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All Those Times Square Heroes

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
May 8, 2010
The Daily Beast


I consider myself a hero of sorts in the Times Square bombing episode. I was in New York that night, convalescing from various ailments and surgeries, to be sure, but I was there. I didn't flee to the safety of the Hamptons or Connecticut like all of the socialist-loving investment bankers.

Obviously, I wasn't as heroic as the Times Square heroes themselves. The veteran T-shirt vendor didn't just sit there, like the stolen watch vendor, and do nothing. When the vet saw the smoke billowing from a grungy automobile, he heroically hailed a mounted policeman who, with cool heroism, buzzed headquarters. All these heroes and others weren't there by luck.

George W. Bush put them there long ago on a tip from Dick Cheney. Same for the policeman's undercover horse, code named "Brownie," as I think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell let slip.

And where was President Obama during this crisis? As Republican leaders noted, he was mostly doing nothing about the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing peace and health care at any price, and launching our preciously limited supply of drones against Pakistani mountains.

Republicans and Tea Baggers saw right through Obama's grand design here. It was to take America's eye off America and put it on the newsy drone attacks against alleged Taliban in Pakistan - thus leaving no drones for the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda here at home, especially in Connecticut, where many terrorists have long been known to stash themselves. Not surprisingly, the Times Square bomber resided in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A drone or two could have taken care of him before his foiled attack. Several Republican leaders heroically made this point at great personal risk.

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