Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Shoot It Down"

A horrifying tale from the Wall Street Journal:

Dick Cheney sat transfixed by the images on the small television screen in the corner of his West Wing office. Smoke poured out of a gaping hole in the World Trade Center's North Tower. John McConnell, the vice president's chief speechwriter, sat next to him and said nothing.

Then, a second plane appeared on the right-hand side of the screen, banked slightly to the left, and plunged into the South Tower. "Did you see that?" Mr. Cheney asked his aide.

A little more than an hour later, Mr. Cheney was seated below the presidential seal at a long conference table in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, better known as the bunker. When an aide told Mr. Cheney that another passenger airplane was rapidly approaching the White House, the vice president gave the order to shoot it down. The young man was so surprised at Mr. Cheney's immediate response that he asked again. Mr. Cheney reiterated the order. Thinking that Mr. Cheney must have misunderstood the question, the military aide asked him a third time.
The vice president responded evenly. "I said yes."

Andrew Card tells Bush a second plane has hit the tower and American is under attack.

Intelligence expert James Bamford describes Bush’s reaction:
“Immediately [after Card speaks to Bush] an expression of befuddlement passe[s] across the president’s face. Then, having just been told that the country was under attack, the commander in chief appear[s] uninterested in further details.
He never ask[s] if there had been any additional threats, where the attacks were coming from, how to best protect the country from further attacks.…

Instead, in the middle of a modern-day Pearl Harbor, he simply turn[s] back to the matter at hand: the day’s photo-op.” [Bamford, 2002, pp. 633]

Bush begins listening to a story about a goat. But despite the pause and change in children’s exercises, as one newspaper put it, “For some reason, Secret Service agents [do] not bustle him away.” [Globe and Mail, 9/12/2001]

Bush later says of the experience, “I am very aware of the cameras. I’m trying to absorb that knowledge. I have nobody to talk to. I’m sitting in the midst of a classroom with little kids, listening to a children’s story and I realize I’m the commander in chief and the country has just come under attack.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/2001]

Bush listens to the goat story for about ten more minutes. The reason given is that, “Without all the facts at hand, George Bush ha[s] no intention of upsetting the schoolchildren who had come to read for him.” [MSNBC, 10/29/2002]

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is only three and a half miles away. In fact, the elementary school was chosen for the photo-op partly because of its closeness to the airport. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/12/2002] Why the Secret Service does not move Bush away from his publicized location that morning remains unclear.

Bush doesn't want to upset school children and Cheney orders planes shot down. Who's in charge here?

Oh, it gets better, the article says that Cheney will increase his role in the Bush administration in spite of his low approval ratings. The reason Cheney has low approval ratings is, according to the article, because he keeps such a low profile.

Here's the money quote:
As the White House enters a critical domestic phases of the war on terror--with a heightened threat environment and the coming report from Gen. David Petraeus on progress in Iraq--Mr. Cheney may be called on to play a more public role. That may seem counterintuitive. If Mr. Cheney's approval ratings are so abysmal, why increase his visibility? The answer is simple: because his low poll numbers are the result of his low profile.

The article was written to champion Cheney but instead it paints Bush as a weak president who is led by his vice president.

A while back, and I am trying to find it, I read an article about Bush and the Texas Rangers and the oil companies he owned. How when the things got going rough, he walked away from them. He has 17 months or so left of president. I wonder if he wishes he could just walk away from it. Yeah, move on down the road.

Karl Rove was a guest on Rush Limbaugh's IEP radio show this day.

While researching this post, and I do research them, I came across a plethera of web sites about 9/11. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there.

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