I just finished reading “Fighting Back” by Bill Sammon, which is about the events of 9/11 mainly from President Bush’s point of view as well as the aftermath. Mainly we get the view from the White House, which is well done, as well as some of the thoughts of the president based on interviews Sammons had done with Bush. It also includes the back story behind events we only glimsped in the news, such as the moment when Bush addressed the rescue workers on “The Pile” on the Friday after, where he yelled through the bullhorn to them. And the policeman’s shield he received from the mother of a Port Authority cop who died in the World Trade Center.
The book starts on September 10, addressing the political situation Bush found himself in, the unfulfilled expectations, the lingering doubts of the 2000 election, and the Democrats licking their chops at taking Congress in the mid-term election. We also see the president in his normal routine and then watch from the sidelines as the events unfold and we get behind-the-scenes glances. I wish this part had been more complete, since I would love to know more about how the Bush administration, and the president himself, responded to the crisis.
The most interesting chapter dealt with the press’s and the Democrats’ impatience and second-guessing starting in October. When the first ultimatum was given to the Taliban, there were the dire warnings of a years-long war and disaster. As the war began, there was constant moaning over tactics and strategy and “quagmire” started being heard constantly and the inevitable comparisons to Vietnam. But by Thanksgiving it was all but over. It’s almost a complete duplicate of the press/Democrat template for the Iraq war. I’m sure it will be trotted out again in the future if we have to go into another country.
I had been planning to read this book for a long time and I’m sorry it sat on my shelf so long. And I’m glad I finally read it. I recommend it.