While watching the film, United 93, I couldn't help but feel that here at last was the sequel to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911. I remembered the lines around the block in the spring of 2004 trying to get into the little art cinema in Portland, Maine and later the audience's snickering as Mr. Moore portrayed how George Bush persisted in reading stories to an elementary school class even after he had been told that the planes had hit the World Trade Center. United 93 tells us "the rest of the story" for as George Bush was sitting there with the kids a national emergency was developing that needed his input. Our military air defense system was scrambling to protect Washington DC from terrorist piloted planes but no protection was possible without the president's approval. The film portrays the actual director of air traffic control exclaiming " We're at war with someone". And yet, to the obvious frustration of the air defense command, Mr. Bush could not be located. So our planes went up anyway and even though they were unarmed and actually went the wrong way at one point it was still possible for them to intercept the terrorists. But, apparently, in the finely drawn lines of air defense protocol only the president can determine the "rules of engagement" and without authorization from Mr. Bush no engagement was possible. Of course, the vice president could have filled in for Mr. Bush but interestingly, he too was not to be found. So, if not for some very brave people on Flight 93 we might today be looking at funding a White House memorial in addition to the World Trade Center memorial.
As United 93 ends and we see both terrorists and passengers praying to their god just before the plane becomes dust, one cannot help but feel a torrent of anger. Mr. Bush is still with us, praying to his god and the terrorist mastermind, Osama Bin Laden remains with us as well, praying to his god.
Along with the anger comes an anxiety that won't go away until our government is led by competent, intelligent and logical human beings.