of tough decisions on national security. As a result, the enemies of the country have been kept off balance. I don’t think the terrorists put their feet up after 9/11 and said, “Well, let’s not hit the United States again.” They wanted to hit us. They planned on it. They tried to do it. And now that we’ve gone more than six and a half years without another 9/11 is no accident. It is an achievement. And the credit goes to some very dedicated Americans in intelligence, law enforcement, and the military; to vital new laws passed by Congress; and strong leadership by the President of the United States.
—Cheney, May 29, 2008
I don’t think the terrorists put up their feet after 9/11 and said, “Well, let’s not hit the United States again in ‘01, ‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, or ‘07.” They wanted to hit us. They planned on it. They tried to do it. But they failed. Going more than six and a half years without another 9/11 is no accident. It’s an achievement.
—Cheney, May 30, 2008
It is no accident that we have not been attacked since September 11.
—Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., House floor, Sept. 11, 2008
More than seven years have passed without another attack on our soil. This is not an accident. Since 9/11, the FBI has worked with our partners around the world to disrupt planned terrorist attacks. Most Americans will never know the full stories of how these attacks were stopped and how many lives were saved.
—White House fact sheet, Oct. 30, 2008