Non-issue? Bush waiting 7 minutes on 9/11 - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-11-2004, 04:18 AM   #1
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Non-issue? Bush waiting 7 minutes on 9/11

I'm a fan of Real Time with Bill Maher, and in the last couple weeks he's really been harping on the clip from F/911 showing Bush sitting in the Miami classroom for 7 minutes after receiving the news that the nation was under attack.

Here's my thing - is this really that big of an issue? The way Maher and others seem to phrase it, only action by the President would start the ball rolling in terms of securing and protecting the nation, and by sitting there nothing was getting done to protect the country - as if he held the secret code to get things moving. You can be damn sure that the secret service, FBI and CIA were probably already in high gear before the president even got word.

So Bush sat there. In my eyes, yes I would have preferred it if he politely excused himself and immediately got up to attend to the matter at hand, but I also understand that at that point it doesn't take the President to make things happen, and I can understand that he might want to maintain an appearance of calm (though admittedly he could easily have calmly excused himself from the room).

Anyway, yes, I would've preferred if he had gotten up sooner, but it's not a big issue with me, and I can perfectly understand being a little stunned with the news. Now I might prefer a president who didn't remain stunned for 7 minutes, but this is a good example of "making a mountain out of a mole hill," which unfortunately seems to be a favorite tool of both sides in this election.

Anyway, thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2004, 04:22 AM   #2
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I dont know really who this Bill Maher character is, but I would like to know how HE responded when he heard the news. Add the shock everyone felt, then the added bonus of being president of the country, and I'm not surprised W took a few minutes to get into action.

Truly. Is this currently a hot topic in America?
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Old 08-11-2004, 05:07 AM   #3
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In some circles, Angela. It was talked about quite a bit right when F/911 came out, as one of the most "damning" clips of Bush.

Real Time with Bill Maher is a political talk show, essentially. Bill Maher originally had Politically Incorrect on ABC (I think), but they were pretty strict on what they'd let him say and I think basically cancelled his show over a few controversial subjects/statements (I don't know the particulars). He's now moved to HBO, and the show has improved dramatically. There's a definite liberal slant, but it still has fairly open debate between conservatives and liberals alike.
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Old 08-11-2004, 05:20 AM   #4
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Its a pointless topic, frankly Bush would be damned if he does and damned if he doesnt. On one hand he sits there and considers for 7 minutes his options in peace before all hell breaks loose (as it would for a POTUS after the US has been attacked directly) and they paint him as a buffoon. On the other hand he could have stood up and rushed out of the room, he would be labelled a coward. Then he could have just got up and said he had to deal with a threat and he would have been trigger happy, a president who took the country off to war after a single decision in the heat of the moment. I think its better to have a President who can use those minutes as his evacuation is prepared to reflect in peace on what has happened so that he may approach the problem in a clearer manner as more information comes to hand, because as soon as he left that school and got aboard Air Force 1 his situation and the decisions that he made would have real ramifications.
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Old 08-11-2004, 06:48 AM   #5
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Every now and then that clip of his aide leaning over and whispering in his ear gets played and each time I believe I'm looking at a man who has just simply frozen. If he hadn't been in a public place with all those tv cameras on him he would have been able to have a whole discussion, ask questions. But he was in public. This was a man who had spent a considerable amount of time since his election on his ranch and being criticised roughly for it (at least in the UK press). He'd been pretty much isolationist in his foreign policy. He had never, ever expected to be in that situation and he just didn't know what to do. His mind had gone blank, he couldn't even excuse himself and leave the room. I'm surprised his aide didn't have to lean over again and tell him to go!

He spent the next few days running all over the country in panic. He really needed all the advice he could get, as he sure as hell didn't know what to do. I believe that his lack of understanding of foreign affairs is the reason why he was so easily talked into bombing Afghanistan and then destroying Iraq. He "knew" about Iraq from his dad. It wouldn't have taken much to convince him that the way to end world terrorism was to remove Saddam Hussein!
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Old 08-11-2004, 07:00 AM   #6
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a mountain out of a mole hill indeed

it does sort of conflict with his preferred image of the decisive leader
but in the end I can't blame him
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:03 AM   #7
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Mountain out of a mole hill.

He may have figured that if he got up and rushed out, the kids would be upset or confused, and also that there was not a whole lot he could have done at that particular moment. I have no problem with him finishing the story he was reading and then taking the opportunity to slip out. What on Earth do we expect him to have done in those seven minutes?
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:10 AM   #8
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thats funny because moore doesnt harp on the clip much either, for moore that is at least. relative to his other points, this is one he glides over.

there is, of course, also a clip of bush in a sort of town hall meeting where he makes the claim that he watched each of the planes fly into the towers. i half expected to see moore use that.
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:32 AM   #9
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I think maybe 7 mins was a little too long to wait. However, he is responsible for this country and he had just been told we were under attack. I am certain while he was sitting there his wheels were turning as to what to do. I think it's human nature to sit back for a moment after getting shocking news and just go "ok, what now?"
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:39 AM   #10
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Angela, I nearly got tarred and feathered at my birthday party here a few weeks ago for saying it was no big deal. The liberal wankers that make up almost 100% of my friendships here were frothing at the mouths at my take on it.

I really wonder what people think he could have done about it? Truthfully. Having worked with the secret service I am almost willing to bet that they did not have a command and control room set up at the Elementary school. I know they arrived at the hotel I worked at almost a week early to set up for VP Gore when he came to visit.

My recollection was that the aid came in, and if I am not mistaken, they were setting up a press conference room for the president to address the nation. Maybe the aid said finish what you are doing, don't panic the kids, we are setting up for a press conference.

I do believe even Mrs. Kerry...I mean Mrs. Heinz said she felt he acted appropriately.
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:43 AM   #11
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How many people have waited 7 minutes to ask questions or find out what happened when word came that a friend or a loved one had been in an accident, attacked, or fell ill?

You excuse yourself and you get briefed with all your top aids to find out what the hell is going on and what we need to do to stop further attacks that are in place. I think that is the most damning piece is that there were other attacks taking place while he sat there for seven minutes.

It also ruins his, I'm a decisive cowboy type of a leader bullshit he's come up with for himself. I think anyone who really believes he's thinking of what to do, or coming up with ideas is fooling themselves. How many hundreds of other planes were in the sky at that time that could have been weapons? Bush wouldn't know the magnitude until briefed.

I think it was a cowardly mistake.
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:02 AM   #12
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If you took the time to review the 9/11 commission report then you would know that there was a huge failure of communication from the first plane striking until the end of the attack, the Air Force wasn't able to scamble the planes, relaying of orders and information through the various chains of command had trouble. Blaming Bush for not standing up and taking instant action when nobody knew all the facts is a very short sighted and dare I say it ignorant view of the many problems that occured on that most awful day. Do you honestly think that if President Bush had left the room instantly and left the later attacks would have been averted? Would you rather he hurried up in taking action by ordering the bombing of every hostile government quickly? What do you think could have been done in those 7 minutes knowing that the fuelling and takeoff preparations for AF1 take time and that nobody knew the full scale of what was going on?

It is very, very easy to condemn a leader for taking seven minutes while their security detail organized a proper evacuation to sit and consider what is happening, John Kerry himself admits to sitting shocked for 40 minutes upon hearing about the attacks, President Bush wields a massive ammount of power, not jumping straight into the fray and instead using that time to consider the situation was probably a much better thing to do than stand up, leave and sit like a stunned mullet during the following hours. If this must be made into an issue then I think that President Bush made no mistake at all and it most certainly does not reflect badly on his character, attempting to paint a picture of his mind based on those 7 minutes is quite a subjective piece. I would say that it shows a man who considers his options, who thinks about what is going on and it totally discredits the picture of an imbecile cowboy wannabe who will blow up any country with oil that is hurled out by many.
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
If you took the time to review the 9/11 commission report then you would know that there was a huge failure of communication from the first plane striking until the end of the attack, the Air Force wasn't able to scamble the planes, relaying of orders and information through the various chains of command had trouble. Blaming Bush for not standing up and taking instant action when nobody knew all the facts is a very short sighted and dare I say it ignorant view of the many problems that occured on that most awful day. Do you honestly think that if President Bush had left the room instantly and left the later attacks would have been averted? Would you rather he hurried up in taking action by ordering the bombing of every hostile government quickly? What do you think could have been done in those 7 minutes knowing that the fuelling and takeoff preparations for AF1 take time and that nobody knew the full scale of what was going on?
I think you are confusing the issue. I nor is anyone else saying he could have ordered action in the first seven minutes. So excusing yourself right away is not hurrying yourself into anything. I'm saying that our country is under attack and the only thing he knows is that planes have hit buildings. Everyone watching TV or listening to the radio knew as much if not more than the president did at that time.

A co-worker of mine had found out his mother was in a car accident while we were in an important meeting. There wasn't anything he could to help her right at that moment, but he excused himself to find out the severity and so that he can start to think about how he was going to get home. This is what I would expect from a president who heard we were under attack. I'd rather disrupt a classroom of kids rather than put any more lives in danger if I thought 1 second would matter.
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:31 AM   #14
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I actually don't think this is much of an issue. As I understand it, Bush thought panicking would have been a really bad idea. It might have freaked the kids out. It was perhaps the weakest argument in Fahrenheit 9/11 to me.
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:48 AM   #15
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I think that there is a large difference between responding to a loved one being in a car crash and leaving a meeting and having your security detail prepare a smoothly coordinated and timed evacuation for a leader. There would be nothing of concequince that Bush could do until he got to Air Force 1 and get the information about what was going on, the timing of preparing the plane and evacuation meant that he could either have waited in the classroom or waited in transit. I think that spending those brief few minutes considering what is going on and gaining some composure and deal with whats going on is a much better attribute for a leader than to jump up, leave and then be dealing with the attacks as the situation builds around him. I will track down some articles tomorrow on those minutes written by a teacher who was actually in the room at the time and thinks that his response was right and reflects in a positive manner.

You just called the president a coward, poor form.
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