The Path from 9/11: Six Years’ Hindsight (Part 1)
The Good War. The Bad War. “Everything was done as it should be”, say the critics, “until Iraq”. There is Afghanistan, which is a good and appropriate involvement, and there is Iraq, which the USA should never have gotten into. Up until March 2003, goes the Narrative, everything went smoothly, and everyone, including the Western Left, stood wholeheartedly behind President George W. Bush.
The archives tell a different story, however.
Sites that were there in September the 11th and keep archives of that period are invaluable. Beside preserving the pictures and voices of that terrible day, they also smash to smithereens the idea that the current Leftist treasonfest dates from the invasion of Iraq and no earlier. The archives show that, sans Vietnam comparisons (that really took Iraq to emerge), everything we are now familiar with from the Left was already there in the period right after 9/11.
LGF archived post for September 11, 2001: search for the monsters:
This is the typical American reaction I completely understand - but at the same time it calls my disrespect and disgust.
It's like the palestinians vs. israelis - at first the palestinians were the big bad wolves - now the israelis are as much a part of the problem as they are - maybe even bigger.
And the israelis say they are God's chosen people? That reminds me of nazism... übermensch if you know what I mean.
I guess religion has fueled yet another conflict here with these attacks on the entire western civilization - maybe even the entire world.
The Israel/“Palestine” conflict brought into this on the very day!
Commenter Nicholas Dunham:
And Reid, yes, we do have a better understanding of what the Israelis have been living with for decades, but unfortunately, that means we also have a better understanding of what the Palestinians have been living with for decades. Both sides have committed atrocities. Neither side is innocent. That doesn't justify an act of terrorism--there is no possible justification for that--but neither is there justification for much of what has been done by the Israelis in recent years.
I also agree with Charles that some response to these events is necessary. I just think we need to be careful--first, to be sure we're going after the right people, and second, to avoid killing civilians in the process.
Postmodernism (“All narratives are of equal worth”) and the wish to fight a war under Politically Correct rules of engagement.
Commenter “J B”:
Typical American... as I suggest to all Yankies... read Non-American news... everyone else knew this was coming except the American Public... that's what happens when u watch TV Pulp... read the Press to see how much of the world is being f****d up by your "administration". Sad that people died.. but I have to say, as a spectator, u ain't seen the last of this... feelings are high around the world about American involvement in matters that have nothing to do with your country... [Expletive edited. —ZY]
Anti-Americanism, and the hint that the atrocities were blowback for US foreign policy.
LGF archived post for September 12, 2001: bush's moment:
Yesterday I saw a posting on indymedia saying "On what happened in NY we had just some thousands more people (and children) dying than on every average day are dying all over the world".
Maybe you should waste some more time to think about the world as one place. [All emphases original. —ZY]
The charge of American self-centeredness.
LGF archived post for September 15, 2001: hatred rooted in failings:
Commenter “øivind” again:
well.. to clarify something... fundamentalism really means that you take your "bible" literary; as in you do whatever it tells you to do and live exactly by the rules it gives you.
these terrorists only take parts of their "bible", the koran, and turn it into a soup of religious trash.
they are in no way fundamentalists.
as for these terrorists - they are sad souls.
The idea that Islamic terrorism is nothing but a perversion of a truly peaceful religion.
And, following a comment by “danny” in which two links, one about Vietnam and the other about Hiroshima, were posted with the close, “try and think about these things before you feel a victim”, commenter “PhotoDude” observes:
Charles, it seems your weblog has become a magnet for a few people who seem unmoved by the death of thousands of innocents. They still see this as a mere comeuppance for the US, not as an assault upon humanity. They seem to forget that up to half the dead did not even come from the US.
Commenter “danny” responds:
[…] A ‘war’ on terrorism? Does bush honestly think that he will win it? I think not. I remember reading a quote once, which said, “The authorities need to get lucky all the time where as the terrorist need to get lucky only once”. What hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that the US, via the CIA, actually sponsored the Taliban and bin Ladin during the occupation of Afghanistan by the Russians. Americans need to start reading the history books again.
The genesis of John Edwards’ quip, “‘War on Terror’ is just a bumper sticker”, and another charge of blowback for past US policies.
Thus much from a few commenters posting on LGF, back when it was beginning its transformation from being mainly about bicycling and web coding to today’s Anti-Idiotarian Headquarters. But let us hear it from official lefty sources. CounterPunch and Common Dreams keep archives of that period.
From CounterPunch’s page, titled “CounterPunch on 9/11 and War on Afghanistan” (yes, war on Afghanistan, not on Terror, let alone Islam—already a damper on the notion that it was regarded as The Good War):
From Sense and Nonsense About September 11, by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair, from September 12, 2001:
The commentators were similarly incapable of explaining with any depth the likely context of the attacks. It was possible to watch the cream of the nation's political analysts and commentating classes, hour after hour, without ever hearing the word "Israel", unless in the context of a salutary teacher in how to deal with Muslims. One could watch hour after hour without hearing any intimation that these attacks might be the consequence of the recent Israeli rampages in the Occupied Territories that have included assassinations of Palestinian leaders and the slaughter of Palestinian civilians with the use of American aircraft; that these attacks might also stem from the sanctions against Iraq that have seen upward of a million children die; that these attacks might in part be a response to US cruise missile attacks on the Sudanese factories that had been loosely fingered by US intelligence as connected to bin-Laden.
All on the lines of, “She had it coming because she was wearing scant clothing”. “Strong Is Wrong”, therefore “Plight Makes Right”, which in the context of this conflict translates to “Jihad Is Just”.
Or take this quote:
Before I support a war that will jeopardize the lives of tens of thousands of our servicemen and women, I want to see the evidence that we are relying on to justify this. So far, I do not see it. I see allegations. I see innuendo. I see winks and I see nods, but I do not see the evidence that you need under international law and the United States constitution so far to go to war. Maybe that evidence will be there, but it is not there now.
It’s about the prelude to the Iraq War, right? Nope. It’s the words of law professor Francis Boyle in a debate with Bill O’Reilly on September 15, 2001.
From the Common Dreams archive, this September 12, 2001 piece from Stephen Zunes: U.S. Shouldn't Fight Violence With Violence (a “promising” title already):
Terrorism is not rational, but an emotive reaction by frustrated and angry people. Yet the common reaction to terrorism is often no less rational, no less a reaction by a frustrated and angry people.
Yes, the approach to it all from the vantage point of the chair next to the patient’s couch. “You want to talk about it?”
It would behoove this great nation not to respond to yesterday's terrorist attack on America in ways that would restrict civil liberties, particularly if the terrorists are from an immigrant community. Already, analogies are being drawn to Pearl Harbor, which resulted in the internment of tens of thousands of loyal U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry.
The seeds of the charge that Bush is taking opportunity of the “War on Terror” in order to assume dictatorial powers.
Indeed, not only did it avoid resolving the Palestinian question - the key to peace in the Middle East […]
An assertion repeated, again and again, serving as the basis for every Israel/“Palestine” diary on Daily Kos, but given no evidence whatever to support it.
Lastly, from September 15, 2001, by Jesse C. Buikema, the piece Gandhi Knew Not to Fight Violence with Violence:
Gandhi had the wisdom and the courage to stand up to the British Empire without firing a shot, without retaliating after the massacre and torture of his people.
The typical carrying of Gandhi’s (long may he roast in hell, amen) mindset by the “reality-based community” over to a situation where it cannot apply (or, as I once wrote: had Gandhi lived and acted so in the days the Muslim ruler Aurangzeb, he would have won the independence of his head from his body).
And the last quote I bring here:
If we choose the freeway -- the quick solution -- we shall run the risk of being just like them -- hateful, vengeful, cowardly and ignorant.
Ah. “Beware, when fighting monsters, lest you become a monster yourself”. But the monsters have full moral right to keep on being monsters, and to remake the whole world in their monstrous image (God forbid).
I think the idea is pretty clear: the “Iraq blew it all” narrative is either a case of memory deficiency, or worse, a sham. The Leftists have been on the other side since Day One, giving moral support to the enemy, if only through their intimation that 9/11 was the result of the backfiring of past US foreign policy. Afghanistan was never a Good War; the Leftists, right from the start, called for “avoiding innocent civilian casualties”, even at the price of letting the Taliban win by hiding among the women and children. Their call to sacrifice Israel (“an evenhanded Mideast policy”) in order to appease the Muslims’ wrath was sounded on September 12. The shrieks about “the danger to civil liberties posed by anti-terrorism measures” were already present in those days. Everything was already in place—everything that we are now told is the result of Iraq.
[Blogmaster’s note: both parts are really one post that I split up after finishing their writing, because of the exceptional length, even for an essay blog like mine; but I wish to treat this as one post as far as comments go, so please go to Part 2 if you wish to comment.]