Follow The Leader

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Follow The Leader

This article is much liberal ado about nothing. When notified of the attack, our president fulfilled his role as commander in chief, by following protocol, and continued working where he belonged, at the helm of our country via his airborne command post. We were attacked. We responded appropriately. And that response continues, clearly, surely and with the appropriate amount of deadly force and diplomacy. Re-elect W. When it comes to our nation's security, he has earned your vote.

Follow The Leader

John Prados is an analyst with the National Security Archive in Washington, DC, and author, most recently, of The White House Tapes;
Eavesdropping on the President.
The outcry over the first series of political commercials for President George W. Bush was swift and heartfelt. Using images of victims of
the 9/11 attacks and firefighters responding to the emergency at the World Trade Center, the ads trumpeted President Bush’s “steady”
leadership. Families of the victims and representatives of the firefighters charged that the White House is using 9/11 to advance a political
agenda. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani tried to deflect this criticism by emphasizing that Bush’s leadership has been steady. But
the commercials themselves beg the question: What did President Bush do on 9/11? Giuliani himself framed the Bush question this way:
“His leadership on that day is central to his record.” Over the weekend that followed initial broadcast of the Bush campaign commercials both sides took positions on the appropriateness of
their content. Democrats protested the imagery. President Bush, who in January 2002, when seeking an extra budget appropriation for his
war on terrorism, had told congressional leaders, “I have no ambition whatsoever to use this as a political issue,” backed away from that
undertaking. From his Crawford, Texas, ranch on March 6 Bush declared, “I will continue to speak about the effects of 9/11 on our country
and my presidency.” Echoing Rudy Giuliani, Bush added, “how this administration handled that day, as well as the war on terror, is worthy of
discussion.” A leader marches to the sound of the guns. George Washington, Robert E. Lee or Napoleon would have done that. Rudy Giuliani did do
that. After the first plane struck the Twin Towers, he went immediately to the World Trade Center and helped supervise emergency efforts
there. But what exactly did George W. Bush do? On that crystalline day in September, President Bush was at the Emma Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. Bush was to participate
in a conference and some reading demonstrations in support of his “No Child Left Behind” education program. Learning of the terrorist
attacks, President Bush made a brief televised statement in which he said he had spoken to Vice President Dick Cheney, FBI director
Robert Mueller and New York Governor George Pataki. He called the terrorists “folks” and promised a full investigation. Then he left for the
airport. Air Force One was wheels up from Sarasota at 9:57 a.m., a little over 20 minutes after Bush’s first statement. At that point the president, the
commander-in-chief, had three choices. Bush could have returned to Washington, where the Pentagon had also been hit by one of the
terrorist planes, and where the president had told the nation he was headed. Bush could have gone to New York City, which had sustained
the most grievous blows in the 9/11 attacks. What he chose—the third option—was to flee somewhere else to refuel, then remain in the air.
The president’s plane flew to Barksdale Air Force Base outside Shreveport, La. By choosing to fly to a remote location far away from the site
of the attacks, Bush acquiesced to the demands of his security people. At the moment of the initial decision there was still some reason for
the moving out of danger, because one of the terrorist aircrafts, Flight 77, was still airborne, but it crashed in Pennsylvania at 10:10 a.m.,
only a few minutes into Bush’s flight. Did Bush march to the sound of the guns? Did he go to New York where his presence would have been the symbol of a nation unbowed?
No. Instead, at about 10:40 a.m., when Air Force One picked up a fighter escort near Jacksonville, Bush accepted Cheney’s advice not to
return immediately to Washington. Because every aircraft over the United States except official planes got orders to land, air traffic controllers and military air defense
commanders could verify within a few hours that the airborne terrorist threat had ended. Certainly the situation had been clarified by 12:36,
when Bush spoke again to the nation from Barksdale, looking flustered on television but promising the United States would track down the
perpetrators. An hour later Air Force One was back in the air—the real situation clearer yet—but Bush flew to Offut Air Force Base at Omaha,
headquarters of the Air Combat Command, not to either Washington or New York. Offut had a secure command post where Bush could
teleconference with his top national security people, but he could have done that even more easily in Washington. Only late in the day did
the president return to the East coast. He stepped onto White House grounds at about 7:00 that evening. Three days after the attacks President Bush finally went to New York. This sorry record is not one of steady leadership, nor does it show a
decisive president willing to override poor advice. The official record of Presidents of the United States, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, which would have to have
recorded Bush’s statements of the morning and afternoon of 9/11, never appeared for the week of September 11, 2001. The remarks
appeared only much later on the White House website. President Bush also went to extraordinary lengths to shield from public scrutiny his
inaction on the terrorist threat before 9/11, including denial of documents to congressional investigators and a public commission, the use
of secrecy rules to suppress embarrassing information and the manipulation of the scope of inquiry and its deadline to ensure
investigators had minimal time in which to review the key issue of Bush’s leadership on terrorism. In contrast to this disturbing performance, George Bush went on to take every opportunity to harness 9/11 in service of his political agenda,
contrary to his own promises of 2002. A carefully orchestrated World Trade Center speech on the first anniversary of the attacks, the use of
the Statue of Liberty as backdrop for a 9/11 commemoration a year later, now the Bush political ads. This is leadership of a different kind.source: [url=]

Re: Follow The Leader


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Joined: 01/04/2003 - 1:01am
Re: Follow The Leader

Sometimes reading some of these posts make my brain hurt... This is like reading the accusations of some people here that President Bush was "reading to school children while the Towers were being attacked", implying that Bush was ignoring what was happening. If the terrorists had simply had the politeness to notify the President in advance of their plans, I'm sure that he would have cleared his schedule and been at the White House (or would you prefer one of the Twin Towers?) ready to respond.
As for the accusation of lack of leadership...Air Force One is a flying command post. The President is in complete comunication with the military and everyone else he wants to talk to, and he was on 9/11. As for why he didn't fly back immediately to Washington when (with 20-20 hindsight) we now know the skies were clear, he wisely obeyed the instructions of the professionals whose business it is to keep the President (ANY President) alive and functioning. We had no idea what else might be coming for a follow-up attack. Yes, the airplanes were grounded, but what else (truck bombs, ATOMIC bombs, gas etc.) might be about to happen. I might also point out that we had no idea at 10 AM on 9/11 who was responsible for the attacks, and therefore did not know what resources they had available to them. And I don't know about anybody else, but I was hearing enough rumors and (incorrect as it turned out) news reports to make me wonder if the country was about to come under general attack, maybe even here, Beyond Flyover Country.
One more little point about leadership: I remember many, many people talking about how relieved they were that it was W running things and not Gore--even democrats. I still am.

Re: Follow The Leader

quote:Originally posted by Vikingstar:
[b]Sometimes reading some of these posts make my brain hurt... I remember many, many people talking about how relieved they were that it was W running things and not Gore--even democrats. I still am.[/b]

Ha! You should have been around one un-named State University... the professors I spoke to were evenly split... half wanted Gore, the other half lamented that Clinton wasn't still in power! Make that half minus one.

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It's long after the fact, but

It's long after the fact, but liberals, including John F'ing Kerry, really went after President Bush for staying with the grade school kids until their story was finished on the morning of 9-11. It's interesting to hear what the kids thought of the moment....

There has rarely been a starker juxtaposition of evil and innocence than the moment President George W. Bush received the news about 9/11 while reading The Pet Goat with second-graders in Sarasota, Fla...Even today, she's grateful that Bush regained his composure and stayed with the students until The Pet Goat was finished. "I think the President was trying to keep us from finding out," says Guerrero, "so we all wouldn't freak out." (72)

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