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After Sept. 11, 2001, when President George W. Bush rallied the country from the top of that demolished fire truck with his megaphone and started a 20-year campaign in Afghanistan with the express purpose of seeking out the terrorists over there before they came over here to attack us, I criticized him for fear mongering, for using the politics of fear to bring the country into perpetual war. In fact, I based an entire chapter in my book “False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear” on this notion.
I was wrong, as the abrupt departure from Afghanistan is showing us. We feel vulnerable again behind a weak leader, vulnerable to mushrooming groups of terrorists, whereas Bush was strong and we felt protected by our military after that fateful day in late 2001.
Over the years, Bush showed me this strength in unexpected ways when he allowed me to ride along with the wounded war fighters over tough terrain (initially in Palo Duro Canyon in the 105 degree heat and later on his ranch in Crawford, Texas) from 2012 to 2019 during the Warrior 100K Mountain Bike rides. His strength and toughness were