Twenty Questions about 9/11
7. Why did President Bush continue reading a story to Florida grade-schoolers for nearly a half-hour during the worst attack on America in its history?
In arguably the greatest understatement in U.S. history, Bush told a questioner at a California town-hall meeting in January 2002 that 9/11 “was an interesting day.” Interesting, indeed. In the two years since the attacks, questions have only grown about the president’s bizarre behavior that morning, when he was informed in a Sarasota classroom that America was under attack.
“I couldn’t stop watching the president sitting there, listening to second-graders, while my husband was burning in a building,” World Trade Center widow Lorie van Auken, a leader of relatives of Sept. 11 victims who have raised questions about the attacks, told Gail Sheehy in the New York Observer.
Why did Bush read a children’s story about a pet goat and stay in the classroom for more than a half-hour after the first plane struck the World Trade Center and roughly 15 minutes after Chief of Staff Andrew Card told him that it had been a deliberate attack? Why didn’t he take more decisive action, and why wasn’t he hustled to a secure area while the attacks were clearly still under way?
Conspiracy advocates have cited these strange lapses as evidence that Bush knew about the attacks ahead of time, but why would anyone with advance knowledge appear so clueless?
So it looks at least a certain amount of questioning is happening on both sides of the Atlantic. Good. Finally. What are the answers?