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The Cowboy Is Confused
It's relevant even today because the video is so telling vis a vis what's happening at the WTC and what a president with the capacity to run the country should be doing. It's the incredible 9/11 footage you haven't seen -- not the truncated two-minute version, but the long version of Bush sitting there listening to "The Pet Goat." Be sure to play the video; don't just look at the stills.

Here's Andy Card supposedly whispering to President Bush that a second plane had hit the WTC:

"A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."

Note that he doesn't wait around for instructions -- perhaps because George Bush isn't the man really running anything. Even if you like George Bush, and think he's a genius, you have to admit the behavior here is rather odd, considering. From whatreallyhappened:

"Had I known there was going to be an attack on America, I would have moved mountains to stop the attack. I would have done everything I can. My job is to protect the American people."

G.W. Bush 4/11/2004

This video demonstrates how Bush "moved mountains" to defend the American people when he was informed America was under attack on 9/11.

You may have heard the strange story of how George Bush claimed to have seen the first plane hit the World Trade Tower on a television in Booker Elementary School before going into a classroom to hear some children read. This is a strange story because there was no video of the first impact until a day later, when a video shot by a documentary film crew that captured the first impact surfaced.

Still stranger was Bush's reaction on being told of the second impact by chief of staff Andrew Card. There was none. Bush simply went on with the school visit and listened to children reading about a pet goat. For twenty minutes.

But far more telling than Bush's reaction is that of Card himself who, as can be seen in the above clip, steps in to inform Bush of the second impact (without mentioning the fact that more hijacked planes were in the air), then immediately steps back without waiting for a reply. Bush's job is to make decisions. How does Card know that Bush will not make one then and there?

...What damns the Bush administration is not what is in this video, but what SHOULD be in the video and is not. Ostensibly, Bush and Card are reacting to a surprise attack, but Card acts like he is delivering a progress report to which he knows there will be no immediate response rather than unexpected news, and Bush does not act surprised.

Seems Bush only comes off like the cowboy in staged appearances. Here's the lie he was caught in about that day. Here's the snippet of Card saying the second plane had hit.

Here's an explanation from It's just an excerpt below, but there's a fascinating full account of the entire day at the link:

The Photo-Op Goes On

After Card told Bush about the second plane and quickly left, the classroom was silent for about 30 seconds or so. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02] The children were about to take turns reading from a story called The Pet Goat. [AFP, 9/7/02] Bush picked up the book and began to read with the children. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02] In unison, the children read out loud, “The—Pet—Goat. A—girl—got—a—pet—goat. But—the—goat—did—some—things—that—made—the—girl’s—dad—mad.” Bush mostly listened, but occasionally asked the children a few questions to encourage them. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] At one point he said, “Really good readers, whew! ... These must be sixth-graders!” [Time, 9/12/01]

Who was really in control? Certainly not Bush. In the back of the room, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer caught Bush’s eye and held up a pad of paper for him to see, with “DON’T SAY ANYTHING YET” written on it in big block letters. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] Some person or people had overruled the security who wanted Bush evacuated immediately, even as Vice President Cheney was taken from his White House office to a safe location. Bush’s security overruled Bush on security matters later in the day on Air Force One, but who overruled them that morning?

When Did Bush Leave the Classroom?

Nearly every news account fails to mention when Bush left the classroom after being told America was under attack. Three mention 9:12 a.m. [New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), Telegraph, 12/16/01, Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Remaining in the classroom for approximately five to seven minutes is inexcusable, but the video of Bush in the classroom suggests he stayed longer than that. The video contains several edits and ends before Bush leaves the room, so it also doesn’t tell us exactly how long he stayed. One newspaper suggested he remained “for eight or nine minutes”—sometime between 9:13 and 9:16, since Card’s arrival is uncertain. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02]

When Bush finally did leave, he didn’t act like a man in a hurry. In fact, he was described as “openly stretching out the moment.” [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism—From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 89] When the lesson was over, Bush said to the children: “Hoo! These are great readers. Very impressive! Thank you all so much for showing me your reading skills. I bet they practice too. Don’t you? Reading more than they watch TV? Anybody do that? Read more than you watch TV? [Hands go up] Oh that’s great! Very good. Very important to practice! Thanks for having me. Very impressed.” [Transcribed from Booker video, Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism—From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, pp. 89-90] Bush still continued to talk, advising the children to stay in school and be good citizens. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02, St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B)] One student asked Bush a question, and he gave a quick response on his education policy. [New York Post, 9/12/02]

The only source to describe what happened next is Fighting Back by Bill Sammon. Publishers Weekly described Sammon’s book as an “inside account of the Bush administration’s reaction to 9-11 [and] a breathless, highly complimentary portrait of the president [showing] the great merit and unwavering moral vision of his inner circle.” [Publisher’s Weekly, 10/15/02] Sammon’s conservative perspective makes his account of Bush’s behavior at the end of the photo-op all the more surprising. Bush is described as smiling and chatting with the children “as if he didn’t have a care in the world” and “in the most relaxed manner imaginable.” White House aide Gordon Johndroe, then came in as he usually does at the end of press conferences, and said, “Thank you, press. If you could step out the door we came in, please.” A reporter then asked, “Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of the plane crash in New York? Is there anything...,” But Bush interrupted, and no doubt recalling his order, “DON’T SAY ANYTHING YET,” Bush responded, “I’ll talk about it later.” But still the president did not leave. “He stepped forward and shook hands with [classroom teacher] Daniels, slipping his left hand behind her in another photo-op pose. He was taking his good old time. ... Bush lingered until the press was gone.” [Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism—From Inside the Bush White House, by Bill Sammon, 10/02, p. 90]

Does this man seem like he's running the show? Now, don't get me wrong, I was never a Kerry fan. Not in the least. But, all you Bush voters, are you still clinging to the notion that the man is competent to be president? And if you don't think he's president; if, maybe it's a group job, who's running the country? Dick Cheney?

People talk about Hillary Clinton meddling in affairs when Bill Clinton was president. I don't like her health care plan or some of the other things she's done, but the lady is whip-smart and has done a good job as New York's senator. She's not a dry drunk who'd sit there like a lump while New York City is crumbling.

A caveat: The footage links come from a conspiracy theorist's site. Still, the video is the video is the video.

Posted by aalkon at September 20, 2006 10:30 AM

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Bush Lied People Died

What do you think we should do with Iran?

Posted by: jon at September 20, 2006 6:52 AM

Returning to this episode is counter-productive. It was debated before the last election and the Dems lost. Conspiracy sites don't help either.

I still think Israel will attack Iran if we don't first. Netanyahu has been making the circuit, but before a closely contested election you have to be careful about timing. The Israeli perspective of being wiped off the map is very real....

Posted by: eric at September 20, 2006 8:02 AM

1. Why was the President of the United States spending a perfectly good Tuesday morning in a class of schoolchildren? It's a waste of their time, it's a waste of his. Once you've contorted the job to fit those settings, you shouldn't be too suprised that he doesn't snap back to "warmaker" at the drop of a hat.

2. And don't pretend you were happy when he did. If in that moment Bush had buckled on his killing belt, set his jaw and strode manfully out of the room (in Hitchens' words, "like Russell Crowe"), the left would have been screaming anyway.

The President is not your Dad. He has no PTA responsibilities. (Raise you hand if you admire the Department of Education... Not literacy itself, but the Department of Education.)

He's not "running the show," and we don't pay him to "run the country." We grant the office limited powers for limited terms to *serve* us.

Get real. Most of the preparation for this attack happened during the Clinton administration... All their "whip-smarts" did jack shit for us. The 1993 attack didn't compel Clinton to hunt down Osama, either, and here we are today. Yesterday I was reading a piece that asked what we'd think if the 1993 bombing had been more successful, and had brought the collapse of the towers (surely with much greater losses than 9/11). Would we have assumed that the world was reacting to the election of the man from Hope, and the defeat of Bush 41?

The President is not your Dad. The President is not your Dad. The President is not your Dad. Hillary Rodham is not your Mommy.

Posted by: Crid at September 20, 2006 8:10 AM

I'm not a member of "the left." I'm a member of the few common-sense moderates in America. I was for flattening Afghanistan after 9/11 -- not for going into Iraq, which even the right is admitting to be a mistake now.

I posted this because none of this has really been addressed in the media. What "liberal media." The Bush administration has been given a pass on pretty creepy, nefarious and dubious stuff like no administration before. Give me Clinton's penis any day. Sorry, you know what I mean!

I'm not looking for a mommy or daddy - I'm basically interested in somebody who isn't a mannequin in the office of president as Bush certainly showed himself to be on that day. And what of all these discrepancies? Where WAS that "liberal media" we hear so much about?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 20, 2006 9:14 AM

That's an excellent question. I tihnk that on the morning of 9/11, they (the liberal media) had Bush right where they wanted him: Playing schoolmarm. So why is Michael Moore now complaining that he wasn't butch enough? I don't believe for a minute that you wanted Afghanistan "flattened."

There have been to many good outcomes to call the war in Iraq a mistake. It may be a shitbath, but the Middle East always was, and these were not going to be quiet years no matter what. I'm grateful to those who're still over there, and for those who came back broken and worse.

> like no administration before.

Don't you believe it. There's nothing new under the sun.

Posted by: Crid at September 20, 2006 9:47 AM

He should have leapt out of his chair, changed into his blue tights and red cape, and WHOOShed to the scene. A blast of super-breath could have diverted the second plane, which he then could have caught and lowered down at a safe place, and he could have rigged some sort of big slide at super-speed to help all the people in the WTC get out. Then WHOOSH back to the Daily Planet I mean White House.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 20, 2006 9:59 AM

So Amy, what exactly is Bush? A mannequin or a nefarious world dominating cowboy? Seems to me those are mutually exclusive.

How did you like Clinton's handling of North Korea? Between sending Jimmy (I never met a dictator I didn't like) Carter to negotiate, and then Madeline Albright to go dance and kiss the NORK sun god - everything seemed peachy. But then we find out they were cheating all along, gasp!! who would have guessed. How did that work out for us?

You can have Clinton's Penis, and I won't defend Bush's innefectual WOT, but on the grounds he is too vacilating and has not done enough.

Iran is the terror master. Iran has been attacking the West for 30 years, they are now raising the stakes. Ahmadinnerjacket believes he can bring out the 12th Imam and cause Armageddon. You don't have to trust Bush on this. Just look at what the Iranian regime is saying, and take them at their word.

What should be done with Iran?

Posted by: Jon at September 20, 2006 10:09 AM

Bush is a mannequin who does appearances as a cowboy when the press is around. Not sure who's running the country, but they're doing a crappy job.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 20, 2006 10:23 AM

Do yo think Iran would have been the terror master had we not overthrown their government?

And Crid you claim you are thankful of the soilers fighting and those who have returned broken. If that is true why do you support the administration which cuts veterans funding, and blocks reserch into the effects of brain trauma caused by repeated exposure to blasts by IED's?

And one more thing Crid, if you truly belive that the president is there to sevre us then perhaps you should be a bit more upset with him. After all he proclaimed himself the 'Decider', not a servent of the american people but the man who makes the decisions regarless of what anyone else thinks.

Posted by: LUJLP at September 20, 2006 3:02 PM

It's time for you folks to go read the Constitution and see what the powers of the President and the powers of Congress are.

Remember the protests about the "shadow government", which was merely planning for a successful "first strike" against America? Well, the public is a two faced idiot, thinking that government should go do what we have collectively forbidden them to do. Now you see droolers complaining that they get searched turn around to a camera and say that only those with something to hide should object.

Heinlein's "crazy years" continue, in force.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 20, 2006 3:47 PM

> Do yo think Iran would have
> been the terror master

I think you mean Iraq, unless you're talking about the 1950's. In 2003 it was time for a change. There's the flypaper effect, plus the fact that word's gotten out to all the other dictators out there. Do you think Osama regrets the 9/11 attacks at this point? He very well might.

> why do you support the administration
> which cuts veterans funding

I don't support the administration, I'm just not convinced yet that the invasion of Iraq was the worst possible move.

> you should be a bit more
> upset with him.

Have faith, I'm not much more impressed than anyone else.

> the man who makes the decisions
> regarless of what anyone else
> thinks.

He's just not that independent. There are always incredibly bright and spirited people hanging out around the White House, he knew that from watching three previous administrations up close n' personal.

Posted by: Crid at September 20, 2006 7:07 PM

Amy’s point, if I may clarify for her, was that Bush, who sold himself to this country as the only one who could adequately protect us from harm (and in the process slandering his opponent who was gaining actual combat experience while was in Texas, protecting us from the Flying Viet Cong), has shown himself to be fatally indecisive in the short term (the morning of 9/11) and the long term (Katrina). As far as Christopher “’Scuse my Scotch” Hitchens straw man argument, nobody’s suggesting he should have called for the Football and nuked whatever struck his fancy in the Middle East. The vast majority of the country, left and right, was behind some action, but we did want to know who was behind it. What should he have done? Stood up, told whoever needed to know that there was urgent national business, and found out exactly what was happening. What cities were attacked? Are there still hijacked planes in the air, and do we shoot them down now? What aid has to go where? Are there demands to prevent further attacks? The answers to these questions could have meant life or death on a large scale, and he sat there like an unstrung puppet.
The invasion of Iraq, and the possible invasion of Iran require much more space, but -
There is no ‘flypaper effect,’ ie we’re getting all the Bad Guys in one place so’s we can fight them there. This is like saying, “We’re gonna have one really dirty, squalid hospital, and so all the germs will congregate there.” There is no finite amount of germs, and there is no finite amount of terrorists. Iraq has become both a breeding and training ground for terrorists, with more made every day. We’re making more of them all the time, too. To quote Glenn Greenwald –
For the last four years, the United States has been (and still is) a country which kidnaps other countries' innocent citizens (including those of its own allies); brings them to Jordan, Syria and Egypt to be tortured (sometimes for as long as a year); lies to its allies about what it is doing with their citizens; and then, when the innocent citizens are finally released and they go to an American court to try to obtain compensation from the U.S. government for their disappearance and torture, the Bush administration tells the federal judge that the case must be summarily dismissed because national security would be harmed if the administration were held accountable in a court (and the courts then comply).
I seriously doubt that Osama regrets 9/11, and I’m absolutely sure he loves that we invaded Iraq. Those people tried to arrest him, after all. His long-stated desire has been for a worldwide jihad, Muslims united against the West, and our unilateral invasion of Iraq, the death and civil war there, our country being led by a moron who doesn’t know a Shiite from a Sunni and who just got up in front of God and everybody to tell the world that we really need the right to torture people, has brought more Muslims around to his point of view than there ever would have been before.
What have other dictators learned? We’re losing, for Chrissake. It was not a cakewalk, and we do not control that country. We don’t have the manpower to control it, no matter how many felons, retards, and white supremacists we let in to the armed forces. We certainly can’t fight a two-front war NOW.
Whuff. Thirst now. Lena (claps hands), serve me!

Posted by: cat brother at September 21, 2006 11:39 AM

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