Under the administration of George W. Bush, the United States of America suffered by far the worst terrorist attack in its history. Bush responded to this with policies that led to the deaths of substantially more innocent Americans than died on 9/11, to say nothing of orders of magnitude more foreign civilians. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of 9/11 remained at large, and hundreds of other innocent civilians were killed by terrorists in allied nations. This, according to conservatives, is success. Thus Noemi Emery in The Weekly Standard saying the record proves the need to torture:
Let’s tell the truth about Bush’s conduct of the war on terror, which is that it’s been a success. His ultimate legacy hasn’t been written–Iraq is improved, but not out of danger–but the one thing that can be said without reservation is that the country was kept safe. He delivered on the main charge of his office in time of emergency, in a crisis without guidelines or precedent. Attacks took place in Spain, and in London, in Indonesia and India, but not on American soil, which was the obvious target of choice. Bush couldn’t say this before he left office, for obvious reasons, and after he left, attention switched to the new president.
This is via Matt Duss. I find this whole line of argument truly and deeply baffling. The overwhelming majority of Americans to ever be killed by foreign terrorists were killed during Bush’s presidency. And even if you give him a pass on 9/11 itself it’s still the case that his conduct of the “war on terror” led to the deaths of thousands more Americans.