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Americans across the country solemnly and fittingly commemorated the worst attack on our country in any of our lifetimes. We held moments of silence; we once again stared in horror at the pictures of the Twin Towers coming down; we remembered the sacrifices of those we lost on that terrible day, and the sacrifices of those who have laid down their lives to prevent another day like that from occurring again.
And yet there is a strange disconnect between how we felt on 9-11 and how we feel today. On 9-11, as we watched our fellow Americans leaping from hundreds of stories to their deaths, as we watched symbols of our might in flaming ruins, we felt conflicting emotions: frustration, unbearable grief. We also felt connected with one another on a visceral level. The overwhelming feeling of unity we felt came from a deep and abiding conviction that our republic was worth defending.
I’m not sure some liberals ever understood that. That is why Paul Krugman, fort instance, devoted his 10th anniversary column to demeaning the leadership of President George W. Bush and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the aftermath of the attacks:
“What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te [sic] atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons. A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity? The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”
This is absurd. But it is not an uncommon view from the left. In the aftermath of an attack on America, the liberals’ ideal of unity emphasized self doubt over strength and vengeance. Paul Krugman, in Michael Moore fashion, thinks that the aftermath of 9-11 was “shameful” because Americans took out the bad guys but left the real bad guys – our president and vice president – in power. What is truly shameful about his piece is that Krugman is serious.
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