Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9-11 reflections

It's 9-11, so we have to blog about that. I thought I'd react to the Osama Bin Laden's recent state of our union message and the response to General Petraeus bearing the bad news that, in his view, the surge is working.

In our local political blogosphere, Jessica McBride caused a stir by claiming a correspondence between Bin Laden's rant and what we hear from some Democrats. Her post is more nuanced and analytical than her critics admit (what is it about this woman that so inflames the left precincts of the Cheddarsphere?). But I'll agree that, while much of Bin Laden's screed does resemble a hard left diatribe of the type that I would expect to find on MoveOn.org, I wouldn't expect to hear it from the podium of the Democratic National Convention. I think that we can agree that both Democrats and Republicans don't like Al Qaeda.

Jessica's post provoked some "so's your mother" responses, such as, for example, a link to an astonishingly stupid post by Kos comparing the Republicans to Al Qaeda. That Markos is unable to see the difference between opposing same-sex marriage and executing gays and lesbians is just more proof that the ability to make critical judgments is not essential for success as a polemicist. I would never have imagined that support for a two parent family and traditional morality was the equivalent of forcing women to wear burkas. That must be a very slippery slope.

We also see, again, the argument that Bush went to Iraq and let Bin Laden evade capture and that the Iraq war is a distraction from the war on terror. As to the first point, my guess is that we'd pretty much need to invade and occupy a chunk of Pakistan to get Bin Laden. Who on the Democrat side of the aisle is up for that? Obama claimed to be, but I doubt that he meant it.

What Bin Laden's statement does seem to tell us is that he thinks that the Iraq war is significant. Maybe Bush did fight the wrong war. Maybe he actually is a diabolical genius and managed to draw Al Qaeda into a battle half way around the world instead of in our own public spaces. I don't claim to know, but it does seem incontrovertible that failure in Iraq will hurt resistance to Islamic terror.

Maybe that failure is inescapable, but, if it's not, we ought to be very interested in avoiding it. This is why the knee jerk response to General Petraeus on the part of congressional Democrats is so disconcerting. Couldn't he be right? Does it really make sense to pronounce his report DOA because it doesn't say what the Dems thought it would? If they had already decided that the surge wouldn't work, why did they confirm Petraeus and ask him to report back? Even if you think Petraeus is wrong, wouldn't it have been more politic to at least pretend to listen?


Amy said...

I think that we can agree that both Democrats and Republicans don't like Al Qaeda.

Yeah. Republicans don't like Al Qaeda because they're trying to blow us up. Democrats don't like Al Qaeda because they steal all their best talking points.

Because, even if the Democrats disagreed with bin Laden, you hear - on a daily basis - the same rhetoric and few, if any, attempts by Democrats to honestly and truly distance themselves from saying the same things the world biggest terrorist is saying.

Jay Bullock said...

I was pretty clear to label the link I provided as a less than optimum source. But the post I linked to was prompted by this, from an elected Republican lawmaker:
The thought of a US Senator chasing love in all the wrong places makes me think longingly of the Ayotollahs in Iran. They would just kill the turkey.

So while you claim that "Markos is unable to see the difference between opposing same-sex marriage and executing gays and lesbians," I argue that he was making a plain-language paraphrase of this Republican's publicly stated desire to "kill the turkey" for being gay. Not so much of a stretch, is it, when the words are coming from their own mouths?

I would add that the "knee-jerk response to General Petreus" is informed by several recent reports--including the NIE and the GAO report--that belie much of what Petreus said. It also seems that the Pentagon also isn't so sure that we shouldn't be skeptical in this case.

As for the continued conservative fascination with trying to tie liberals and liberalism to bin Laden and al Qaeda--well, my responses are getting near unprintable. If this is the new standard for partisanship, then, well, I don't know. I don't know how to have a conversation with people like you anymore.

Dad29 said...

Well, Jay, your reading of the NIE and GAO reports is highly selective.

Read them all, not just the excerpted-for-talking-points parts printed by Al-Pressoid (AP) and you'll have a real picture.

Rick--don't you find it peculiar that the most vitriolic Jessica-haters are male?

Rick Esenberg said...


I'm glad to hear that you at least think that Kos is a less than optimal source. I did not know that.

I don't recall trying to tie bin Laden to liberals. For whatever reason, he adopted what your ideological bedfellow Mike Plaisted calls a college sophomore's analysis (at least one who is hard left)of US politics. I think that's about right if you're willing to agree that, when it comes to politics, people like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore are pretty much college sophomores. Whether bin Laden believes what he says or not, I do not know and do not care.

McBride's point was that people who push this hard left rhetoric here play into his hand. My distinction of her point was that it is not mainstream Democratic analysis (unless you regard all of the netroots as mainstream.)

So I concede your point but I still understand you to imply that there is some connection between religious conservatives (actually Kos referred to Republicans who, of course, he "hates")and the Taliban. I don't think some statement by an obscure state legislator in Montana supports that connection but, if you really think it's there, it probably will be difficult to have a dialogue with "people like me."

As for General Petraeus, I don't know if he's right and my guess is that you don't either. My objection is to the apparent unwillingness to consider the possibility that he may be. It is, after all, a rather important question.

illusory tenant said...

McBride's point was that people who push this hard left rhetoric here play into his hand.

So what? Are you suggesting that "hard left rhetoric" is a cause of terrorism? If not, who cares?

The only thing the alleged consonance between some of bin Laden's views and those of the American left proves is that bin Laden isn't stupid.

Besides, bin Laden already has plenty of "hard right rhetoric" to draw upon if he cares to inflame his followers attendant upon, for example, U.S. support for what he perceives as Zionist repression of the kinfolk.

If anything, the "hard left" supports the Palestinian side of that equation.

People mock McBride because she's a predictable, credulous buffoon. This is simply the latest example.

Anonymous said...

Amy, your sentences just don't make sense. Correct use of pronouns could help us figure out which "they" is which. Then there's just who is "you." And then there's the possessive case. . . .

Writing more clearly may help you think more clearly. It certainly may help others read your thoughts -- and then perhaps even reply to them.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:27

I had no problem understanding Amy's post. It is really silly to waste your time and post a review of someone's writing style. Perhaps Amy's point is true and you don't like it - you just have no idea of how to dispute it.

I completely agree with you Amy.

Unknown said...

Amy's use of the word "they're" was entirely correct, and not used in the possesive.

"Republicans don't like Al Qaeda because they're (they are) trying to blow us up."

It's (it is) a contraction of a subject and a verb.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not about "they're." The possessive case is necessary in the last sentence.

The "they" problem is related the "they're," though, because "they" is used rather too rampantly in the first paragraph to be clear.

And yes, it does matter -- as it's discussion is not furthered (and often muddled) by a post if it's meaning is ambiguous . . . or just too much work to figure out.

It happens to us all. But some posters write this way over and over and may want to know why they don't get much in the way of replies.

Anonymous said...

Gee thanks for the English lesson.


It would have been more politic to listen but this is politics.

Giselle said...

Why pick apart Amy's grammar when her argument is just plain sophomoric and partisan?

Yes, yes, Clinton didn't catch bin Laden, but I think if a) we had the slap across the face of 9/11 he would have, like we did to catch Christofascist Tim McVeigh,

and b) any time he got down to business when going after terrorists we heard good Republicans saying "no war for Monica." Again, partisanship at its finest.

Anyone who is an ardent Bush supporter has nothing to say about the Democrats when it comes to Al Qaeda. They have no idea or just plain lie about who Al Qaeda is in Iraq and why is it Bush hasn't brought bin Laden to justice or his maker?

Trust me, you don't want to know why.

Anonymous said...

I guess I just get tired of reading the endless retreading by the acolytes of whatever McSykes said. Doesn't make sense when they say it, trying to make sense of it won't stop it. . . . But maybe asking that it make more sense in the way it's said might slow its inevitable appearance.

Anonymous said...

Jay, the people who think there are actual parallels between the left and Al-Qaeda are as far off as Kos. The 'playing in to their hands' is the scary part to many of us. Hitler took much of Europe while the rest of the world watched and did nothing to stop his build up of land and power. This is not a comparison between Hitler and anyone today, it is a comparison between the bystanders then and the Democrat's now. Kos' one line says it all... Democrats/liberals - Live and let live. Live and let live is a two sided statement where both sides really just want peace. That is not the case here and what happens is the side that does not want peace gains power and the people with their head in the sand pretend not to notice. The terrorists would not have stopped bombing innocents in the US because a peace loving Democrat was in the white house. A drawn out war in Iraq was not the answer, but talking conciliation would have been a worse answer.

So IT, that is why we should still care. The left is no more a fomenter of terrorism than the right, but the unwillingness to do anything about a terrorist attack leads to more attacks.

I do wonder whether there would have been any military reaction to 9/11 by a Democrat in office. All of the rhetoric today suggests not, but I remember a near unanimous vote in favor of military actions at the time. Where exactly would a peace loving Democrat have stopped?