We keep hearing it.
"Ever since 9/11, George Bush kept us safe."
It's sort of non-stop, whether from Dick Cheney rising from his dark hole to justify the torture he oversaw, or Republicans in Congress, or GOP pundits, it's always the same.
"Ever since 9/11, George Bush kept us safe," they crow. "There have been no attacks on U.S. soil."
It's all part of the attempt to cleanse George Bush's legacy, and the legacy and conscience of those who enabled him for eight years.
"Ever since 9/11, George Bush kept us safe."
It's a fruitless effort, of course. History doesn't listen to talking heads. It digs into what actually happened. Yet on the Apologists go, pounding their flim-flam into the heads of anyone who needs desperately to hear it.
"Ever since 9/11, George Bush kept us safe, and there were no attacks on U.S. soil."
Calling it a lie, though, is an insult to lies. Far worse, it's an insult to those who died.
The words, "Ever since 9/11..." should be enough to stop the con game right there. The mere thought of "9/11" will forever raise a visceral, sickening gut reaction drilled deep into the psyche of Americans.
And it happened on George Bush's protective watch. And it happened even though he was warned about it. Warned with specifics - "Bid Laden Determined to Attack in U.S." is how his Presidential Daily Briefing was headlined. It even explained the use of flying airplanes into buildings. And George Bush ignored it. And the result was the first successful attack on U.S. soil by a foreign enemy in the history of America. And George Bush kept reading, "My Pet Goat."
Meanwhile, 3,000 people died, and America has ceased to feel safe ever since. On George Bush's watch.
To suggest that "George Bush kept us safe ever since 9/11" is not ignoring the elephant in the room, it's ignoring the elephant that rampaged through your house, killed your family and has its giant foot on your head, as you lay prostrate on the ground.
To suggest that "George Bush kept us safe ever since 9/11" is like a football team celebrating a defeat because it won the game since halftime.
It's that one word, "since," which gives lie to the safety that the George Bush Republican Apologists are trying to push. They don't want you to think about the word, "since," because it conjures up too much horror how unsafe George Bush kept America on 9/11. They want you to forget the 3,000 deaths that actually did occur. On their watch. Even though they were warned. It's a despicable act of cowardice.
But it doesn't stop there. Because there's the rest of their razzle-dazzle, attempting to scam America that it's safe because there have been no successful attacks on its soil in the last seven years.
Never mind, of course, that there hadn't been any successful attacks on its soil in the previous 225 years, before George Bush ignored his PDB. Small matter.
It's a shameful, craven deceit. There are many reasons there have been no attacks on U.S. soil ever since George Bush overlooked the disastrous attack where 3,000 died. One is that those who attacked achieved their goal. Another is because by going to war in Iraq with no justification, George Bush gave terrorists a better, easier target.
There have been 4,262 Americans who have died in Iraq. And over 148,000 wounded. An 673 more Americans have died in Afghanistan. All "since 9/11."
While it's convenient to say that these casualties have not occurred on American soil, they have occurred on American citizens. The result of a war that was unprovoked and lied into.
Further, this unjustified war, the illegal detentions at Gitmo, the acts of torture have all diminished America's standing in the world and made it an even bigger recruitment tool for terrorists and a cause for hatred in the Middle East. All of which came into being "since 9/11." All of which have made America far less safe that it was before.
But mostly, bombs are not the only measuring stick for safety. Because illegally wiretapping innocent American citizens and illegally reading private email does not keep Americans safe, as Americans. It removes their constitutional civil liberties, which by definition makes them very unsafe.
And none addresses the collapse of the American economy. And if keeping America safe is the measuring stick, then you must look at all of America - and by no standards has the greatest American disaster since the Depression, under George Bush's watch since 9/11, kept America safe. It might not be the angle from which the Apologists want Americans to consider their safety, but if your livelihood, home, healthcare and future have all disappeared, then you are profoundly unsafe. It is small comfort to tell someone you kept them safe from not being shot when instead they were bludgeoned to death.
And lest one think mentioning the economy is merely a liberal ploy to divert attention from true national safety - trying telling that to the Pentagon.
Because only weeks ago, the Pentagon sponsored an actual war game with the military and U.S. intelligence community observing how enemies could attack the American economy and "shift the balance of power" between nations.
"In the end, there was sobering news for the United States," Politico reported, "- the savviest economic warrior proved to be China," which strengthened itself most. And though the U.S. remained the largest economy, it "significantly degraded its standing."
Yet on it goes. "Ever since 9/11, George Bush kept us safe," these Republicans Apologists cry, hoping you won't notice the earth caving in around.
Hoping you won't remember 9/11.
George Bush did not keep America safe on 9/11.
And ever since 9/11, George Bush did not keep us safe either. He took a metal pipe and pounded the nation to near death. It is only through its strength and will to live that America is surviving.
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/relisberg