If I could ask bush one question at the debates….

Kos asked his readers to come up with the best questions to throw at bush, and this was my very favorite:

“If Andrew Card came to you in that Florida classroom and told you that your family had been carjacked on September 11, would you still have sat there for seven minutes and done nothing?”

Brilliant. No real leader, no real president would have just sat there doing nothing. Only our own very special, very fortunate son. No one holds him to the traditional standards of leadership (intelligence, compassion, taking command and responsibility). Lucky, lucky little man.

The Discussion: 9 Comments

Since during those 7 minutes nobody knew enough to make any real desisions, the only thing that Bush could have done was to run away.

You are critisizing Bush because he didn’t run away?

You can’t have it both ways, suppose he’d made a bad desision during those 7 minutes, like nuke Iraq. What could he have done, panicked, sworn revenge, run?

September 23, 2004 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

ACB, I’ve written about this at length before. You are saying he had two choices — sit there like an idiot or until he was littlerally dragged out, or start making dramatic decisions. Nonsense. There was no decision to make. There was information to gather. Just as if his wife had been taken hostage — there may not be an immediatre decision to make, but does a true leader just sit there and read, or does he quietly excuse himself and try to find out what’s going on? Which would you do? If you say true leadership and strength are reflected by sitting there and asking no questions and not seeing if there’s anything at all you can do (he is, after all, the president of the United Stastes) — well, then I guess bush is the man. I see it otherwise. One needn’t spring into action or start making decisions willy nilliy — but one does try to assume some leadership, find out what’s happening, and demonstrate that you are at least appearing to be concerned, curious — anything but helpless and apathetic. My leader would have said, “Chiuldren, I have enjoyed my time with you today. I’ve just been told that there are important matters that require my immediate attention, and I am so sorry to have to leave you earlier than I expected. My apoligies, and thank you for letting me be your guest today.” Then he would ask for every single detail available, and get on the phone with his most senior advisors.

September 23, 2004 @ 7:58 pm | Comment


Let me ask you this. What if Card had said something like “We have reports of a plane going into the WTC and I’ll come and get you in a few minutes with the full information”? As ACB implies, 7 minutes is not a huge amount of time – if he had instead spent that seven minutes out the back on the phone along with his advisers, all compiling a set of no doubt conflicting information, would anyone be better off? No. Focussing on such minor points as this does your cause a great disservice. There are plenty of grounds to criticise Bush on; this is not one of them.

September 23, 2004 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

We know exactly what Card said. The words were, “A second plane has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack.” If you think it’s okay for the US president to hear these words and to just sit there looking utterly terrified, for not one, not two, not three but seven whole minutes, not moving until Card came back and literally pushed him out because bush wouldn’t get up himself — well, we all have our ideas as to what constitutes great leadership. You may see that as an example. I don”t. I respect your point of view, but I’ve devoured every piece of information I could about this subject and I believe it was one of the most shocking examples of weakness and indecisiveness in the history of the US presidencey. Literally unprecedented.

Under the circumstances, I can understand why bush reacted this way. But the fact that he has tried to create a myth, an incredible quilt of lies in direct contradiction to what happened, making him seem brave and decisive — that I cannot forgive.

September 23, 2004 @ 10:20 pm | Comment

But Card didn’t tell him his family’s car was hi-jacked. He didn’t tell him that Martians had landed either. What’s your point?

Card told Bush what actually happened — that the second tower had been hit — about which Bush could do absolutely nothing in those seven minutes to alter or address.

As my old Grandaddy used to say “act in haste and repent at leisure.

Oh, and the characterization of Bush as “terrified” is silly.

September 24, 2004 @ 1:20 am | Comment


Somebody’s not been reading my comment properly before they answer it

“There was no decision to make. There was information to gather.”

“during those 7 minutes nobody knew enough to make any real desisions”

We’ve just said exactly the same things.

I agree with Conrad here, what I was atempting to say, without writing an essay, is that during those seven minutes nobody in America had sufficent information to make an executive desision. A firefighter in the field could have acted on what he saw as could an air defense operator, but at that moment there were a lot of very cofused people saying a lot of very different things, and none of them were reliable enough for a presidential level desision.

If Bush had gotten on the telephone then there would be some small children without a morning story, and nothing else.

Bush finished what he was doing knowing that there were people on the ground to do everything and that they could make the desisions far better than he could.

Those seven minutes were dead time, he could have sat in the toilet and read a newspaper, finished reading the story, hit his advicers up for every scrap of information, or have been evacuated to a hardened bunker, it wouldn’t have made any difference at the end of the day.

I remember exactly where I was on 911, my position at the time meant that I had a lot more information than most other people in the world, and I had it comming at me from every angle. We were getting contradicting information hours and even days after the attack.

In those seven minutes I didn’t have enought information to order an evacuation and the attack and I couldn’t have enacted any emrgcy plans based on what I knew.

I didn’t know how serious things in New York or have enough information to act on, and I had a lot more than Card whispering something in my ear.

Get real, we all sat there and read our own versions of that book while we waited to hear what would happen next.

September 24, 2004 @ 3:12 am | Comment

Maybe you didn’t have any information. But did you seek information? Did you ask? Did you get up and try to find out all you could? Within minutes after I knew what was happening, I had called four friends in Hong Kong and I tried to call my parents in the US (all calls were blocked that night). Anyway, we all know where we stand on this. There’s a good video clip that shows the exact occurrence in real time. Maybe you’ll watch it someday and say, “That’s the man I want to lead the world.” But I doubt it.

September 24, 2004 @ 8:12 am | Comment

“Card told Bush what actually happened — that the second tower had been hit — about which Bush could do absolutely nothing in those seven minutes to alter or address.”

Well, no, too late to do anything about the first two planes; the time to act to stop those would have been the months leading up to it, when despite repeated warnings he did nothing. Even so, was the President made aware that there were other planes hijacked and still flying? He should have put himself in a position immediately to make the decisions, such as to shoot down a civilian airliner, that only he could make. What he did was take a seven minute time out during a battle in which, for the first time since, I suppose, the War of 1812, the President was in a role akin to that of battlefield commander in addition to Commander in Chief. He didn’t need to act hastily, but he had a responsibility to be in position to act at once if necessary. Instead, during a fluid and uncertain situation, he did nothing. Seven minutes is a long time for a commander to wait when two major cities (and for all we knew at the time, the entire country) is under enemy fire.

September 24, 2004 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

I have to go with Rob and Richard on Bush’s failure to act. He was the CiC, he had militray training (I think he didn’t miss all of it or maybe this proves he skipped out on the most improtant part, how to be a leader). He could have decided to find out what was going on, asking who, how, why and other important questions. He could have used the 7 minutes to inform himself of the needs for defending the country and where his government was and if it was under attack.

What I would do first at the debate would be to put Bush under oath, so as a natural-born liar he would be subject to perjury penalties, if he lied to the American public to gain votes.

I would ask two quick and easy questions. First, have you ever used, snorted, inhaled, shot, inject, etc., cocaine in your life? Next question, will you or your administration institute, create or reinstitute a military draft in the two years after this coming election, if you win?

September 25, 2004 @ 8:44 am | Comment

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