John Kerry did nothing for 40 minutes on September 11th.

Outsanding. Then you can list the 7 or 8 commands which Bush could have given which would have made a difference, but which he did not give. I would very much appreciate it. This particular debate is much too vitriolic for me, and I would appreciate someone putting the issue to bed once and for all.

No kidding, pervert. This conversation has been done to death, and always with the same resolution.

Me: He couldn’t have done anything to stop it.
Them: He should have done something!
Me: What could he have done?
Them: Errr…something!

And that’s the gist of every one of these discussions. He could have run out of the room, ordered every plane shot out of the sky, and it still wouldn’t have stopped a single one of the attacks. Not one of them. But hey, at least it would have looked like he was doing something. Of course, then there would be the inevitable criticism of how he abruptly left and scared those kids out of their wits, how he ran for his life leaving those kids in danger, blah blah blah.

The bleating from both sides (including me) involving this topic needs to be nipped in the bud, so if someone would kindly tell us the orders that Bush could have given to prevent anything that happened that day we can put this baby to rest.

Come now, no one really believes that even Bush, on the morning of September 11th, would have had those 7 or 8 commands committed to memory. That being the case, it would have been nice if he had put down The Pet Goat for a minute or two in order to maybe find out what exactly his options were. As things turned out, he might as productively spent the morning rolling doobies and snortin crack.

Doors, even if he couldn’t have had any planes shot down - and I agree, he couldn’t have - was a photo-op really the most appropriate thing for the President to be doing when he’s learned the country is being attack by terrorists?

I haven’t seen anyone claim that anything Bush may or may not have done with those minutes would have made an overall difference. However, and here is the key point, we couldn’t have known that at the time. We didn’t even know the full extent of the attacks until several hours later. The guy suppossedly in charge with the power to do something didn’t know what to do.

In Missouri, we had to take civics classes at several levels. Apparently, this was not true in many places.

You say executive, I say legislative,
You say executive, I say legislative,
Executive, legislative, executive, legislative
Let’s call the whole thing off

So, Airman Doors and pervert, you must think that the OP of this thread is even more ridculous than the accusations that Bush should have done more than just sit there, right?

Yeah…The point isn’t exactly what the President could have done in retrospect that would have made the difference. Rather, the question is whether this President has the intellectual curiosity in a crisis to find out what is going on and what the options are. I mean, if I was President of the U.S., I would take my responsibility to do that pretty seriously. (And, in fact, that is one of the reasons why the job doesn’t at all appeal to me…It would stress the hell out of me. Better to be a senator or on the Supreme Court.)

That said, those 7 minutes (plus picture-taking time, etc.) are quite a ways down on my list of complaints about Bush as President. It actually bothers me most in light of the attempts by Bush to make himself out as such a great war leader and man of action. Because, I tend to think that engaging your brain and learning the facts about a situation is the first step in planning a course of action.

As a matter of fact, I do.

We attribute superhuman powers to our elected leaders. We make them all out to be supermen, above reproach, the best of the best. But they’re just people, same as everyone else. Think about what you were doing that day before you pull out the criticisms, because I tend to think that were we all put in the same position we would all have done much the same thing. I know I did, as did most of my friends and co-workers. We sat there jaw to the floor drooling on ourselves in utter shock. If Bush did that, well, how can I think that I have the standing to do so given what I did that day?

Of course the accusation in the OP are ridiculous, what I see in this case is that the President was not protected sooner:

At the same time the book was being read:

IIRC at the same time, while bush was reading the book, a member of the president’s staff just showed the president a note telling him “don’t say anything yet”

Well, if there is anything the whole episode shows to me, is that the SS then knew what the brains of the outfit was. :wink:

More seriously, a better critisism can be made that the SS did drop the ball, and the cronic un-curiousness of the president complicated matters.

And, apologies if I’m repeating what Raygun says, Bush couldn’t have known at the time that it wouldn’t matter if he read for five more minutes and shook hands for half an hour, or whatever it was.

I agree with jshore that this is not one of the top ten or twenty complaints I would have about Bush. But come on. Given all the options, was “sitting there and hoping it projects calm and steely resolve” the best?

I woke up late on 9/11 (I’d been laid off the day before, fun!). A friend told me online what happened, and I didn’t believe him. I immediately turned on the TV to CNN to find out what was going on. I didn’t sit there staring at the computer screen, waiting for someone to tell me what to do; I decided I wanted to learn more about what was going on… And I wasn’t even President of the United States.

I’m sorry, but I do hold the President to a higher standard than I hold most other Americans. He was, after all, elected (kinda, at least) to lead us. It’s his job to do something when he’s told America is under attack. If he’s not qualified for that job–if he really is just an average guy like the rest of us–I’m perfectly happy to do my part to get him out of office, and get someone else in there who might be able to fill the responsibilities.

Bingo. Bush-apologists can throw out whatever excuses they want, but they will never be able to cover up the fact that Bush didn’t have the simple curiousity to want to learn more as soon as possible.

When I went into work that morning, my supervisor was walking down the hall toward the break room, saw me, and said “The World Trade Center has been attacked, planes flew into both of them” and continued on his way. If I’d had Bush’s lack of curiousity, I maybe would have said “oh, wow” then immediately sat down at my desk and started working, rather than following him into the break room to look at the television. Where, I might add, everyone else in the office was.

Kerry gets into trouble because he answers a question truthfully, but Bush gets a pass on this and every single other thing he does, big and small.

The mass hypnosis in this country is appalling.

Thank for your answer.

I respectively disagree that simply getting out of the classroom instead of sitting there in shock is superhuman, though. I don’t know what specific orders he should have issued, but I think it’s not too much to expect that a man who is supposed be a leader to get the heck out of there and into a position where he can at least listen to his subordinates give him the latest info on the situation instead of little Joey reading “My Pet Goat.”

That said, I’m not particularly outraged over the seven minutes, like many seem to be. I think it would have been better to get out of there sooner and start connecting with his people quicker, but I fail to see how 7 minutes would have made any difference.

Match the job with its job description:

A. Do something more than just staring into space when your country is under attack.

  1. President

(Answer next week.)

Yes. For those seven minutes, at that time in that place, yes.

Right. Because with the President of the United States standing right behind him the aides would have gotten the information much quicker. Yes his position on the other side of the wall was a major impediment. Got it.

Right, or perhaps he had more trust in his people than you do.

Outstanding, again! Perhaps you know what he could have done. See below, I have lowered my expectations.

Ok, then tell me what his moving to the other room would have allowed him to hear, see, or know which would have altered anything in those 7 minutes. Seriously. We’ve said he could not have known what was going on. Would he have learned in those 7 minutes? Or would he have had to wait in the other room while his aides compiled the information just as they did, and at the exact same speed as they did, while he read the book in the class room.

I’m not sure, exactly what his leaving the school room would have accomplished in regards to making information flow faster. I’m not sure what it would have accomplished in terms of orders issued sooner. However, I am almost entirely sure that none of the people leveling this charge against bush and expending so much passion for it have any idea either. The hatred is about Bush personally, and has nothing to do with his leadership style, skill, or history.

Please please please prove me wrong. Suggest 2 or 3 things (notice I’ve reduced it) that Bush could have done which would have made any difference. I’ll even lower the bar further. It doesn’t have to be orders (although that’s the only thing they might have needed him for). Let me know how he might have built a more accurate picture of the current events in those seven minutes by leaving the classroom.


And just as funny.

Since you guys have finally dragged me into this discussion, let me ask the question in another way. Imagine President Bush was in the oval office when the attacks happened. What would have been different? I realize that there are no particular orders he could have given to change any of the outcomes (I hope all of you do as well). But what would he have learned, what could he have known sooner. If you prefer, imagine that he was on Air Force One. If he had been in the white house, he might have been spirited away as Vice President Cheney was and so might not have had the opportunity to do, say, or learn anything. Lets put him on Air Force One. No press in his face at the time of the attack. Now, what would he have done, what could he have done, what difference would there have been.

One order he should have issued: “Um, what? Can you please clarify that whole thing about America being under attack? Can you tell me what’s going on on the ground? If not, can you find out, please, so I can lead?” How would it have made a difference? Bush would have known what was going on.

This isn’t an anti-Bush thing. The President should want to lead, and should be expected to lead. He sat there waiting for his people to figure out what to do next. That is repulsive in a supposed commander-in-chief. I don’t know that he could do anything that could have made a difference, but he should have wanted to try. Instead, he sat there for seven minutes, and then continued to not lead until someone got back to him to tell him what to do.

You know, there’s a real reason that Republicans are resorting to using this argument that Kerry didn’t do anything. At first, there doesn’t seem to be any point to it, since obviously Kerry couldn’t have done anything in those 40 minutes. But the real reply that Republicans could have made to the charge that Bush didn’t do anything that morning, while it would have been a reasonable excuse for Bush’s inaction, would have been more embarrassing to Bush than trying to distract people with charges about Kerry.

The real reason is that there was nothing that Bush could do. Nearly all of the emergency actions that could be done were done by lower-level people in the federal, state, and local governments. Some of them had been vaguely anticipated in their emergency plans and some of them were spontaneous improvisations. Even some of the top-level federal things that could conceivable come from a President very likely were not suggested by Bush. It appears that the order to get every plane in the U.S. out of the air immediately and the eventual order to find every suspicious remaining plane and shoot them down if necessary didn’t come from Bush. These were things that were done by other people which were then submitted for Bush’s O.K. Had Bush tried to interfere by making suggestions, I suspect that he would have been told by his aides to keep his mouth shut and stay out of their way. The things that he did in the first couple of days were more long-range than this. He made some reassuring speeches to the nation and he told his aides, “I’ll bet this was done by Saddam Hussein. Find some evidence that he’s behind this.”

Now, the Republicans are not going to admit that George Bush did the best thing by keeping out of everyone’s way. Their claim, after all, is that he’s a leader. How can they admit that other people in government at all levels were making good decisions without ever consulting him? Why, that would be tantamount to admitting that maybe government is not the necessary evil that they believe it to be. So instead of saying that Bush is not and is not supposed to be involved in every emergency decision, they say, “Well, Kerry didn’t do anything either.” Now, I have no idea if Kerry or anybody else had been President on 9/11 that he would have been able to make the emergency decisions that would have been necessary. In any case, Bush didn’t show himself to be much of a leader on 9/11. Perhaps no one could have done much better. But he didn’t do very well.

Well, while we’re imagining…

Now that it’s coming from both major sides (and one almost indescribably puzzling side, thank you Aldebaran), I reckon I can ask this question:

What if, while you looked on in horror at the ruins of a second tower, your TV also showed Picture-in-Picture, closed-circuit coverage of Your Candidate? How would you have reacted, while the seconds turned into minutes, if you could have watched him simply sit and blink at the news?