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September 11, 2006

9/11: Tender Is The Right


Caption:  U.S. President George W. Bush kisses

a girl among family members of those killed

when United Flight 93 crashed into a field,

during a ceremony commemorating the fifth

anniversary of the September 11th attacks at

the impact zone of the flight in Shanksville,

Pennsylvania, September 11, 2006.

Frankly, I don’t see how 9/11 can be venerated in any legitimate collective way as long as George Bush is leading that process.  Above all, BushCo’s manipulation of the survivors and victims on the anniversary of this abhorrent tragedy shows the blasphemy of someone whose actions consistently demonstrate duplicity and a pure political motive.


Case in point:

There were many great and telling visual moments during Charles Gibson’s day-long interview with George Bush in Atlanta last Thursday.  The most indicative, however, was this reaction to the following question:  Mr. President, can you really tell me with a straight face that this [set of speeches you've given on terrorism] doesn’t have a lot to do with politics?


(Note: Over the next two days, I’ll be taking a look at GWB’s tour of the three “impact zones” and I will also try and focus on the non-politicized and non-commercialized commemoration of the day.  If you have images and takes you would like to pass along, please email me at openbag AT bagnews DOT com.)

(image 1: Jason Reed/Reuters. Shanksville, Pennsylvania, September 11, 2006. Via image 2:

  • Darryl Pearce

    …here’s a ghostly interesting picture for some commentary.

  • Rafael

    I don’t know, I just play sick and tired of George and his false (not pity, peity), which is what he is showing here. And the need to get to close to the subject. This pciture might be endearing to some, but it seems rathe rcreepy to me.

  • Keir

    This is a moment where my views and the BAG’s diverge. I like this sentence…

    “I don’t see how 9/11 can be venerated in any legitimate collective way as long as George Bush is leading that process.”

    …but I think the problem goes beyond the smirking criminal leading the grieving process. Would a criminal with a better poker face be preferred? There’s an interesting anti-9/11 conspiracy piece by CounterPunch’s Alexander Cockburn making the rounds now, in which he writes that conspiracy theorists are

    “like much of the left and liberal sectors, [who promote] Bush, Cheney and the Neo-Cons to an elevated status as the Arch Demons of American history, instead of being just one more team running the American empire, a team of more than usual stupidity and incompetence (characteristics I personally favor in imperial leaders.)”

    The consequence of focusing too much on Bush during his first term earned us his second term. What will be the consequence (or the value) of focusing too much on him now?

  • JJF

    “Frankly, I don’t see how 9/11 can be venerated in any legitimate collective way as long as George Bush is leading that process.”
    One very astute comment. The wound that tore about the country five years ago has not begun to heal. The bleeding continues.
    Time and again Bush displays a shocking lack of empathy, an essential part of humanity, not to mention leadership. One of the tragic misfortunes this country suffered was that 9/11 happened during his presidency. I would have preferred anyone else as president, even Nixon. Reagan, not my favorite guy, would have certainly risen to the occasion. You can imagine what Clinton may have done. And I think Gore has a nobility within him that could have served the nation well.

  • ummabdulla

    Some people don’t want that wound to heal, because they’re making a fortune out of the “Homeland Security” scam.
    How US merchants of fear sparked a $130bn bonanza
    The homeland security market has an army of lobbyists working for its interests in Washington
    Paul Harris in New York
    Sunday September 10, 2006
    The Observer
    Brian Lehman’s farm lies down a gravel road, between two fields of swaying corn as tall as a man. It is in the middle of Indiana’s rural heartland in a landscape populated mostly by bearded Amish farmers and their wives.
    Horse-drawn buggies are more common than cars, roads are littered with horse manure and fields are worked by hand. It feels distant in time and place from big cities such as New York or Washington, or even Indianapolis, two hours’ drive south.
    Yet Lehman’s farm, from which he runs a small popcorn business, was recently declared a target for terrorists. State security officials included it in a list of assets considered potential victims of attack, most likely by Islamic fanatics. That was a surprise to Lehman, who had previously never considered Amish Country Popcorn on the front line in the war on terror. But he reckons he knows why he was chosen: ‘It’s the money…’

  • GeorgeF

    Would be great, if somebody can tell me how to insert picturres here. In addition to the image above I would love to post the picture of GWB, holding up a small boy in full uniform with a grinning military audience …. Perhaps one or the other remembers the picture.
    It is all the same, a particular kind of politicians love to be shown hugging children and a very special kind feels happy to see children playing with guns and uniforms. We had such leaders before.

  • neal

    Even a madman can cry. All these memorials reinforce their worldview, waving the bloody shirt again.

  • momly

    Geez O Pete, if I were that child, I’d be terrified. If I were that child’s mother, I would be horrified. If he tried to do that to me, I’d be arrested as I would have slugged him.
    W just turns my stomach.

  • Aunt Deb

    Why does he grab the head of the little girl? She seems almost to be bending away from Bush. Her shoulder is raised; her head bent to the side. I think I’ve seen another picture of him kissing someone in a similar way, as though he has to capture the recipient and really lay that lovin’ on ‘em. Are there many pictures of Clinton kissing people? I just don’t remember them.

  • Rafael

    Aunt Deb:
    Clinton is a hugger, not a kisser (at least not in public, yeah I know had to go there!). Smart, effective pols like Clinton seem to be able to share other emotions without intruding on their personal space (unless included in such space). Bush just can help but try to get chummy, imposing his presence on the subject of his demostration. The more I see it, the less I like it.

  • uncle vester

    My first thought was that he trying to suck something out of her head- her pineal gland perhaps? It’s like he’s drinking from a coconut. Many of the photos/videos I’ve seen of his personal, physical interactions with others in public show him trying to dominate or patronise his subjects (patting bald heads, etc. He seems to have a thing for other people’s heads.) This one just seems a bit more predatory than most.

  • jt from BC

    ummabdulla, your > ‘How US merchants of fear sparked a $130bn bonanza’ inspired me to get carried away but we are still observing the same $$$ parade its just getting longer, first three points then my supporting data.
    I believe President Eisenhower intentionally removed *congressional* from his Military Industrial complex farewell speech for political reasons.
    Sometimes it takes 50 years to draw logical inferences and officially state the obvious as Chuck Spinney has done.
    The fourth important element missing in Ike’s formula are powerful, influential Think Tanks, I begin with what GWB calls “his base” ‘The American Enterprise Institute’… So updating we now have a Military-Industrial-Congressional-(T)2 complex which is virtually seamless. MIC(T)2-complex
    What Politician of either party would commit suicide by challenging the military budget from which each State has such vested economic interests ?
    In the documentary ‘Why We Fight’- parts for the B 52 are manufactured in every state, how coincidental is that..
    Center for Media & Democracy Military-industrial complex – 48k -
    “His children suggest that in an earlier draft of the speech, he referred to the “military-industrial-congressional complex”. [1](
    NOW with David Brancaccio. Politics & Economy. Inside the Pentagon … – 34k –
    (check 2003 $$$ allocation by State-outdated but valuable)
    “As former Department of Defense analyst Chuck Spinney suggests in NOW’s “Inside the Pentagon,” there is a third element in the financial equation termed “the military industrial complex” by President Eisenhower. That element is *Congress* — representatives are tasked with bringing federal business into their districts and to their constituents”
    High Military Expenditure in Some Places – Global Issues
    The U.S. military budget request by the Bush Administration for Fiscal Year 2007 is $462.7 billion. (This includes the Defense Department budget, funding for the Department of Energy (which includes nuclear weapons) and “other” which the source does not define. It does not include other items such as money for the Afghan and Iraq wars—$50 billion for Fiscal Year 2007 and an extra $70 billion for FY 2006, on top of the $50 billion approved by Congress.)
    For Fiscal Year 2006 it was $441.6 billion
    For Fiscal Year 2005 it was $420.7 billion
    For Fiscal Year 2004 it was $399.1 billion
    For Fiscal Year 2003 it was $396.1 billion
    For Fiscal Year 2002 it was $343.2 billion
    For Fiscal Year 2001 it was $305 billion. Congress increased to $310 billion.
    This was up from approximately $288.8 billion, in 2000.
    These figures typically *do not include combat figures,* so 2001 onwards, the Afghan war, and 2003 onwards, the Iraq war costs are not in this budget. As of early 2006, Congress had already approved an additional funding total of $300 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Brenda

    In many photos the WH passes out of Bush, he has height. He is towering above, so that the photographer is below, or that he is tall above a little girl, or above other people. It’s meant to leave an impression of invincibility. If it wasn’t tacky for Americans to create giant Stalin-era statues and busts of Bush, then that would happen too. It’s what they like.
    Clinton on the other hand, I don’t remember coming across that way or being photographed that way. Or Reagan. They were more on your level, more side by side, more affable. Bush is so sneering, so mocking, so much the ruler and not the governor. And he became more so as time went by.
    I think in this photo it’s also visually similar to the authority of the Pope. What other positioning like that have you see other than the Pope? No one.
    It’s the ultimate power trip. Bush is “father”, but not like the local little league dad. He’s the father like Hitler was of the Reich. And remember Hitler never loved Germany. He loved only his Reich. When the war was lost to him, and people showed him the civilians left in his country, he said he didn’t care, that the real germans had already died. He respected only the soldiers. And even there respect isn’t the right word perhaps. This is such an uncanny similarity to the attitude of Bush towards his own countrymen. Now you know why he despises most of us.

  • Rafael

    I get the father figure anology, but to me he is more like an abstee step-father. That’s probably a family trait, since his father came off the same way. I think jr. is just overcompensating.

  • Ernest Tomlinson

    I’m slightly reminded of one of the last shots of Chinatown. The Faye Dunaway character is killed as her daughter looks on in horror. Her father, the John Huston character, wraps his arms around her supposedly to comfort and protect the girl from the horrible sight, but the grasp is creepy and clinging.

  • GeorgeF

    Hi Brenda,
    ” What other positioning like that have you see other than the Pope? No one.”
    Sorry, we here had someone called “The Fuehrer” – there are many pictures of that character together with children…

  • GeorgeF
  • gabriel christou
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