There are times like today when I very nearly despair over my country. Maybe my species.
Right-leaning bloggers are devoting thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of words to remembering, repeating, and restating the events of September 11, 2001 with, essentially, a single message: never forget. Michelle Malkin, the leading Right Blogosphere blogger, devotes most of her front page to a recap of the events, taking a moment of silence for each of the three downed flights. Powerline quotes the sister of one of the airline captains:
The attacks were not a random act of violence or insanity. They were a deliberate and brutal act of war committed by religious fanatics engaged in Islamic jihad against the United States, all non-Muslim people and any Muslim who wishes to live in a secular society. Worse, the people who perpetrated the attacks have explicitly told us that they are not done.
Laughing Wolf, writing at Blackfive, emphasizes the need for tenacity as well as remembrance:
Yet, we are on a path that will lead to a better day, if we have the courage, the fortitude, the commitment, and the sacrifice to do what is right and needed. I have been fortunate this last year to see the living embodiment of that will, and to see the actions — and the results — from it. Some of those living bodies did not make it home, just as those in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the planes did not make it home on this day.
The situation is quite different in the Left Blogosphere. For the sole front page post at Daily Kos on 9/11, the events serve solely as a prop to beat over the head of George Bush:
So, after seven years at the top of the “most wanted terrorist list,” it seems that Osama Bin Laden has gone the way of WMD. You know what I mean…if we find him, great. If not, well, he wasn’t really all that important anyway. Which works out well for George Bush.
Josh Marshall doesn’t have the time to post on the subject but he does link to a couple of TPM posts, one that uses 9/11 as a club to beat over the head of domestic politicians, the other which quotes Richard Cohen’s NYT column without much value added. Matt Yglesias takes the opportunity of the day to beat up on The New Republic. Digby doesn’t want to leave John McCain behind in the flogging.
Keith Olbermann has the unmitigated gall to complain that Republicans have hijacked 9/11. They haven’t hijacked it. Democrats have ceded it to them.
Clue to Democrats: there are things other than domestic politics and at the national level the most important things that domestic politics needs to deal with are the big questions of foreign policy and America’s place in the world. These are the questions that Philip Bobbitt and John Danforth address to the candidates in their NYT op-ed today.
Clue to Republicans: remembrance and tenacity aren’t nearly enough and of themselves are futile. Iraq will never be a model for anything good for the foreseeable future. We no longer have a grand strategy in the war on terror and nobody but nobody is talking about a new one.
Clue to those who cheered the thugs who hijacked the planes on 9/11: can you be so stupid as to think that stealing a couple of planes and knocking down a couple of buildings would really bring America to its knees? Maybe it would have done so in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Or Pakistan. Or even France. I don’t believe that for a moment about any of those countries. I have more confidence in human beings than that.
Clue to those who think that America is collapsing, failing, or what have you: you need to get out more. Yes, we’re running over a bump with our economy. Yes, we’re embroiled in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and stuck in so-called peacekeeping missions in a bunch of other places. We’ll get through it. Our problems are small by comparison with the gargantuan problems faced by our only conceivable competitors.
We will deal with our problems as we always have done, slowly, painfully, and stupidly. As Winston Churchill put it the Americans always do the right thing when every other option has been exhausted.