Why Bush Didn’t Mention Canada After 9/11

September 10th, 2011 at 12:00 am David Frum | 99 Comments |

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After the horror and grief of the 9/11 attacks came a distinctively Canadian after-shock: The jolt of a seeming direct insult to Canada by the president of the United States.

Nine days after the attacks, mind president George W. Bush addressed both houses of Congress. The president opened with thanks to nations around the world:

“America will never forget the sounds of our national anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, pilule on the streets of Paris and at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.” The president singled out South Korea, try Egypt, Australia, Africa, Latin America, Pakistan, Israel, India, El Salvador, Iran, Mexico, Japan, and Britain for thanks, commendation or remembrance.

As Canadians watched, many wondered: El Salvador? Egypt? Iran? What about us?

More than 30,000 stranded American travelers found welcome in Canada after the terror attacks, 7,000 of them in one small city, Gander, N.L. As it was later observed by author Teri A. McIntyre:

Schools and halls quickly became emergency shelters. Residents invited people into their homes for showers, beds and meals. People stripped their houses bare of sheets and towels, and offered the use of their vehicles. Pharmacists filled prescriptions from all over the word at no cost. Local businesses emptied their shelves of food, clothing, toys and toiletries.

These acts of spontaneous individual kindness went unmentioned in the president’s speech. Canadians who had opened their homes and hearts reacted with anger to the apparent slight. And many Canadians believed they knew precisely who to blame: me.

I was working on 9/11 as a speechwriter and special assistant in the Bush White House. A rumor spread that I personally had been responsible for the omission of Canada, in some kind of outburst of Canadian self-loathing.

Over the next weeks, I was inundated by requests — challenges really — from Canadian media to explain the speech and defend myself.

I declined. When I emerged from the administration, I wrote a book about my experiences, but dealt only glancingly with Canada and the 9/20 speech. A decade later, and with the Bush administration receding into history, there seems no reason not to tell the story in full.

My speechwriting portfolio was economics. In those first days after the attacks, the president confronted a dizzying array of economic problems. The New York stock exchange was closed. The airline industry faced bankruptcy. The economy of the New York-New Jersey area had suffered a devastating blow. The already weak national economy teetered on the verge of severe recession. A new war had to be paid for, and terrorist finances had to be hunted around the globe.

Statements had to be prepared on all these issues for the president and other senior officials. Little of this work is remembered now, but it seemed very important at the time.

At the same time, all the White House speechwriters were called upon to write remarks to mourn the dead, name the guilty, and protect the innocent against wrongful accusations. On September 14, the president delivered a beautiful memorial address at the National Cathedral. The president visited a Washington mosque and repeatedly spoke against blaming all Muslims for the terrorist attacks.

The joint session speech was written by the same troika that had produced George W. Bush’s powerful convention speech in 2000: Michael Gerson, Matthew Scully and John McConnell, with a lot of input from communications director Karen Hughes.

Gerson, Scully and McConnell were and are supremely talented writers, although their partnership was already shadowed by animosities that would in time erupt into public view. But the Bush White House, even more than most White Houses, was focused inward, isolated from the rest of the world, even the rest of the U.S. government.

Scully and I shared an office, a once grand room in the Executive Office Building now bisected by a paper-thin partition wall, and we became and remained good friends. In the commotion and turmoil of those 18-hour days — with all of us expecting at any moment to be killed by a car bomb on Pennsylvania Avenue — even close friends found precious few seconds to talk.

I reconnected with the joint-session speech on the morning it was to be delivered. My eyes bulged as I read the opening acknowledgments. I raced to see Gerson to warn that the reaction in Canada would be large and angry.

What the hell happened, anyway? I wanted to know. Was this some kind of payback to Jean Chretien? (The Bush-Chretien relationship was notoriously poor.) If so, please remember that 60% of Canadians did not vote for Jean Chretien. Why insult them?

No, no, no came the answer. It wasn’t that at all, it wasn’t personal.

Well what was it then?

Gerson shuffled in embarrassment. “We just … forgot.”

We have to fix this, I pleaded.

It’s too late, he answered. The president has signed off on the text. Evidently the president had forgotten too.

Let’s reopen the text, I urged. Futile. Bush was adamant in his demand for an orderly and conclusive speech process, unlike the endless rewrites of the Clinton White House. Once a speech was deemed closed — it was closed.

I returned home that night depressed and demoralized. As my wife and I prepared to watch the speech, I gloomily predicted to her that the Canadian reaction would be savage — and that I’d get the blame.

She countered: “If that happens, why not just tell them truth?”

To this day, she quotes the reply I gave her all those years ago: “Is the truth really better?”

Originally published in the National Post.

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99 Comments so far ↓

  • HardlyConservative

    “Is the truth really better?”

    Seems a fitting epitaph for the Bush43 adminstration.

  • jakester

    Obama hates Canadians, just like he hates flyover country!
    jess kidding

  • Bunker555

    Time hounds all heels.

  • shecky

    I don’t remember this particular nontroversy. Nice to set the record straight none the less.

  • beleg

    “Is the truth really better?”

    It’s the truth. Being unwilling to accept failings and deal with their results is probably the single largest flaw that’s led the Republican party to where it is now. The truth is better because it’s the truth, and being unwilling to deal with it and accept it leaves us unable to deal with the real world.

    • Primrose

      I think Mr. Frum means that Canadians will be just as offended to be forgotten as left out on purpose.

  • satrap

    Amazing that inserting the word “Canada” (!!!) was a practical impossibility in that most precise of White Houses. Evil-doers? Check! Nucular? Check! Canada? Canada? Canada?

    • Graychin

      Having to memorize an extra word for his speech might have thrown Bush off his game. He didn’t ever use teleprompters like that stupid Obama.

  • dugfromthearth

    he forgot Poland

  • dittbub

    I can’t believe El Salvador is more memorable than Canada :(

  • baw1064

    First, a big thanks for all the help the U.S. received from Canadians in the aftermath of 9/11.

    The anecdote that David Frum tells encapsulates what I see as the failing of the GWB administration: a decision, once made, is final. No chance for going back and changing approach or making a modification, no matter how easily done.

    I voted for Bush in 2000, and for Dole in 1996. After 9/11 happened, I felt convinced that we had the right person in the White House. I supported the Iraq war at first, and even was willing to give the benefit of the doubt on the less than convincing evidence on WMDs.

    Bush lost me in 2004. It seemed pretty clear to me that the situation in Iraq was headed in the wrong direction. But the administration, and especially Rumsfeld, were convinced that they were going about it the right way, and wouldn’t even consider that the approach needed changing. In the end, I couldn’t vote for Bush or Kerry, but I found myself secretly hoping Kerry would win.

    Even so, Bush could have saved his presidency if he had replaced Rumsfeld immediately after the 2004 election. But instead, Powell left, as did Ashcroft. I remember thinking as I heard the news, that the one person who really needed to go was the one who was staying. Two more years of, well, unmitigated disaster before somebody finally realized that something needed to be done.

    • Jamie McFadden

      “The anecdote that David Frum tells encapsulates what I see as the failing of the GWB administration: a decision, once made, is final. No chance for going back and changing approach or making a modification, no matter how easily done.”


      • Banty

        Agreed. Some may dismiss this as a small incident, but the size of the incident is not the point. How the Bush W. White House operated is the point. This kind of rigidity can create a lot of harm.

        Speaking of Canada, it was Canada, along with the Brits, who made a large part of the troops on the ground early on in Afghanistan. It was Canadian soldiers who were killed accidentally by us in a ‘friendly fire’ incident. We owe them quite a lot.

        It was Canada, also, that was reticent to go in with us in Iraq. This could have been a favor to us too, if the Bush W. White House hadn’t been so rigid.

  • hisgirlfriday

    Gerson shuffled in embarrassment. “We just … forgot.”

    Reminds me of an old bit featuring a still-just-a-standup-comic Jon Stewart on that great ’90s Comedy Central show “Dr. Katz Professional Therapist” that’s stuck with me over the years.


  • paul_gs

    As a Canadian, I wasn’t angry that Canada was not mentioned. It was not the time to take offence simply because one’s country wasn’t named in a speech.

  • roubaix

    I forgot about this incident, but I do like the story.

  • TerryF98

    “A new war had to be paid for”

    But never was!

    “Let’s reopen the text, I urged. Futile. Bush was adamant in his demand for an orderly and conclusive speech process, unlike the endless rewrites of the Clinton White House. Once a speech was deemed closed — it was closed.”

    And there in a nutshell is the failing of the Bush Presidency. This attitude went through the whole administration and even to this day Bush or Cheney will admit no error was ever committed on their watch.

    The blustering “you have covered your ass” remark and abrupt dismissal of the intelligence that Bin Laden was determined to strike the US soon was a part of this and led directly to the 9/11 disaster.

  • zaybu

    Concerning the ignorance about Canada from Bush, there was no surprise there. During the campaign in 2000, Bush thought that Canada’s Prime Minister was a guy named “Jean Poutine”, not knowing that poutine is a Quebecois delicatessen.


  • LJS

    Interesting & telling of how the Bush administration worked.
    Thank You Canada
    Thank You David Frum

  • ottovbvs

    I’m sure this is a true account of what happened but wasn’t this a small but startling early warning of Bush’s intellectual and administrative rigidity. To me it ‘s a telling anecdote about one aspect of the incompetence that was the hallmark of Bush and his administration.

    • paul_gs

      You’re reading far too much into what was a simple, small and inconsequential oversight.

      • ottovbvs

        The incompetent in big things tend to be incompetent in small things. In this case I’d say the connection between intellectual rigidity and a screw up (even if it’s a minor one) is fairly clearly

  • Primrose

    I agree with the comments that thinks this sums up the problem of the Bush administration. I was so shocked that this could be true, not add Canada once you realize it’s missing, one phrase, that it made me doubt whether it was true. Really, how could one be so close-minded, so inflexible as not to permit changes like that.

    But George Bush’s presidency paid so much attention to t looking like a competent executive, the decider, that he never gave much thought to how to actually be one. So I guess I believe you, Mr. Frum.

    But it is a very damning story. Very damning indeed.

  • Primrose

    Before I read the whole piece, I wanted to comment here about the Candadians. The head of one of the agencies I worked for was on her way back from France at 911 and had to spend those days in Gander (Nova Scotia right?). She spoke often and with great appreciation of their hospitality. She was very much touched.

    So not all Americans are so unappreciative of Canada’s response—or so forgetful.

    • Lizzie

      Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador.

      People in Gander are having memorials this week-end.

      “To mark the milestone, the town has organized “Beyond Words,” a month-long series of memorial services, performances and fundraisers, hoping to collect enough money through the events to offer a scholarship to children who lost a parent in the attacks.”


      • Primrose

        Thank You Lizzie. I knew I didn’t have it exactly correct.

      • Balsack

        I just knew there must be a few smart ladies on FrumForum. In days of yore, in Newfoundland town, most ladies would just stick to their knitting.

        But over here, where I be, we must still respect the Gang of 4. And one fourth of the gang of four, was a woman. Jiang Qing. And if I were Mao’s wife, then I would never stick to my needlepoint. I would rather stick it to the men. Because is this not what all women just love to do? When they get a chance? When the communist revolution finally allows women to stick it to the men?

        Sure, the women are just waiting. And waiting, To finally stick it to their men when their wishes are finally facilitated by either a communist revolution or Jiang Qing’s hanging men out to swing in the wind.

        The women today are always seeking to control the purse strings. No matter what the culture. The greatest thing about the Qing Dynasty, actually, was that we were able to have women’s feet bound. Just so that they could walk around on teeny tiny feet. Teetering around at our beck and call.

        I do not know about you. But, I would very much like to see much more of Chinese feudalism reinstated in the USA, today. Some people might not like it. But I cannot deny that I would very much like it. To have a teetering lady at one’s beck and call? Truly, nothing could be much finer. Not even chickens flying everywhere.


        I don’t know if you can dig, man.
        Watch out for the FUZZ, Man!

  • Smargalicious

    Meh. Canada chose her own world position: mostly neutral, mostly liberal.

    I will say that Canada has some beautiful sights to see if you’re a tourist. We went to Niagara-on-the-Lake last Labor Day weekend, visited Ft. George (where the Americans burned it down during the War of 1812)…it was nice.

    Now, back to 9/11…

    It proved to Americans that Islam is a pseudo-religion that glorifies death, violence, and the subjugation of women.

    Countdown until the liberal filthy whackjobs defend Muslims, attack Christians, and probably even promote homosexuality….3….2….1….

    • Lizzie

      “Meh. Canada chose her own world position: mostly neutral, mostly liberal.”

      You know nothing! The conservative party of Harper won a majority in the last election.

    • Graychin

      Countdown? Only if they’re into feeding trolls.

    • jakester

      Wow, you are really working OT to keep your status as Frum #1 RWM poster. Nothing more hilarious than someone posting some hateful stupid dreck that anticipates link minded stuff from others

    • sunroof

      Ha, Smarg, I was in Washington recently. Passed the White House. We burned it but good in 1814… LOL. Was at the Chrysler’s Farm battlefield two weeks ago near Morrisburg, Ontario… Kicked your butt, baby, LOL.

      Seriously, the sad part of the 9/11 attacks is that they have stiffened a border that didn’t need stiffening, that has heaped great costs and disabilities on trade for companies of both countries, and has literally split communities like Stansted (Quebec)/Rock Island (Vermont) right down the middle, physically. All of these border measures – some of which also are meant, no doubt, to placate Mexico (“See, we’re not singling you out, we do the same to Canada”) don’t really make anyone more or less secure. Right now, the US is allegedly hunting for Al-Qaeda terrorists who have flown into the country, via US airports, with either US passports or visas.

      I was in St. Andrews, New Brunswick last year and the hotel owner told me that on the Canadian Victoria Day holiday weekend when a lot of Canadians go boating on the St. Croix River or on Passamaquoddy Bay, US Homeland Security literally stations an agent, on foot, every hundred yards or so on the US side of the river to make sure Canadian boaters don’t stray into the country. At the St. Stephen(NB)-Calais (ME) border crossing the US has built a greatly expanded customs/immigration station. It’s all a lavish make work project – a bit of political stagecraft – of both the Republican and Democratic administrations to show US citizens how tough on terror the US is.

      In truth, the US would be just as secure spending half of what the government does along the Canadian border. The money could be much better spent elsewhere, or not at all.

      The good news is that Obama and Harper have a decent relationship despite their modest ideological differences – Harper would be a blue dog Democrat, he’s not nearly as ideological rigid as any of the Republican presidential candidate – their administrations have negotiated a new border security agreement (details of which are secret but undoubtedly will leak out. This should help commercial activity for companies in both countries that export to the other, helping ease the cost burden imposed by 9/11 security. Perhaps this should be the goal in other areas, too – reflect on post 9/11 security, keep the good and necessary, streamline or scrap the rest.

      • Primrose

        “done to placate mexico”

        I see, because people flying on a plane or getting here on a boat can’t get to Canada and the cross the border? Given the vast amount of Canadian wilderness, I think it would be fairly easy to slip in and from there to us.

    • japhi

      Yes we have chosen our liberal positions and its paid off. Sure our economy isnt as large as the US economy but the average Canadian has a far better standard of living than the average American. No we dont have as many uber rich but who cares? How many here fit that bill anyways?

      And our history is of a country that is far frpm neutral. Canadian troops were on the ground in both major wars long before the US. We paid a huge price in ww1…600k Canadians participated and 175k were wounded. This from a country with 8mm people at the time. We also contributed significantly to Afghanastan.

      If there is ever another global conflict you can bet Canada will take a side and get ‘er done.

      Funny that you mention the burning of St.George without mentioning the burning of the White House by the British.

      • Smargalicious

        No worries. General Jackson beat the mother phreaking feces out of them in New Orleans. Haw!

    • baw1064

      In answer, let me quote from the article:

      “The president visited a Washington mosque and repeatedly spoke against blaming all Muslims for the terrorist attacks.”

  • Rob_654

    “Bush was adamant in his demand for an orderly and conclusive speech process, unlike the endless rewrites of the Clinton White House.”

    Yes, heaven forbid a President take a second look at something and be willing to make a change…

    Otherwise you could end up with egg on your face because of a speech, you could dismiss the report sent to you by your Intelligence Agencies on the Threat of Al-Qaeda prior to 9/11 after you take office – or end up in a lousy “war” that goes on and on, costs billions upon billions of dollars and has Americans coming home in body bags…

    • paul_gs

      How many threats does a President receive on threats on a daily basis?

      One? Three? Five? Fifty?

      It has never been put into context how many, and how serious the threats are that a President deals with on a daily basis so I still have no good insight into whether the Bush administration was neglectful or not regarding Al Qaeda.

      And how much of the threat of Al Qaeda was something that Clinton never dealt properly with?

      • ottovbvs

        “And how much of the threat of Al Qaeda was something that Clinton never dealt properly with?….so I still have no good insight into whether the Bush administration was neglectful or not regarding Al Qaeda.”

        Given that Bush spent seven years trying to deal with Bin Laden and didn’t manage it this is a pathetically weak justification for Bush’s failure in 2001. Who knows whether it could have been prevented but there’s plenty of evidence from people who were in national security at the time that Bush and Rice took their eye off the ball and basically ignored the threat from Bin Laden. Maybe you haven’t read any of them. Or maybe you don’t face reality because it conflicts with your political views. You only needed to look at the expression on Bush’s face when the news came in that this was a guy who was totally banjaxed.

        • TerryF98

          You are right Otto. The look on Bush’s face tells a story and the story is.

          I fucked up, the warning was real!

          3000 died on the day and 150,000 have died since, all because one man said “you have covered your ass, now go away” instead of taking notice and doing due diligence.

        • Balsack

          There is no “look” on the face of Bush. His eyes are just planted too closely together which makes him look like a rodent.

        • paul_gs

          That is a glib view the left has peddled since 9/11. When I saw GWB in the classroom, I thought thank goodness he isn’t scaring the daylights out of the children by rushing from the classroom.

          You look stunned too I’m sure when someone delivers shocking news to you.

          I still ask the question: how many serious, credible threats does a President have to deal with on an average day?

          Remember too, Clinton had 4 major screwups on his watch (WTC truck bomb, Oklahoma bombing, US Embassy bombings, USS Cole bombing).

        • paul_gs

          Again, it doesn’t answer the question of how many serious credible threats a President receives on a daily basis. How many is it? Anyone have an idea?

          I stand by my point though. Clinton failed to prevent the World Trade Centre bombing in 1993 and failed to prevent the USS Cole bombing in 2000.

          Maybe if Clinton hadn’t dilly-dallyed about eliminating the Al Qaeda threat, 9-11 might not have been possible.

        • ottovbvs

          “I stand by my point though. Clinton failed to prevent the World Trade Centre bombing in 1993 and failed to prevent the USS Cole bombing in 2000. ”

          And Bush failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Now just remind me what were the death tolls in these three events? That you think there’s any equivalence between the attack on the Cole (which is after all a warship manned by combatants) and the 9/11 attack tells us all we need to know about your sense of proportion. It’s non existent.

          Cole attack fatalities …17

          1993 attack on WTC fatalities …6

          2001 attack on WTC fatalities….2753

        • paul_gs

          I didn’t even mention the US Embassy bombings which killed hundreds and happened under Clinton’s watch also.

          Three Al Qaeda attacks on the US when Clinton was President even though he had intelligence warning him about the Al Qaeda threat for years. Why didn’t he prevent even one of those attacks? And more importantly, why did he never treat Al Qaeda with the seriousness it required?

          So to ask again, anyone have any idea how many warnings of serious threats a President receives each day?

  • Graychin

    Never assume a malicious conspiracy when simple stupidity is a sufficient explanation.

    And Mr. Frum – as hard as it might be for you to imagine, most of us Americans out here in flyover country forget about Canada most of the time. Not that we should. It’s just a fact.

    • Banty

      He did not describe a “conspiracy”. He described a pervasive rigidity in Bush administration day to day actions.

  • laingirl

    Thank you for this interesting story, Mr. Frum. Canada should not have been “forgotten” and certainly the people of Gander should have received a special acknowledgement. From the articles I’ve read, the people there could not have been nicer or more helpful to the Americans and the Americans were most appreciative. This is another mistake in a long list of mistakes made that GWB couldn’t remember.

    • paul_gs

      Goodness gracious. We are adults in Canada. The remains of thousands killed on 9/11 hadn’t even been recovered. Not being mentioned in one speech was hardly important.

      • baw1064

        OK, how about Bush’s use of “Crusade” to describe the War on Terrorism? Given that Al Qaeda’s official propaganda encouraged a “jihad against Jews and Crusaders,” the President’s reference to a Crusade against Terrorism (specifically that conducted by jihadists) played right into their hand, did it not? In this case, a much more substantive choice of words that someone should have thought better of.

        Look, I know what he meant to say, but others didn’t interpret it the same way…

  • Graychin

    Proving that “endless rewrites” ala Clinton was a smarter policy than closing speeches early and omitting critical information.

    And the speechwriters were afraid to mention this to Bush anyway?


  • PracticalGirl

    Well, shoot, David- everything (including the 80s) comes to Canada about a decade later. This belated explanation is right on schedule. :)

    Tongue firmly planted in cheek- thanks to all the Canadians who opened their hearts to Americans.

  • Oldskool

    One of the many shames of the Shrub administration is that few, if any, resigned over the things he did. The people inside surely knew that the ignorant crap he was doing was detrimental to the country.

  • LauraNo

    You are right Oldskool. The sins, crimes and just plain mistakes that were made during that administration lie at many pairs of feet, not just the obvious ones. This story illustrates another failing of the Bush administration, those surrounding him seem to have been too meek or too afraid to speak up. People here were truly hurt by the omission, I have seldom been more ashamed of my country than at that time.

    • Primrose

      Had Mr Bush simply accepted Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation when Abu Graib happened, so much bad PR would have been stopped. But that would be admitting a mistake, and apparently the Bush administration doesn’t do that on principle, not even honest mistakes.

    • Oldskool

      The only people I can think of who may have resigned over policy were Richard Clarke and Christie Whitman but, I don’t remember if they made their objections public at the time. Colin Powell could have made a huge difference but apparently it wasn’t in his DNA.

    • Smargalicious

      The “sins and crimes” lie squarely at the feet of the previous President, who was attacked by Al Qaida twice in a spectacular fashion and did basically nothing.

      He was too distracted while commiting adultery and the subsequent media/legal circus to take he proper steps.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    Bush didn’t mention Canada because he had never heard of it.

  • icarusr

    1. You are just confirming what we have always known: the Bush White House was staffed, from the very top, by a cackle of buffoons and baboons.

    2. Your responsibility was economics? Was it? “Axis of hatred” – that was your phrase, wasn’t it? – was an economics speech? Whodda thunk it.

    There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and conservative writing. And, you know, your reply, “Is the truth really better?”, tells the whole story of Republican governance since January 20, 1981.

  • Balsack

    Hate to say it. But this is not exactly a Bay of Pigs type of issue, about which anyone should still be seeking to put the record straight. And any faux pas committed 10 years ago will not be so severely recalled by us or the Canadians as much as you recall it in your own mind, Mr. Frum.
    The Canadians are basically Americans. And the Americans basically Canadians, too. The Americans are more insular than Canadians in their thinking about foreigners. But then, Americans treat Canadians like foreigners, too.
    Canadians think they are a separate country apart from the USA. And the USA believes that it is also a separate country apart from Canada. But the truth is that both Canada and the USA are just both one single nation. And this is a good thing.

    Now please just open up the USA/Canadian border like it was not even a line in the sand, and let the good times roll. This is the way it was 50 years ago. Sure those guys up there in Quebec might get a bit tetchy and start walling themselves off in Quebec City. But we can do a goodwill body exchange between the Big Easy French Speakers and all those tetchy guys up there in Quebec City, just to put them at ease.

    Americans truly need the Canadians. If only to show the guys from USA a more tolerant way to live. I love the Canadians. And I love most Americans, too. But, if the guys and gals from the USA were to admit truth, then they would be the first ones to state that the lower 48 are just basically provinces of Canada, or wish they were.

    And as far as I know, I think there is at least ONE ON FRUM who grew up in Canada. Yes. We love those Canadians!!!
    And their beautiful doggies, just as much.

    • paul_gs

      Our beautifull doggies??

      • Balsack

        Hi! Paul_gs,

        Yes, there is just one extremely lovely doggie on FrumForum. But I think there must be more, actually. Some guys/gals think that only Dems love dogs. But this is not true.

        Now pls just check out that lovely white Lab on the porch. This photo has continued to stick in my mind for the past few days. Because I am, unabashedly, a FrumForum Lab lover. And a stick in the mud dog lover.

        You can find a photo of this lovely FrumForum Lab here http://www.frumforum.com/home-news-3#more-102906

        And you will not find a better doggie anywhere.

        GOT IT?
        GET ONE!

        But pls just make sure you pick out a rescue dog.
        Otherwise, you will be in BIG TROUBLE with me!

        • paul_gs

          There are a lot of rescue dogs out there. We have a 6-lb Maltese (our cat is bigger) and I meet owners who have rescue dogs from across Canada and the US.

        • Balsack

          Exactly! This is why we like FrumForum Republicans.
          And not, so much, Michael Vick Republicans.

    • chephren

      “But the truth is that both Canada and the USA are just both one single nation. And this is a good thing.”


      We are two separate, distinct, sovereign countries. Americans and Canadians have very different governing institutions, founding principles and financial structures. Canadians are not, do not want to be, and (God willing) never will be Americans – except in the generic, geographic sense of being in North America.

      I admire Americans and the US Constitution. I like most Americans I meet, except the occasional rude, arrogant tourist who shows up here and proves once again the stereotype of the fat, dumb, entitled ‘Merican.

  • nuser

    “I was inundated by requests -challenges really – from Canadian media…”
    Please provide links, names and quotes.
    At no time did I ,or any persons I know, connect Bush’s ignorance to Frum or attach any
    blame on any speechwriter.

    • Balsack


      But then, IF NOT, then, WHY NOT?

      • nuser

        Point taken!
        If Frum was an economics speechwriter, then why would anyone blame him for neglecting
        to mention Canada? When researching Frum’s role as a speechwriter in Bush’s administration,
        all that comes up is “Axis of Evil” and an astounding “Hawkish” attitude toward wars. How many trillions did Bush manage to spend? Yes, that is economics , is it not?

    • japhi

      I don’t remember this particular incident. I do remember thinking Frum must be an idiot to be able to write those silly Bush’s speeches. Frum was associated with Bush in Canada, so it isn’t a stretch that as his speechwriter he would take a lot of the blame for the ommision.

      God bless Chretien for sticking it to Bush and staying out of Iraq, that was his greatest achievement as PM , and will be a big part of his legacy. As will this type of stuff:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX6XMIldkRU (“a proof is a proof, cause it proven as a proof”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvjfJ6bAi0U (bitch slaps protester)

      I miss that guy!

  • nwahs

    You always overlook those you can count on most.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    great story.
    And Paul-gs, you don’t speak for all Canadians, if you were not offended, fine for you but when a US President reads a laundry list of names of countries and does not mention our neighbor to the north, staunch ally, and worlds second biggest country I could see people wondering WTF.

    And Nwahs, no way in hell do you have a wife or children. I tell you what, you go to a party and not introduce your wife and see how well that gets you. The fact is you should NEVER overlook those you can count on the most. The first thing that every married politician does is to thank their spouse. Yeesh, you just proved the exact opposite point than the one you intended.

    • Balsack

      And can we just agree to use, Sheesh instead of Yeesh? When we really mean ‘Jesus’? Because Yeesh just sounds too much like you are getting ready to learn Yiddish. Oy vey!

      Oy vey! You must be from the Bronx or New Jersey or Philly.
      But, not from Iowa or Nebraska.
      Yeesh! Probably also not from any place without a great pizza pie just around the corner.
      Lucky you!

  • Snapshot In Time Day Before 10th Anniversary #911 Twitter:

    [...] JoeV21 Joe V RT @HowardKurtz David Frum: Why Bush didn’t mention Canada after 9/11 frumforum.com/why-bush-didnt… 2 minutes ago AndrewBrown96 ☢Andrew Brown☢ Watching united 93, can’t [...]

  • rwexler649

    In the days after 9/11 C-SPAN simulcast “The National,” CBC’s superb nightly news program. (For whatever reason, one thing Canadians do supremely well is broadcast journalism). “The National” devoted an entire segment to this slight and the mystery behind it.

    So my guess is Canada does remember. And “As It Happens” probably will have a call in to Mr. Frum first thing Monday morning.

    • paul_gs

      Thin-skinned Canadian progressives take offense at the US no matter what it does so pay little attention to them.

      As for the rest of us kinder and more considerate Canadians, we took no offense at not being mentioned. The dead had not even been counted, there were more important matters to attend to.

  • Russnet

    I recall being out late one night a few days after 9/11, and I ran into a funnily dressed fellow at a bar in San Diego. I asked him where he was from. “Canada” came the reply. Why the funny dress? “I’m in the navy, and we are anchored off your shore.” Cheers to that. Should have taken that one straight to Dubya, David.

  • rbottoms

    “They’re not even a real county anyway.”

    ~ South Park, Bigger, Longer, Uncut

  • Balsack

    I just hope that you are speaking of the Hamiltonian “H”, as in quantum mechanics. Because to speak otherwise is quite useless for you and me. As Republicans know, we need to continue to push the boundary beyond what we think we might be able to accomplish.

    Actually, the god damned Reds would just love to eat our lunch. But they will not be able to eat our lunch. If we continue to put most of our resources into R&D.

    All you guys out there may not know sht from Shinola about China. But I do. These Red Commies are now at war to eat our lunch. And this aint no Sht, Baby!

    We need to take the god damned bull by the horns. And we need to get worked up about it. Because it just takes just too fcking long to get a democracy in line, unless it is attacked.

    Well I know sht.
    But, Do You?

    The threat to the USA is NOT from so-called terrorists. The true threat to the USA is from Red Commie China. And this is true.

    I am not a fcking McCarthy nut.

    But I have been watching this threat grow since 1985. And FCK KiissMyAss Kissinger, while you are at it. That god damned senile Krout. He just wrote a senile useless book.

    You guys at FrumForum. You might think that all is well with the world. But then you would be mistaken. Please tell your friends. Please tell your Lab dog. We are now at the first stage of true war with the god damned Red ChiComs. The war with Red China will only continue to intensify, just below the radar screen. Both an economic war that our corporate world is already losing, Big Time. And also a war which we are losing from a strategic point of view.

    And this aint no sht, Baby.

    But the very nice thing that we do not need to worry about.
    Those assholes over there at the Army War College.
    They know plenty of sht.
    And so then we do not need to worry.

    So next time you wonder.
    What is the biggest threat to America.
    The so called terrorist threat.
    Or the threat from Red China.
    Then you will know.

    It is those god damned Red ChiComs over there in East Asia.
    Exploding underpants? My fcking ass.

    And next time you are thinking about President Alex “Jack” Hamilton, then you should better be thinking about Quantum Fcking Mechanics for America.

    And where, Mr. Frum, is our China Desk?

    • Balsack

      There are some who might mistakenly believe that the above is just poorly written jingoistic diatribe. But then they would be wrong.

  • Emma

    Mr. Frum: I don’t believe a word of it. I suppose we may have to wait another decade before you find the courage to come clean or proffer another cock and bull story.

    Upshot: Once a Bushie, always a Bushie. Pity. I sense there is a decent, honest, human being inside that political shell who may never see the light of day.

    • Banty

      On what possible basis would you not believe the article??

      • japhi

        I listened to Cross Country Check up on CBC Radio today – Rex Murphy had a panel in Gander, NFLD. After listening to that panel, and how the Maritimes stepped up to the plate and took thousands of Americans into their homes, it is very hard to believe that it was a mistaken omission.

        Frum claims these writers were brilliant ” Gerson, Scully and McConnell were and are supremely talented writers”.

        If it was a mistake, than I can’t accept these writers as being supremely talented. How do these three guys miss Canada in this speech? It doesn’t pass the sniff test.

        I’m not big on conspiracy theories but I think it’s more likely the omission was an intentional snub.

  • nuser

    Bottom line. Why Bush didn’t mention Canada after 9/11? Gerson forgot! Frum, however
    did not and perhaps tried to make hay out of it?Not to mention names , but some people have swelled heads , without trying.

  • sdspringy

    Everyone enjoy the pettiness of Frum, even 10 years later he wants to create the impression that the speech was nothing more than a Thank you given by a Diva on MTV awards night. Miss someone and watch the claws come out, well in this case Mr. Catty is David Frum or should we start referring to you as the Political Perez Hilton.

    The mantra of the Libs is the squandered good will after 9/11, well look around folks where is the good will created by Obama in 08. Doesn’t exist, it’s gone for exactly the same reasons; you will never be able to please everyone all the time. And that shouldn’t be the focus of our foreign policy.

    So our local Political Perez pens a nostalgic piece so all the Libs with BDS, “Bush Derangement Syndrome” can vent and feel good about themselves, same as our own little David Perez. Everyone feel better, good.

  • John Frodo

    I am not buy it, just like I dont buy Conrad buying cameras to record his removal of evidence.
    What happened, maybe Bush had already asked Chretien for troops for Iraq?

  • Southern Populist

    An interesting anecdote from Frum.

    I have always wondered how the speech writing process works. Who writes the first pass? Who writes the second pass? Who does the editing, and who signs off the final copy that gets loaded into the teleprompter?

    I find it perfectly plausible that they simply forgot to mention Canada.

    First, everyone was likely preoccupied with other concerns.

    Second, a major priority of Gerson et al was no doubt show-horning a large number of politically correct bromides and cliches into every speech from that era.

    They started serving up the “Islam is Religion of Peace” gruel before the incinerated corpses had even had a chance to cool down, as if people are stupid and didn’t already realize that most Muslims are harmless.

    Remembering to mention Iran (?!) but not Canada?

    It makes perfect sense.

    - DSP

  • Headlines | The Daily Slog

    [...] Bush Didn’t Mention Canada After 9/11″–headline, FrumForum.com, [...]

  • mannie

    Very interesting. Bush protocal was to never go off script.

  • Safe Haven

    As a Canadian, let me say To Little To Late ! I still remember, I thing the snub was so rude and disrespecting to Canada after all we did , how dare the USA not say thank you ! Well you know what ,now seeing what the USA has become, with your F.E.M.A Camps, Your conspiracy of the truth with Iraq, taking the rights of your citizens away , Im all most happy you did not mention us ,Because I would Not like the rest of the world to think, that Canada condones what you USA has don or plans to do, we are a peaceful country ,and am appalled by what I have seen USA become ,Im sure I speak for a lot of us when I say ,we want Nothing to do with your wars, or your greed that will surely be your down fall .