September 12th Americans

Finding the link through Atrios yesterday, I read Lawrence Kaplan’s somewhat elliptical WSJ column on, those he calls, September 10 Americans. They would be those of us who apparently don’t get it; that, on 9/11, (can we all say it together?) the “world has changed”…when actually it hasn’t. Terrorism didn’t begin on 9/11, it began when man picked up a stick. And we should know that. The tragedy of 9/11 brought out the best in Americans, the ones who are helpful, loving, supportive, giving, and brave. Those who would sacrifice something, even their own lives, for their fellow man. But it also brought out the worst in some Americans: the ugly racism, the opportunism, the paranoia, the self-centeredness (“that could have been me!”), and a need for revenge that became so indiscriminate that it would lash out at anyone didn’t look right, think right, or fall in line with what the opportunists were selling. A part of us became America:The Mob.

Kaplan writes:

That most of us have resumed living by September 10 rules would hardly matter but for the inconvenient fact that America’s foes still play by September 11 rules. Alas, the conceit that the war on terror will not require broad sacrifice, which persists even when circumstances do not justify such a conceit, has obscured this unpleasant truth. Preventing a repeat of September 11 will be difficult enough. Even more so if an attack that should have prompted a special vigilance prompts only a glance backward.

There is a fine line here between becoming vigilant and becoming obsessed. If we become September 12 Americans willing to sacrifice our civil liberties, provide a blank check to an opportunistic and inept Administration, and wallow in our fear and grief and revenge fantasies, then the terrorists have won.

I’ll take my chances on just being a smarter September 10 American.

Meanwhile Andy Sullivan, safely ensconced at a corner table at Starbucks, says:

The paradox is that the more he (Bush) succeeds and the more the threat of terror recedes, the more his opponents will take the calm as evidence that nothing much has to be done, that nothing much has been done, that America, by acting, is the real source of world conflict, and that retreat and amnesia are the cure-alls. I don’t think most Americans believe this. I think they are still angry and still afraid and still determined. But they will suffer more than a thousand cuts from the September 10 brigades in the coming months and years. I remember thinking two years ago that support for the war was easy then; but the real test would be in a few years when forgetfulness would set in and complacency revived. Which means, of course, that the real test of our mettle is now. So the question is not, once again: what have we done wrong? It is: Where are we going to hit those bastards today?

I disagree. Allowing George W. Bush to meander about in a garden full of hornets nests like a big dumb child with a baseball bat is a sign that we are a Not Ready For Prime Time Superpower. He creates one new Bin Laden every minute of his failed presidency.

(Added); Via Kevin Drum we find Jack O’Toole pointing out what a tool Andy is.



Yeah. Like I would tell you....