Tony Snow, President Bush’s press secretary, appeared Wednesday to blame the President’s father for giving Osama bin Laden the incentive to plan and execute the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Speaking at his daily press briefing, Snow said:
Now, when the United States walked away, in the opinion of Osama bin Laden in 1991, bin Laden drew from that the conclusion that Americans were weak and wouldn’t stay the course, and that led to September 11th. And it’s important to realize that terrorists are not simply inspired by American engagement in the world, but they have their own agenda and it is an agenda that if we turn around and look the other way, they’re not going to ignore — they will continue to build strength and they will continue to build adherence. And it is a vitally important debate to have.
Snow was referring to the withdrawal of American troops after Desert Storm, the war to drive Iraq from Kuwait, while George H.W. Bush was President. He was attempting to link that withdrawal to current calls by some Democrats to start a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
No one in the Washington press corps picked up on the fact that the Presidential press secretary had just linked an action by the President’s father to what Republicans are calling the "cut and run" strategy of the Democrats. Yet Snow’s startling admission points to what has always been a difference between the styles of the current President Bush and that of his father and the elder Bush has never spoken publicly in support of his son’s invasion of Iraq.
Perhaps that is because George H.W. Bush, like 60 percent of the American people, knows the war is Iraq was a mistake.