Tuesday, September 13, 2011

That Thing You Do -- Whatever It Is

Okay, a couple of things, more or less quickly.

I hadn't intended to write about the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, but then Glenn Greenwald posted this article. Seems there was a big hooraw because Paul Krugman wrote something pointing out that the US has behaved shamefully over the past decade. Krugman was accused of "politicizing" the sacred day, which as Greenwald pointed out is nonsense: September 11 is already politicized. Krugman's thoughtcrime was not marching in lockstep with those who exploit the day to wage war and make money.

Even I find mind-boggling this account Greenwald quotes from a friend's email, describing the NFL season opener in Miami on the sacred day:
Let me describe the patriotic display at last night's NFL opener. Men with machine guns at all entrances, to scare off the terrorists. Pat down on the way in, to make sure [my wife] and I weren't carrying plastic explosives. A moving national anthem with troops out on the field spelling out U.S.A. A moving tribute to the thousands who perished in 9/11 and to our nation's brave response to that atrocity (which was, of course, the worst thing that ever happened in the history of the world). A U.S.A., U.S.A. chant. Then a Stealth B2 Bomber flew over the stadium, followed by fireworks. At half time, a US Army paratrooper squad jumped out of a plane and landed on the field. Maybe next week they'll shoot some missiles from unmanned drones.
Greenwald quoted a marvelous banana-peel skid of a line by a writer at the liberal magazine Mother Jones, Rick Ungar, who declared September 11 "a day when Americans of all stripes should have been giving thanks to both President Bush and President Obama for doing whatever it is they do that has protected us from a tragic repeat of the events of September 11, 2001." (Emphasis is Greenwald's.) Wow. That reminds me of President Eisenhower's "Our form of government has no sense unless it is grounded in a deeply felt religious faith -- and I don't care what it is!" It also -- quite unintentionally I'm sure -- makes explicit the continuity between Bush's administration and Obama's.

Greenwald also quoted some of Uber-hack Jeffrey Goldberg's article on September 11 from The Atlantic (which I believe RWA1 linked to on Facebook, but I'm too weary to check now), with some links that led me to this example of Goldberg's acumen from October 2002, when he was supporting Bush's plans to invade Iraq:
There is not sufficient space, as well, for me to refute some of the arguments made in Slate over the past week against intervention, arguments made, I have noticed, by people with limited experience in the Middle East (Their lack of experience causes them to reach the naive conclusion that an invasion of Iraq will cause America to be loathed in the Middle East, rather than respected).
It's easy to laugh at Goldberg's confidence that an invasion of Iraq (among so many other humanitarian moves) would cause America to be "respected" in the Middle East, though he should be laughed at, contemptuously. But it should also be pointed out that Goldberg has, and had, only "limited experience in the Middle East" when he wrote those words -- it consisted of no more than moving from the US to join the Israeli army, and working as a prison guard in one of Israel's dungeons for Palestinians. It's not impossible that such a person could make himself into a competent writer and reporter, but Goldberg hasn't done so. No wonder the Atlantic hired him.