On Sunday, most Americans took the time to reflect on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that shook the nation to the core. Most Americans honored the victims of that awful day, expressed their gratitude to the young men and women on the front lines of the fight and prayed for peace. Most Americans did those things – but not all, because the tenth anniversary of 9⁄11 has a much different meaning for those on the Left.
Economist Paul Krugman, whose New York Times blog proclaims that he in some way exemplifies “The Conscience of a Liberal,” used the anniversary to express all of the sneering contempt that the Left has for the war against terrorism. The post title, “The Years of Shame,” provides the premise for Krugman’s disdainful chastisement, but would better encapsulate the deranged left-wing theatre of the absurd played out during the post-9⁄11 decade. The conspiracy theories, the cries of “no blood for oil,” anti-Bush hate parades and admiration for “freedom fighters” (terrorists), all aspects of the legacy of 9⁄11 that the Left absolves itself from and is gradually erasing from the historical record.
What happened after 9⁄11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The 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. The memory of 9⁄11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame.
Could we have at least added Michael Moore to the list? Ironically, the atrocity was a unifying event, albeit ever so briefly. For a few weeks after 9⁄11, Americans were about as unified as they have been at any time since Pearl Harbor. People of all sorts gathered together under the silent skies that followed that terrible day, reflecting on the nature of good and evil and pledging that this horrific crime would not go unpunished. For a moment, political divisions were unimportant, as American pride and determination flared brightly in the nation’s soul.
It wasn’t destined to last. The tragedy of 9⁄11 did indeed become a wedge issue, but to blame that on the Right, or on heroes like Giuliani and Bush – and exclusively, for that matter – is an absurdly ignorant portrayal of events. The war against terrorists and their supporters had barely begun before the Left’s poisonous propaganda machine kicked into gear.
That the Left was ever interested in unity after 9⁄11 is likewise ludicrous – and to hear complaints from a man who refers to Republicans as “vile” and burned effigies of the Bush administration at his 2008 election night party, is nothing short of surreal. (Indeed, the very petty partisan discord sown by Krugman on such an emotionally painful occasion should disabuse us of the notion that he has any use for “unity.”) Depending on the day during the previous administration, Bush was either a dupe being manipulated by (fill in the villain of the day) or an evil mastermind. We need no further proof that the Left’s outrage was manufactured than the deafening silence that fell over much of that side of the political spectrum after Barack Obama took office. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. Gitmo is still open. And it even turns out that civilian trials for terrorists really are a bad idea. There is no shame in the way that America has taken the war to the enemy, but there is plenty of shame in the way those efforts were so vigorously undermined.
Krugman, like most of his like-minded peers, links 9⁄11 to the Second War in Iraq, though the two have almost nothing to do with each other. The specter of a murderous megalomaniac like Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction (which both Democrats and Republicans presumed was the case on the basis of the same intelligence) hardly required any embellishment to push the West into action. But Iraq, too, became part of the Left’s all-encompassing 9⁄11 paranoia. If only the “blood for oil” mantra had been based on anything but opportunistic demagoguery, the experience at the gas pump might be marginally more pleasant today. The fact is that America did in Iraq what it always does – what it did in Japan and Germany and the Philippines, and so many other places around the world: we came, we saw, we conquered, and then we worked to turn everything back over to the people who lived there. The idea that we fight wars to enhance our own prosperity is especially vexing when one considers all of the home-grown resources, particularly fossil fuels, we deliberately starve ourselves of.
If there is cause for shame in Paul Krugman’s world, he should (but of course won’t) consider the state of his own ideological house before throwing stones elsewhere. Wild, unsupportable and hateful pronouncements swirl though the swamp of leftist thought and communication, from beloved pundits like Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz, to the day-to-day traffic on their Web sites. If one were to apply a decent language standard to the Daily Kos, for example, their comments would dwindle to almost nothing.
The vast majority of Americans are and should be proud of the way that the nation responded after that terrible day ten years ago. We have honored the memories of those who died, and our magnificent young men and women have taken the fight to the enemy. The Left may not be proud of the remarkable way that America has conducted herself in this war, but that is merely further proof of how badly out of touch the Left is with the rest of the nation.