When the World Trade Centre was being destroyed by insurgents bent on the destruction of the West, (now) former President George W. Bush was at a grade school
learning how to read inspecting his future troops observing how teachers are severely underpaid doing a publicity event and making himself available to the youth of the nation, which ultimately is pretty cool. Part of the job of the leader of any country is to let the people know that essentially, they are your boss. Check that. Part of the job of the leader of any democratically governed country is letting the people know that they are your boss.
He was watching the teacher teach, and he was watching the students, who were more than pleased that the President of the United States, the greatest country on earth, was at *their* school, listening to *them* read. And maybe he was thinking “this is pretty cool.” Maybe he was thinking “I have to go pee.” Maybe he was thinking “I can’t imagine doing this all day, every day. Man. My job is EASY.” Maybe he was thinking, “oh, THAT’s how you spell ‘kite'”. I don’t know.
When the World Trade Towers were destroyed, his aides were at a loss. They didn’t know what to do. Nothing like this had ever happened on mainland US soil…and certainly not in an age when communication is instantaneous. They knew they had to tell the President. These ‘aides’ are men and women trained in combat, security, and all kinds of other military stuff. They’re not really trained in tact, I suppose. I can imagine that when they approached GWB (Great Western Breweries?) they said something like, “Mister President, a second airplane has just hit the World Trade Centre; we’re at war.”
People have criticised GWB for staying in that classroom and continuing on with the children in the grade three classroom. Bill Maher, I believe, was apoplectic because it takes less than seven minutes for a ballistic missile to be discharged and release its payload (or whatever the phrase is for ‘burninate the countryside‘), and GWB spent fully seven minutes in that kids’ classroom….which is terrible, because…he had…nobody else on staff…who could make a decision…about…what to do…if a CRUISE MISSILE WAS LAUNCHED AT THE STATES!??
Really, Bill Maher?
The fact of the matter is that until it happened, nobody suspected that two *passenger* planes would be used as bombs. Well, maybe a few people would have suspected it, but nobody was listening to them. It was something no-one wanted to believe. That’s kind of the nature of ‘terrorism’ – to cause terror…by using forms of insurgency that are so out of the expected that they *cause terror*.
I don’t really know why this is on my mind right now. All I can say is that I always felt sorry for GWB that day. He’d never had to face anything like that in his lifetime. The only other direct foreign attack on “US Soil” would have been Pearl Harbour, four or five years before he was born. And it wasn’t like the Oklahoma City bombing, because that was done by US citizens…not to say it wasn’t terrorism, or that it wasn’t completely unexpected, but that the former President of the US had never had the experience of dealing with a foreign attack on US soil.
I felt sorry for him because he didn’t know what to do. I have no doubt that his stomach was in knots; that he was sweating. I have no doubt that he didn’t know what to do. I don’t think I would have either. Stand up and tell the teacher and the students, “I’m sorry, but I have to leave. There is an emergency”? Why didn’t his aides announce “I’m sorry, but the President is needed on urgent matters.” They knew (and had informed GWB, reportedly) that another plane had slammed into the WTC at 8:45 that morning. At that point, everyone was still assuming it was an accident. So what was he supposed to do?
Anyway, I’m not fond of the man’s politics, and I’m not fond of the way he went about doing things, but I’ve always felt sorry for him on that day.
*At the end of their comedy/variety show, George Burns would say to his wife Grace: “Say ‘goodnight’, Gracie.” And she would smile and look at the camera with her big, gorgeous eyes, “Goodnight, Gracie.” I always thought he treated her badly. She wasn’t an idiot, but you’d never know it from the way he treated her. Of course, that was television, and television in a time when women were much more subjugated/oppressed than they are today.