Beyond "My Pet Goat": Karl Rove's Role on 9/11

This post, written by Michael Shaw, originally appeared on BAGnewsNotes

Although I had seen this photo before, the fact it showed up in Monday's NYT "Goodbye Karl" slideshow caused me to take a closer "visual forensic" look.

Click for larger version
(click for larger version)


The photo, as you can tell from the clock and the TV screen, was taken at 9:25 am on the morning of 9/11/2001 at Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida.

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.

If Bush's actions confirm his incompetent, pre-formulated, performance-by-rote, what, in addition, might the craft and composition of the photo indicate? In this moment of extreme crisis; 13 minutes before Flight 77 would slam into the Pentagon; with the atmosphere rife with speculation that numerous highjacks were in progress, can anybody say there wasn't still time for posing?

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