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June 26, 2003 4:49 AM   Subscribe

In 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... 1... 1... 1... "In this footage obtained exclusively by The Memory Hole, watch as the President of the United States sits and does nothing after learning that his country is under attack." Andrew Card whispers about plane #2, POTUS remains engrossed in book. (Warning: Quicktime, little kids reading slowly in unison for five long minutes.)
posted by emelenjr (144 comments total)

 
When the first plane hit, no one knew for sure that the country was "under attack." IIRC, the President finished reading to the class because it was decided not to upset the children (or the adults). As is done in such situations, you try to avoid panic. It's not as if he could have stopped or changed anything in those minutes.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:30 AM on June 26, 2003


I'm not willing to condemn him over this one. As Oriole Adams said after the first plane hit and before the second hit the nature of what was happening was unknown. After the second hit it was pretty clear that this was an attack, but he still has to keep his composure and there was nothing more appropriate for him to be doing at that particular point. Flinging kids about as he rushes to the exit wouldn't have accomplished anything.

Just to make sure I throw in at least one mean comment about Bush: It must have been Hell on those kids to slow down their reading to his level.
posted by substrate at 5:37 AM on June 26, 2003


He could have politely excused himself.

I'm sure things come up all the time that need the president's immediate attention and surely there must be a protocol for those times.

Also, was he being informed of plane #1 or plane #2?
posted by bshort at 5:38 AM on June 26, 2003


Love this comment at the bottom:
What did the Commander in Chief do? Nothing. He sat there. He sat for well over 5 minutes, doing nothing while 3,000 people were dying and the attacks were still in progress.
Yeah he should have used his magical powers to teleport himself to New York where no doubt he, and he alone, could've prevented the deaths of everyone in the towers.
posted by PenDevil at 5:43 AM on June 26, 2003


I just love the fact that no one really thought it necessary that GW Bush make any decisions while the attacks were happening. Better to leave him to entertain some children, perahps.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:45 AM on June 26, 2003


My favorite 'they knew' detail is when Dan Rather was interviewing a rep from FEMA:

"We arrived on late Monday night [September 10th] and went into action on Tuesday morning, and not until today did we get a full opportunity to work the entire site." (audio)

Later debunked with a FOIA request.

I remember when I was in my JFK conspiracy reading marathon and one guy remarked that if you analyze any day in history to this extent you are going to find strange coinciences and connections.
posted by ao4047 at 5:46 AM on June 26, 2003


I don't think the issue is that he did nothing after the first plane hit, which may or may not be reasonable given the sketchy information available after 8:48 am. It is that he continued to do nothing well after the second one. Though this is still the subject of much speculation, debate and revision.

As most people point out, there's probably nothing that could have been changed about the day had he reacted differently. However, his apparent confused and lackadaisical response to the actual events is a bit at odds with the "defiant and decisive" portrayal of him in the upcoming DC 9/11 made-for-TV movie.
posted by psmealey at 5:50 AM on June 26, 2003


Yes, perhaps the president should have politely excused himself, stepped into a janitor's closet, changed into his Superman costume, and leapt into the sky, heading for New York City where he could have done battle with the evil terrorists ... Please, whether you like Bush or not, this kind of attack has become silly and formulaic. This evidence does not warrant the conclusion presented.
posted by marcusb at 5:52 AM on June 26, 2003


Just asking but how exactly did the site know what Andy Card said to GW?

For all we know he said: "There's been another attack, NORAD is on top of it and air force jets have been scrambled. The perimeter here is secure, so there's not need to panic. We'll leave in 5 minutes. Carry on as per usual until then."
posted by PenDevil at 5:54 AM on June 26, 2003


There are major misunderstandings on what the role of the President is.
posted by stbalbach at 5:55 AM on June 26, 2003


He probably wanted to know how the book ended. He should have gotten on his Segway immediately and pursued the evildoers.
posted by mecran01 at 5:57 AM on June 26, 2003


psmealy: Yes, exactly. I was going to put "plane #2" in bold but I thought that would be excessive.

PenDevil: Google turned up a few mentions of Andy Card's words to Bush.

At the end of that clip, someone asks the press to leave out the door they came in. I'm fairly sure Bush stayed where he was so as not to jeopardize the photo op or let the press know something was up.
posted by emelenjr at 6:13 AM on June 26, 2003


If there was nothing he could do and nothing to fear, why was he immediately shuttled around the country RIGHT AFTER receiving the reading lesson? Not that I think it is a big deal - rich brats usually come with a tendency to evade responsibility. He wasn't prepared, but is that a surprise? Not to me.
posted by magullo at 6:17 AM on June 26, 2003


Let the revisionism begin!

Err, my fault, that should say "Let the revisionism continue!"
posted by Cerebus at 6:18 AM on June 26, 2003


mecran01 - ROTFLMAO
posted by tr33hggr at 6:25 AM on June 26, 2003


emelenjr: The source of quote from Card is taken from a Bush speech (found here ) where he answers a question in Dec 2001, a full 3 months after the attacks. He is not going to repeat verbatim what Card said to the question as the question was about Bush's emotions when he found out about the attack. The fact is, I'm sure Card told him about the attacks but he could've told him a lot more which Bush did not repeat in his answer to the question.
posted by PenDevil at 6:25 AM on June 26, 2003


How is this even noteworthy? It was widely reported that day that Bush was informed by Card, then finished the book. Like most conspiracy theories, this one gets more pathetic as people engage in increasingly ludicrous efforts to establish it.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:26 AM on June 26, 2003


Count me as someone who generally dislikes Bush but who finds this post utterly idiotic. Whatever words Card used (we can't know for sure, although thememoryhole is comfortable with making something sensationalistic up), the protocol for handling a situation like that was completely untested. We're only talking about five minutes, which really isn't a lot of time; isn't it possible that Bush's team was spending those five minutes behind the scenes deciding what to do with the President? If so, what should Bush have been doing during that time, screaming and swearing?
posted by dougb at 6:35 AM on June 26, 2003


You know, GW isn't my favorite person in the world, but for the love of God, people - stop trying to find every little nitpicky reason to crucify the man.

The anti-Bush machine is getting to be as virulent as was the ClintonCrucifixion(tm) team.

Remember: The more virulent the right-wing became against Clinton, the more people 'felt his pain' and ended up coming to (grudgingly) support him. Just a little reminder for those looking for a change of administration in a year and a half...
posted by tgrundke at 6:37 AM on June 26, 2003


I'm no fan of president Moron, but this seems like a waste. No sense in sweating the small stuff - there's too many big screw-ups that should be kept in constant focus. Why dilute the WMD Invasion lies (and now the obvious "happy liberated Iraqis" lies that followed) with chigger-bites like this?

"Not only did he willfully decieve the citizens of the US and the World to forward his agenda - and then again in an attempt to cover up - he also sat in a chair too long too!!"
posted by Perigee at 6:39 AM on June 26, 2003


off topic...

Is that how kids learn to read now? That whole mechanical "Okay next line...Get ready..." thing that the teacher kept doing seemed weird to me. I don't remember ever reading aloud as a group, either. I wonder if it's effective.
posted by sklero at 6:40 AM on June 26, 2003


Judge for yourself : an interesting day.

I reckon somebody needs to go to prison here, even if it's not poor blankeyed sockpuppet Dubya.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:40 AM on June 26, 2003


You want to know where I was on September 11? I was sitting at my computer, checking my websites. One of my roommates came into my room and said "A plane just hit the World Trade Center. You gotta come see this." Did I just sit there, and ignore him? No, I went to the living room and watched about 4 straight hours of CNN.

The part about this that bothers me is that he hardly reacts to the news at all. No one took the news with as little reaction as Bush did. Either he didn't understand what was told to him (which was quite possible) or.... *fans the conspiracy fires*

And, honestly, how much panic would they have caused if Bush had told people about it? He should have gotten up, said something like 'there's a national emergency', and cut the reading short. Maybe take the book with him on AF1, if he wanted to finish it.
posted by graventy at 6:47 AM on June 26, 2003


It's noteworthy because the we continue to get a steady stream of bullshit from the administration as it seeks to further its own heroic and patriotic legend, as well as the media who never challenges it, while no one seems to want to remember what actually happened that day. I don't think it's significant for any reason other than that. At least I'm not buying any FDR/Pearl harbor conspiracy parallels at this point.

As far as the equivocating the anti-Clinton steamroller (which included both houses of Congress and most of the mainstream press for six years) with a few outspoken and marginalized individuals willing to take Bush to task for his administration's hypocrisy and excesses, give me a break.
posted by psmealey at 6:47 AM on June 26, 2003


thanks stavros i was looking for that link. it's more than 5 minutes people. why was he reading books with kids?
posted by dabitch at 6:49 AM on June 26, 2003


Nice link, stavros. All I can say is that I'm glad that they foiled the possible assassination attempt. If they hadn't, we'd have Bush the Martyr, and probably all of the Middle East under our control by now. A nation gone mad.
posted by graventy at 6:50 AM on June 26, 2003


Somehow, I recon that the next "issue" will be something like this:

/snarkmode

"I'll bet when he was flying back to Washington, after the attack, he had to go to the restroom. How dare he take a pee when planes are crashing into skyscrapers! I'll bet Al Gore would have gotten a catheter until the masterminds were caught. "
posted by mkelley at 6:53 AM on June 26, 2003


The anti-Bush machine is getting to be as virulent as was the ClintonCrucifixion(tm) team

Hmmm....so now that the GOP is in power and their little Clinton/Gore Barbeque is done, it just isn't fair if the Dems try the same tactics? Of course not. Let's all play fair now boys. Slinging mud is not what this great country is about. You can't go making accusations about conspiracies, and murders made to look like plane crashes (er..suicides), and secret cabals of land scamming influence peddlers, and all the rest. No, that would just stink, wouldn't it?

I 'm happy to see this happen--in fact, turn up the heat and let the Congressional Hearings begin! It shows that finally someone in Washington has a little backbone.
posted by mooncrow at 6:54 AM on June 26, 2003


The anti-Bush machine is getting to be as virulent as was the ClintonCrucifixion(tm) team.

Nothing wrong with giving him a taste of the medicine - actually make it several gallons

Remember: The more virulent the right-wing became against Clinton, the more people 'felt his pain' and ended up coming to (grudgingly) support him.

Yes, I remember perfectly how the masses raged about the 40 million wasted on an investigation that rendered the fundamental stained gap dress
posted by magullo at 6:55 AM on June 26, 2003


I know Bush is a moron...but this big of a moron?
A reporter who was standing nearby later said, "From the demeanor of the President, grinning at the children, it appeared that the enormity of what he had been told was taking a while to sink in." [from stavros' link]
posted by graventy at 6:58 AM on June 26, 2003


There was reading involved, graventy. It takes a while in the morning for his ritalin to equalize...
posted by Perigee at 7:01 AM on June 26, 2003


What graventy said.

I was in NYC on 9/11, and watched the Twin Towers fall from about fifteen blocks away. What I noticed afterwards was everyone in New York City managing to conclude on their own that it was time to see what they could do to help. We had five-hour waiting lines to give blood. We had Firefighters driving in from New Jersey and Conneticuit.

Not saying it as if it's scornful, but we didn't do it becuase the president told us to. While we did that, the president did nothing.

And that would be all right, even with my leaning, were it not for a PR campaign beginning about 24 hours or so after the Towers fell that George W. Bush, our personal lord and savior, gallantly led the forces of Good into triumph over chaos and terror.

Two years now of "thank god for our brave president." Two years of "well I'm so glad there's a REPUBLICAN handling this. Obviously, Al Gore wouldn't have been able to do what Bush did on 9/11."

What Bush did on 9/11 was sit on his ass and read a book. What Americans did on 9/11 was commendable, and now Bush is trying to take the credit for it with photos of him talking on the phone on Air Force One and hugging firemen at Ground Zero, yours for just a small donation to the Republican Party.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:06 AM on June 26, 2003


XQUZYPHYR: Amen, brother. As a fellow New Yorker, you have eloquently expressed my disgust for the crass opportunism that this administration embodies. While the rest of us were grieving for lost friends and colleagues, some volunteering at Ground Zero, the President told us all to "go shopping".
posted by psmealey at 7:16 AM on June 26, 2003


sklero, I personally think that the POTUS had lapsed into shock, and was bone terrified to stand up and leave.

...and after watching an amazing display of Drill Instructor teaching methodology, I might have hesitated interrupting that particular teacher, too.
posted by Dunvegan at 7:19 AM on June 26, 2003


Well said, XQUZYPHYR.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:21 AM on June 26, 2003


Not to worry XQUZYPHYR, I have great faith that the upcoming Showtime movie DC 9/11 (mentioned by psmealey above) will set us straight. I'm sure the movie will show him being told, saying something like 'Kids, A-mur-kha needs me', and running off to the airport. Airforce 1 will take him directly to New York, and he'll jump into the WTC and help rescue people. God bless that man! He's a hero!

Sorry, sorry, feeling sarcastic today.
posted by graventy at 7:23 AM on June 26, 2003




The last thing we needed on that day was for the President jump up like the end of the world was coming. "The sky is falling!", I guess it was, I actually said that on the 11, but in general there was no reason to panic. There is never a reason to panic.
posted by tomplus2 at 7:24 AM on June 26, 2003


There are far too many Bush apologists on this thread.

This is probably the single worst attack on American soil in the 20th century, rivalling Pearl Harbor in terms of impact. Our President didn't want to jeopardize a photo op to respond to it? Does anyone else not realize that, by staying in a public place and not responding to an obvious threat not just to the nation, but to his own life, he potentially put those damn kids (not to mention the rest of the staff) in jeopardy by not hauling ass when he was informed of the situation?

You're right - there's little he could've done after the second plane hit. Not because he's Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, mind you, but because he's clueless. For example, he could've made clear, calmly, what was happening and demonstrated that he was at least willing to take command. Instead, he did little and then capitalized on the event to his own benefit and to the detriment of the country (remember, 9/11 was the catalyst for everything from the PATRIOT Act to the war in Iraq.)

Does it not surprise anyone that Cheney was whisked away to a secret, protected location while Bush was left out as an attractive target?
posted by FormlessOne at 7:26 AM on June 26, 2003


if I were bush, I would've left with the quickness in case someone were to try something for me in a school around all those kids.

and then I would've uh, resigned and returned myself to my tupperware container at crawford.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:34 AM on June 26, 2003


The memory hole is a good site, hope this doesnt jack their bandwidth bill up too high
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:39 AM on June 26, 2003


There are far too many Bush apologists on this thread.

And there are far too many people on this thread who have allowed their all-encompassing hatred for Bush to take the place of logic and rationality.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:42 AM on June 26, 2003


The anti-Bush machine is getting to be as virulent as was the ClintonCrucifixion(tm) team.
Yes, how dare we respond to a President who tells lies and half-truths that result in war, the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, hundreds of troops, and the birth of thousands of terrorists with the same vigor that we responded to a President who lied about a blowjob. Isn't it obvious that a blowjob is a far more terrible offense?
posted by mosch at 7:43 AM on June 26, 2003


Two years of "well I'm so glad there's a REPUBLICAN handling this. Obviously, Al Gore wouldn't have been able to do what Bush did on 9/11."

Comedian David Cross has a nice bit about this:<paraphrase> What did Bush do? He attacked Afghanistan. Big deal. Fucking Nader would have attacked Afghanistan. That was a no brainer.</paraphrase>

Of course, it's unlikely that Nader or Gore would have tried to use the attacks as an excuse to take over the Middle East, or as an backdrop for his re-election campaign.
posted by jpoulos at 7:45 AM on June 26, 2003


Does anyone else not realize that, by staying in a public place and not responding to an obvious threat not just to the nation, but to his own life, he potentially put those damn kids (not to mention the rest of the staff) in jeopardy by not hauling ass when he was informed of the situation?

Does anyone else not realize that flying 757s into the World Trade Center and Pentagon (which required immense planning) is just a wee bit different than hitting an elementary school that had only recently been scheduled on the President's agenda?
posted by pardonyou? at 7:47 AM on June 26, 2003


What a load of utter shite.

It really amazes me just how pathetically desperate some people can be when it comes to nit picking something George W. Bush may or may not have done wrong. But it doesn't amaze me at all to see magullo backing them whole-heartedly
posted by ed\26h at 7:48 AM on June 26, 2003


Why would the president owe a group of schoolchildren ANY explanation if he decided to jump up and leave? The teacher could have calmly told the children, "the president had to leave suddenly because of important work" and left it at that. It's ridiculous to state that any reaction other than the one he had was appropriate. What was appropriate was him closing the book immediately and excusing himself. The country was under a serious attack and he was worried about disappointing a bunch of kids? Why, because they were going to go home and tell their parents how cool the president is? Because in 10 years they will be able to vote when he is not even running in an election?

I, like may others, sat in front of the TV for hours watching throug the tears the whole thing unfold, scared shitless that the U.S. was under attack and more was coming any second. It wasn't until well into the evening that the President made an official televised statement regarding the day. This is what I remember, and if I'm wrong, then tell me.

stbalbach, you stated There are major misunderstandings on what the role of the President is.


One role of the president IMO is to communicate with the people who pay his salary and who elected him in times of national crisis. Tell us that the attack is over, tell us that we should all be running for bomb shelters, tell us that you don't know what is going on, but tell us something. Instead we had to speculate and fear the worst.

There is never a reason to panic.


tomplus, if only you had been inside the towers that day to explain that to the people as the floor fell out from under them or before they lept out windows to avoid being burned to death.
posted by archimago at 7:49 AM on June 26, 2003


"And there are far too many people on this thread who have allowed their all-encompassing hatred for Bush to take the place of logic and rationality."

posted by pardonyou? at 7:42 AM PST on June 26


Main Entry: log·ic
Pronunciation: 'lä-jik
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English logik, from Middle French logique, from Latin logica, from Greek logikE, from feminine of logikos of reason, from logos reason -- more at LEGEND
Date: 12th century
1 a (1) : a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration : the science of the formal principles of reasoning

Statement - "We know for a fact that there are weapons there."
Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
January 9, 2003

Statement - "Our conservative estimate is thatIraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets."
Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
February 5, 2003

Your analysis, Spock? Tell me more about this whole "Logic" and "Rationality" thing, pardonyou... I'm fascinated by your take on it...
posted by Perigee at 7:51 AM on June 26, 2003


as we already discussed here, it's not about having a President who acts like Harrison Ford/Charles Bronson/Johnny Chiba in a time of crisis.

Bush may be no Teddy Roosevelt, but it is not the point (not every politician has the temperament to act like 9-11 Giuliani, with guts and compassion -- not necessarily a Giuliani fan, I became one like many other people who had doubts about his performance as mayor)

fact is, one cannot avoid to be surprised, VERY surprised by Bush's apparent lack of a stunned reaction after he was told that America was under attack. either the man is very, very cool, or he was so distracted/sleepy/whatever that the news actually didn't sink in at first. maybe he did not immediately connect the dots, like, "big hijacked planes full of people crashing into big skyscrapers = Oklahoma City squared, almost Armageddon scale". he maybe thought it was a relatively minor attack, like a car bomb or something

I don't think that Bush is a moron -- he's very politically savvy, and Rove is very very good at what he does. but I'm pretty sure he didn't get it at first, in that classroom, they actually had to explain him after the photo-op the magnitude of what had happened. which, of course, tells you something about the man.

for our vocal "what could Bush possibly do?" crowd (jeez, wasn't MeFi a Bush-hating cabal?): Bush should have left the classroom immediately, after excusing himself and maybe hugging a kid and promising to come back soon to finish the reading, and after that he should have asked the Pentagon to shoot down the other hijacked planes, pronto
that's what a President should have done, immediately (had Clinton or Gore acted so nonchalantly, he would have been impeached, tried and hanged in the Capitol rotunda by the DeLay/Henry Hide/Lott/Starr mob, live on FOXNews)
posted by matteo at 7:54 AM on June 26, 2003


Put my name down on the list of people who don't like Bush, but think this is a dumb post with no real point. What was Bush supposed to do, exactly?

On preview:
he should have asked the Pentagon to shoot down the other hijacked planes, pronto

Weren't planes already scrambled, on thier way?
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:00 AM on June 26, 2003


Maybe he was too drunk to think straight.
posted by bshort at 8:00 AM on June 26, 2003


And there are far too many people on this thread in the US who have allowed their all-encompassing hatred for Bush love of country to take the place of logic and rationality.
posted by jpoulos at 8:00 AM on June 26, 2003


1st: What XQUZYPHYR said so succinctly.

2nd: Please also recall that for the next 24 hours our fearless leader flew from one secret location to another. Some would even say aimlessly...
posted by BentPenguin at 8:06 AM on June 26, 2003


Ditto what matteo sez.

There is a difference between blind panic and tactfully excusing oneself from the situation.

Ever been in a meeting when somebody received a page (ever been in one recently, where somebody didn't?)? Even if they're the person leading the meeting, they might glance down at the number briefly. Sometimes, even when planes aren't crashing on buildings, they might have the cognitive capacity to say the rest of the people in the room, "excuse me. This is important. I'll be right back."

Nobody is saying you run around like an idiot. But as the President of the United States one can expect you've learned a thing or two about diplomacy.

Don't excuse him because he didn't excuse himself.
posted by RKB at 8:06 AM on June 26, 2003


delete pathetic thread
posted by a3matrix at 8:08 AM on June 26, 2003


There are tons of things this administration does that make me uneasy, the Patriot act, Steal Tariffs, the rate at which spending has increased.

Unfortunately a bunch of cockKnockers and buttKnuckles have, through volume and repetition, come to be seen as the standard bearers of those that wish to moderate the more extreme actions of the Federal Government. All this has done is limit the effectiveness of the reasoned and rational.

I wish those who are so blinded by their hatred would just sit on their hands, you are only increasing the damage.
posted by Mick at 8:08 AM on June 26, 2003


Does anyone know what Card said to Bush? Was that caught on the tape? I have no QT at work, can't view it. :(

Would like to know.

"Mr. President, we have a situation" is different from "Sir, two plans have rammed each of the WTC towers, one hit the pentagon and one is down in a field" no?

Can someone who can view it please tell me?
posted by swerdloff at 8:11 AM on June 26, 2003


As a New Yorker, I stand with XQUZYPHYR and psmealey. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard; I certainly didn't keep on with what I was doing.

Can anyone imagine FDR carrying on reading to schoolkids after he got word of Pearl Harbor?
posted by languagehat at 8:11 AM on June 26, 2003


Mick, so, who exactly are the "cockKnockers and buttKnuckles"?

And who is blinded by their hatred?
posted by bshort at 8:12 AM on June 26, 2003


The only thing to be said about this video is that I'm sure it will be played at the start of next year's GOP convention in New York City, just to debunk any accusations of exploiting the location, and adding to the myth-making since September 2001, for partisan purposes.

Ahem.
posted by riviera at 8:17 AM on June 26, 2003


I wish those who are so blinded by their hatred would just sit on their hands, you are only increasing the damage.

I guess I'm just sort of stunned how people are willing to say, "it's not a big deal" when the Bush administration attempts to pretend that the president acted any differently that morning.

People did what they did that morning. Giuliani was present. Pataki was absent. Only Bush and his friends are trying to turn his actions into something they weren't, that day.

Pointing out what really happened that morning is not an example of hatred of Bush, it's just an example of a respect for the actual events of the day, rather than the Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay version.
posted by deanc at 8:17 AM on June 26, 2003


And for all the many people who think this is "nitpicking" or "Bush bashing," or "blind hatred," I'd simply ask what you did when you learned that two planes had hit two skyscrapers in New York.

Did you stop what you were doing?

If so, you did more than the Commander in Chief.
posted by RKB at 8:19 AM on June 26, 2003


swerdloff, from stavros' link:
Chief of Staff Andrew Card was in a nearby room when he heard the news. He waited until there was a pause in the reading drill to walk in and tell Bush. [Washington Times, 10/7/02, Washington Times, 10/8/02] The children were getting their books from under their seats to read a story together when Card came in. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Card whispered to Bush: "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack." [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/11/02] Another account has Card saying: "A second plane has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack." [Telegraph, 12/16/01]

He knew about the first plane before he went into the building. That part doesn't bother me. You can chalk one plane up to accident (except, of course, that there were many reports of possible terrorist attacks using planes). What bothers me is that when he learns of the second, he just sits there.
posted by graventy at 8:20 AM on June 26, 2003


Oh, grow up you Yanks. You're like a bunch of name-calling kids each determined to have the last word.
posted by Joeforking at 8:30 AM on June 26, 2003


This video is a clear indictment of the Bush team's lack of preparedness, but not of a conspiracy. Had there been a conspiracy, Bush's handlers would probably not have had their man in a public place looking like an idiot when the shit hit the fan. Nor would they have allowed this precious moment to be videotaped and permitted the tape to leave the room.

Here we see a video of a man who is completely unprepared to deal with the situation that has been handed to him. He has been told to sit in a chair and read a book, and that's what he's doing. Card and the secret service clearly have no idea what to do--they're like deer in headlights.

isn't it possible that Bush's team was spending those five minutes behind the scenes deciding what to do with the President?

I love this. Not even anyone on the right expects our beloved President to actually make his own decisions.
posted by vraxoin at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2003


Does anyone know what Card said to Bush? Was that caught on the tape? Can someone who can view it please tell me?

The footage is from pretty far away (screenshot) and Card whispers in Bush's ear. I can't make out what he says.

The only thing to be said about this video is that I'm sure it will be played at the start of next year's GOP convention in New York City

OK, probably not, but it would make a nifty Democratic commercial. Just run this footage under quotes about his claimed heroics.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:38 AM on June 26, 2003


And there are far too many people on this thread in the US who have allowed their all-encompassing hatred for Bush love of country to take the place of logic and rationality.

Probably true, but they're not mutually exclusive. I happen to think both are true, but what's going on in this thread is of more immediate import.

Your analysis, Spock? Tell me more about this whole "Logic" and "Rationality" thing, pardonyou... I'm fascinated by your take on it...

Well, stop moving the ball and I'll explain "my take." I wasn't necessarily referring to the WMD issue, which is certainly controversial and worthy of debate. I was referring to the idiocy of taking the simple fact that the President finished what he was doing for five minutes after learning that two airplanes had hit a skyscraper in New York, and extrapolating from that fact bizarre conspiracy theories and grand pronouncements that he somehow failed to do his job and let down his country. I've got a news flash: Nobody paid any attention to what Bush was doing during those five minutes. It wouldn't have made any difference to your life, my life, or the lives of the people killed if he had stood up and pronounced that we were under attack and everyone should seek shelter (of course, if he had actually done that, we'd all be reading a thread about how he overreacted and put everyone's life at risk).

That's the breakdown in logic, rationality (and probably more importantly) perspective that occurs simply because some people feel compelled to view everything through the lens of Bush hatred. I don't like the guy either, but give me a fucking break.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:00 AM on June 26, 2003


There are people who even defended and mae up excuses for Bush choking on a pretzel and falling off a segway. So the defenders in this thread don't surprise me in the least.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:10 AM on June 26, 2003


right, Pardonyou, I was millions of miles away that day when all hell broke loose on my mailinglists and people sent emails saying "turn on your CNN now" after the first plane hit the tower. After the second plane hit, NYC listmembers were already doing things in order to help (such as carry water downtown). Meanwhile, on another channel, Bush just reads a kids story - people did notice, the listsmembers were furious.
posted by dabitch at 9:17 AM on June 26, 2003


Had there been a conspiracy, Bush's handlers would probably not have had their man in a public place looking like an idiot when the shit hit the fan.

I don't buy this. It's perfectly believable that the conspiracy team didn't include Bush on the plans. That would be a good strategy. Anybody think Reagan was really, SNL-style, masterminding Iran-Contra?

He knew about the first plane before he went into the building. That part doesn't bother me.

Me neither - except that to this day, Bush has not explained this repeated version: "I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on." It's either an outright lie, or evidence of severe delusion, or evidence of a conspiracy. WHICH?

And Stav - the Interesting Day essay is a classic, but oughta be updated to include this rather significant morsel:posted by soyjoy at 9:19 AM on June 26, 2003


vraxoin:

not that I buy into any conspiracy theory, but don't be so quick to assume that it would have involved Bush. I think that one circulating theory involves a Bush assassination attempt, along with added protection for Cheney. This would imply that Bush was not part of the conspiracy. It kind of makes sense, given the whole neocon obsession with "Total War."

*sips crappy bomb-shelter coffee*
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:23 AM on June 26, 2003


Maybe I am outing myself as a nut here, but I feel there are still unanswered questions about this sort of shit. We know the following:

1. The events of 9/11 were immediately seized upon to justify policy actions that had been drawn up long beforehand. [self-link]
2. One of the people who exploited the tremendous opportunity presented by 9/11 (Perle) had said beforehand that in order to launch his "Total War" we need a "catalyzing event like Pearl Harbor." And after the fact he remarked (in his Vanity Fair interview, not linkable) that upon Bush he found him "dumb enough to not know much, but smart enough to ask questions."
3. Perle, Wolfowitz, Cheney et al, all bring to the table two very actionable chracteristics: financial self-interest and a deeply-held, almost religious ideology.
4. The administration has gone out of their way to keep all findings about 9/11 secret and classified.

Those are just the general things. A number of specific questions (like "why weren't planes scrambled?") should also be raised. Am I convinced that someone in the administration knew about the attacks or somehow helped to plan them? No. Do I think that it is possible and worth looking into? Yes. Am I egged on unnecessarilly by the executive branch's intense fetishization of secrecy? Probably.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:44 AM on June 26, 2003


pass the bomb-shelter coffee Ignatius, I'm on the same wavelength as you.
posted by dabitch at 9:50 AM on June 26, 2003


i strongly advise everyone to read the article that stavros linked to before speculating from memory ("Weren't planes already scrambled, on thier way?")

The article doesn't answer anything definitively, but it asks a lot of compelling questions and leaves most of them unanswered.
posted by jacobsee at 9:52 AM on June 26, 2003


One thing's sure, pardonyou - a breakdown in logic and rationality in not uncommon, on either side of the fence on nearly any debate.

Personally, I had said far earlier up the thread that this whole debate seems like a chigger-bite in the face of the larger issues, and as such I'm not at all fond of escalating past the more pointed, important, and obvious political problem by opening 1,000 fronts of dubious importance. From where I sit, arguments like this simply cloud the air with additional static.

What Bush did with his five minutes and why are as-may-be, as far as I can figure. Detractors can howl about incompetence or even conspiracy, and Apologists can sing peons to grace under pressure and controlled response. In the end, it doesn't matter. The Detractors will be agin, and the Apologists will be fer, and not a bit of it would find purchase in any court but the court of public opinion. And I think we've pretty much proved over the course of the months that MeFites are pretty intractable.

But I think either you or I would have a hard time finding anything approaching defined "Logic" or "Rationality" in this thread. On either side.
posted by Perigee at 9:53 AM on June 26, 2003


But I think either you or I would have a hard time finding anything approaching defined "Logic" or "Rationality" in this thread. On either side.

What if someone is only asking questions? Do they not deserve answers just because some already have their minds made up?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:56 AM on June 26, 2003


Actually, most of us know that Bush's ineptitude before and after those "five minutes" are what really count toward the shameful state this country has become.

That's the breakdown in logic, rationality (and probably more importantly) perspective that occurs simply because some people feel compelled to view everything through the lens of Bush hatred. I don't like the guy either, but give me a fucking break.

Oh. So that explains it. So YOU are the guy who got all the logic and rationality and objectivity and ClearChannel (tm) lenses when it comes to Bush. We were wondering where it all went. And it's just a coincidence that all this logic and rationality and objectivity on your part somehow leads you to neverending apologies for Bush and his little programs. Funny, that....given that you "don't even like the guy." Right. Such logic and rationality and objectivity on your part.

Why don't YOU give us all a logical and a rational and an objective and a fucking break?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:56 AM on June 26, 2003


I'm in no way a Bush apologist--I think he's a corrupt bastard who's foreign policy has driven us into the drink for years into the future--but I think that he was probably told to cool his heels while his team "assessed" the situation. You can argue whether or not this was the right call until the cows come home, and no matter what, his first minutes of action or inaction would come under scrutiny.

He should be judged for his actions with the economy, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, and for his greater agenda, not five minutes on an admittedly horrible day.

I think there are plenty of worthy things in his Presidency to criticize (and I do!). I'm not sure this is one of them.
posted by readymade at 9:57 AM on June 26, 2003


What was said to Bush lasted all of about 2-3 seconds, and he was just being told, there appeared to be no exchange of words. I don't think this is enough time to adequately explain the situation. Had he been told a plane had crashed into the WTC there would be more of an exchange of words between Bush and the other man. However, whatever Bush was told I think he expected. I think the administration knew the attacks were going to happen, and this should be looked into.
posted by banished at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2003


I love this. Not even anyone on the right expects our beloved President to actually make his own decisions.

Except I'm on the left, and in fact I clearly stated that I dislike Bush in general. By "Bush's team" I meant security team -- I don't think it's unreasonable that there are other people making decisions about his immediate physical safety.
posted by dougb at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2003


Weren't planes already scrambled, on their way?

No, they were not. There's a stunning lapse in the country's military response which leads many people to believe there was, in fact, a stand-down order. This is one of the very uncomfortable facts about that day, and I have yet to see a satisfactory explanation.

I don't know that Bush's reaction in this video is anything more than odd, but there are all sorts of unanswered questions that need to be investigated. I don't believe the conspiracy theories, but I also won't rule out anything at this point.
posted by muckster at 10:08 AM on June 26, 2003


No problem with Questions, Iggy - the problem comes when we try to interpret reasons without sufficient proof. Lets face it, folks - the same people here who are condemning Bush for incompetence for reading "My Cousin's Goat" are the same ones who are also screaming about Bush saying he knew for sure about WMDs.

They are committing the same error. They claim to know, when they don't. They claim evil motive without proof. They call for a regime change based on insufficient evidence on this charge.

Its slightly hysterical, its definitely overkill, and it's antithetical to the more important discussions they might have about the larger issues. Because they start to loose credibility. Because they, like Bush, are going to start looking like they go off half-cocked on a quarter of proof and the unassailable surity that they Know The Truth.


I'm certainly not going to waste my credibility by worrying about 5 minutes in time when Bush wouldn't have done anything useful anyway. In school, in a limo, or in the ar, he would have HAD to sit down and wait. We ALL did. I was locked in the newsroom for 24 hours straight, and we were still just trying to get the pieces to all fit together.

This is the wrong argument to front.
posted by Perigee at 10:09 AM on June 26, 2003


RKB, and others: I contract to the DoD. Where I work, everything stopped, and we all watched it happen. Then orders came, and everything burst into frantic motion, and we civvies were sent home. It was four days before we were allowed back to our desks.

We did more than the CinC, apparently.
posted by Cerebus at 10:09 AM on June 26, 2003


"It was an interesting day." - President Bush, recalling 9/11 [White House, 1/5/02]

 "At approximately 8:48 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001, the first pictures of the burning World Trade Center were broadcast on live television. The news anchors, reporters, and viewers had little idea what had happened in lower Manhattan, but there were some people who did know. By that time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the National Military Command Center, the Pentagon, the White House, the Secret Service, and Canada's Strategic Command all knew that three commercial airplanes had been hijacked. They knew that one plane had been flown deliberately into the World Trade Center's North Tower; a second plane was wildly off course and also heading toward Manhattan; and a third plane had abruptly turned around over Ohio and was flying back toward Washington, DC.

So why, at 9:03 a.m. - fifteen minutes after it was clear the United States was under terrorist attack - did President Bush sit down with a classroom of second-graders and begin a 20-minute pre-planned photo op? No one knows the answer to that question. In fact, no one has even asked Bush about it.

What follows is an attempt to give the most complete account of Bush's actions - from Florida to Louisiana to Nebraska to Washington, DC....."

[ From Stavrosthewonderchicken's posted link, halfway up the thread ]

The hyperbole people are throwing at this link is really quite amazing. Let me counter with a question: so, if U.S. Presidents are not really supposed to react to national emergencies, what exactly do we elect them to do?

Readymade - I agree with you in the sense that, irregardless of it's merits or weaknesses, I doubt that this story will gain any additonal traction in the mainstream media for a whole flock of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that there is embarassment aplenty in the 9-11 fiasco for people on both sides of the political fence - for example, Key Senate Dems. and Republicans were meeting, in the week prior to 9-11, with the then head of the Pakistani ISI, a man later linked with large cash payments wired to Mohammed Atta. Oops.

But I heard the "let's revisit 9-11" case made most convincingly by Former General Wesley Clark who observed that the US military routinely does post-op analysis of operations regardless of mission success or failure.

The idea, Clark pointed out, was to always strive for improvement. One would think that 9-11 - one of the greatest intelligence and homeland defense failures in US history - would deserve such treatment.

The intelligence failures which led to Pearl Harbour were being probed by a Federal commission only a few days after the attack.

With such Bush administration reluctance to investigate the 9-11 intelligence failures and security breeches, how can we be assured that security has at all improved, that 9-11 won't happen again?

I, for one, do not feel safer despite all of the "Homeland Security" hoopla.
posted by troutfishing at 10:17 AM on June 26, 2003


Boy... what a perfect thread for identifying the really really pathetic souls in this community. I feel sorry for some. I can't believe some of you can even make it through the day without throwing yourselves off a bridge.
posted by Witty at 10:27 AM on June 26, 2003


What a dumbass thing to say. So your presence here means we need to put you on suicide watch, Witty?
posted by soyjoy at 10:35 AM on June 26, 2003


Not as dumbass as most of everything else in this thread. Save your watch, I'll be fine. But thanks for your concern.
posted by Witty at 10:43 AM on June 26, 2003


"Dick says some shit went down and that you should smile for the cameras."
posted by skallas at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2003


The quality of the pro-government trolling has suffered a lot recently. I'm disappointed.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:52 AM on June 26, 2003


that was witty
posted by muckster at 10:54 AM on June 26, 2003


And it's just a coincidence that all this logic and rationality and objectivity on your part somehow leads you to neverending apologies for Bush and his little programs. Funny, that....given that you "don't even like the guy." Right. Such logic and rationality and objectivity on your part.

No, I just do that to annoy you, foldy.

Back in the Vince Foster days I remember thinking that the fixation on kooky konspiracy theories reflected a general fault on the part of the ideological right. But the conspiracy theories around 9/11 put Vince Foster to shame, and have made me realize that the problem isn't the ideological right, it's the ideology. People on either extreme of the political spectrum simply cannot see things objectively -- everything has to fit within their perceived worldview.

With that, I'll leave you all to dissect this video like the Zapruder film. And here's a hint: At 3:37, Bush scratches his nose, which as everyone knows was the signal for Dick Cheney to get on the horn with Haliburton and prepare the contract for the Trans-Afghan pipeline. Tinfoil hats: On!
posted by pardonyou? at 10:57 AM on June 26, 2003


But I heard the "let's revisit 9-11" case made most convincingly by Former General Wesley Clark who observed that the US military routinely does post-op analysis of operations regardless of mission success or failure.

This is different that parsing out the five minutes of hang time between POTUS being told, and his climbing into some form of action, but I believe that ol' Wesley is correct. There should be an analysis done, which may shine an unflattering light upon all corners of government. But I believe this to be true for everything that has happened post 9/11, not limited to that day, through which I'm quite sure there were glaring lapses in judgement and bad calls throughout the crisis.

I just feel that any argument loses credence when something like these five minutes are taken out of context, but utilized to make some serious point about the successes or failures of governing. I believe the successes and failures are made up of more than these five minutes. A whole lotta minutes, and a whole lotta decisions.
posted by readymade at 11:09 AM on June 26, 2003


I somehow managed to miss your comments, Ignatius J. Reilly. Save me some coffee.
posted by muckster at 12:23 PM on June 26, 2003


Can anyone imagine FDR carrying on reading to schoolkids after he got word of Pearl Harbor?

There is a difference between fighter planes dropping bombs and 2 planes hitting towers along with 2 other "suspected" hijackings. The events are completely different.

President Bush sat there for the same reasons as the pilots let the hijackers into the cockpits - existing policy concerning "situations".

If you don't like it then you don't like it. A lot of those who say that they don't like are the same ones who didn't like sending troops to Afghanistan.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:58 PM on June 26, 2003


And a lot of the ones that didn't like sending troops to Afghanistan... don't like Burger King???

My god. The implications are frightening!
posted by Perigee at 1:06 PM on June 26, 2003


I'd say he was remarkably poised. I know I freaked when somebody told me, but then again I was in the intended flight path of plane #4 that "went down" (read: shot down) in PA. I'd say he got that from his mother, I mean she stays pretty poised in those tapes of Sr. puking on the Japanese Minister!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:10 PM on June 26, 2003


and what was achieved in afghanistan. did the drugs return? yes. Did the Taliban return. yep. are you currently torturing people held there. yep. is the region stable? nope. You have the fill me in here, what was the point of that war? Did you get Osama the bogeyman? Nope.
posted by dabitch at 1:11 PM on June 26, 2003


But we're coming for you dabitch!
posted by Witty at 1:14 PM on June 26, 2003


When I've been involved in crisis situations that didn't involve immediate personal danger, my first impulse has always been to want more time. While I don't presume to know what was going through President Bush's mind at the time, I know that I personally would have spent some time considering my plan of action. I would go through the motions while figuring out WTH I do next. I might even have been reluctant to abandon the trivial things I was doing because the next step is to implement a decision and that decision could turn out to be the wrong one. Above all, you want more time and more information and then still more time. President Bush was neither heroic nor heinous that day -- he was just human.

That said, the Secret Service was seriously derelict in their duties. While it would certainly be more difficult to hit a small school than to hit the Pentagon with an airliner, they had no way of knowing that hijacked airplanes were the only weapons being deployed that day. The VP's detachment did their job well, and not only because the White House had to be considered a very prominent target.

The president's detachment, however, let him sit in a known location for several minutes after it was confirmed that symbolic targets in the US were being attacked. The decision to move shouldn't have been his (or his staff's) to make -- the office and all it stands for are too important. Get him to safety first and then let everyone get back to being politicians and statesmen and such. If anyone's inaction on that day should be scrutinized, it's what the Secret Service didn't do at a definitive moment of national crisis.
posted by joaquim at 1:22 PM on June 26, 2003


Why should we be so impressed with what XQUZYPHYR said? He still didn't address the point of what a PRESIDENT should have done.

Yes many citizens of NY were willing to help by giving blood, etc. but they were there... what was Bush supposed to do?

As someone pointed out -- could he have used his magical powers to help? and as someone else said, we don't really know what Card told him. Perhaps he could have put a flight suit on right there and taken off in fighter plane!

and as for the PR machine -- there was nothing saying that Bush was our savior on 9/11. Iin fact, Bush and the administration pointed to those who died and who helped with rescue, donations, etc. as the 'saviors' of 9/11.

But, yes, it was good a Republican was in the white house...
posted by alethe at 1:25 PM on June 26, 2003


From what I remember that morning, the first thing I heard (on the radio) was that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers, and that it was on fire. A description of large plumes of smoke rising from the building followed. Until the second plane hit, no one I heard talking was even sure what kind of plane it was - whether a private Gulfstream or a 747. Certainly no one knew that "America was under attack," as someone stated above. I am assuming that Bush was given the information that a plane had struck the building, there was a serious emergency situation in NY, and that there was certainly loss of life. While this would definitely seem serious, there was no way to know at that moment what would occur subsequently. I get the feeling those who think the Prez should have been more upset or more action-oriented are using hindsight; no one, not even the President, had any idea of what was happening.
posted by deadcowdan at 1:38 PM on June 26, 2003


That said, the Secret Service was seriously derelict in their duties.

How do we know this? Would he have been safer in a car going to the airport? Maybe Air Force One was still refueling and needed 5 (10, 15, and hour) more minutes anyway and rather than freak out the kids the Pres. just sat poised and went on with what he was doing, which was pretty much all he could do at the moment. We don't know, no body knows but Cart, W, and a few other staff members who were there. I don't personally like the guy's politics or administration, but I must say that he keeps his cool pretty well (something I'm told Clinton had serious problems with) and no matter how much I dislike him, I cannot believe that anyone on this site or at the Memory Hole can speculate 2 years later about what was an appropriate action at that exact moment, nor can we know what he knew or Card knew or his SS detail knew...etc. This is foolishness. W was a good president on 9/11, hell, a great one actually, he calmed me down while I watched the Pentagon burning in person and tried to get home through the deserted (except for the military vehicles and soldiers) streets of downtown DC, its just too bad that he couldn't have been that good any of the rest of the days of his term. The video to me shows a very poised, very collected man, shrewdly pretending nothing is going on for 5 whole minutes and enjoying the company of children in one of the worst and most intense moments of his life and of the history of our nation, bravo.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:41 PM on June 26, 2003


Yes, it was good there was a Republican in the whitehouse... otherwise, we may not have spent 400 Billion dollars in invading two different countries in the past 3 years, with absolutely nothing to show for it but world-wide embarrassment, a wrecked economy, constant attacks from the natives, a lack of credibility. No Osama. No WMDs. No Saddam. No end to the Baath party. No end to Al Quaida. No end in sight of occupation, or of American deaths in the Middle East. A wreckage of international diplomacy. Worldwide distrust.

Yeah thank God there was a Republican in office. I sure as hell wouldn't want to take credit for it.

Now.. I don't suppose you Republicans would mind footing the bill for your little party? At the moment it's 525 bucks for every person breathing in the US. If you guys take on the cost of your actions, it'll only be $30,500 bucks per GOP member, and we'll call it even.
posted by Perigee at 1:44 PM on June 26, 2003


Why should we be so impressed with what XQUZYPHYR said? He still didn't address the point of what a PRESIDENT should have done. Yes many citizens of NY were willing to help by giving blood, etc. but they were there... what was Bush supposed to do?

We shouldn't. XQ and his posse of fellow NYers are just looking for their good for you cookies.

This thread is just so absurd. For anyone to be coming here with any sort of "better idea" about how a President and his staff should respond is laughable. No one here is even qualified to have any friggin' clue.
posted by Witty at 2:00 PM on June 26, 2003


alethe, I personally wasn't addressing the issue of what the President "should have done" but rather what the president (as this video clarifies) unquestionably didn't do: take charge of the situation.

As the next year of campaigning and made-for-Showtime movies are indicating, those supportive of Bush's re-election are going out of their way to imply that the Commander-in-Chief actually took command.

When the Republican Party took to the media to note Bush's actions on 9/11, I didn't see the pictures of Bush reading to children- for God's sakes, I didn't even see any kind of "well he wanted to re-assure them" spin job. No, we saw the photo of Bush on the phone on Air Force One. We saw Bush holding a fireman in one hand and a megaphone in the other.

Do I know what Bush should have done on 9/11? Of course not. No one know what they should have done on the most unexpected day in American history. But my point wasn't about what Bush should have done, it was about what people are suggesting he did do... and I know for a fact he didn't do it. Despite Witty's utterly obnoxious implication, I'm not the one demanding validation here.

I find it interesting how you used the flight suit in an attempt to be sarcastic- I'll give you a buck for every time the news notes how Bush read a children's book when the Twin Towers Collapsed if you give me a buck- hell, a quarter- for every time you see Bush in the flight suit on television from now until Election Day 2004. Deal?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:02 PM on June 26, 2003


no one, not even the President, had any idea of what was happening.

Wrong - as were the first couple posters at the top of the thread, but I figured people had gotten over that as they read on. Bush already knew about the first plane before he entered the room. Even if we ignore his claim that he saw that happen on live TV, mainstream and official accounts concur that he had already been briefed on the first crash before starting the photo-op. What Card was telling him was that there was a second crash, meaning that yes, America was under attack - whether those were the exact words or not. So can we put to rest this concept that he couldn't have known the significance of what he was being told?

And Witty, counting this comment, you've posted to this thread as many times as - no, on preview, more times than - I have. See you down at the bridge, buddy!
posted by soyjoy at 2:10 PM on June 26, 2003


I'm not sure why you're keeping track of my posts and how many there are, etc. soyjoy. Just because I said I thought the thread was absurd, doesn't mean I was going to ignore it or whatever. But I guess you can interpret it however you want... buddy.
posted by Witty at 2:27 PM on June 26, 2003


And it's just a coincidence that all this logic and rationality and objectivity on your part somehow leads you to neverending apologies for Bush and his little programs. Funny, that....given that you "don't even like the guy." Right. Such logic and rationality and objectivity on your part.

Just so there's no confusion, foldy ol' friend -- I'm: pro-choice; anti-death penalty; militantly in favor of stem cell research and therapeutic cloning; not in agreement with the President's environmental policy; strongly pro-speech/1st Amendment rights; pro-gun control (under a reasonable reading of the 2nd Amendment that doesn't result in a total ban of arms); gravely concerned that certain rights and liberties are being stripped in the name of "security"; pro-assisted suicide; in favor of legalization of marijuana; in favor of gay marriage; against the tax cut; and I think portions of The Patriot Act are unconstitutional and the law as a whole is severely flawed.

So do you see how it makes rational & logical sense when I say I don't really like the guy? I happen to think he's done a good job on national security issues (especially under the circumstances), but day in and day out I'm more concerned with the other things. That's why I say I didn't vote for him in '00, and don't think I'm going to in '04 (unless the dems nominate Dean or *shudder* Kucinich, then maybe I'll abstain).

See, foldy, while it's nice that you feel entitled to assume things about me, you really don't know shit. It turns out that a person can disagree with capital-L-Liberal ideology, and still not like the Bush administration. And while I may not like Bush, I resist the urge to demonize him. I sense that's a foreign concept for you, but you'd be surprised how many centrists and moderates there are in this country, despite their apparent dearth in MetaFilter.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:38 PM on June 26, 2003


How do we know this? Would he have been safer in a car going to the airport?

In a moving armored car vs. a known, stationary location like the elementary school? Yes. When attacked and in the open, the tactic is to move swiftly and unpredictably to a defensible position. Have you ever seen the security around Air Force One?

Refueling is not an issue. It's not like they wait until the last moment before takeoff to refuel -- they anticipate situations like this. Even if they hadn't completed refueling and there were no tankers available for airborne refueling, they could move to another airfield and land to refuel. And if they had somehow forgotten to refuel until they got a call from the Secret Service, Air Force One is a safer place to wait than Emma E. Booker Elementary School.

As for the children, protecting the President's life has a higher priority than upsetting someone. Would the children have been in danger if President Bush left? No. (Some people argue that he endangered them by staying, but I don't buy that myself.) Did the Secret Service move immediately after the reading was over and the children's psyches were safe? No, they let President Bush stop for a photo op and allowed the press to exit the building first. Did they then move the President? No, he went to an adjoining classroom to confer with his staff, followed by his first remarks. Look at the pictures -- he's surrounded by children as he discusses the event for the first time. Wouldn't that also "freak out the children"?

Read my post again. I wasn't criticizing President Bush; I was criticizing the Secret Service whose job it is to protect him. They were the best assessors of the situation on the spot and they allowed someone else to overrule their judgement. They might have had some valid reason not to move, but I've not seen any indication of one in the last two years. At 9:03, it was known that the US was under attack, but President Bush wasn't moved from that school until 9:35. Not 5 minutes of soothing the children, not 15 minutes of refueling the airplane, but 32 minutes of exposure to attack, not to mention isolation from the airborne command post in Air Force One.
posted by joaquim at 3:19 PM on June 26, 2003


Didn't know this. Stunning.

I think the issue here is that Bush needed to be seen to be doing something. I can see the point of view that there isn't anything he would have done to stop the attacks, but at the very least he could have left in a hurry, run to car and look urgent. Yes, it could have been facade, he wouldn't actually necessarily be going anywhere, but it would have been statesmanlike. But it just doesn't seem to occur to him that this is big news, that people are looking to him for a reaction, that what he does would be important in those moments, but he sits there and reads a book. It makes him look nice in front of some fellow voters. I wonder what those kids are going to think when they realise what was happening while the president was reading to them.

Never mind Tourist Guy, anyone want to start a meme about what would get a reaction out of George?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:54 PM on June 26, 2003


i guess people don't read the articles linked to in the threads. the president's security detail wasn't deciding what to do. they had plans to evacuate him from the school and that decision was overridden. the video clip is 5 minutes, but it's edited. the president was at the school for at least 20 minutes. the plane wasn't being refueled, in fact, its takeoff was delayed after the president arrived at the airport for a security check after a threat that was later reported to be bogus.

i'm not saying bush knew 9-11 was going to happen, but someone did. british and israeli intelligence had told us a month before that commercial planes were going to be used as missles against targets. knowing that information, it seems logical that when a report of a plane hitting the world trade center popped up before the president entered the school, he would have suspected more than an accident or pilot heart attack.

it seems like maybe he was out of the loop. it seems like some people went out of their way to keep bush a target for as long as possible. people went out of their way to keep bush out of washington as long as possible. i would also like to know whose idea it was for him to be in florida to begin with.

bush may not have known or he may *have* known. either way, that's a bad president in my book.
posted by centrs at 4:24 PM on June 26, 2003


Good fun. Sorry I didn't see this earlier. Contrary to some of the earlier posts, this oldie-but-goodie is fair game mostly because of the Tinhorn Terrorist link that XQUZYPHYR kindly provided the other day. When we have not only the likes of Faux News and Regency Press doing hagiography but even Showtime, then it's useful to have as many reminders as possible that the man is in most contexts a figurehead. He's pretty good at using "language of contempt and intimidation, at least according to Renana Brooks of The Nation. Weighing the carefully crafted scare language of the political showpieces against his sitting passively in the Florida elementary school classroom is an eerie experience, IMO.
posted by palancik at 6:04 PM on June 26, 2003



posted by jpoulos at 8:47 PM on June 26, 2003


I love jpoulos.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:58 PM on June 26, 2003


but rather what the president (as this video clarifies) unquestionably didn't do: take charge of the situation.

Which is really the same thing... if you know he didn't take charge of the situation you must know what he should have done (what taking charge would mean) -- so you seem to be ignoring my comment.

i didn't see the pictures of bush reading to children- for god's sakes, i didn't even see any kind of well he wanted to re-assure them spin job.

Then you were living in a cave... I saw it and so did many people who were paying attention.

but my point wasn't about what bush should have done, it was about what people are suggesting he did do... and i know for a fact he didn't do it.

What was it that he didn't do? (Again, this only comes back to what he should have been doing... which you admit you have no idea about, so I'm not sure why you brought it up.)

i find it interesting how you used the flight suit in an attempt to be sarcastic- i'll give you a buck for every time the news notes how bush read a children's book when the twin towers collapsed if you give me a buck- hell, a quarter- for every time you see bush in the flight suit television from now until election day 2004. deal?

I don't even undertand the deal you're proposing... I haven't seen Bush in his flight suit on t.v. all that much (or any more than I saw him in the classroom). So I guess I'm saying no deal, at least until I understand what you're trying to say
posted by alethe at 11:13 PM on June 26, 2003


The history books hardly vilify Drake for finishing his game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe, having been told that the Spanish Armada was on the way.
posted by walrus at 3:53 AM on June 27, 2003


Yeah, but "on the way" for a fleet of 150 galleons and other wooden ships means "sometime in the next couple of months".

It's a little different, natch.
posted by Cerebus at 6:08 AM on June 27, 2003


Air Force One is a safer place to wait than Emma E. Booker Elementary School.

Is being transported (by car over public roads) to Air Force One safer than being in Booker Elementary? And I raised this before, but no one wanted to bite: Does anyone really contend that hijackers could have flown a 757 into an elementary school that was probably only placed on the President's agenda a few days before (his agenda is generally not made public until the last possible minute)? That's quite a different proposition from choosing designated targets -- WTC, Pentagon -- that gave the terrorists months or years to plan (coordinates, altitude, etc.) The argument that he was "putting the children in danger" is asinine.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:12 AM on June 27, 2003


Yeah, but "on the way" for a fleet of 150 galleons and other wooden ships means "sometime in the next couple of months".

I occasionally find it useful to check my facts before making a comment on metafilter, and luckily for you this was one of those occasions. I don't have actual history books at the computer where I am currently sitting, but google can help sometimes:

The Armada sailed on July 19th 1588. The fleet of 130 ships - including 22 fighting galleons - sailed in a crescent shape. This was not unusual as most fleets sailed in this shape as it offered the ships in that fleet the most protection. The larger but slower galleons were in the middle of the crescent and they were protected by faster but smaller boats surrounding them. Smaller ships known as zabras and pataches supplied the galleons. The Armada faced little opposition as it approached the coast of Cornwall on July 29th, 1588. It is said that Cornish fishermen fishing off the Lizard watched the Armada pass!

However, London was warned that the Armada was nearing England's coastline. Communications in the C16th were very poor yet the English had developed a way of informing London when the Armada was first seen. Beacons were lit along the coast. As soon as one beacon was seen, the next further along the coast was lit. When the beacons reached Beachy Head in Sussex, they went inland and towards London. In this way, London was quickly made aware that the Armada was approaching England.

As the Armada sailed up the English Channel, it was attacked by an English force lead by Sir Francis Drake. He was stationed in Plymouth.

It is said that when Drake was informed of the Armada's approach, he replied that he had time to finish the game of bowls he was playing on Plymouth Hoe and time to defeat the Armada. It is possible that he knew that the tide of the River Tamar in Plymouth was against him, so that he could not get his ships out of Devonport - therefore, he knew that he could finish his game of bowls because his ships were dependent on the tide to move. If the tide was coming in, his ships had to stay tied up. If the tide was going out, then he had the freedom to move his ships into the Channel.
- source
posted by walrus at 6:27 AM on June 27, 2003


alethe - re: "if you know he didn't take charge of the situation you must know what he should have done."

Umm - Isn't George W. Bush the Supreme Commander and Chief? If he isn't really in charge, a mere figurehead who wasn't informed, OK. Then call him a figurehead.

But the evidence points to the extreme likelihood that he WAS informed - at the very least after the first plane hit the WTC. And he chose to take no action. The interesting question here is: exactly what was he informed of? Was he told, merely, that a plane had hit the WTC, but without the details (a hijacked plane, and only one of three at the time which were believed to have been hijacked). These details would have informed Mr. Bush of an unprecedented national emergency). If Mr. Bush was not given all the details, he likely would not have asked for more information because, by all accounts, he is a remarkably incurious man (although smart enough, in my opinion).

So, if the above were true, then he would have been - at the time - a figurehead. Even if that were the case, I do not consider him a mere figurehead now. I think he is a highly effective executive whose policy priorities disgust me ( tax breaks for the top 1%, wars for oil, etc.) .

By the way, the timeline of what Mr. Bush knew, and when, has been exhaustively researched by Paul Thompson, in the link Stavros provided up the thread. Here it is, again

From the preface to the article:
[ from "An Interesting Day: President Bush's Movements and Actions on 9/11", By Allan Wood and Paul Thompson
May 9, 2003. ( Emphasis mine. ) ]

"It was an interesting day." - President Bush, recalling 9/11 [White House, 1/5/02]

"At approximately 8:48 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001, the first pictures of the burning World Trade Center were broadcast on live television. The news anchors, reporters, and viewers had little idea what had happened in lower Manhattan, but there were some people who did know. By that time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the National Military Command Center, the Pentagon, the White House, the Secret Service, and Canada's Strategic Command all knew that three commercial airplanes had been hijacked. They knew that one plane had been flown deliberately into the World Trade Center's North Tower; a second plane was wildly off course and also heading toward Manhattan; and a third plane had abruptly turned around over Ohio and was flying back toward Washington, DC."

OK? Now:

"So why, at 9:03 a.m. - fifteen minutes after it was clear the United States was under terrorist attack - did President Bush sit down with a classroom of second-graders and begin a 20-minute pre-planned photo op? No one knows the answer to that question. In fact, no one has even asked Bush about it."

I don't profess to know if Mr. Bush was treated as a figurehead (not informed of the known facts) during the attack, or whether he simply chose to do nothing in the face of the worst terrorist attack in US history.

What should he have done? For starters, how about cutting the Kindegarten photo-op short and attending to business?

He is the President, right?

And, of course, none of this explains the approximately 1/2 hour delay - in clear violation of established procedure - in the FAA's notification of NORAD. That's quite another issue.

Given the stonewalling by the Bush Administration of the efforts by the civilian commission which is investigating 9-11, I'd say that Wesley Clark's opinion is very pertinent here - we really don't know that 9-11 couldn't happen again due to the persistent refusal by the Bush Administration to honestly investigate the attack to determine, at the very least, what went wrong, if not also to assign responsibility.
posted by troutfishing at 7:27 AM on June 27, 2003


OK, let's review W's options as we, internet morons with no concept of the reality of national security matters, see them, he could have:

A) Freaked Out, ripped off his suit to reveal superman suit flown faster than light and turned back time thereby preventing the attacks;

B) Freaked out, hopped in a limo, driven to the airport and sat in the limo on the tarmac while a security detail was already in the process of delaying his expected departure by several minutes, then gotten on the plane and watched the events on TV;

C) Continued to calmly read to the children for five more minutes, then done a couple of photo ops, then calmly headed to the airport, then boarded the plane and watched events on TV.

He is the President, not God people! And I'm assuming since we are all spending our time on MeFi that none of us are Condoleeza Rice or a member of the Presidential Security Detail, how can any of us possibly make any fucking ridiculous assumptions about the decisions they made at that time? Statements like this:

In a moving armored car vs. a known, stationary location like the elementary school? Yes. When attacked and in the open, the tactic is to move swiftly and unpredictably to a defensible position. Have you ever seen the security around Air Force One?

Refueling is not an issue. It's not like they wait until the last moment before takeoff to refuel -- they anticipate situations like this. Even if they hadn't completed refueling and there were no tankers available for airborne refueling, they could move to another airfield and land to refuel. And if they had somehow forgotten to refuel until they got a call from the Secret Service, Air Force One is a safer place to wait than Emma E. Booker Elementary School.


are simply moronic from any of us, sorry, but we just don't know and the people that do don't waste their times on discussion groups! This is not a fucking movie people, this is reality. Do you know how long it takes to refuel a 747? I would imagine its more than the 20 minutes since the President left the plane, oh and by the way, they did take off and land for fuel at another airport, Shreveport, LA, as a matter of fact. Security around Air Force One is pretty tight, much like security around the President at all times, you should have seen what security was like here on Capitol Hill, I was still confident that I was safer in a stone box than out on the street that day though, I imagine the SS probably had some similar thoughts for that 5 minutes, but what do I know, I'm an idiot in a discussion group?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:54 AM on June 27, 2003


I'm an idiot in a discussion group

Precisely.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:58 AM on June 27, 2003


Really, pollomacho. What world do you live in where those are the only three choices? Maybe he could have, y'know, called someone to find out what was actually happening?

I think the president and his people used poor judgement in an extreme situation--nothing more or less. But christ, you people have abandoned all reason and logic.

The fact is that, in the first year of his presidency especially, Bush didn't do anything unless he was specifically told to do so by his staff. They were so paranoid that he was going to make a mess, they didn't let him take a shit unless Condi and Karl knew about it. That was the atmosphere of the time. Even more than he is now, back then Bush was a figurehead for Cheney, Rice, Card and the others who were actually running the show.

That's why he sat there and did nothing. Because he had never before been expected to act like a leader.
posted by jpoulos at 9:43 AM on June 27, 2003


(there's that reason and logic again... it's like one rugby team charging another with ungentlemanly conduct...)
posted by Perigee at 9:48 AM on June 27, 2003


Please point out the lack of reason or logic in my statement, perigee.
posted by jpoulos at 9:57 AM on June 27, 2003


Pollamacho, like so many others you are not reading the link stavros provided - and several have quoted. I'll just repeat what I said earlier it was not five minutes - the footage, which has been edited shows five minutes in that classroom, but he was in that classroom for twenty. Card tells him at 9:05 - or perhaps 9:07 - now take a close look at the video - The video contains several edits and ends before Bush leaves the room, so it also doesn't tell us exactly how long he stayed. Some reporters say ten minutes.

In any case, if he knew about the first plane - weather at his morning briefing or when he was in the limo on the way to the school, he knew more than us. When we saw the second plane hit, I know I thought "that's not an accident". What do you think Bush thought?
posted by dabitch at 10:22 AM on June 27, 2003


What should he have done? For starters, how about cutting the Kindegarten photo-op short and attending to business?

You really can't answer a simple question can you? What should he have done? -- What buisness should he have been attending to? If all those angencies knew about it, do you not think they were doing what they could with the information at hand?

Or are you still trying to figure out why Bush didn't use his superpowers to "attend" to it.
posted by alethe at 2:06 PM on June 27, 2003


It's not a comment about your statement, JP - it's about this whole scrum. Hell - look back; you'll see I'm in accord with you. But these discussions tend to go out the window "reasonably" or logically," and our blowing our sensible whistles don't seem to make any difference.

It's like a bloodlust when some folks get to talking politics. On both sides. We have one side half-a-comment away from saying this is the Zapruder Film proving 9/11 was known in advance; we have the other side half-a-comment away from saying him sitting there for 5 minutes was a masterstroke of leadership and wisdom.

Sometimes the whole mob mentality thing just drives me nuts, JP. I have half a mind to turn apolitical again - my blood pressure was so much nicer than. No reflection on you at all was intended by the comment.
posted by Perigee at 2:47 PM on June 27, 2003


alethe :
Your comment would be clever if there weren't some actually ascribing super powers to Bush. Many people in the media (Showtime, Fox, etc.) are advancing claims that he behaved in a certain way. Many in this thread are disputing those claims, with facts and evidence, I might add. Your response is to demand they give an alternative course of action, that they say what they "would have done."

That is beside the point, and wholly fails to address the real issue: the growing gap between perception and reality as pertains to what Bush did, not what he should have done. So, you seem to not grasp the actual kernel of contention here, but at least you aren't just being a prick like pollomacho.

And the idea that anyone would not want the most difficult possible questions asked about the most serious security breakdown in American history is fucking frightening. Sometimes solving real problems involves more than stroking the purple, vein-ridden schlong of the power structure, and one needs to actually ask meaty questions. What, are you guys pansy liberals or something?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:09 PM on June 27, 2003


what should he have done? well, first of all, the only person and i mean ONLY person that can give the order to have a commercial jet shot down is president bush, regardless of who is running the show. fighters can be and were scrambled, but they cannot shoot a plane down without the president's order. that could have at least saved the pentagon crash.

secondly, as i mentioned before, bush knew that the first plane had hit the tower BEFORE he went into the school and u.s. intelligence also knew that a plan involving using commercial airliners as missles to strike buildings had been uncovered a month before.

there is absolutely no way that when he heard of the first crash that he wouldn't have realized it was fulfillment of that intelligence report unless he was kept in the dark.

which president do you want? the one that knew and did nothing or the one considered so inept by his staff that he was kept in the dark? i choose neither.
posted by centrs at 3:19 PM on June 27, 2003


Your response is to demand they give an alternative course of action, that they say what they "would have done."

I'm not demanding anything -- I'm trying to figure out what the objection is. If one is upset with what happened in those first 5 or whatever minutes when Bush was first told, and says that what he did do was incorrect, then the objector must have some idea of what should have been done.

If, the objector doesn't know what Bush should have done, then I don't understand why he is objecting.

Many people in the media (Showtime, Fox, etc.) are advancing claims that he behaved in a certain way.

I don't know about Showtime, but I do watch Fox and as far as I have seen they've never ascribed "super powers" to the President, nor should they.

So, you seem to not grasp the actual kernel of contention here...

The kernel of contention is exactly what I'm trying to get at ... I have seen all the objections in this thread, and yet they are unconnected with reality outside of conspiracy theories. If you like those theories, fine, but recognize at least that that is what you are dealing in. We do not know what was happening, who was told what, etc. and we will probably never know exactly what happened, no matter how many "timelines" try to show it.

I'm not trying to be argumentative only trying to provide a viewpoint outside of the mefi chorus.
posted by alethe at 6:16 PM on June 27, 2003


kernel:
point--fox/showtime say he was brave, heroic
counterpoint--reality suggests otherwise

hot damn, therein lies the conflict! also, people are (admittedly on all accounts) speculating as to what the implications of his decidedly non-heroic actions. this is where you come in with your "what should he have done" line.

i, personally, think that Bush was kept in the dark. so i suppose that my answer is: "he should have been not in the dark"?

that aside, the only conspiracy that i am concerned about is far from theoretical.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:19 PM on June 27, 2003


If one is upset with what happened... and says that what he did do was incorrect, then the objector must have some idea of what should have been done.

This is absolutely ridiculous. You mean to say that if film was found of Bush banging his head against the wall and barking like a dog, then exposing himself to some schoolchildren, we wouldn't be able to say this was "incorrect" unless we could say exactly what he should have been doing instead? Give me a break. I'm not a White House advisor, I have not studied these matters, I do not know what the "correct" course of action would have been, but I'm quite confident in saying it wasn't carrying on cheerfully as if nothing had happened. As I said before, it's hard to imagine FDR doing that on receiving news of Pearl Harbor.
posted by languagehat at 7:52 AM on June 28, 2003


...we wouldn't be able to say this was "incorrect" unless we could say exactly what he should have been doing instead?

You mean that if he were doing such things you wouldn't know any reason that it wasn't correct to do them? That is what is ridiculous.

but I'm quite confident in saying it wasn't carrying on cheerfully as if nothing had happened.

There is nothing to suggest he was "cheerfully" carrying on as if nothing had happened.

With a name like languagehat you should be more astute.

... and using FDR as an example of what should be done? That's ridiculous too. It's interesting to note that he knew for years about the concentration camps and did nothing about it. That when we were attacked by Japan, he declared war against Germany. Stick with that example, more conspiracies there too.
posted by alethe at 12:47 PM on June 28, 2003


point--fox/showtime say he was brave, heroic
counterpoint--reality suggests otherwise


No they didn't, and no it doesn't.

i, personally, think that Bush was kept in the dark.

You personally think, huh? You wouldn't have any reason to think that, or any evidence to lead you there?

that aside, the only conspiracy that i am concerned about is far from theoretical.

Actually, it is theoretical -- that's what you have to realize. It is ok that's it's a theory and you should pursue it, but that's all it will ever be.
posted by alethe at 12:51 PM on June 28, 2003


alethe - If "that's all it will ever be" comes to pass, it will be so due to a horrendous disdain and an ugly negligence - on the part of some in the US government - for the imperatives of national security.

I didn't suggest, as you have insinuated, that George W. Bush should have somehow morphed, on the morning of 9-11 into Superman or, at least, Keanu Reeves.

I said that he should have assumed the reponsibilities of his office: Comander and Chief, President of The United States.

Given your reluctance to honestly address this point, I'd have to say that you think George W. Bush is unqualified for his job. Is this what you are saying?
posted by troutfishing at 9:06 PM on June 28, 2003


alethe - If "that's all it will ever be" comes to pass, it will be so due to a horrendous disdain and an ugly negligence - on the part of some in the US government - for the imperatives of national security.

Um... I was referring to Ignatius J. Reilly's post which included the link to the New American Century website. I have no idea what you're referring to.

But, he did assume his role as Commander in Chief, I don't understand how he could not have assumed that role (or how one could say that he had not).

Given your reluctance to honestly address this point, I'd have to say that you think George W. Bush is unqualified for his job. Is this what you are saying?

Honestly address what point? -- That he assume the responsibilities of his office? I have addressed that -- I think he has. What I have been asking is what those who think he has not assumed those responsibilites think he should have done to assume them.
posted by alethe at 9:36 PM on June 28, 2003


I love it when the straw man is Superman. Such a delicious oxymoron.

alethe, you seem to be unaware of the Showtime hagiography that has been previously discussed here, and which is being referred to now (which if I weren't so lazy I would find and link to), but without that knowledge you're missing a large part of the point here, as Ignatius tried to explain to you. I'd suggest you do a search and familiarize yourself with the background to this conversation before making such blithe statements as "No they didn't."

As to the PNAC connection to 911 being merely theoretical, how exactly do you explain Wesley Clark's recollection (uh, you did at least read this whole thread before coming in to take on all the "theorists," right?) of being asked by the White House to blame the attacks on Iraq before the day was even over? Is he lying? Misremembering? Was it just a prank on Dick Cheney's part? A meaningless coincidence? What?

posted by soyjoy at 9:59 PM on June 28, 2003


alethe: given that you have recently stated that "If one is upset with what happened in those first 5 or whatever minutes when Bush was first told, and says that what he did do was incorrect", it would appear that you have not read the heavily documented chronology that Stavros has linked to, up this thread, which reveals that:

George W. Bush knew well before he went to read to those 3rd graders that the US was under an historically unprecedented terrorist attack, or else - he was treated as a figurehead and kept in the dark about the details of the ongoing attack.

Which is it?


Soyjoy - here's the link to the chronology of what Mr. Bush knew on the morning of 9-11, ( first provided on this thread by Stavrosthewonderchicken):

here

alethe - If, as you just stated, "he did assume his role as Commander in Chief" - well, what actions, specifically, did he take to deal with the ongoing attack besides shoring up the home front by reading to 3rd graders (a noble task, yes, but....)?

Imagine: You learn that a meteorite is bearing down on your home town, your birth place. You could order an evacuation of the town; you have the legal authority to do so...and time is tight.

But you are hungry. You opt to go out for a pizza.
posted by troutfishing at 10:26 PM on June 28, 2003


troutfishing - not sure why you're providing me with a link to the "Interesting Day" essay - not only does it seem to be irrelevant to what I just said, but I already mentioned it above soon after stavrosthewonderchicken posted it, addressing him, in fact, to say that the Wesley Clark recollection should ultimately be added to it. Did you really mean me, or were you thinking of someone else?

Anyway, thanks.
posted by soyjoy at 10:55 PM on June 28, 2003


there is absolutely no way that when he heard of the first crash that he wouldn't have realized it was fulfillment of that intelligence report unless he was kept in the dark.

He could've presumed that. As the CinC, it was certainly not in anyone's interest for him to act on a presumption. There are myriad agencies which had information, were gathering information and were determining exactly what was going on. Should he have run off ordering planes shot down before that information was available to him? Should he have jumped back in AFO and made a beeline to DC where he would've been more at risk (and put more people at risk) than at Booker elementary? What should he have done differently?

I guess I'm with alethe here, everyone's screaming "wrong, wrong, wrong!" without making any honest suggestion of what would've been right. It's so so easy to say that, but without being in Bush's head, knowing what he knew, knowing the protocol and knowing that there were, in fact, breaches of policy or actual life-saving measures that could've been implemented in that period of questionable time, all of this is nothing more than whistling in the wind. It may feel really good, but what's the ultimate point?
posted by Dreama at 11:34 PM on June 28, 2003


alethe, you seem to be unaware of the Showtime hagiography that has been previously discussed here, and which is being referred to now

You're right I'm not aware of it... I don't care to look it up, but without having done so I can almost guarantee that it is being misrepresented here at the oh so objective mefi.

I should have made my comment specific to Fox... of which I do know they have not done what you and others allege.

it would appear that you have not read the heavily documented chronology that Stavros has linked to, up this thread, which reveals that:

It would appear you forgot to add the words "heavily biased." As Allan Wood has an interest in challenging the "official" story, it would be wise to take a grain of salt with his timeline. Realize that what you're reading is an interpretation of facts and not the facts laid out themselves and I think you'll be better off.

But let's get back to what no one will answer for me -- What was he supposed to do? Let's say the entire administration knew that there was a chance for an attack - they had intelligence reports of it, but then they have millions of words of intelligence about hundreds of "attacks" a day - what could they really have done to prevent it?

If they had done something drastic ( which is what it would have taken ), You'd be screaming about your civil rights being taken away ( oh wait, the left is already doing that ). And if he doesn't do anything you scream that he should be doing something, you just don't know what it is ( oh wait, you're already doing that ). It's a no win situation.

So now I'm tired of this and I'll move on. Keep following the conspiracies... I follow a few myself.
posted by alethe at 7:04 AM on June 29, 2003


Soyjoy - that was a mental tic on my part. I merely wanted to re-post the link to encourage others to read the chronology.

Alethe - for one thing, Mr. Bush was briefed on August 8 about the danger of a terrorist attack by Osama Bin Laden. Hijackings were mentioned as a possibility. The first rational response would have been to raise the NORAD alert status.

The US had received a blizzard of high level warnings from it's closest allies........

"....What should he have done differently?....I guess I'm with alethe here, everyone's screaming "wrong, wrong, wrong!" without making any honest suggestion of what would've been right." - Well cancelling his photo op, upon news that an historically unprecedented terrorist attack was underway, would have been a start. Then Mr. Bush could have called up Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al, for consultation. Simple actions, really: no Superman costume necessary.

The implication of some of the comments above is that Mr. Bush was utterly superfluous. Was he, at the time, being treated as a figurehead or not?

"...alethe, you seem to be unaware of the Showtime hagiography that has been previously discussed here, and which is being referred to now

You're right I'm not aware of it... I don't care to look it up, but without having done so I can almost guarantee that it is being misrepresented here at the oh so objective mefi."

I hate to say this, but that sounds more than a little silly. The chronology in question is fantastically well substantiated, having been exhaustively compiled solely from mainstream news stories published at the time - it is an almost painfully and clinically scrupulous account. Why don't you want to read it? You are spending lots of time here typing comments about this, so....

Why not add to your knowledge of the subject?
posted by troutfishing at 3:55 PM on June 29, 2003


trout - we're getting crossed wires here; the thing alethe "doesn't care to look up" that I was referring to as the background to this thread is the Showtime movie that turns Bush into a decisive man of action. Now I've gone and found the thread, just in case alethe decides to come back and to care about what he/she's actually discussing.

You're using alethe's quote refererring to that but trying to apply it to the "Interesting Day" essay. It's easy to mix them up here, because they're both things alethe dismisses as irrelevant. But I will pick up the ball here and note that if one is positing the timeline - which is sourced throughout to mainstream reports - is "heavily biased," it's up to the person making the charge to show that bias. Where do the suppositions of the timeline diverge from the sources they're citing, etc.? Anything unpleasant can be waved away by calling it "heavily biased." Put up or shut up.

As for me, I'm still waiting for anyone to explain a) how Bush saw the first plane hit the tower on live TV, or b) why Wesley Clark says he was told to blame Iraq before the day was done. The first may in fact just be a severe post-traumatic delusion, but what about the second? Anybody?
posted by soyjoy at 6:19 PM on June 29, 2003


soyjoy - you're right - it's the danger of "poke your head in and opine" posting.

But for starters I'd like to know if 1) Bush was told of the attack (the first WTC plane crash) before he went in to read to the Fla. elementary school kids because, at the time, everyone else in the D.C. power structure seemed to know. And, if so, why didn't he cancel the photo op? Or, 2) if he didn't know, if he wasn't told, why was he being treated as a figurehead?
posted by troutfishing at 10:42 PM on June 29, 2003


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