Why Righties Piss Me Off

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Bush Administration, War on Terror

A rightie blogger describes how he thinks liberals remember 9/11:

I gotta tell ya, the mind of a liberal is a scary place.

They want to live in a pre-9/11 world, pretend it all didn’t happen. Close to 3,000 of our citizens died that day but since it wasn’t one of them…who cares.

One of them? Who is the “them” here? Is he saying that liberals can’t be citizens, or that no liberals died in the 9/11 attacks? Considering that the WTC towers were in New York City, in fact it’s probable a majority of the victims leaned more Left than Right.

A large part of the population of New York City is made up of survivors, eyewitnesses, and those who lost a close friend or loved one that day. And New Yorkers live under a greater threat of terrorism than any other Americans outside Washington, DC. (If you go by the DHS’s terror alert system, in fact, I believe New York has had more “orange” alert days than Washington.) Believe me, New Yorkers are ever aware of this. Yet in 2004 New Yorkers preferred Kerry over Bush, 74.3 percent to 24.5 percent.

New Yorkers did not reject George W. Bush because none of “them” died on 9/11. They did not reject George W. Bush because they live in a pre-9/11 world. Memories and emotions about 9/11 remain raw here. (Reminders of the day still are all around us; we can no more “pretend it all didn’t happen” than we can control the weather.) And New Yorkers did not reject George W. Bush because they don’t understand the threat of terrorism. Few Americans fully comprehend, on a personal and intimate level, what terrorism is better than New Yorkers.

In fact, New Yorkers rejected George W. Bush because they’re not rubes. They caught on faster than the rest of the nation that the strutting little pissant in the White House is not defeating terrorism, but growing it.

I wrote about how I remember September 11 here. There’s another eyewitness account by Lynn Allen in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Five years ago, I was at Ground Zero, teaching a class in the Marriott Hotel, WTC 3, the third building on the World Trade Center Plaza.

After what felt like a huge earthquake, we were ushered out of the building by the Marriott staff and stood watching in fascination the fire burning in the upper reaches of WTC 1. It was hard to believe the story that was circulating: A helicopter had crashed into the building on this very clear morning. Then we saw the second plane come in, belly angled slightly toward us, and crash into WTC 2. This was a terrorist attack! We bought water and talked strategies for survival. We decided to head toward the Brooklyn Bridge and began making our way through the people running in every direction.

Just as we began going up the ramp to the bridge, WTC 2 collapsed, sending clouds of debris and hundreds of screaming people in our direction. We continued on, single file, covered in a fine, gray dust, like refugees in a war zone. Eventually, we reached Brooklyn and sunshine, and the beginning of a new phase in our personal and national history.

Five years ago, Allen says, she imagined writing a book about September 11 with alternate endings. In the first ending, the United States first identified and punished those responsible for the September 11 attacks. Then, working with moderate Muslims, the U.S. looked for ways to reduce rage and alienation in the Middle East and “pull the bulk of the hate-filled Islamists back to a responsible participation in the world.” In addition, we initiated “a massive national energy conservation and alternative energy program.”

And then there was the other ending:

The other version of the book foretells a war-wracked world where the West is drawn into conflicts it does not understand and cannot win. The most fanatical Muslims would be strengthened in an already torn Muslim world. The position of women in Muslim nations would be set back a generation or more. We would be advised (as would our “enemies”) that we could only be safe by fighting others. Conflicts would go unattended in Latin America, Africa and South Asia. We would be no closer to safety but we would deplete funds that would otherwise go to educational and health care systems. Access to oil resources would be curtailed, but by that time we would lack the financial muscle to fund alternatives easily. The economic dislocation would be severe and our quality of life would suffer.

The Bush Administration’s “global war on terror” is creating more violence and less safety, Allen says. Is that what we want?

I would add to Ms. Allen’s list that we need vast improvements in our intelligence gathering and analysis. But instead of confronting what’s wrong with our intelligence agencies, the Right wastes time with phony, straw-man claims that liberals don’t want to wiretap al Qaeda. (Yes, we do. That’s not the issue. This is the issue.)

As I wrote last year, I agree with President Bush when he says (note emphasis on says) this:

The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East. This is a difficult and long-term project, yet there’s no alternative to it. Our future and the future of that region are linked. If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery, while radicals stir the resentments of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger, and for our generation and the next. If the peoples of that region are permitted to choose their own destiny, and advance by their own energy and by their participation as free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized, and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow, and eventually end. By standing for the hope and freedom of others, we make our own freedom more secure. [President G.W. Bush, October 6, 2005]

The problem is that what Bush says and what Bush does are light years apart. The Administration’s course of action in the Middle East is taking us in exactly the opposite direction from where Bush says he wants to go — it is growing hatred and resentment, not reducing it. And instead of being marginalized, radicals have become more powerful and influential as a result of Bush actions in the Middle East. And don’t get me started on what Bush is doing that is not making “our own freedom more secure.”

And you want to talk about pre-9/11 thinking? This week the damnfool Bush Administration was selling the fantasy we are re-fighting World War II. And no end of righties continue to complain that we’re not pursuing a “total war” strategy without confronting the fact that World War II-style total war theory can’t be applied to the kind of enemy we’re facing now.

I’ve written before that I think the 9/11 attacks represent something very different for those of us who were there and those who watched on television. People watching from a distance could indulge in feeling victimized. New Yorkers had to face and overcome their fears and sense of victimization to get on with their lives. This is why, IMO, there is more, not less, irrational hysteria about terrorism the further one goes from New York.

This is not to say there isn’t some hysteria on the Left as well. The “inside job” conspiracy theorists probably infuriate me more than they do righties. Those of us who are serious about answering the many unanswered questions do not appreciate having the issue of what happened on 9/11 turned into a joke. I agree with John Homans that the “inside jobbers” suffer from the same infantile daddy complex as the Right, albeit with an evil daddy instead of a strong daddy who protects his children from monsters.

The rightie blogger quoted at the top of this post displays a YouTube video that presents scenes of September 11 as an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” It is utterly disgusting. Naturally, the rightie blogger and his readers conclude the video is representative of liberal thinking, never mind that it isn’t. To righties, we liberals are the Boogieman. They hate us more than they hate al Qaeda.

Righties also are still blaming 9/11 on Bill Clinton, and I see I will have to do a blog post soon on how bogus that is. For now I will point out only that Bill Clinton is not the one who fought the Clinton administration’s air travel security proposals (airline industry lobbyists were the principle perps). Bill Clinton is not the one who kneecapped recommendations of the Hart-Rudman Commission. (That was one of the first things Dubya did when he took office.) Bill Clinton is not the one who decided Osama bin Laden could be downgraded as a threat; Colin Powell made that announcement in April 2001 (CNN Transcript):

The State Department officially released its annual terrorism report just a little more than an hour ago, but unlike last year, there’s no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. A senior State Department official tells CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Laden and “personalizing terrorism.”

Still, Secretary of State Colin Powell says efforts to fight global terrorism will remain consistent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: The results are clear: state sponsors of terrorism are increasingly isolated; terrorist groups on under growing pressure. Terrorists are being brought to justice, we will not let up. But we must also be aware of the nature of the threat before us. Terrorism is a persistent disease.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

And Bill Clinton didn’t piss off a report entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” That was President Bush’s doing, not President Clinton’s. See William Rivers Pitt for more.

Greg Gordon, Marisa Taylor, and Ron Hutcheson write for McClatchy Newspapers that the nation remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

The nation has spent more than $280 billion on the domestic side of the war on terrorism over the past five years to hire thousands more FBI and Border Patrol agents and buy high-tech devices to secure the nation’s planes, trains, ports, nuclear reactors and other potential targets. U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $400-plus billion more.

It’s a commitment that far exceeds the post-World War II Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe, but it’s not nearly enough to close off every possible line of attack. Some experts say part of the money has been wasted on efforts to combat nonexistent or highly unlikely threats, while other, more pressing risks, were ignored.

In the frenzied attempt to patch holes in the nation’s defenses, government agencies seemed to buy a device for everything: from computerized fingerprinting systems to trace explosives detectors to full body scanners to sensors that pick up deadly germs and radiation. Some of it works as advertised; some of it doesn’t.

“The problem with much of this technology is that it’s valuable only if you guess the plot,” said Bruce Schneier, author of “Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World.” “We could sit here and come up with millions of identifiable risks. If we had infinite money we could address everything. But we have finite money and we should pick and choose carefully.”

Note this:

Independent security experts say the government should sharpen its priorities and adopt a long-term strategy that reflects a deeper understanding of the enemy.

Instead, we dump billions of dollars into a war that didn’t need to be fought and assume that all Islamic violence is being perpetrated by the same gang. And that “they hate us for our freedoms.”

Federal officials take pride in the fact that the United States has avoided a major terrorist attack since Sept. 11, but they’re under no illusions that it couldn’t happen again. … Some counterterrorism experts think it’s only a matter of time before terrorists unleash weapons of mass destruction on an American city.

I hope those counterterrorism experts are wrong. But it’s a damn shame the President and his minions care less about real national security than about exploiting fear for political advantage and acting out their well-nurtured victimhood.

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21 Comments

  1. justme  •  Sep 3, 2006 @2:27 pm

    You GO Girl!!!!!!!!!Too bad said rightie lacks the reasoning to grasp any of what you wrote but it is about damn time someone set the righties straight!Damn fool righties are going to get us all killed with their foolish nonsense.

  2. erinyes  •  Sep 3, 2006 @2:28 pm

    Interesting post.
    When the WTC buildings collapsed, the following compounds /elements were liberated into the air:
    Asbestos, arsenic, lead,mercury, rare earths (from computer monitors) radio active Americium (from smoke detectors) and a virtual witches’ brew of other chemicals.Depleted uranium is a common ballast in aircraft wing tips and nosecones. The first responders were exposed to all of these, as were the inhabitants of lower Manhattan, and all those living “down wind”.
    Our government told New Yorkers it was safe to go back to work in a short time after the attack. Hmm….
    I happen to be one of those wild and crazy guys that believe there is a wee bit more to the story than the “official” story line. Call me zany if you will, but I smell a large rotten rodent.
    Regard the following retirements/departures from government of the following persons: Armitage, Powell (both), Clark,O’Neill, Card, Ashcroft,Goss,Frum, Feith, Perle. Ken Lay turns up dead( I want to see the body!!).
    Immediately after the WTC / pentagon attacks the U.S invaded Afghanistan, killed a bunch of taliban (Who were our friends during the Soviet occupation), bought a bunch of prisoners from
    the northern alliance (who where our foes doring the Soviet occupation), and attacked Tora Bora under faulty intelligence, basically blowing up a bunch of shitty targets.Then a pipeline breaks ground after Hamid Karzai ( the gucci Afghan) is installed as puppet.
    Shortly there after, we were treated to the Anthrax attacks, which are still “unsolved”, yet the toxins apparently came from an Army lab in Maryland. Hmmmm….
    Then the “decider” decided to attack eye-rack, a country that was bombed every god-damned month from when Bush 41 finished his term thru Clintons’ and into Bush 43’s term.
    Fuck it, I’ll stop now, my country is full of complete MORONS!!!

  3. Donna  •  Sep 3, 2006 @2:36 pm

    Maha, do you have a link to the rightie blogger you quoted?

  4. Donna in WI  •  Sep 3, 2006 @2:51 pm

    Righties piss me off because of their simple-minded black and white thinking. Complex thinkers know that you have to understand your enemy in order to change things and make them better…whether it is terrorists, state actors like Saddam Hussein, or domestic criminals of all stripes. They don’t believe in things like diplomacy, or psychological evaluation or other behavioral sciences. All they believe in is blowing up the bad guys and if you happen to kill thousands of innocent civilians, oh well, especially if those civilians make the mistake of being born with brown skin.

    My father is one of the worst of these types. When I try to have a rational discussion with him he shouts over me so that he doesn’t have to hear any facts. His mind is made up and I’m just a know nothing bleeding heart liberal. I also have a cousin the same way. He makes fun of my university hi-falutin’ notions. I’ve tried to explain economics to him and he flat out said I must be lying since what I was saying didn’t mesh with what he heard from Rush Limbaugh. It never crossed his mind that maybe Rush is the one lying and being paid to lie.

    They really do need the strong daddy types because they don’t like thinking. They need authoritarians to tell them what to think and do.

    You’re never going to get rid of the tin foil hatters, maha. I live with one, and he’s highly educated and knows aircraft and the airline industry as well as having a stint in the USAF including being a vet of the 1st Gulf War. There are things he knows that I don’t and things he has explained to me about 9/11 that make no sense and I can’t talk him out of his beliefs because I, or rather we, are not allowed to have the answers. I suspect, and have explained to him, that I think the cover-up isn’t a conspiracy where the government attacked it’s own citizens, but rather they are covering up their incompetence and neglect. I also know that they used the attacks just like they said they would in PNAC documents to further their agenda. Also when you see a movie like V for Vendetta you come to believe that government attacking it’s own citizens to control and consolidate power isn’t so far fetched. I have no doubt it has happened in the past, who is to say that even if 9/11 wasn’t a conspiracy that the next terrorist attack won’t be, especially if it comes just before the elections either in ’06 or ’08.

  5. Donna in WI  •  Sep 3, 2006 @3:09 pm
  6. Donna in WI  •  Sep 3, 2006 @3:12 pm

    Oh and in case anyone is wondering how I was able to find it, Google has a blog search function. As long as you put in enough of a quote it will find the blog that the quote is from…in fact, Mahablog is actually at the top of my search, but the other link came in second.
    http://blogsearch.google.com/

  7. maha  •  Sep 3, 2006 @3:41 pm

    Sorry I forgot the rightie link. It’s added now.

  8. maha  •  Sep 3, 2006 @3:46 pm

    I happen to be one of those wild and crazy guys that believe there is a wee bit more to the story than the “official” story line.

    I am also. There’s great large chunks of stuff we don’t know. About the only part of what happened that day that I don’t wonder about is how the towers fell. Every time somebody goes off on tangents about controlled detonation I want to scream.

  9. moonbat  •  Sep 3, 2006 @4:03 pm

    This is not to say there isn’t some hysteria on the Left as well. The “inside job” conspiracy theorists….suffer from the same infantile daddy complex as the Right, albeit with an evil daddy instead of a strong daddy who protects his children from monsters.

    While I have known paranoid lefties with the evil daddy complex, I think it’s much more realistic, and backed by centuries of human history, that people in power often have motives opposite from a desire to make the country better for all. In America, unlike the rest of the world, we’re very naive about this. It’s this very naivete that has allowed the right to dominate the country.

    Power most certainly corrupts. If that turns a ruler into an evil daddy, well that’s just reality, not a psychological need of the ruled. Hitler or Stalin were bona fide evil daddies, the rest of the world didn’t imagine it. There’s a fine line between someone needing an evil daddy and engaging their imagination accordingly, versus simply observing the facts and concluding that the people in power are indeed acting ruthlessly, with selfish, uncaring motives.

    This is all the more true when senseless, unexplainable, or supposedly incompetent behavior serves a higher, malign purpose. To focus only on incompetence then, the presenting behavior if you will, misses the full story, which includes the motives or reasons driving the supposed incompetence or senseless acts.

    I know this is a sore subject, but I recently saw a free web movie made by amateurs about the inconsistencies in the official 9/11 story. Movie is called “Loose Change”, is 90 minutes long, and can be viewed here. Info about the filmmakers, and how it was made, is here. I now understand why half of New York thinks it was an inside job, according to some poll I read a few years ago. The movie is an easy way to see the evidence put forth by so-called conspiracy theorists. Draw your own conclusions.

    While I agree that we need to be careful about those who’ve got the reflexive evil daddy complex, we also need to be careful of official explanations, which gloss over too many inconsistencies and which don’t take into account BushCo’s real desire for war.

  10. erinyes  •  Sep 3, 2006 @4:12 pm

    Sorry I got a bit “Cranky” on your bandwith Barbara,
    No excuse, just cranky today…

  11. maha  •  Sep 3, 2006 @4:13 pm

    While I agree that we need to be careful about those who’ve got the reflexive evil daddy complex, we also need to be careful of official explanations, which gloss over too many inconsistencies and which don’t take into account BushCo’s real desire for war.

    Yes, but that’s a separate issue. I will repeat until I turn purple that just about every part of the “official explanation” of 9/11 should remain open for further investigation and scrutiny. And 9/11 doesn’t have anything to do with BushCo’s real desire for war, except as an excuse. However, every time somebody insists that the WTC towers fell by controlled detionation it takes us further away from getting the serious questions answered.

    So, please don’t lecture me to be careful about the official explanation. It is BECAUSE I WANT BUSH TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE while I’m still alive to see it that I cannot stand the “controlled detonation” jerks. They’re making it less, not more, likely we’ll have further serious investigation.

    In fact, I wonder sometime if Karl Rove isn’t behind the “controlled detonation” nonsense. It works so well in the Bushies’ favor. But maybe I’m paranoid …

  12. Donna  •  Sep 3, 2006 @4:43 pm

    Thanks for the link, but peeeuuuu, that site is ugly. Also, thanks for the tip on googling with a quote.
    When I read some of the stinky spume as I did at that rightie site, I think of the posters there as representing a particular [hateful] sub-class of repugs. I call them the JR sub-class: Jesus Rejecting Republicans.

    Thoughtful good-hearted Americans should feel appalled that Bush and the JRs from those wingnut sites have hijacked 9/11 [as though they own it], milking an American tragedy for politics and petty egoism.

  13. erinyes  •  Sep 3, 2006 @4:45 pm

    Garrison Keillor ended today’s show asking his audience to join in with him to sing the national anthem, he said we are facing a difficult time and need to stand together to preserve the nation as we have known it.( past sense)
    I feel the birth pangs of a political tsunami .
    New bumper sticker: “I hated Bush before it was cool”

  14. felicity smith  •  Sep 3, 2006 @4:51 pm

    When the reationary right throws out epithets, invectives and incendiary language at the left, it should warm our hearts. If they could argue us on the issues, they would. (The more clever among them resort to rhetoric and sophistry which are more difficult to combat but which can be with some little effort). Whatever, we should not stoop to their level. We don’t have to because the issues are on our side. The Bush administration has screwed up and screwed the American people for 5 years and shining light on where and when is all we need to do.

  15. Donna in WI  •  Sep 3, 2006 @4:58 pm

    I’d like to see maha’s point about NYers and others who have more to worry about terrorist attacks tend to vote Democratic. Even in red states, the cities tend to vote blue. If there is an attack it will be in a city not in some wheat field or cow pasture, and yet they are the ones piddling in their undies. Killing, maiming, bullying, and stealing create more enemies and push away allies. BushCo creates terrorists and does nothing to deter them.

  16. Donna in WI  •  Sep 3, 2006 @5:00 pm

    Oops, I meant to say that I’d like to see that point thrown in their faces. My fingers were typing faster than my brain was thinking and didn’t catch the fully formed thoughts. LOL

  17. No More Mr. Nice Guy!  •  Sep 3, 2006 @5:16 pm

    The problem is that what Bush says and what Bush does are light years apart.

    Not only that, but Junior believes that what he says trumps what he does. He thinks you can accomplish a mission by putting out a banner that says “Mission Accomplished”, and you can help children by coming up with a slogan: “No child left behind” (and then cutting funding for the program.) With him, rhetoric substitutes for reality. Actually doing something is hard word – it’s hard work! (heh heh heh) He’d much rather reel off some empty moronic soundbite than actually make himself useful.

  18. joanr16  •  Sep 3, 2006 @6:57 pm

    Some of our sisters and brothers over on Daily Kos have been getting all het up about that Path to 9/11 movie that’s going to be shown on ABC (I think). “Based on the 9/11 Commission’s report,” the network ads intone. “Hatchet job on Bill Clinton,” the Kossacks cry. I’m thinking it can’t honestly be both, so something’s fishy somewhere. If anyone has more info, I’d be interested!

  19. wmr  •  Sep 4, 2006 @12:06 am

    maha, have you read Mrs Robinson’s guest posts at Orcinus on the subject of de-programming authoritarians?

  20. lafrance  •  Sep 5, 2006 @12:10 am

    Righties are just as John Dean said. They NEED to demonize and have someone as “The Enemy”. The left simply isn’t a fellow human being who happens to have a different world view and a different approach to problems, ect. No. We are sworn enemies. We are in the same catagory as terrorists, satan, ect. Which is why they mix everything up (plus keeping track of alllllllll those enemies!).
    They do not possess the ability to see things in anything but black and white, good and evil, ect. They do not think independent. They can’t. Thier thinking comes from the marching orders of Limbaugh and Hannity, et al. They get the talking point of the day and parrot it. They are told we are the “enemy” and so they believe this with all thier heart and soul. If they could think for themselves they would see it just a matter of different outlooks and solutions to common problems. That the world is not black and white. But, the need to declare war on everyone, have sworn enemies and believe they are soldiers fighting satan and on the side of good and everything else is evil blurrs the ability to think in a rational sense.

  21. Mike  •  Sep 5, 2006 @12:42 am

    There is certainly more to the 9/11 story than the official word.

    But it was no inside job. There is no evidence pointing to Iraq. If it were an inside job, it would have been obvious that Saddam set it up personaly. There would have been Iraqi hijackers even if they had to be loaded on the plane dead.

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