Gary is an author, trial lawyer, Mequon-area resident and town of Cedarburg supervisor. He is a columnist for the News Graphic and writes for several Wisconsin area magazines and is a national columnist with The American Thinker and PJ Media. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and has three sons ages 18 to 28. Gary won Ozaukee County in his bid for the Wisconsin Assembly's 60th District in 2011, but came up just 58 votes short.
I am just one man, but I believe I speak for millions in this letter. When you step down as the 43rd president of the United States, I hope you do so with pride and without regrets. You did what was necessary to keep America safe. Thank you for your belief in the power of freedom, your support of our troops, and for placing the interests of America far ahead of fickle polls and feckless critics.
You and I have not always been on the same side of political issues. The American border-guard heroes Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the support and urgency you expressed for multiple government bailouts, your departure from certain bedrock conservative principles and philosophies, and the “compassionate conservatism” agenda which appeared to have been a failed attempt to broaden the electorate, are but a few. A 33% increase in government spending in your first term and an inability to control non-defense spending ever since have done considerable damage to the image of the Republican Party. History, however, will remember you for something quite different.
It was your steadfast leadership and unblinking courage after 9/11 which made it possible to prevent another horrific attack on American soil. As a result of your steely resolve and the bravery of our Armed Forces, America has been able to sleep soundly, safe from suicide bombers, biological warfare and collapsing skyscrapers, while the rest of the world has been on red alert.
When you said “Bring it on,” America’s enemies heard you. They watched as you toppled the genocidal tyrant, Saddam Hussein, freeing 25 million people and giving them free elections. They took notes as you toppled the Taliban, pushed Osama bin Laden into a cave somewhere, and gave 25 million more people the right to vote.
While the same terrorists who hoped for a Republican defeat in November bombed Bali, Spain, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, London, Madrid, Glasgow, Denmark, Istanbul, Algeria, India and others, they knew that taking on America again would mean the business end of your cowboy boot.
You tirelessly trumpeted the Patriot Act, which allowed law enforcement to monitor communications of suspected terrorists within our country and compromise their plots. It worked, thwarting an attempt to bomb fuel tanks at JFK, a plot to blow up airlines bound for the East Coast, a plan to destroy the tallest skyscraper in Los Angeles, a plot to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, a plan to attack a Chicago shopping mall with grenades, an effort to attack the Sears Tower, and more.
Your efforts allowed us to arrest and convict more than two dozen terrorists within the United States since 9/11. You froze assets of hundreds of individuals and entities linked to terrorism, doubled the Border Patrol, instituted a process to screen every commercial air passenger, and created a central terrorist watch list.
You forged a new cyber security policy to improve the security of government and military computer systems, improved cargo and container screening, consolidated 22 agencies and 180,000 employees into the Department of Homeland Security, and shifted the focus of the FBI from investigating terrorist attacks, to preventing them.
You defied the opinions of the pasty armchair generals who urged you to surrender in Iraq, just when victory was within our grasp. How wrong they were. Even our new president couldn’t bring himself to mouth the words, “The surge was a success.”
Anti-American citizens of France, Germany and Italy, exposed to non-stop anti-Bush news coverage, have now begun voting for conservative, America-admiring leaders and ardent supporters of yours. History – assuming it is written by free men and women not intimidated into silence – will be exceedingly kind to you.
You kept your chin up and soldiered on. You took the liberal media and blogger criticism in stride, reading a daily devotional and personally signing letters to the families of more than 4,000 troops who gave all in the War on Terror. You and Laura privately visited thousands of injured veterans, and met with many hundreds of families whose relatives had made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom around the world.
As a result of your efforts, more than 40 countries supported us in Iran and Afghanistan, including every NATO ally. In turn, they were joined by more than 90 nations in sharing terrorist-network information. You succeeded in expanding NATO membership and strengthening ties to China, Japan, South Korea, India, Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, Brazil, Mexico and Central America in the process. We now have another ally in the Middle East.
Even your harshest critics are beginning to realize you were right all along. "It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize," President Obama recently admitted with regard to closing Guantanamo Bay. "Part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous,” he said. Shazzam! Last week, the 44th president even begun backing down on the much-maligned warrantless eavesdropping and executive orders saying, “Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike.” It helps to know all the facts.
Fabricated stories about torture and flushing Korans down toilets didn’t deter you from thwarting nearly 5000 terrorist plots and arresting, imprisoning, or deporting untold numbers of America’s enemies. Even worldwide terrorist attacks have decreased 40% thanks to you.
In you, America has seen a man of unfailing modesty, character, decency, moral clarity and class. You were as consistently gracious to your critics as they were consistently rude and vicious towards you. Your faith and your principles emboldened you to never waver in distinguishing good from evil and freedom from tyranny. To you, the choice was simple, as you explained in your second inaugural, “the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.”
Shortly after 9/11 you told Congress and the American people, "I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people." You were not as smooth-talking as some, but you had no puppeteers, you stayed strong and you kept your word. And for that, I am only one of millions of Americans who are eternally grateful.
Some years ago, while living in Houston, I walked out of Fuzzy’s Pizza near Memorial Drive, and my oldest son – then four years old – walked past several onlookers, past Secret Service agents, and up to a 72 year-old ex-president named George Bush, who picked him up and sat him in his lap. In his eyes and his actions I saw the goodness and strength of character which have served you well over the last eight years.
I could not have felt more secure with anyone other than you as commander-in-chief. Thank you for being a man of integrity and an inspirational leader. You’ve made me a stronger person and America a safer nation.
Most respectfully yours,