It is not about the movie.
It’s not about polls or politics or the election of 2006.
It’s about them.
It’s about Christine Lee Hanson.
She was 2 1/2 years old and on United Flight 175 with her mother and father when the hijackers took it over.
She did not know that when President George W. Bush took office in January, he and his National Security Advisor Condi Rice would ignore the warnings presented to them by the outgoing administration and by counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke.
She did not know that for months Clarke and others attempted to issue warnings to Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney about a gathering threat.
She did not know that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft produced a budget to cut funding for counter-terrorism measures.
She did not know that when President Bill Clinton had attempted to kill Osama bin Laden, Republican Congressmen and media pundits denounced him for trying to distract what they saw as the more important investigation into whether a young woman willingly performed oral sex on him.
She did not know that on Aug. 6, 2001, a CIA briefer gave Bush a report entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.”
She did not know that Bush told the briefer he had “covered his ass” but Bush remained on vacation and took no action such as ordering increased security for airports or any other counter-measures to stop the attack.
All she knew was that she was on a plane with her mother and father.
The flight must have been incredibly rocky with the hijackers taking the jet into a power dive as they headed for New York City.
Her father was on the phone with her grandfather during those last moments.
Her father knew they were about to die.
Imagine if you will what it was like to be Christine’s father and mother. You know you are about to die with your young daughter next to you. Your dreams of growing up together with her, teaching her to read a book, watching her climb a tree, playing catch with her, sending her off to school, are about to end.
It must have been horrifying. Yet at the same time you probably fight to reassure her and reassure your father on the phone with you that it is all right because you do not want her last moments on earth to be terrifying. You probably want to fill them with love, with comfort.
Christine’s grandfather said later that his son told him, “Don’t worry, Dad. If it happens, it’ll be quick.”
One plane had already crashed into a Twin Tower.
Then the plane sped into the second tower.
Christine’s father said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” and her grand father heard a scream and he watched on television as the second plane flew into the World Trade Center.
Moments after Christine died, the president’s top adviser whispered in Bush’s ear.
Bush went back to listening to children read “My Pet Goat” to him.
Just six months later, Bush said he did not know where the man who masterminded the scheme to kill Christine was. And he didn’t spend that much time on him.
That is the sad truth we owe Christine.