President Bush appeared with Matt Lauer on the Today show. Even now, sixteen years after 9/11, he has learned nothing. 9/11, Times Square, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, Orlando, London, Paris, Brussels, Philly cop shootings, hundreds and hundreds of jihad related arrests and thwarted plots, ISIS, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, etc. etc. etc.  It speaks to a very definite refusal, an absolute denial of reality, and why the Bush doctrine failed. He fundamentally misunderestimated the jihadic motive. And still does. This is the same Bush who stood with jihad-terror tied groups in the wake of 9/11. Among the group of Muslims he stood with after 9/11 was Nihad Awad, founder of CAIR, the Hamas front group for the Islamic Association of Palestine. Also there was Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi and Khaled Saffuri, who denounced President Bush for shutting down a pseudo-charity (Holy Land Foundation) that was raising millions of dollars for Hamas.

CAIR’s founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, was the Islamic Association of Palestine’s public relations director. Awad was contributing editor of the Islamic Association of Palestine’s publications, including Muslim World Monitor and Al-Zaitonah, which often praised jihad-terror attacks.

Khaled Saffuri  on the left of Bush and Nihad Awad on the right of Bush at a mosque in DC jusy after 9/11

Bush learned nothing. Still.

Two weeks ago, President Bush’s daughter Jenna proudly republished her father’s 9/17/2001 speech from inside the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. in which he proclaimed “Islam is peace.” Really?

As the weeks after 9/11 rolled on, the Bush administration, like the Clinton administration before it, relied more and more on Muslim advisors inside the U.S. government to tell it about the “terrorist” threat and how to deal with it.  Karl Rove and Grover Norquist brought jihadis (“terrorists”) like Abdurahman Alamoudi (Al Qaeda), Sami al Arian (Hamas/MB), Suhail Khan (Muslim Brotherhood) and others into the Bush camp.  They believed working with “moderate Muslims” was the path to success.

Excerpts follow. For full transcript, scroll.

A couple of points — first, when Lauer tries to pigeonhole Bush into saying the country has never been more divided, Bush does not take the bait. Bush says we should take Trump at his word that he wants to unify the country. Bush goes on to hit Lauer, saying:

Bush: “it’s hard to unify the country with the news media being so split up. When I was President, you [pointing to Lauer] mattered a lot more because there was only three of you.”

Lauer: “You bring up an interesting point. You are a guy that faced praise and criticism in your time in the office.

This is patently untrue. What media ever praised Bush? They ravaged him, destroyed him. Shredded him.

Lauer: You were dealing with the worst criticism  where it must’ve been difficult… Did you ever consider the media to be the enemy of the American people?

Bush: “I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media total people like me to account.”

Bush never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The media is corrupt. And no one was suggesting that we not have a free media. Certainly not Trump. But once a news organization abandons its role as news gathering organization and instead cloaks itself in press freedom in order to advance its own subversive, destructive agenda, that’s a whole other thing. This was Bush’s opportunity to respond, hit back at eight years of unending abuse and libel. But with his tail between his legs, he did Lauer’s bidding. Very disappointing. The fact is that Bush was too nice a man for the Presidency.

LAUER: Are you for or against the ban? You’re against the ban?

BUSH: I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and that upholds the law.

Welcoming of jihadis? What idiocy.

LAUER: It was only eight or nine months after you took office that the attacks of 9/11 occurred, the worst terrorist attack on American soil. And just after those attacks, you gave a speech and you said this, “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans and millions more in countries that America counts as friends. It’s teachings are good and peaceful.” That’s very different talk than what we’re hearing today about a Muslim ban. Do you think the President’s position on this has been well thought out?

BUSH: I think it’s very important for all of us to recognize one of our great strengths is for people to be able to worship the way they want to or not worship at all. I mean, the bedrock of our freedom – a bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely. And I – you see, I understood right off the bat, Matt, that this was an ideological conflict and people who murder the innocent are not religious people. They want to advance an ideology and we have faced those kind of ideologues in the past.

Did Bush read the last letters of the 19 9/11 Muslim terrorists? They cited Allah over 90 times. I know. I counted. That’s not religious? Jihadis across the world — from ISIS to al Shabbab, Hamas to Hezb’Allah — all jihadi groups cited Quran chapter and verse and declare they are waging holy war in the cause of Islam. That is “not religious”? That defines religious.  Robert Spencer writes:

It’s noteworthy that Bush is speaking out against President Trump, but remained almost completely mum during eight years of Obama. This is because he is an establishment Republican, and the establishment Republicans proved themselves during the 2016 presidential campaign to be partners, colleagues and allies with the Democrats in the Republican establishment, with only Trump and his supporters representing a legitimate alternative. So it is completely understandable that one month into Trump’s presidency, Bush would be hitting him as he never hit Obama; he is on Obama’s establishment Washington team, not Trump’s.

In response to Lauer’s asking him about Trump’s statement that the media is the enemy of the American people, Bush says: “I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account.”

This is not surprising, since this is the fiction that the Washington establishment wants you to swallow: that we have an independent media that holds the powerful to account. In reality, the establishment media is simply a propaganda arm of the hard-Left; it holds Trump to account, or claims to, but wouldn’t dream of holding Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to account in any similar way. An independent media? Really? Imagine what would happen to a journalist who reported favorably on CNN about anything Trump did; that journalist would be quickly be ridiculed, refuted, repudiated, and forced to resign. Trump is not threatening the freedom of the press; he is calling the media out on its hypocrisy and dishonesty, and unmaking establishment news outlets as the propaganda organs they really are. Bush, who was savaged in the press himself (since the establishment doesn’t like establishment Republicans any more than it likes swamp-drainers, despite the establishment Republicans’ kowtowing), ought to be supporting Trump on this, not attacking him over it.

It gets worse. In response to Lauer’s question about Trump’s immigration ban, Bush says: “I think it’s very important for all of us to recognize one of our great strengths is for people to be able to worship the way they want to or to not worship at all. A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.”

How does Trump’s ban, which was motivated by national security concerns, threaten anyone’s religious freedom? Bush didn’t explain, and of course Lauer, having gotten the answer he wanted, didn’t ask him to. Does Bush consider the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of religion to be a license to commit treason and sedition? Neither Lauer nor anyone else will dare ask him that.

And then we get more of the willful ignorance and denial that marked Bush’s response to the jihad threat starting from just a few days after 9/11: “I understood right off the bat that this was an ideological conflict and people who murder the innocent are not religious people.”

He doesn’t explain, of course, and Lauer doesn’t ask him, of course, about how some Muslim clerics don’t believe non-Muslims are innocent. Nor does he explain why these people who are “not religious” are so very, well, religious. The Islamic State, for example, quotes the Qur’an frequently: in threats to blow up the White House and conquer Rome and Spain; in explaining its priorities in the nations it is targeting in jihad; in preaching to Christians after collecting the jizya (a Qur’an-based tax, cf. Qur’an 9:29); in justifying the execution of accused spies; and in its various videos. It has also awarded $10,000 prizes and sex slaves in Qur’an memorization contests. One of its underground lairs was found littered with weapons and copies of the Qur’an. Children in the Islamic State study the Qur’an and get weapons training. One Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.”

But they’re “not religious.” That’s establishment Washington dogma. It is also completely false, and hinders our ability to understand the motives and goals of the enemy.

Here is a full transcript of the February 27 exchange:

8:10 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Welcome back to Today on a Monday morning. Much of George W. Bush’s post-presidency work has been dedicated to issues that veterans face after returning home. With a growing number of them suffering traumatic injuries and post-traumatic stress, President Bush has worked to support programs that ease the transition to civilian life. In his new book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, President Bush uses his love of painting to honor the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans. We’re going to talk to some of them in a moment, but first, President Bush, it’s always nice to have you here in the studio.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you, sir.

LAUER: Thanks for joining us.

BUSH: It’s been a while.

LAUER: It has been a while. So let me get caught up on some things. You took office in 2001 after an extremely contentious election, controversial end to that, the Supreme Court decided it, the nation was incredibly divided. How would you compare the divisions we faced then to what we’re living through right now?

BUSH: You know, it’s hard to compare times. One thing, though, is for certain, the job is a tough job. Being pres – everybody looks at the presidency when they campaign one way, then they get into office and find out there’s a reality to the job. And you know, there’s been times where we’ve been divided. I remember growing up as a kid and when I got out of college we were really divided and it’s – you know, it requires a lot of people coming together to try to make us united.

LAUER: But there’s enormous division right now. And although President Trump has said he hopes to unify the country, have you, in the first month, seen him do or say anything that, in your opinion, would be an attempt to heal the wounds of the election?

BUSH: Well, first of all, there’s only been one month in office. And so it’s a – you know, he’s got four years. Secondly, I think you have to take the man for his word that he wants to unify the country and we’ll see whether he’s able to do so. It’s hard to unify the country, though, with the news media being so split up. When I was president, you know, you mattered a lot more because there was like three of you and now there’s all kinds of information being bombarded out and people can say things anonymously. It’s just a different world.

LAUER: Well, you bring me to an interesting point because you were a guy who faced both praise and criticism from the media during your time in office. Even at the times where you were dealing with the worst criticism, where it must have been very difficult to hear and read some of the things that were being said by the press in this country, did you ever consider the media to be the enemy of the American people?

BUSH: I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. That we need an independent media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere. One of the things I spent a lot time doing was trying to convince a person like Vladimir Putin, for example, to accept the notion of an independent press. And it’s kind of hard to, you know, tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourself.

LAUER: You mention Vladimir Putin. So many questions about the contacts between Trump associates during the campaign and the Russian government. As a former president, would you like to see a special prosecutor appointed to look into this once and for all and give the American people answers?

BUSH: Well, first of all, I think we all need answers. Whether or not the special prosecutor’s the right way to go or not, you’re talking to the wrong guy. I have great faith in Richard Burr, for example, he’s the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Really good guy, an independent thinker. And you know, if he were to recommend a special prosecutor, then I could – I’d be – you know, then I – it would have a lot more credibility with me. But I’m really – you know, I’ve never been a lawyer. You know, I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.

LAUER: It was only eight or nine months after you took office that the attacks of 9/11 occurred, the worst terrorist attack on American soil. And just after those attacks, you gave a speech and you said this, “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans and millions more in countries that America counts as friends. It’s teachings are good and peaceful.” That’s very different talk than what we’re hearing today about a Muslim ban. Do you think the President’s position on this has been well thought out?

BUSH: I think it’s very important for all of us to recognize one of our great strengths is for people to be able to worship the way they want to or not worship at all. I mean, the bedrock of our freedom – a bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely. And I – you see, I understood right off the bat, Matt, that this was an ideological conflict and people who murder the innocent are not religious people. They want to advance an ideology and we have faced those kind of ideologues in the past.

LAUER: But by banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering this country, do we make it easier or harder to fight the war on terrorism?

BUSH: Well, I think it’s very hard to fight the war on terrorism if we’re in retreat. And I think we learned that lesson that, you know, if the United States decides to pull out before a free society emerges, it’s going to be hard to defeat them. The enemy is very good about exploiting weakness. It’s going to be very important – if that’s the goal, to defeat ISIS, which I believe it should be – that we project strength. Now whether or not the domestic politics plays – helps them or not – I, you know –

LAUER: I just want to make sure I understand. Are you for or against the ban? You’re against the ban?

BUSH: I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and that upholds the law.

LAUER: On a more general note, you sat at the Inauguration, you listened to President Trump’s inaugural address, and he talked about “American carnage.”

BUSH: Yeah.

LAUER: And the fact that so much has gone wrong in this country and so much is wrong. Is that the America you see when you travel around this country?

BUSH: Well, the America I see often is the America that these vets represent, people willing to sacrifice for the greater good to put their lives on the line and then come back and make America a wonderful place to live. And that’s why I’m here, I’m selling this book because I want America to realize how fortunate we are to have people in our midst and that we owe – that we’ve got to help them transition from being a vet to a civilian.

LAUER: And you transitioned me perfectly. So let me – and you’re going to stick around. Let me tell people we also want to talk more about Portraits of Courage and meet some of the military veterans that the President is honoring.

Article reposted with permission from PamelaGeller.com

Pamela Geller's commitment to freedom from jihad and Shariah shines forth in her books

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