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September 12, 2007

"What You Call A Bad Day:" Andrew Sullivan's 9/11 Remembrance Post

Via Hugh Hewitt (well, Soxblog), so it's safe to click.

Here's how Saint Andrew of the Sacred Heart-Ache remember 9/11:

What You Call A Bad Day

Allow me a vent. So yesterday, I woke up back in DC trying to start a new regimen, by going into the Atlantic offices early, rather than blogging from home in the morning. We got back over the weekend and the place is a bit of a wreck with unpacking, wedding gifts, a mountain of unwanted mail, etc. First thing: a water-main broke over night and there's no water in the shower. Second: I remember that my bike was stolen the last week I was in DC, and so I have to cab it. Third: I left my keys in Ptown and couldn't access the exercise room and shower at the office. Fourth: I left my cell-phone in my apartment. Fifth: I couldn't find Obama's press-guy's phone number and I need an interview soon. Sixth: leaving the office around eight, I get home to walk the dogs while Aaron is in class for the evening with his cell off, and find that the spare keys are not where we hide them. A friend had used them to get in the apartment while we were away and had forgotten to put them back in the right place. Seventh: it's about 100 percent humidity, the beagles are baying on the other side of the door, and I can't find my husband. Sometimes, days just compound themselves. Aaron did get home around 11, by which time I was blearily watching Anderson at a friend's apartment. Oh, and my friend's air-conditioning was bust.

I feel better now.

Memories of Wonkette's dismissal of 9/11 several years ago: "3,000 dead, blah blah blah..."

Thoughts on the vanishing day of infamy from Jonah Goldberg:

There are a lot of reasons why the emotional half-life of 9/11 has been so short, many of them good, or at least understandable. We haven’t been (successfully) attacked at home since 9/11, for example.

But it’s important to remember that from the outset, the media took it as their sworn duty to keep Americans from getting too riled up about 9/11. I wrote a column about it back in March of 2002. Back then the news networks especially saw it as imperative that we not let our outrage get out of hand. I can understand the sentiment, but it’s worth noting that such sentiments vanished entirely during hurricane Katrina. After 9/11, the press withheld objectively accurate and factual images from the public, lest the rubes get too riled up. After Katrina, the press endlessly recycled inaccurate and exaggerated information in order to keep everyone upset. The difference speaks volumes.

The column I wrote in 2002 was subtitled “I want to be disturbed.” It seems that when it comes to 9/11 it would have been more fashionable if I’d written some pabulum subtitled “I wanna be sedated.” (Apologies to the Ramones).

But the chief reason 9/11 has lost its punch is politics. To talk about 9/11 as a justification for any foreign policy position — activist, isolationist or realist — is to start an argument...

There are plenty of arguments one can have about the Iraq war and the uses and abuses of 9/11, but I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that the disagreements over the Iraq war are expressions of divisions that long predate it. The culture war, red vs. blue America, Bush hatred, Clinton hatred, and radical anti-Americanism poisoning much of the campus Left: All of these things were tangible landmarks on the political landscape long before the invasion of Iraq.

On the day before 9/11, a University of Massachusetts professor proclaimed the American flag “a symbol of terrorism and death and fear and destruction and oppression.” After 9/11 the hits kept coming. Barbara Foley of Rutgers University explained of the attacks “whatever its proximate cause, its ultimate cause is the fascism of U.S. foreign policy over the past many decades.” Moveon.org whimpered that the Afghan war would perpetuate the “cycle of violence” making America “like the terrorists.” The New York Times called Afghanistan a quagmire almost from the get-go. In 2001, Michael Moore expressed exasperation that al Qaeda would be as stupid as to kill non-Bush voters. In 2004, after his political porn movie Fahrenheit 9/11, he became arguably the most popular leftwing figure in America and he sat in Jimmy Carter’s booth at the Democratic Convention.

Dissent has become institutionalized on the left. Dissent is healthy when it’s not schtick. But from Michael Moore’s apologias to Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein, to Noam Chomsky’s anti-American Manichaeism, to that knock-off cigar store Indian Ward Churchill, to the bowel-stewing stupidity that once prompted even The New Republic to run an “idiocy watch,” primarily aimed at the mainstream left (and the nutter-right), it now seems difficult to fathom a more legitimate hard left in this country, one that could ever quit the habit of making a living off of casting America as the locus of evil in the modern world.


It quickly became a cliché that 9/11 changed everything, but when it comes to the basic divisions of the last 20 years, 9/11 didn’t change nearly enough so much as accentuate everything we knew before. And that all but guarantees we’ll have another 9/11 of which to ponder the meaning.

He knocks Bush around a bit for failing to convince the supposedly Loyal Opposition into opposing Bin Ladin as much as Karl Rove, but I think that's rather daft. Yes, Bush has been a rather poor president on most matters, and has not been an effective leader or communicator, but the left -- including "sensible liberals" -- were in the main opposed to this war, including the one in Afghanistan, from the beginning. They didn't see it as America's war, but a war they had to permit the rightwing to fight to get it out of our excitable systems.

What they're angry about is that war did not end quickly enough -- not for the sake of actual victory, but to get the issue of war off the table so that they could go back to preaching a naive philosophy of appeasement and prostration without paying a political penalty for doing so. Oddly, had Bush won the war faster and more decisively, it would have benefited liberals. It is the lingering nature of it that hurts them.

But we don't fight wars for the benefit of one party or another, and we don't schedule them so as not to "distract" from supposedly more pressing domestic issues. We fight wars for the benefit of America and (sometimes) he allies, and liberals have never seemed to have much interest in actual winning the war, so much as just wishing the whole bother to be done with.

The left is much like Maureen Dowd and Wonkette and, of course, Andrew Sullivan: They're annoyed that all this "boy stuff" is taking the spotlight off them and their girl-stuff priorities.

And no matter how well Bush conducted himself as President, that would not have changed.

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posted by Ace at 03:06 PM

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