Don't Go There

by digby

I'm hearing from wingnuts snorting and chortling that the Democrats used 12 year old Graeme Frost as a "human shield." They think it's very clever.

I would suggest that they be very, very careful about saying such things. It might bring to mind something quite unpleasant:

We all know what was going on that day, don't we? And we also know that the president just sat there in a room full of children for many minutes after he was told that the country was under attack. Apparently it didn't occur to him that being with the president of the United States at that moment might pose a danger to those kids. Indeed, he didn't leave the school until much later.

BagNews made an interesting observation about that recently:

Although everyone in the world, it seems, is familiar with the "My Pet Goat" photos, I think this one -- though far lesser known -- is as much, if not even more scandalous.

Given the detailed timelines available from that morning, we know well how George Bush spent 10 very long minutes reading a story to a group of second graders. He entered the classroom room at 9:03, and he was informed at 9:06 by Andy Card that a second plane had crashed into the World Trade Towers, but he didn't finish up with the kids until 9:16.

What is much less familiar, however, is how Bush spent the next fifteen or twenty minutes. After taking another minute or two to speak with the teacher and principal after the reading exercise, Bush and company made their way into this adjoining classroom. Once there, Bush spoke with Condi Rice (check), then Dick Cheney (double check), then New York Governor Pataki (check again). What is most remarkable -- both about the photo, and Dubya's subsequent decision making -- however, are those pages in front of him.

According to his original pre-"attack on America" schedule, Bush was slated to give a speech to the Booker Elementary student body at approximately 9:30. So, thirty-nine minutes after the first crash (which Bush was aware of by approximately 8:55); and nineteen minutes after hearing about the second crash; and with the fate of America supposedly hanging in the balance, what do you suppose Bush had in front of him and was working on?

Yep, it's the speech he ended up writing, then delivering, four minutes later to 200 elementary school students, along with some teachers and a handful of reporters.

The president of the United States sat in an elementary school reading and giving speeches to schoolkids for nearly an hour after planes started flying into buildings all over the east coast. He sat there like a stunned rodent and then wasted even more time putting together a speech which he gave in front of those same kids. Remember that speech?

He had no idea at that moment where the next wave of attacks were coming from or where. But he decided that it was a good idea to stick close to those second graders anyway.

Human shields? You be the judge.

More human shield action here, from Watertiger.