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August 06, 2004

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capt joe

This must be the same john Kerry that said he was unable to think or do anything from the first plane until one hit the pentagon. That's 40 mins.

Kerry is parroting Moores talking points.

Dimmy Karras

Kerry was directly answering a question from a reporter about what he would have done had he been in the classroom, as Bush was. It's not a political attack simply to answer a question about what you would do in a certain situation, without referring to your opponent.

ed

Hmmm.

"It's not a political attack simply to answer a question about what you would do in a certain situation, without referring to your opponent."

Yes it is.

If he had any class, and wished to avoid attacking, he could have answered that in any number of ways.

Otherwise, as an example, if a reporter asked President Bush if his opponent was a 'wife-swapping athiest syphillitic bastard who deserved to hang' and the President answered 'yes'. Would YOU consider that an attack? Or just answering a reporter's question?

No double-standards please. It's hard enough following Kerry's zig-zags.

ed

Or, perhaps more to the point, with this example:

"Mr. President. If you were commanding a SWIFT boat in Vietnam during the month of December in 1968 and another boat in your unit hit a mine, would you immediately run away so fast that a member of your crew fell off the boat? Would you run away leaving that stricken boat to fend for itself and it's crew to survive however best they may at the tender mercies of the vicious VietCong? Would you be so cowardly?"

Well? Is it an attack? Or just answering a question?

alan in louisville

I think I'm gonna stop following the Kerry stories. I almost got whip-lash on that last 180 degree turn.

Tim

It's reasonably obvious Kerry gets away with it because he knows the mainstream news media isn't going to call him on it, ever. And since (presumably) swing voters still pay attention to mainstream news media, it's very likely to be an effective campaign tactic.

Last time around, the mainstream news media did a reasonably credible job of calling Al Gore on his numerous fibs, mistatements of fact, fabrications and lies. The mainstream news media is profoundly unhappy with that result (as it didn't succeed in stopping Bush from becoming President), so they're going to take a different tack this time.

It will pay off for them until, of course, the dirty bomb goes off in Manhattan. Then they'll regret it.

Jay

I'm no Kerry fan, but I would hardly call that quote a low-road attack.

He actually said what he would DO, rather than just complaining.

Jake

Wow, you must be wearing waffle-colored glasses. Flip-flops everywhere.

Nice to see another out-of-touch Republican has drunk the Kool-Aid.

vdibart

Dear Talking Point Devotees:

Could someone please explain to me how those statements contradict each other? The 2nd statement does none of the following (as requested in the 1st): build angry division, disrespect diversity, disrespect W., misuse the Constitution.

I guess the strongest case could be made for disrespecting Bush, but I'm not convinced. Did he say "You are a fool for what you did?". He said what he would do differently. Hard to argue that it's disrespect.

vdibart

"if a reporter asked President Bush if his opponent..."

Actually, that would be the reporter attacking the President by proxy. I realize this trick might be a little hard to distinguish if you find Fox News to be "fair and balanced."

Greg

Or, perhaps more to the point, with this example:

"Mr. President. If you were commanding a SWIFT boat in Vietnam during the month of December in 1968 and another boat in your unit hit a mine, would you immediately run away so fast that a member of your crew fell off the boat? Would you run away leaving that stricken boat to fend for itself and it's crew to survive however best they may at the tender mercies of the vicious VietCong? Would you be so cowardly?"

Well? Is it an attack? Or just answering a question?

----

Of course that's an attack. Why? because 1) it has nothing to do with being President. 2) it has the word cowardly in it, implying that his opponent is a coward, hence, name-calling, and 3) no one knows what really happened in those swamps except for the people who were there. However, we all saw on tv how long it took the President to act like a President.

So, you think it's an attack if Kerry says how he would handle the job he's running for differently? That's rich.

I will give Bush credit though, he is telling the truth that he's coming up with new ways to hur the American people all the time.

That was an attack, but I'm not running for office.

Crank

Maybe he wasn't talking about Bush. He didn't mention him by name.

McGehee

I wouldn't vote for a flip-flopping, rich-widow-marrying-for-her-inherited-money, Secret-Service-agent-namecalling jackass who thinks just because he won medals in a war more than 30 years ago that the world owes him the presidency.

Was I talking about Kerry? I didn't mention him by name.

Cliffie

Interesting. Whereas Kerry and co. were paralyzed for 40 minutes, Bush had grasped the situation and the appropriate response in 8. And without upsetting the kids.

Even more interesting ... anti-authority types - which is how Dick Parsons, the chairman of Time Warner, characterizes his liberal journalists - tend to have lower IQs ... See John Ray's "Anti-authoritarianism: An Indicator of Pathology."

Non-sequitur? It depends ... most Bush-haters seem to be in this mode these days.

The mysteries of life ...

Bill

I actually was in front of a college freshman history class an hour after the planes hit. As they filed into the room, shell shocked, I sat patiently waiting--until about 5 or 10 minutes after the class was scheduled to begin. I was speechless. I had no idea what to say. Fortunatly, my students bailed me out after I admitted that "I have no idea what's going on." Anyone who mocks, or feigns superiority to, someone in front of kids on 9/11 who sat in startled silence for a few minutes has no shame.

Brian

A few things.

"Show pony. How would Kerry have "attended to it"? Thrown his medals at the remaining hijacked aircraft? Testified before Congress? Hugged Max Cleland?"

I know this is from the other guy's blog, but I'm going to comment on it here. It's almost laughable that someone considers this an intelligent, reasoned response.

As for Kerry's supposed hypocritical inactivity, well, okay, it's slightly hypocritical. But remember, he wasn't the leader of the fucking free world. Kerry was a senator and was not in a position of leadership. He also didn't sit there in front of a group of children. He was with his other senators.

Sean

Let's see if the kindler and gentler John Kerry could have come up with a different answer: "Any answer I give would have the benefit of hindsight. I cannot say how I would respond to an unprecedent attack on our nation other than to say I would do the best I could and hope I would not make the situation worse by acting rashly and guessing without all the facts."

Oh. That's what George W. Bush DID do on 9-11 and there's no political gain to be had in pointing that out.

vdibart

"most Bush-haters seem to be in this mode these days."

Fabulous! A entirely new attack on the liberals - they're all dumb because they won't accept W's/Cheney's/Wolfowitz's/Rove's authority. I guess you'd have to lump in all those people around the world who don't exactly admire W either. Once you're done with that, it leaves the right where they are most comfortable - feeling morally superior to everyone else. Isn't there a saying about the person who thinks everyone else is crazy....?

Scott P

As I understand it, Pres. Bush was only told that a plane had struck one of the towers. No one, I mean no one, had any idea at that point what was about to happen.

Brian

"Oh. That's what George W. Bush DID do on 9-11 and there's no political gain to be had in pointing that out"

Do we know exactly what he was told? Was it something like, "Sir, the nation is under attack"? Or was it something like, "Sir, there is a serious problem"?

c

Wow. You Bush apologists are having a real problem dealing with the fact that he's going to go down hard this fall.

I didn't do anything about it when I was told of the (second) plane going into a tower, but _that's not my job_. It is Bush's and he obviously isn't up to it.

Carry on.

HH

"But remember, he wasn't the leader of the fucking free world. Kerry was a senator and was not in a position of leadership."

A senator from Massachusetts who was warned about security problems at Logan airport... might have been a good idea if he had taken 40 minutes to check up on that.

vdibart

"hope I would not make the situation worse by acting rashly and guessing without all the facts"

No, actually, that's what Bush did with Iraq ;)

Brian

"As I understand it, Pres. Bush was only told that a plane had struck one of the towers."

So he was struck cold after only one plane, whereas Kerry was struck cold with his fellow senators after two planes.

R C Dean

Get a grip, people. Nothing Bush could have done in those seven minutes would have made the slightest difference. The seven minutes is utterly inconsequential.

The same is true of Kerry's 40 minute paralysis. Neither pause really illustrates anything meaningful about the men involved.

Now, the fact that Kerry is using the seven minute pause highlighted in Moore's movie (nobody cared about it before F'ing 911), that says something about Kerry. And what it says is not especially good.

He was civil in the way he brought it up, though. If the fact that a prevaricating, pompous poser is also civil makes you feel better, well, good on ya.

Brian

"A senator from Massachusetts who was warned about security problems at Logan airport... might have been a good idea if he had taken 40 minutes to check up on that."

He was warned, when exactly? Hours beforehand? And what exactly was said to him? Those are two basic questions that your statement glosses over.

Pat

Card: Mr. President, we are under attack
President Bush: 'my pet goat is pretty'

vdibart

"Nothing Bush could have done in those seven minutes would have made the slightest difference"

Not entirely true. The 9/11 commission points out there was only 15 minutes between the *second* plane hitting the tower and the plane that crashed in Penn taking off. Theoretically that outcome could have changed, but the chances were small and the possible outcomes wouldn't have varied too much I think. Still, I think the spirit of your post is correct.

David Meyer

Lets not forget that Cheney had to give shoot-down authoirzation in lieu of Bush. While he was sitting there, Dick Cheney was running the country. Not legal, not what he was elected for.

Mitchell

Ya'll just don't realize the restraint Kerry is showing. What he really wanted to say, in re "not sitting there for 8 minutes was"....

"If I, John Kerry had been President on that terrible day, when informed that a plane had struck the WTC, I would have calmly excused myself from the classroom, and immediately scrambled jets to prevent the other 3 hijacked jets from completing their deadly missions. I could have handled the situation much better than Bush because, well, I spent 4 months in Viet Nam, so I just respond better under pressure. By the way, my war of terror would have been much more sensitive than President Bushs' has been. If I had been President, even now, 25 million Iraqis wouldn't be burdened with the hard choices of democracy."

The Republicans are just SOOOO lucky that Kerry is restraining his superior intellect and making a real election out of things. Sheesh.

Brian

"Lets not forget that Cheney had to give shoot-down authoirzation in lieu of Bush. While he was sitting there, Dick Cheney was running the country. Not legal, not what he was elected for."

Interestingly enough, an episode or two of "The West Wing" dealt with something like this, after President Bartlet was shot. I think it was "In the Shadow of a Gunmen, Parts I & II."

Brian

"The Republicans are just SOOOO lucky that Kerry is restraining his superior intellect and making a real election out of things. Sheesh."

Even Bush doesn't make such stupid statements like the one you created - at least most of the time.

Mitchell

Brian, try to wrap your tiny little brain around the following FACTS.

FACT 1. A plane hit the WTC. This was communicated almost immediately to the President. That was all that was known for sure at that time.

FACT 2. Nobody knew for sure it was a terrorist attack at that time. Almost everyone had to have wondered if it were, but nobody at that time had the knowledge to confirm it was a terrorist attack.

FACT 3. This uncertainity would have existed if Clinton had been in office. It had nothing to do with who was President. It had to do with holes in our systems. It was not Bush's fault that these holes existed, any more than it was Clinton's fault.

FACT 4. Kerry would not have had one single bit more information had he been President that day.

So what makes you think he would have done anything differently? Until more information came in, it was simply not possible to confirm that an attack was taking place.

Kerry making statements suggesting that he would have "done something" never get followed up by "and this is what he would have done."

I find it pretty typical that I would mock the candidate and that you mock the person who made the statement. It's so.... liberal. But when you're not smart enough to challenge the statement, I guess the only thing left is to start calling names. Besides, when you're calling names, those pesky facts get ignored.......

I wish you the best, because you celarly aren't there yet, kiddo.

Brian

"FACT 4. Kerry would not have had one single bit more information had he been President that day."

With regards to intelligence information prior to the attacks, I am not sure that is true.

"So what makes you think he would have done anything differently? Until more information came in, it was simply not possible to confirm that an attack was taking place."

Nobody was asking Bush to be this omniscent force. It's a matter of what he did to find out what happened.

"I find it pretty typical that I would mock the candidate and that you mock the person who made the statement. It's so.... liberal."

Wow, and then you respond with this: "But when you're not smart enough to challenge the statement, I guess the only thing left is to start calling names."

-----

"But when you're not smart enough to challenge the statement, I guess the only thing left is to start calling names."

I wasn't calling you stupid; I said that your statement was stupid. And it was.

The problem is that you have an indefensible statement. Hypotheticals and irrelevant information don't constitute a reasoned response.

"Besides, when you're calling names, those pesky facts get ignored......."

I'm not ignoring any facts.

JAL

You'll be interested to know that on the Editor & Publisher web page ("America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry")yesterday the description of the Kerry interaction at the Unity Convention included this:

"Referring to the moment, now immortalized in Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," when Bush refused to leave a group of schoolchildren in Florida for seven minutes after being notified of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, Kerry told the journalists ...."

Today's version of the story has changed "refused" to "chose" -- a better but still somewhat pejorative nuance. Someone pointed out that it was a bit, umm -- strange, to use the word "refused."

BTW - check out the sponsors of the Unity Convention. https://www.unityjournalists.org/DC2004/sponsors04.html

Nancy

You are speaking of our President. A decent man who has done all in his power to protect our Country. Not an easy job. I do not understand why some of you are so angry with him. What has he done to you? I appreciate the job that he has done and am grateful for the fact that we have not been hit again.

Larry

"As for Kerry's supposed hypocritical inactivity, well, okay, it's slightly hypocritical. But remember, he wasn't the leader of the fucking free world. Kerry was a senator and was not in a position of leadership."

So? He WANTS to be in a position of leadership. If Bush's immediate reaction at the time reflects badly on him as CIC, why doesn't Kerry's reaction reflect on how he would deal with the same situation as CIC?

Cris

Has anyone ever considered that maybe the guy whispering in Bush's ear said
"...but it's going to take us a few minutes to be ready to leave here, so just sit tight."?

stan

Nancy, he's done nothing to them. He's been civil, he's worked with them when possible (No Child Left Behind, etc.) and he's lead with conviction. Oh, come to think of it, THAT'S what he's done to them.

It's pure politics. As an example, what did they do when Bush 1, in the spirit of bipartisanship agreed with the Democrat Congress to swallow some tax hikes (and break his pledge) in exchange for budget cuts? They refused to make the cuts they promised and hung him out to dry for agreeing to higher taxes. They're purely political beasts and nothing, nothing good come from forgetting that.

j.pickens

John Kerry can't even orchestrate a sit-down at a Wendy's restaurant successfully. What makes anyone think he could run this country better than Bush????

Trevor Saccucci

Brian:

You seem to put a premium on quick reactions to unexpected circumstances; you apparently expect that President Bush should have reacted faster and with more focus to the first aircraft striking the WTC.

I first learned about the initial WTC plane crash from a secretary in my office building who had been listening to a radio the morning it happened; my first reaction was that it might well have been a terrible accident. A little later I could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon through the window of one of an office on one of the higher floors of my office building.

I of course figured that terrorism was involved after the second plane crash, but I certainly didn't know who was responsible then.

So, Brian, like I said, you seem to value quick and focussed reactions in the face of surprise disasters. Well, here's a challenge for you, and it dosen't even involve a disaster: I'm going to return to this site in about eight minutes; use all the information you can gather about me in that time, and predict what I'm going to write when I revisit the site.

Trevor Saccucci
The sinner plunged, then floated up and stretched out, and the devils underneath the bridge all shouted: "You shouldn't imitate the Holy Face!

The swimming's dofferent here from in the Serchio!
We have our grappling-hooks along with us -
don't show yourself above the pitch, or else!"

-Dante's Inferno (Mark Musa, translator), Canto XXI, lines 46-51.

BradDad

Of course Kerry was taking a slam at the President.

1. Kerry knows - and knew - full well that Michael Moore has made fun of the President & pretty much charged him with dereliction of duty for not leaping from his chair & rushing from the room.

2. The whole premise of the question was to let Kerry implicitly agree with Moore's charge by saying he'd have acted immediately.

3. Faced with that question, Kerry had two choices -

One: He could've said "I'm sorry, I'm not going to answer that question because I'm not interested in taking cheap shots at President Bush. This election is about things much more important than whether President Bush sat in that Florida classroom for seven minutes too long - I'm going to talk about those important things."

Two: He could answer the question & say he'd have acted immediately, thereby assuring the questioner - and everyone similarly disposed - that he agrees with Michael Moore.

It's a sign of Kerry's character that he chose the latter.

Trevor Saccucci

Interesting. I got no response from Brian in the timeframe I'd specified - and while I started typing in the post at my eight minute deadline, it took me about five minutes to finish and post the comment - and I even made a typo in the process.

There were likely a variety of factors involved in Brian not replying to my challenge.

For starters, it's likely that he wasn't reading the site when I posted my challenge.

Even if he had been, he would have had only eight minutes to scour the web for information about me which he could have used in an attempt to predict what I would write next.

Even if Brian had read my challenge and assiduously scoured the web for eight (or fifteen) minutes - even if he had known me all his life - that information probably wouldn't have allowed him to predict what I would write with any significant specificity or accuracy.

And that leaves out the fact that I could have reacted to Brian's prediction ex post facto, and adjusted my response to ensure that it didn't conform to his expectations.

To any readers who might claim that my challenge to Brian wasn't fair, let me say this: hard cheese.

Life isn't fair. Terrorism isn't fair, and terrorists don't play by Marquis of Queensbury rules, so I didn't either. Terrorists can react to those who react to them, so I was prepared to tailor my response to negate Brian's response to me.

In order to win a game of "How do I Respond?", it helps to remember that the surpiser always has the advantage of being not entirely predictible to the surprisee. Under certain circumstances, depending upon the nature of the surprise, this advantage can be completely insurmountable.

KMan

Yes, SuperJohn would have thrown on his cape, called to his trusty sidekick, and flew up to intercept all those bad Islamic terrorists. Then he would have flown backwards around the globe and reversed time, so that the attack would never even have happened.

Actually, who am I kidding? Kerry doesn't even believe that we are at war NOW, much less 2 minutes after the first plane hit.

Peter

Moore, and now Kerry, are suggesting that President Bush immediately jump up. To do what? An aircraft crashed into a building. At the time the New York networks, headquartered within walking distance of WTC were reporting conflicting information, it was even broadcast that it was a small private plane.
What makes this downright despicable is that Senator Kerry now travels with a Secret Service detail. He knows how long it takes to change a scheduled move. He knows, or would know if he looked out the window of the limo, how many different law enforcement officers, from different agencies, are involved in something so simple as leaving an event and getting to the airplane.
Had Dubya jumped up and channeled Batman and exclaimed "to the Batplane, Robin!" he would have been standing around with his thumb up his ass waiting for his protective detail to give the word to go.
I was involved in a Presidential visit as a young deputy sheriff. We had a patrol car blocking every street that crossed the route of the motorcade, City Police, Sheriff's office, State Troopers, Feds, hell we had a couple of Game Wardens blocking streets. The Pres went by, we all went on break, the Pres left the event, we were back in place, blocing the streets again. That motorcade didn't move until everyone was in place and an advance car had driven the route.
Tell me that Senator Kerry doesn't know this.
THAT'S why this is a cheap shot.

Deaconess

I am SO GLAD you said this. I've been thinking it for a few days and wondering why NO ONE is calling Kerry on it. A week after 'let's be optimists, let's take the high road' he calls Bush supporters 'goons' and does this Mighty Mouse, 'here-I-am-to-save-the-day' nonsense, and his wife talks about a Bush presidency being Hell.

That's some high road.

Brian

"If Bush's immediate reaction at the time reflects badly on him as CIC, why doesn't Kerry's reaction reflect on how he would deal with the same situation as CIC?"

It's a matter of what is required, or at least is in theory, of a CIC. He's someone who leads. Kerry wasn't in that position, so he wasn't required to do that on 9/11. He didn't need to give orders about planes or tell cabinent secretaries what to do or order troops to different loctions, or things like that.

It's not the weightiest point, but it's something.

Brian

"So, Brian, like I said, you seem to value quick and focussed reactions in the face of surprise disasters. Well, here's a challenge for you, and it dosen't even involve a disaster: I'm going to return to this site in about eight minutes; use all the information you can gather about me in that time, and predict what I'm going to write when I revisit the site."

What in the world are you trying to prove?

Brian

"It's a sign of Kerry's character that he chose the latter."

It's more a sign of the nature of politics in our time. But it's probably a mix of both.

Brian

"In order to win a game of "How do I Respond?", it helps to remember that the surpiser always has the advantage of being not entirely predictible to the surprisee. Under certain circumstances, depending upon the nature of the surprise, this advantage can be completely insurmountable."

You are setting up a false argument.

Bruce Moomaw

Would Tom mind telling us why Bush should NOT have done precisely what Kerry said he would have done (and what any person with an IQ above 80 would have done)? And why criticizing a public official for acting like an idiot who has endangered his country is immorally divisive, if that official DID do just that?

And, Trevor: Kerry (and even Michael Moore) are not criticizing Bush for not leaving the room after the FIRST airliner hit the WTC -- it was easy to assume that that might be an accident, just like the big plane that hit the Empire State Building in 1944. They are criticizing him for sitting there like a stuffed pig in that classroom for 7 sraight minutes after Andrew Card told him that a SECOND plane had hit the WTC. The fact that Tom thinks it's immoral to utter a word of criticism of Bush for that serves as strong evidence (though not the first evidence) that the Minuteman's clock has stopped.

Brian

"Tell me that Senator Kerry doesn't know this."

I'm not going to take up a lot of space by posting all that was above this statement, so I will just post it and respond.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that Kerry is making a cheap shot because he knows how organized and detailed the Secret Service plans are. It's unfair and wrong to criticize Bush for sitting there because, as they always are, the Secret Service plans were detailed and hard to simply change in an instant.

Well, maybe that's true. But that would mean that those seven minutes or so were used so that the Secret Service detail could be changed. Has the White House or anyone else suggested that? Or is this just your theory?

Bruce Moomaw

As a postscript to Brian and Cris: the 9-11 Committee report interviewed Bush and his aides as to why he sat in the room reading the goat story for seven minutes after learning of the second plane's impact, and they (A) confirmed that they had told him about the second plane's impact, and (B) uttered not a word about having told him to sit there for 7 minutes because it would take "several minutes to get the departure ready". Bush told the Commission instead that he had done so in order to "convey an impression of strength and calm before the press". Right.

TM

A John Kerry anecdote:

[Kerry] at first declined to say whether he thought the nation should be prepared to postpone the election if there is an attack, which is what took place with the New York City mayoral primary that was scheduled for Sept. 11, 2001, saying it was hypothetical question. But reminded that such a proposal was being discussed in Washington last week, he said he would strongly oppose any such move.

Let's tighten this up -

Q: Senator, what will you recommend if we are attacked during the election three months from now?

A: I can't comment on that, it's hypothetical.

Q: What would you have done if, hypothetically, you had been President two years ago on 9/11?

A: Funny you should ask...

C'mon, he might be better advised to spend a bit more time thinking about the future, and a bit less about the past.

There were plenty of classy ways to answer that question; instead, we got classic Kerry.

Bruce Moomaw

The definitive account of what historians seem likely to remember as the Seven-Minute Goat Gap can be found on pg. 38-39 of the 9-11 Commission report ( https://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf ).

On a separate but closely related topic: you all may like to take a look at what came on on the wire to NBC about an hour ago ( https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5626850/), and comapre it to Judis and Ackerman's August 5 "New Republic" story ( https://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040816&s=aaj081604 ). I think you'll find it VERY interesting.

TM

Hey, Bruce, how did I get so lucky?

Anyway, if my clock is stopped, I must be right twice a day - I will adjust my posting schedule accordingly.

As an assist for the reading impaired, I will note that there is a gap between "taking the high road" and thinking it's "immoral to utter a word of criticism". Kerry is free to say whatever he wants (and I welcome comments like this from him - I just hum "Getting to Know You", and imagine the impact he is having on his target audience).

Kerry's criticism certainly is not immoral, and I did not say it was, although I understand it is easier for Bruce to rebut the (many and no doubt varied) arguments ocurring inside his head.

That said, are any of his defenders arguing that this is an example of Kerry exhibiting "high road" behavior, or that no high road was available? I didn't think so.

For anyone left looking for logic, George S was quite interesting:

Card says he thinks Bush was in shock, although just for a second. Tapper points out that no other presidents had to react to catastrophic news live to watching video cameras.

George Stephanopoulos expanded on that last point, Noting that when he had to tell President Bill Clinton about the death of U.S. soldiers in Somalia and the bombing in Oklahoma City, Clinton had a similar reaction of shock, "but that was behind closed doors. Not in front of the entire nation. And the 9/11 attacks were unprecedented in two ways: we had never seen an attack like this before and never saw a President have to react in real time." When asked whether he would have made the President excuse himself from the event before telling him about the attack, Stephanopoulos said he would have -- "but it's pretty easy to second guess two and a half years later."

I'm with Andy - Bush froze. So what? Andy Card froze too, or he would have handled it differently. And I don't believe there is a serious argument that, had he but leapt into action, things would have gone differently.

For Kerry to bloviate about how he would have donned his Mask of the Avenger and flown into the morning is *pure* speculation/fantasy. However, it is neither immoral, nor gracious.

Bruce Moomaw

So, Tom, you and Stephanopoulos both propose that it was excusable for Bush to sit there "in shock" for 7 straight minutes? Really. I sincerely hope the nation never undergoes a nuclear attack. And, for the record, the borderline between "ungracious" and "immoral" is awfully fuzzy. I also find it rather hard to conclude that it was "ungracious" for Kerry to point out that Bush behaved like an idiot for 7 minutes during a obvious moment of national crisis. Indeed, I think it was highly gracious of Kerry not to use the very applicable word "idiot".

Now, if you want to assume that, like a stopped clock, you're right twice a day and "adjust your posting schedule accordingly", I have no objection. Actually, though, I was thinking of a calendar clock.

And while we're parsing the precise meaning of fuzzy subjective terms, a response to Deaconness: The GOP demonstrators whom Kerry called "goons" were using electronic bullhorns to try to drown out his speech. Personally, I think that fits pretty well into the generally accepted definition of goonishness.

John F. Kerry

Please elect me! All I ever wanted was that I could say on my deathbed "I was in Vietnam, and then I was President! So there!"
Nothing else matters one bit.

HH

New campaign slogan: No more freezing for seven minutes... Let's have inability to think for 40 minutes, even when you were specifically warned about your own airport's security! Vote Kerry!

Trevor Saccucci

Brian:

I was trying to prove that you probably wouldn't respond to my challenge within my prescribed time limit because it caught you off guard, and that if you finally did respond to it, you still wouldn't be able to predict my next move, or come up with any other logical response to it, except, perhaps, confusion. So far, your responses have been within the range of what I had expected: by 8:28 PM, you responded with confusion as to my request, and by 8:33 PM you were claiming (incorrectly, as it happens) that I had set up a false argument. You probably would have done better to, in Bruce Moomaw's words, "sit back like a stuffed pig" for five minutes and gather your thoughts rather than spending those five minutes on your ultimately ineffectual response.

I had set up an insoluble dilemma, not a false argument. I asked you to come up with a focussed response to a clear challenge of a very general nature.

A really well-reasoned response to my challenge would have been to state that without more background on me you would have to spend a little time assessing me to get a general idea of how to proceed, and that the problem I'd posed to you would probably be amenable only to some form of active surveillance. As of 8:28 PM, you were, as you might have said yourself," struck cold". By 8:33 PM, you had come to the incorrect conclusion that I had created a false argument.

You apparently expected a better repsonse (though you never characterize what such a response would entail) from George Bush in eight minutes after he was caught off-guard by news of a ghastly plane crash into the WTC than you were able to provide to a pretty benign challenge from me in (as I write this) five minutes.

Brian, how would you have responded if you had been in Bush's shoes on 9/11? Had you followed the pattern of your comments of 8:28 PM and 8:33 PM, initially you would have been confused as to the greater implications of the information you had just been presented, and within five minutes you would have come to an incorrect assesment of it without formulating a logical plan of action for addressing it further and effectively. With no pressure at all, you wasted at least five minutes on a fruitless line of reasoning resulting in no approach to dealing with the challenge I presented. Those five minutes might as well have been spent productively finishing up whatever you were doing before. If you were then confused as to exactly how to proceed, taking some time to gather your thoughts would be an efficient response. Taking time later to reason out a cogent response to my challenge probably would have saved you time in the final analysis.

Bush spent his time after getting word of the attacks productively finishing up what he had been doing before, which was talking to schoolchildren. It was an activity which took only a few minutes. That he might have been shocked by the news he had gotten, and required some time to collect his thoughts afterward, is hardly embarrassing, and is far more efficient than rushing into action without forethought. While I don't know what Bush could have come up with five minutes after he found out about the first or second WTC plane crashes had he immediately switched gears and gone into "strategy mode", I doubt he could have done worse that you did with my challenge.

ed

Hmmm.

"So, you think it's an attack if Kerry says how he would handle the job he's running for differently? That's rich."

If Kerry had used those exact words "handle the job differently" then I wouldn't object. That's a reasoned and responsible answer. But those weren't the words used.

Were they.

TM

I sincerely hope the nation never undergoes a nuclear attack.

As always, Bruce, I take guidance from your insight.

...for the record, the borderline between "ungracious" and "immoral" is awfully fuzzy.

And as always, I take guidance from you for examples of fuzziness.

Now, if you think that all behavior that is not "gracious" must be "ungracious", then you might be inclined to argue that I suggested that Kerry's behavior was immoral. It would be a silly, binary argument that defies the normal conventions of English, but as I said - you might be inclined to argue it.

You know, I'm having fun, but it dawns on me that you really are totally missing the point - Kerry has no idea how he would have reacted. He certainly knows how he would like to imagine he would have reacted; he may believe that, based on his harrowing four months 35 years ago, he can predict how he would have reacted; but he does not know.

Nor do you.

George S., on the other hand, knows how one other President reacted, twice. How about that?

ed

Hmmm.

What amuses me about this, other than the classic harping by liberals, is that the entire question is utterly irrelevant.

The federal government is not a sports car. It doesn't stop and go at the touch of a button. It takes time to do everything, as any former soldier could tell you. You can give an order, but how many minutes before it gets relayed? How many more before people start to act on it? How many more before things start to really happen?

Now imagine if your very first gut-instinct reaction was completely and totally wrong.

Now how much time have you lost? What kind of problems are you going to create in trying change and already evolving situation? How many additional uncertainties and variables have you just added?

How many more times will have to change your mind, with the consequent loss of time and effort, simply because you don't know what's going on?

That's why the question is utterly irrelevant. President Bush sat there for that amount of time because he, literally, could not affect the situation. In order to command he has to have information upon which to base his orders. Without that information any order he gives, other than the most basic and elemental ones, could end up being either counter-productive to absolutely disasterous.

And, dare I say it, it takes time to acquire information. More time to collate the information. Even more time to digest the information into a useful form. During that time period a hyper-active and micro-managing President would be a hindrance, not an asset.

That's why this question, brought up by people always willing to discuss Bush's record but never Kerry's, is complete and utter bullshit.

If you don't believe this, then you've never been in a crisis.

Bruce Moomaw

Since willful idiocy is generally considered worse than the unintentional variety, Mr. Bush is still one notch ahead of Mr. Maguire and several of his other defenders on this thread. Let's review the 9-11 Commission account (pg. 38-39) of what happened:

"The President was seated in a classroom when, at 9:05, Andrew Card whsipered to him, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack." The President told us his instinct was to project calm, not to have the country see an excietd reaction at a moment of crisis. The press was standing behind the children; he was their phones and pagers start to ring. The President felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand the happening.

"The President remained in the classroom for another five to seven minutes, while the children continued reading. He then returned to a holding room shortly before 9:15, where he was briefed by staff and saw television coverage. He next spoke to Vice President Cheney, Dr. Rice, New York Governor George Pataki, and FBI Director Robert Mueller."

That is, he did not do what any non-idiot would have done: say "Something important's come up, kids -- gotta go", stroll out of the classroom, and then begin discussing with his aides (including Cheney, Rice and Mueller, all of whom were waiting for instructions from him) what should be done about the little matter that Aemrica Was Under Attack. Instead he continued reading "My Pet Goat" for seven minutes before moving on to that particular phase. Which, of course, is what Kerry pointed out, perfectly correctly.

Now, Mr. Maguire may have a low enough opinion of his own intellect that he's not sure what HE would have done under those circumstances, but most of us are a bit more confident. I have to agree that Tom's right on one point, though: I definitely should have said instead, "I hope to God that if the US ever does undergo a nuclear attack, George Bush isn't President at the time." I really don't know how I'm going to squirm out of that rhetorical slip.


Bruce Moomaw

Postscript: Stephanopouls' comments are indeed "fascinating" -- not for what they say about Bush and Kerry, but for what they say about Stephanopoulos. If we really are about to have a whole series of presidents who react to any major national crisis by going into "shock" for seven straight minutes (not "just for a second", as Andrew Card said), the country is in far more serious trouble than anyone thought. Conversely, if Card is right and Bush did go into shock "just for a second", what the hell was he doing for the remaining 6 minutes and 59 seconds before he finally decided to get up, start finding out what the hell was going on, and start issuing orders?

Michael

People keeps saying that Bush froze, but others say that he kept reading or speaking to the children. So which was it, did he freeze or didn't he? If he froze then yes, its a worry, but if he did continue on without alarming anyone then what it shows is strength under pressure.

And maybe I've been watching to much of The West Wing Bruce, but just because he wasn't told to stay put doesn't mean that it wasn't what was required of him. Surely when there is imminent danger to the POTUS (with the country under attack obviously the President is going to be a prime target as well) the security protocol would be for him to work under the direction of the security agents?
(which would mean not making a move until instructed to)

David Meyer

George Bush should have excused himself from the classroom and called the situation room to figure out what the hell was going on. He was in the dark, for seven minutes, with no more idea of what was going on that the average CNN viewer. That is the problem.

The situation room was humming. He should have called, just to see what the fuck was going on. Maybe see if anyone who was woring wanted some pretzels brought by.

Trevor Saccucci

Bruce:

My challenge boils down to this: Given a problem which cannot be solved in the time allotted to solve it, can it be reformulated to make it solvable in a longer timeframe? The latter is not explicitly in the challenge, but follows naturally from it upon due consideration - which is my point. The slowest steps in addressing my challenge (predicting a comment of mine in advance) would be undertaking the required measures, like researching me on the web, or putting me under surveilance; thinking the measures up quickly would have a negligible impact on when one of my comments got successfully predicted.

While I didn't address my challenge to you, you decided to respond to it, which is fine. You replied by stating your concern about how Bush was apparently shocked for seven minutes by news of the second plane hitting the WTC. That's fine too, as far as it goes. What your critique of my challenge misses entirely is that I wasn't addressing any comments by Moore or Kerry about what you call the "goat gap." In fact, I didn't have them in mind at all when I formulated my challenge to Brian; I was addressing his comments only.

I wanted to see how a person (Brian, in this case) would act when surprised by a problem which couldn't be solved in the time allotted to do so. Would they be confused? Would they try to assess the problem practically? Would they claim that it was unfair? Would they claim it somehow misrepresented other people's positions on related matters?

Your first and only response to it, which was apparently the latter, indictes that you were confused as to what I intended by it. If you had taken more time to think about it, perhaps you would have at least come up with a better critique of it, like "Trevor - your problem can't reasonably be solved by anybody as it sits. That would require a lot of time to solve if it could be solved at all - and it's a silly problem anyway!"

I wanted to see if Brian would think up a constructive approach for ultimately adddressing my challenge. He was at first confused, then came to a quick (and incorrect) conclusion. Perhaps if he had taken the time to collect his thoughts, he could have come up a more rational approach to the problem.

Quick thinking and quick action are of questionable value in a situation which isn't amenable to quick thinking or quick action.

When confronted with such a situation, some initial shock, followed by a period of collecting one's thoughts and considering the situation, could well lead to more effective near-term tactics and long-term strategies for dealing with the situation than an assessment made in haste.

Macker

I don't think I even saw ONE freakin' comment about the CHILDREN'S reaction to the 9/11 attack. People, you're all forgetting THEM.
Can you imagine their reaction had the President jumped up all of a sudden in the middle of their reading session? They would have been scared to death and traumatized!

Bush did the right thing. You Donks had your chance, you did not lead, but Bush has LED us.

Brian

"by 8:28 PM, you responded with confusion as to my request, and by 8:33 PM you were claiming (incorrectly, as it happens) that I had set up a false argument."

I was here after 11:00 PM. Is Tom on the West Coast?

"Brian, how would you have responded if you had been in Bush's shoes on 9/11?"

I would have gotten up, excused myself, and left the room to find out what was going on and what people knew.

"That he might have been shocked by the news he had gotten, and required some time to collect his thoughts afterward, is hardly embarrassing, and is far more efficient than rushing into action without forethought."

Except that nobody was asking him to make a decision about what to do in a matter of one minute or so.

"I doubt he could have done worse that you did with my challenge."

Again, you set up a false argument. Nobody is expecting Bush to make a decision, like "Bomb the fuckers!" in a matter of a minute or two. It's the fact that he sat there, doing nothing, apparently not even trying to find out anything, that bothers a lot of people.

I don't see why that is so hard to understand.

Brian

"He was in the dark, for seven minutes, with no more idea of what was going on that the average CNN viewer. That is the problem."

That's exactly it. Nobody is saying that he should have made a decision as soon as he heard what happened. It's the fact that he apparently didn't try to do anything, like gathering the cabinet or military leaders, that irks a lot of people.

Brian

"Can you imagine their reaction had the President jumped up all of a sudden in the middle of their reading session? They would have been scared to death and traumatized!

Bush did the right thing. You Donks had your chance, you did not lead, but Bush has LED us."

You think he was right to sit there because otherwise, he would have harmed the children?

That's not a serious argument by any stretch of the imagination.

Trevor Saccucci

Brian:

Re: your comment of 6:26 AM:

I'll address some of your points, in no particular order.

"by 8:28 PM, you responded with confusion as to my request, and by 8:33 PM you were claiming (incorrectly, as it happens) that I had set up a false argument."

I was here after 11:00 PM. Is Tom on the West Coast?

Tom is, I think, on the coast,

"Brian, how would you have responded if you had been in Bush's shoes on 9/11?"

I would have gotten up, excused myself, and left the room to find out what was going on and what people knew.

Within five minutes reading, I find your claim of that you would have behaved more effectively during 9/11 rather unconvincing. You didn't even initially assess in any useful way what it is I'd asked you to do.

"That he might have been shocked by the news he had gotten, and required some time to collect his thoughts afterward, is hardly embarrassing, and is far more efficient than rushing into action without forethought."

Except that nobody was asking him to make a decision about what to do in a matter of one minute or so.

The difference between the "one minute or so" grace period, the seven or eight minute period of Bush finish up matters with the kids he was reading to, and your five minutes of confusion ending in bad assesment with my challenge are all on pretty much the same timescale, especially regarding a situation which could not have effectively dealt with by very short term actions. Your criticism of Bush's eight-minute "goat-gap" (not your words, I know) hinges on your making a distinction in time to personal action with no practical difference in outcome.

"I doubt he could have done worse that you did with my challenge."

Again, you set up a false argument. Nobody is expecting Bush to make a decision, like "Bomb the fuckers!" in a matter of a minute or two. It's the fact that he sat there, doing nothing, apparently not even trying to find out anything, that bothers a lot of people.

Except that only one of us bringing up

...expecting Bush to make a decision, like "Bomb the fuckers!" in a matter of a minute or two.

and his name isn't Trevor Saccucci. Strawmen make good scarecrows, but bad arguments. Leave this one in the farmyard where he'll do some good. False argument, indeed.

You claim you would have reacted to 9/11 by asking questions of people about seven or eight minutes before Bush did, and that this practically negligible time difference is why we should judge what you claim you would have done as prudent, and what Bush actually did as somehow disturbing? That's not exactly a compelling argument.

Yet you were "in the dark" for five minutes as to how to reason out my straightforwardly presented challenge, and from your repeated bad assesments of it, it appears you're still in the dark over how to reason it out even now, many hours later, and after I presented some example approaches to it myself.

I don't buy the premises of your argument, and I find your claim that you would have responded effectively quicker than Bush during 9/11 hard to take seriously in light of your slow and (still) ineffective response to the problem I posed to you, even without the stress of sudden horror to distract you.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"(and what any person with an IQ above 80 would have done)? "

How would YOU know, Bruce?

RandMan

The seven minutes means nothing. The fact that this "issue" was created by the fraud/propagandist Michael Moore tells you all you need to know about this "issue". Harping on this by the Left once again shows the lack of seriousness of Pres. Bush's critics.

Jim Glass

' ... If we really are about to have a whole series of presidents who react to any major national crisis by going into "shock" for seven straight minutes (not "just for a second", as Andrew Card said), the country is in far more serious trouble than anyone thought... '
----------

Geeze, then think of how much trouble we were in when FDR got *his* bad news, with his reaction that lasted a good deal longer than seven straight minutes.

If only Michael Moore had been there with his camera...

~~ quote ~~

[T]he President ... said to Mr. Hopkins, he says, "My God, my God, how did it happen?"

He had his head in hands and at his desk like this. He says, "How did it happen?" He says, "Now I'll go down in history disgraced."...

[That night, i.e., a whole lot more than seven minutes later] Labor Secretary Frances Perkins found Roosevelt deeply shaken. "He was having actual physical difficulty in getting out the words that put him on record as knowing the Navy was caught unawares"...

He looked drawn. His face was kind of pale-ish-like and tired-like, and it seemed to be a maze around him, just a blind sort of fog around him.

When I looked at him, I got that impression from him, that he was in a fog, and he was so despondent...

He said, "We don't know what's out there"...

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/
~~~~~~~~~~

Imagine the closing fade-out ... FDR holding his despondent head in his hands, moaning about his reputation being lost, with his own words repeating on the sound track, "We don't know what's out there..."

Wow! *If only* we'd had a Michael Moore to show is the truth *then*, he and his followers might have saved the country from such a disastrous leader and humiliated that inept fool out of office!

Think how much better off the nation would have been!

Well, no, not really.

But let's get real: The Dems are following their new intellectual leader Michael Moore in, 2 1/2 years after the fact, attacking Dubya for acting in public with *composure* during the opening minutes of a crisis (for being the Rock of Gibraltar compared to FDR.)

In doing so, they are forever more forfeiting their claim to be "the smarter party".

Brian

"You didn't even initially assess in any useful way what it is I'd asked you to do."

I don't think I am going to please you until I agree with you.

"and his name isn't Trevor Saccucci. Strawmen make good scarecrows, but bad arguments. Leave this one in the farmyard where he'll do some good. False argument, indeed."

I don't think I am setting up a strawman argument.

"That's not exactly a compelling argument."

It's a question of immediate action, not on the part of making decisions over which country to bomb or where to deploy troops or something like that. I'm not saying that everything would have turned out differently had he gotten up a few minutes earlier - and don't think I am.

"Yet you were "in the dark" for five minutes as to how to reason out my straightforwardly presented challenge, and from your repeated bad assesments of it, it appears you're still in the dark over how to reason it out even now, many hours later, and after I presented some example approaches to it myself."

I don't know what it is you are talking about.

I often check something on the computer, respond to it, and then leave to do something else, only to come back hours later. This morning, I got up, checked some stuff, went to get breakfast, and then went to work.

Brian

"Harping on this by the Left once again shows the lack of seriousness of Pres. Bush's critics."

It goes both ways, buddy. I don't know if you do this, but I've seen plenty of people who put Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and/or Rush Limbaugh on a mantel and them bash Michael Moore. It's not so much amusing as it is sad.

I'm a fairly moderate liberal who doesn't really like Michael Moore. In fact, I'd say that I hate him. He raises a lot of interesting and sometimes good points, but what small good he does is entirely overshadowed by his polemic nature and dishonest methods.

Kman

To correct some of the people on this thread, the report says "for 5 to 7 minutes" and "continued reading".

I'm not sure how this has been turned into "froze for 7 minutes". Actually, I guess that was the Moore interpretation, so it MUST be true....

sym

To add my two cents to this far too long thread, while Bush's response obviously wasn't the optimal response, for John Kerry to make an issue out of it is cruel and insane. It's like making fun of someone for how they react to their parents' death. Michael Moore's bit about what Bush was thinking after it happened was the meanest thing in the movie.

sym

OTOH, it's not as if Bush surrogates calling for the confiscation of Kerry's medals is exactly the high road either.

Jor

This by far has to be one of the stupidest, ignornat posts I've read on a Blog in quite a awhile. The legislative branch isn't in direct control of the security apparatus -- Kerry couldn't do a damn thing. He doesn't run the exective branch. Bush on the other hand, spent 5-7 minutes readinga cildrens story. The 9/11 report seems to clearly indicate, Cheney took charge, and made the necessary authorizations to shoot planes down. Bush should have gottenn off his ass and made that decision along with the appropriate subsequent ones. Who here would sit on thier ass for 5-7 minutes READING to kids when the country is under attack? If you would do the same, vote four more years.

Jor

A president with sevearl purple hearts would sit and read a book, while the 101st fighting keyboarders typed away furiously.

Bruce Moomaw

Come on, people! You're in a classroom; one of your aides whispers to you that "the country is under attack." Do you (A) excuse yourself, walk out of the classroom, and start trying to find out what the hell is going on and what orders you should give; or (B) sit there for seven straight minutes reading some kids a story about a goat? It really isn't that hard to see (unless, of course, you're absolutely frantic NOT to see it, as Maguire and his admirers in this thread are.) And saying that the Persident of the US acted like a complete imbecile during a national crisis, when he actually did so, is hardly unfair criticism.

And if Stephanopoulis and Glass are correct, and FDR's and Clinton's reaction when the country was under attack was also to faint like a Victorian maiden aunt, then I repeat that the country is even luckier to have survived than we thought. (Of course, while we're on that subject, FDR DID let Pearl Harbor happen through his negligence, and he DID come up with a downright monstrous scheme to pack the Supreme Court...)

Brian

"The federal government is not a sports car. It doesn't stop and go at the touch of a button. It takes time to do everything, as any former soldier could tell you. You can give an order, but how many minutes before it gets relayed? How many more before people start to act on it? How many more before things start to really happen?"

Like a lot of other people, you seem to misunderstand the criticism, at least from me. We aren't angry because he didn't give a specific order. We are angry because he didn't do anything at all. He just sat there for a little while. He didn't try to find out anything.


KMan

HA! Check this out (link is https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46913-2004Aug6.html)

On July 8, Kerry recalled for CNN's Larry King his actions that day. He was in a meeting in the office of Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) when he watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center on television, while standing next to fellow senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table, and then we just realized nobody could think, and then, boom, we saw the cloud of the explosion at the Pentagon."

The Bush-Cheney campaign noted that there were 40 minutes between the second trade center attack and a plane hitting the Pentagon. "By Kerry's own words, he and his fellow senators sat there for 40 minutes, realizing 'nobody could think,' " said a campaign statement. "He is hardly in a position to criticize President Bush for 'inaction.' "

Bruce Moomaw

Not a very self-flattering comment by Kerry. But: did he say that "nobody could think for 40 straight minutes", or did he just say that "nobody could think" initially, and that after that they did plenty of thinking during those 40 minutes but that (as senators) there was nothing they could do? Personally, I have trouble thinking that anybody -- even Bush -- could go mentally blank for 40 straight minutes.

This has been a very demoralizing thread, though. If there really ARE that many cretins among our leaders whose brains go totally blank for minutes at a time during any urgent national crisis, then we might as well just give up and sign ourselves over to the Axis of Evil right now.

capt joe

Of all the "deer in the headlights" crew, Rumsfeld seems to have come off well on that day. He ran out of his office and started organizing rescues of the people from the pentagon.

Oh, but wait, Bruce said Rumsfeld is psychotic. Scratch him off the list as a good example on that day. ;)

Bruce Moomaw

I said that "Rumsfeld's attitudes toward the Iraq war are psychotic", Captain. Which they are. He's strongly reminiscent of Captain Queeg -- who, you'll recall was also personally brave, was also a total egomaniac, and also ended up going nuttier than a $25 fruitcake with disastrous consequences for the people under his command.

The more I look at that Washington Post account of the actions of Kerry and his fellow Sentors in the washington Post, the more it looks to me like a red herring. Nowhere did he say that their minds went totally blank "for 40 minutes" (always a teensy bit implausible), or indeed for more than a few seconds. And as Senators they couldn't issue any commands -- their responsibility was to try to find out as much as possible about what was going on, which they apparently did through the TV. And which is exactly what Bush did NOT do for those 7 minutes (in addition to not issuing any orders).

If Frances Perkins is right, there's no way to let FDR off the hook -- and there may not be any excuse for Clinton either, if he actually did go numb for more than a few seconds. But I repeat: this just makes it seem all the more miraculous that we've survived this long, if we really have had so many leaders who turn into gibbering idiots whenever the nation undergoes any urgent crisis. How many of US would have done what Bush did that day? (Or FDR?)

Paul Zrimsek

You know, if you see the same "miracle" happen over and over again, perhaps it's not really a miracle. Presented with all this evidence, a less cocksure person (i.e., just about anyone) would at least consider the possibility that instant reaction by a leader to a sudden shock is (1) not as easy as you think, and (2) not as important as you think.

Steve

How do I contact the author of this weblog? If you are that person email me please. This bloody comment spam filter is completely nonfunctional to a great point and I can not get my point across. Thank you ^_^

Bruce Moomaw

Really, Paul? I repeat: if an aide whispered in your ear that "America is under attack", would YOU regard it as acceptable to spend the next 7 minutes reading a children's book, or would you try to find out what was happening and what you should do about that minor fact? The number of people revealed in this thread as believing (or saying they believe) that it WOULD be acceptable is flabbergasting.

Looking back on this thread, by the way, I notice that Maguire has engaged in some impressive hair-splitting to tell us that he considers Kerry's statment "ungracious" but not "immoral" -- but he never has quite gotten around to telling us whether he regards it as actually dishonest (which, personally, has always fallen under my definition of "immoral". Maybe I'm behind the times.)

Bruce Moomaw

Incidentally, Paul, when the hell did I ever say that I was demanding "instant" reaction from a leader to a sudden shock? I just believe -- reasonably enough, I think -- that 7 minutes worth of paralyzed inaction is a wee bit much when thousands of people are obviously depending on you.

I'm getting tired of this drivel. I find it flatly impossible to believe that large numbers of our leaders have always gone into a protracted maiden-lady-style faint whenever confronted with any serious crisis -- in spite of all the people on this site who are frantic to believe this in order to alibi Bush (and in spite of Teresa Kerry's statement that she also believes it, which just confirms my suspicion that, unlike her husband, she's a fool). So I'll just finish by pointing out the obvious: if I'm wrong and our leaders really DO have a strong tendency to act this way, this country is dead meat if we're ever threatened with an imminent nuclear attack. And if large numbers of regular Americans act this way, then it's a miracle that we've ever managed to win a war. Or put out a fire.

Trankpark

It's remarkable to me how many people posting on this blog know *exactly* what they'd do, and how they'd react if they were President of the United States and an aide whispered to him that "America is under attack." Furthermore, we don't really know what he was told.

You self-righteous jackasses who smugly sit there and berate the president for his supposed "inaction" during those first crucial few minutes don't have a clue about what you would have done or what the president should have done.

This is, once again, the left, which is so unhinged by their hatred for Bush, they grasp at *anything* to try and discredit him... and in the process have abandoned rational thought.

And they think *we're* stupid and evil. Geez Louise!

Paul Zrimsek

¡Señor Moomaw es muy macho!

Bruce Moomaw

No, Senor Moomaw no es loco. Really, people. 15 seconds of shock, okay. Maybe even 30. But SEVEN FRIGGING MINUTES, in the middle of a urgent national crisis?

John

This is really stupid. Bruce, 7 minutes is nothing. You obviously don't believe that, but that's okay.

The government is not a Sports Car, as noted above. It's also not a monolith. Some actions can and will be taken without Presidential authority, others will be put "on hold" and wait for him to make the decision.

It's also going to take a good deal more than seven minutes for those whose job it is to gather the information you're insisting that the president should have immediately sought.

I think Bush showed some faith in the people he works with. He knew that there was going to be a delay before any reasonable collection of information could be done, and MUCH MORE of a delay before any action could reasonably be taken.

I'm not going to fault the guy for coming to the conclusion that he couldn't do anything meaningful in the remaining time. You are. That's okay.

I can't speak for what I would have done had I been in his place. All I can say is what I did do on 9/11 - I staggered out of my dorm room (having just gotten up) and walked out into the lobby in my pajamas. There was a large crowd around the TV, so I walked up to see what was going on. I didn't have my glasses on, so I didn't recognize the flaming building on the screen. I vaguely remember hearing someone mention the "World Trade Center" - I thought someone had truck-bombed it again. Then the TV reported something about an attack on the Pentagon. I remember thinking "impossible - that's gotta just be hearsay, nobody could ever hit the pentagon". I used the restroom and went back to bed. It wasn't until HOURS later that I found out that planes had hit both WTC and the Pentagon. I was in shock for several MORE hours.

Just be glad I wasn't President at the time. We might have waited several more hours to close down all the airports.

I don't care for Right-wingers harping on this, but I do think it's a valid criticism to bring up Kerry's '40 mins' - I dunno if I believe that number, but whatever. Someone claimed that, as a legislator, Kerry was somehow exempt from doing anything. Couldn't he have started thinking about possible causes? Possible legislation to introduce that might make future attacks possible? Don't really care, but it's a valid point to bring up.

That being said, I think it's perfectly acceptable for people on most levels of our government to take more than seven minutes to respond effectively to a single sentence stating that we've been attacked.

My impression is that Bush made a conscious effort to remain cool under fire. Given the confusion of the day, I credit him for it. I know you disagree.

The fact remains that nothing, NOTHING could have conceivably been gained by another use of that seven minutes.

Anyway, I said at the beginning that this was a stupid argument, and I still hold that belief, even after spending 20 mins typing up this post. Oh well :-/.

John

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Wilson/Plame