The year's must-Skip series!

Political commentary and more.
March 3 2002 2:55 PM

Ten Years in September

This season's must-Skip series!

(Continued from Page 1)

" 'Whatever it takes,' the president said."

"I'm not leaving. … And by the way, I'm hungry."—Bush, when the Secret Service wants to evacuate him to the bunker after receiving a warning on 9/13

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"We're going to rain holy hell on them. … I want to have them quaking in their boots."—Bush, at a 9/17 meeting

" '[Expletive] pilot discretion,' Mineta yelled back. 'Get those goddamn planes down.' "

"They'll have flies on their eyeballs."—CIA counterterrorism operative Cofer Black, in a colorful Cabinet briefing that "had a huge effect on the president, according to his advisers"

"We may have been the targets … but we are not victims."—Karen Hughes, striking the word "victims" from a draft presidential statement

"The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today"—Bush dictating to his daily diary the night of 9/11

Non-Wayneish moments:

"I wish I was visiting under better circumstances. But it will be a chance for all three of us to thank and hug and cry with the citizens of your good area."—Bush in a televised 9/13 conference call with New York officials, after which his eyes teared up

"It's a wild card that could change the dynamics in ways that could alter our calculus."—Rumsfeld response (at Camp David) to the possibility that Osama Bin Laden has weapons of mass destruction

Major themes: 1) Bush in charge. 2) The ascendance of the CIA, which gets credit for devising unconventional approaches in Afghanistan. Bush adopts CIA Director Tenet's plan, freeing the agency "to operate without restraint" in what looks like a blanket license to kill. 3) Bush's Manichaeanism, in which he "describes the conflict in the starkest possible terms, as one of good versus evil, light versus darkness." His speechwriter believes this language is "rooted in his … belief that all things happened for a reason."