The New York Times, in lead article on Monday headlined (on the jump) "Bush Mourns 9-11 at Ground Zero," reported that a "visibly moved" president laid a wreath Sunday at the memorial in the hole that is what's left of the World Trade Center, saying, "Laura and I approach tomorrow with a heavy heart."
Remember, on September 10, 2001, George Bush was being widely written off as a failed president. His poll numbers were falling faster than Enron stock, he was becoming a national joke for the number of days he spent vacationing, and his political strategist, Karl Rove, was in a tizzy trying to figure out an angle to salvage things.
Then came those hijacked planes, and the smoking ruins on Wall Street and at the Pentagon, and suddenly Bush had it made. He really didn't have to do anything. The country needed a leader to rally around, and Bush, with the help of his trusty speechwriters, gave them that leader by default.
Karl Rove, his strategy dilemma solved, made Bush's administration 9-11 24/7. It was "War on Terror" time in America. In short order, the U.S. was at war in Afghanistan, with B-52s and B-2s carpet bombing one of the poorest countries in the world, the USA PATRIOT Act was stripping Americans of their two-centuries old birthright of free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from government spying, the right to a speedy trial by a jury of peers, the right to an attorney, the right to face their accusers, and any Democrats who expressed concerns about the direction the country was going were labeled cowards and "supporters of the terrorists."
On September 11, 2001, it all fell into place for this intellectually deficient and morally stunted man who in 2000 actually lost the election for president, but who found himself in the White House anyhow, thanks to the conniving of five unprincipled Supreme Court Justices willing to place loyalty to party ahead of loyalty to the People and the Constitution.
I'll be generous and assume that Bush is serious when he says he is a religious guy and that his God talks to him, but I'll bet you anything that when little he talks back to Big Him, as he did when he prayed Sunday at New York's St. Paul's Chapel and Monday at the National Cathedral, he offers fervent thanks for that terrible day.
Without it, he would not have had a Republican majority in the Congress in 2002, and without it, he would not have been returned to the White House in 2004.
Bush didn't even have the grace to wait until the day of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks had ended to go from fake mourning mode into attack mode, once again appropriating the tragic deaths of over 2900 Americans to launch into a defense of his indefensible and disastrous war in Iraq, which his own generals say is going to hell. Nor did he wait until the day had passed to return to attacking Democrats.
In an address to the nation broadcast nationally at 9 pm on 9-11 (which the Times curiously headlined "Bush urges unity in a continuing war" in a report the next day), Bush attacked those calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Said Bush, "...the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone."
Never mind that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, as even the President has been forced to admit, and as the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has belatedly confirmed.
That may explain the sincere look of serious reflection on the normally twisted cynical face of Vice President Dick Cheney during a moment of silence at a Monday ceremony at the Pentagon. The Vice President, who like Bush surely hasn't been genuinely mourning 9-11, may well have been brooding over the train wreck that this administration is becoming, in large part because of Cheney's own mad obsession with military adventurism and presidential power grabbing.
Both he and Bush may even have been praying on Monday that the next anniversary of the 9-11 attacks doesn't see them both in the dock being impeached for their crimes.