Monday, September 11, 2006
9/11, Plus Five
[[F A I L U R E S]] * Having written at some length about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on last year’s anniversary, I’m not going to repeat myself. Instead, I just want to remind everyone where George W. Bush was on that fateful morning. He was reading to a group of schoolchildren in Sarasota, Florida, and failed to bestir himself even after being told that jets had crashed into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Instead, Bush continued to read “The Pet Goat,” a story featured in the book Reading Mastery II: Storybook 1, by Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine C. Bruner.
This is the “leader” who now wants Americans to believe in some heroic fiction about his standing up to terrorists? Bullshit. He’s a weak, deceitful, and incompetent chief executive whose tenure in the White House has debilitated the U.S. economy, damaged America’s reputation abroad, and made a mockery of the presidency. It will take years for the United States to recover from his inattention to matters beyond those of most interest to his Big Oil, Big Business buddies. Today, his political handlers are busily trying to convince voters that Bush should be remembered as some decisive post-9/11 commander in chief, rather than the clueless figurehead who left New Orleans vulnerable to Hurricane Katrina (and then initially ignored the disaster that swept over the city) and who misled the nation into a war in Iraq that has cost the lives of almost 2,700 U.S. servicemen and -women. But, five years after the World Trade Center collapsed in fire, most Americans are no longer fooled by Bush’s hollow performances.
On this day, I remember the confused, scared look on Bush’s face after he heard about the terrorist attacks. President Bill Clinton wouldn’t have just sat there, reading to schoolchildren while the nation was facing its first foreign attack in half a century. He’d have excused himself from the classroom to huddle with his military and civilian advisors. He’d have acted decisively in the aftermath of disaster. But then, Clinton knew how to be president, he had trained for it his whole life. Bush still doesn’t know what it means to lead a nation. And he never will.
READ MORE: “Remembering a Failure of Intelligence,” by David Terrenoire (A Dark Planet); “9/11,” by Marshal Zeringue (Campaign for the American Reader).