Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kicking a Hornets' Nest

Seems Paul Krugman kicked a hornets' nest in his 911 blog entitled Years of Shame.  He didn't allow comments on the blog, but that didn't stop people from commenting, including the political pundits at Fox News, calling him a "creep" and a "coward."  The blog caused so much outrage that even our dear Donald Rumsfeld was compelled to cancel his subscription to the NY Times.  Reminds me of the media gang bang when Bill Maher had the audacity to say that the terrorists weren't cowards in the immediate aftermath of 911.

Seems whenever we have one of these deeply emotional events, Americans are all supposed to fall in line, or at least keep quiet, so as not to rain on anyone's parade.  And, what a media parade we had this past Sunday.  The coverage was non-stop, following events in the three hallowed sites that have now become so firmly embedded in American memory. 

It has indeed been "Years of Shame," as the Bush administration shamefully exploited 911 to concoct two wars, which Obama continues to perpetuate.  Not to mention the shameful Homeland Security Act which is still in effect, the shameful detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the shameful renditions and tortures no one has made the least contrition for.  The untold cost of the "War on Terror" appears to have no end.

But, on 9-11, we are all supposed to give pause and only remember those who died, especially those who bravely gave their lives to save others from the World Trade Center towers that have become even more symbolic than the Statue of Liberty.  How dare Paul Krugman question the motivations of George Bush, Rudy Guliani and Bernie Kerik!


  1. That's all it takes to create outrage on the right? I'm outraged!

    They want outrage .... Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is how militarized our culture has become with the George Bushism of "support our troops." Even people like Rachel Maddow seem to bow and scrape in their "thank you for your service" comments, not wanting to be seen as a commie. Bush really pulled one over on the electorate with that one.

    Of course we want to support the young people who enlist -- they often have no choice given the economy and they deserve the support of the nation while in service (i.e., remember the "army you have" comment?) and out.

    But everywhere I go, people now applaud the men and women in uniform. Flight attendants make announcements on airplanes, etc. As a nation we've really gotten to the point that we LOVE our standing armies. Where's the right's outrage at that?

  2. I tried to avoid all the 9-11 coverage over the weekend.

    I put candles out on the front steps of my house that night in 2001 in memory of those killed. They were the victims of the attack, not the nation. Although thanks to Bush and Cheney we still seem to be suffering the consequences of it today.

  3. It also appalls me all the deference being paid to the men and women in uniform. I guess Tailhook, Abu Ghraib and "Don't Ask Don't Tell" are just anomolies.

    This extends to cops and firemen as well. Notice how Walker cut collective bargaining agreements for all civil employees except the police and fire depts, as if they are no less a drain on the state budget than the teachers. Not to mention the overloaded court system and prisons that we seem to justify in the name of law and order.

    In many ways the Bush Doctrine was an extension of Nixon's Law and Order Society, a fascist streak that runs through the Republican party, but now everyone else seems too afraid to question it, out of fear of being called out.

  4. I'm relieved to hear that. I was assuming I might be the only one who noticed or cared. It's certainly the kind of position that would set the right way off their rocker like Krugman did with his innocuous statement.

    I can't remember the name of the career military person who used to participate at the Times (Bo might) -- something Irish as I recall -- but I remember him commenting about coming back from Germany and seeing all the yellow ribbon magnets (made in China) with "support our troops" on cars. His comment was something like how about supporting sane energy policy?

  5. Like you I tried to avoid the television screen Sunday. I ran a half marathon in the Vilnius Marathon that morning and was lying on the couch with my wife flipping through the channels and occasionally pausing on CNN.

    That night there was some documentary of 911 on one of the Lithuanian channels that at first looked like a post-propaganda film put out by Republicans, but became increasingly critical of the Bush administration's response to the crisis. I remember Bush was flown to one safe site after another before finally pitching up again later that afternoon to make his statement. Supposedly, there was the fear that he was a target as well. But, it seems that the Bushies were in a total state of shock. At least that's the way Clarke described it in Against All Enemies, unable to determine the extent of the "plan," with Cheney issuing commands from the bunker as if WWIII had started. I suppose if they had made any effort to follow the al Qaeda cells in America, as Clarke had repeatedly warned, then they might have known what was going on.

    I've heard that Bush rewrote his initial reaction in the Miami elementary classroom, saying he was trying to put on a calm face when he heard the news. But, in the documentary one of the teachers said he was escorted to another room where he was told the news.

    It seems we will see this event rewritten from a great number of angles, each trying to trump the other. You realize that history is as much a political battle as is campaigning.

  6. Sunday was strange for me. I just don't want to get back into the mindset of it happening on that day. Found it hard to even be on facebook, because it seemed as if everyone was posting about 9/11. This country wallows in it.

    I did listen to a Fresh Air podcast about it a few days later. Terry Gross interviewed a fireman who was still rescuing people on the 4th floor when the tower he was in collapsed and they got out. Dennis Smith was also on the program. He was a fireman and has a few books out about it.

  7. I didn't watch or listen to anything. My feelings about the whole thing have been so mixed from soon after the event that I find time spent thinking about it is not at all productive. The damage it did to this country has been enormous and disheartening.

    I was, however, talking about it with my son about a month ago and used the analogy of Mike Tyson after he got beaten by Buster Douglas. Tyson was never the same. Neither is this country. We were gobsmacked and still haven't figured out how to deal with it.

  8. Interesting analogy. I suppose many Americans felt this country was invincible, then to watch the World Trad Center crumble before your eyes is like all those apocalyptic films come true.

    The part that I find sad is that most Americans haven't figured out that 911 was about dragging the US into war, not about declaring war on the US. Al Qaeda works on the old anarchistic paradigm in which you create chaos, hoping that you can rise to leadership, much as Lenin and his merry band of "communists" did in 1917 Russia. Al Qaeda figured that by dragging the US into a protracted war in the Muslim world they could feed off the unrest. One wonders what will become the case of all these "revolutions" we see sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.

  9. The oddest thing about the unrest in the Arab world is that Israel and Palestine have become something of an afterthought. Palestine's bid for statehood in the U.N. changed that a little, but when I saw a picture of Abbas at CNN yesterday it reminded me how little play that conflict has received in the last few months. I guess it's "old news."