Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 8:20 am

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of this diary entry at Daily Kos by “NewDirection” that makes a revealing declaration: “9/11: So Over It.” It’s actually a repost by the diarist from a military forum and, while there may be some who dismiss the author’s thesis out of hand, a careful examination of what he is trying to say tells us something about the state of the American psyche and how that will affect the vote in both 2006 and 2008.

First of all, let me say that I share some of the author’s frustration with the politicization of that day by both parties and for basically the same purpose; to skewer the opposition. In some ways, the author misses the mark when claiming that America was not fundamentally altered as a nation as a result of the tragedy and what he sees as the misuse of 9/11 as metaphor for the War on Terror. But his take on other ancillary issues that put 9/11 in context may be a valuable starting point for a discussion that will place our memories of that date in the proper perspective which, for all intents and purposes, will allow us to “get over” the heavy emotional burden we carry from that day.

Are there any “lessons” to be learned from 9/11? If so, are we taking away the correct ones? Can what happened that day be used as fodder for political attacks without degrading the memory of fallen heroes and tragic loss?

Good questions, those. And the diarist struggles to ask them in the right way:

Yes I want to stop any future attacks, and yes I honor the victims, and all of that. But seriously? “Never forget?” Look, as abominable and shocking as it was, “never forget” is a bit much. I mean it carries the implicit suggestion that if it weren’t taken to heart and repeated, people would forget.

The Marine Barracks Bombing was a pretty big deal at the time. So was the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Granted it’s different getting attacked on your home turf. (And as it happens, not far from where I sit right now.) And perhaps had the right people kept the lessons of Iran and Lebanon, not to mention the first WTC bombing, and OK City, etcetera, foremost in their minds, we’d have had none of this proverbial “clear blue sky” talk… And no need for it.

But as for regular folks? Well, let’s see. Terror. Terror is a set of tactics, but they are defined by their goal: To create the emotion of terror. The assumption that America has accepted is that the goal of the terror is to apply leverage, to cause the target to cower. Cowering is one possible reaction to terror: So is striking out. People seem to assume that we were attacked to influence us, either to withdraw from the Middle East or to get tricked into an escalating conflict in the Middle East. But that’s giving the enemy too much credit, I think. I think they attacked us simply to hurt us.

The author’s near dismissal out of hand that 9/11 was different because it happened here and not overseas is shocking. It brings to mind the “undeclared war” between the United States Navy and German U-Boats in the spring and summer of 1941 prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The US Navy convoyed supplies to Great Britain under the watchful eye of German U-Boats who would occasionally take pot shots at our ships. The USS Rueben James took two torpedoes amidships and sank in March of 1941 while the USS Kearny was heavily damaged later that spring. In addition, the Germans regularly targeted American merchant ships headed for Britain, sinking several with a large loss of life.

For our part, the US Navy gave better than it got, aggressively defending convoys by dropping depth charges on German U-Boats. The loss of life on both sides was significant during this period. But what Roosevelt was looking for - a clear and unmistakable causus belli in order to rally the American people and kindle their “righteous might” - never happened. Not until Pearl Harbor.

What the diarist is saying is that the fact that the 9/11 attack occurred on American soil is significant but perhaps we are making too much of that fact. As a matter of formulating a policy to deal with terror, this may be a useful construct in that most of us who believe we are at war see the attacks mentioned by the diarist as the opening salvos of the conflict. But policies do not exist in a vacuum. Using 9/11 as a touchstone the same way the American people used Pearl Harbor in World War II is useful in giving people a rallying point, an emotional home base where they can return to reflect and rejuvenate the spirit.

Currently, we are not vouchsafed such a luxury by our media in that for the vast majority of the MSM, 9/11 as a topic is avoided like the plague. Images especially from that day are verboten, as if by locking the videotapes in the archives, people will simply forget the horror of what happened. Some would say the media does this because any reminders of that day help President Bush. I think the explanation is a lot simpler than that; the media, collectively speaking, are just plain dumb. They believe that the American people don’t want to see images and be reminded of that day because it’s too painful.

They will be proved wrong a week from today as United 93 opens across the country. From all indications, the movie will be an emotionally shattering experience - so much so that some may be forced to flee the theater so powerful will be the evocation of memory. But many, many, more will remember and will perhaps be once again steeled in their determination to defeat the enemy.

But is there really an “enemy?”

Remember, please, that this was an act of a bunch of punks. Punks that got lucky. Not the larger Islamo-Fascist monolith that some have conjured; that may exist as a useful concept but all evidence points to punks. And frankly it’s a lot easier to credit the well-grounded “punk theory,” because punks behave unpredictably and slip through cracks. The US would have swatted anything larger on the worst of days.

Sure, 9/11 changed the way we protect our country. But should it change our country? I think not. That’s why I’m officially over it. I invite you to realize that you are too. It’s a necessary step in defeating terror.

Being charitable, that’s one way to look at it. I think most readers of this site would wholeheartedly agree that it is the wrong way to look at it.

In fact, as we know now, the jihadists do have a strategy. Published in Der Speigel, al Qaeda’s military commander (now in custody we believe in Iran) Saif al-Adel gave the outlines of a worldwide blueprint for Global Jihad against the United States and the West. This multi-phased operational plan was extraordinarily sophisticated in that it took into account not only the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Islamists vis a vis the west, but it also incorporated favorable demographic changes in Europe as well as the gradual radicalization of even moderate Muslim countries like Indonesia. To posit the notion that the 9/11 perpetrators were nothing more than a bunch of punks fatally underestimates their organizational abilities and their will. The author is just plain wrong.

But the author makes a very good point when he asks even if 9/11 changed the way we protect our country, should it change our country? The diarist doesn’t think so and this is the great trap we find ourselves in today. By changing the relationship between the government and the people in order to protect ourselves, are we changing America forever?

Yes there were victims on September 11th, 2001, and we were all among them. But should their continue to be victims today? Who but victims remembers a wrong done to them as a defining part of their character? True, true, you could say that response to monarchist oppression is what made us a freedom-loving land in the first place. But that’s where our early society came from; to reject monarchy and increase freedom was an evolution of ourselves. On the other hand, being defined by terrorism would be different.

Of all the 9/11 platitudes, I liked “If they change our way of life, they have won” the best. You don’t hear that one much anymore, do you? Well it’s time to revive it. Sure, I do remember 9/11… But not as some sort of guiding principle. I don’t want that to be the “Remember the Alamo” for the next millenia simply because I’d prefer we defined ourselves by something prouder. 9/11 was no Alamo. Call it an act of war all you want but that smacks of an agenda… It was murder, perverse serial murder.

The author’s point about 9/11 victimhood is spot on. And this is how I think placing the tragedy in a different emotional context will help in turning those feelings of helplessness into a determination to see this conflict through to the final victory. This is where the President has failed utterly. There is some truth in the charge that both the Administration and the Democrats have used 9/11 as a political weapon, bashing each other for myopia on the one hand and incompetence on the other. In the meantime, the significance of 9/11 as a rallying point for American resolve has been almost completely subsumed by a cynicism on the part of the people that speaks to a weariness with conflict and a desire to “return to normalcy.”

The draining political battles over the Iraq War are almost over as we will almost certainly begin drawing down our troops (barring a full blown civil war breaking out in the meantime) this summer with the bulk of them being home by early 2008. By that time, the American people may well be ready to listen to a political message that sounds like retrenchment but would actually be retreat. Unless some clever, right-leaning politician can evoke the memory of 9/11 and place it in the context not of making the US a “victim” of an attack but a determined respondent that will continue to confront state sponsored terror in Iran, Syria, and other places, we may be in for a period of “hunkering down” in a kind of neo-isolationist dream world where we can delude ourselves into thinking that by going back in time before 9/11, we can actually make ourselves safer.

I mention a center-right politician because it is very clear at this point that the center-left of the Democratic party is fully prepared to make that leap back in time in a delusional effort to recapture an America that exists only in their imaginations. Contrast the reasonableness of the diarist with these comments left by Daily Kos readers:

The evidence for the Official Story is so poor, and the motives for the proponents of the Official Story — that is, the AmeriKills subsidiary of BushCo and the neo-cons, the people who have benefited from 9-11 — to lie are so great, that I cannot believe it to be true.

I am utterly convinced that the Official Story is a transparent hoax, and that it is virtually certain that, at least, BushCo LIHOP and indeed far more likely that, perhaps with the aid of Pakistani and/or Saudi secret services, an element of the government (including Cheney and Rumsfeld, among others) actually sponsored and planned the attacks.


OF COURSE it has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Cheney and the boys did 9-11. But the Official Story is fragrant horses**t (really, if you believe that one please send me your check for the Brooklyn Bridge) and, that being so, it’s only natural to see as the prime suspects those who (1) have controlled the crime scene; (2) thwarted any investigation other than the risible Kean-Zelikow “Oil Investor, CIA, CFR and Coverup Maven Whitewash;” (3) stated in writing that the nation’s future pretty much required a “catalyzing and catastrophic event — a New Pearl Harbor;” (4) had the motive, means and the oppportunity to carry out the attacks; and (5) have been the primary beneficiaries, politically but also in cold cash.


Bush and the neocon horde have stolen 911 from those who know truth. The sheeple who vote in this country will continue to be duped by Karl Rove’s lies. Islamic fanatics are nothing to be feared. Fascist power and the Dubbya police state are the true enemies.

Can you see a Democratic party candidate for President emerging with this group’s support who thinks that 9/11 should be treated as anything except a simple tragedy that we’ve all got to get over and move on with our lives? This is the kind of attitude that will repeal the Patriot Act, roll back other steps we’ve taken to prevent an attack, and reign in domestic surveillance of potential terrorists.

And the hell of it is, by 2008 the American people may be ready for just such a candidate.


  1. I spent 15-years as a television news producer. You are spot on when you say the media is dumb - there is no left-wing agenda, they don’t have sense enough to have an agenda.

    Degrees in broadcast journalism have minimal math and no science requirements. There are no requirements for any courses requiring critical thinking. Thus, reporters lack the skills to think through their stories. In fact, I doubt the need to do so even occurs to most reporters.

    Throughout television stations, and I suspect newspapers, there is the attitude that viewers are idiots - that the television station employees have to spoon feed information in a simple manner so that the simple minds at home can understand.

    Part of the difficulty media organizations are having today is that viewers and readers now have an effective way to respond. As Mark Steyn said on Hugh Hewitt’s show last night, if a reporter writes something about Middle Eastern archetecture, within the hour he will have 50 emails telling him he obviously knows nothing about Middle Eastern archecture and correcting his mistake. Steyn says one cannot get away with being an ignorant generalist as so many reporters used to.

    The whine being heard around newsrooms is “Why do the (the viewers) think we’re so stupid?” The answer is because you are.

    Sorry to go off on a rant - maybe I should copy this and make it a post to my own blog. Ha.

    Comment by Juan Paxety — 4/21/2006 @ 8:57 am

  2. Excellent post, Rick. The assertion in the original post that “punks” pulled off 9/11 is downright silly. Punks don’t have the money to travel to and from US, the money to take flying instructions. The hijackers were cultivated, fed, and housed by sponsors. Many more who did not directly sponsor hid them. Many, many more who could have revealed chose not to do so. The culpability runs into the millions.

    Comment by tyk — 4/21/2006 @ 11:22 am

  3. There isn’t going to be any return to “normalcy” in the United States until Americans resolve the internal conflicts and overcome the political divisions that the September 11 attacks exposed.

    How this resolution will manifest itself, I have no idea. What I do know is that this country is divided in a ways I never thought it would be. One of the reasons there has been no definitive victory in Iraq is because these divisions aren’t real conducive to mustering the collective will required to win a war.

    In th final analysis, a lot of people in this country are going to have to decide whether being conservative, liberal, Republican or Democrat is more important than being an American.

    My $0.02, for what it’s worth.


    -the Canine Pundit


    Comment by Sirius Familiaris — 4/21/2006 @ 11:41 am

  4. At Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the aforementioned American convoys to the British shores were ‘military’ targets sighted by anothger military. The battleground was obvious, and opposing sides acknowledged their differences and fought over them.

    The hijacking punks of 9/11 were trained in secret and then turned loose upon a civilian society, hidden by civilian dress. They perpetrated their violence upon folks who may have otherwise conversed and considered the terrorists’ arguments…to a degree.

    Yet in the end, free nations exposed by their ability to penetrate and kill here the utter damnation of their own societies in that we not only go had to go “there” and kick their butts, but then expend further blood and treasure to set up their society so THEY DON’T HAVE TO! Not only do they kill us, but we then go and straighten out their own country(s) in return.

    They merely have to manage a maintenence schedule.

    I’m done now.

    Comment by P. Aaron — 4/21/2006 @ 12:16 pm

  5. Rick, I fear you you may be correct about 2008. It is basic human nature to take the path of least resistance and avoid unpleasantness if given a choice. So, as more time passes and 9/11 recedes further into people’s minds, the nation could become increasingly susceptible to the siren call of the left.

    Comment by Pammy — 4/21/2006 @ 12:59 pm

  6. P.Aaron…Jesus Christ…read your stuff before you post it.

    Comment by tyk — 4/21/2006 @ 1:23 pm

  7. What makes the conceit posted here by by the always irate Rick Moran so laughable is that he still seems to believe that the inept bunglers in the White House are somehow essential to the war on terror.

    Wouldn’t we be better off getting some people in there who actually know what they’re doing, rather than continuing to endure the clownish and destructive antics of Bush and Rumsfeld?

    Comment by Paddy O'Shea — 4/21/2006 @ 1:48 pm

  8. Gee Paddy,…get up on the wrong side of the bed today? All the invective and hate oozing from you won’t make your ideas and opinions seem reasonable to anyone. But that really wasn’t the point anyway was it? You just needed to vent a bit.

    Comment by Mitzi — 4/21/2006 @ 2:37 pm

  9. Paddy O’Shea for President! He knows what he’s doing.

    All the Dems need are better slogans, you know.

    Comment by Sweetie — 4/21/2006 @ 3:01 pm

  10. Patticakes:

    You first comment was deleted for being non germane to the discussion,

    Comment by Rick Moran — 4/21/2006 @ 3:53 pm

  11. Great post, Rick. You seem to bring out the dumb-bells. At another post a few days earlier I asked a question and #13 aka nikko came up with an answer:

    seditious traitors

    This just about covers the folks that want to
    “get over it for now” What fools and how sad that this country is infested with them.

    Comment by diamond — 4/21/2006 @ 4:34 pm

  12. KosKids ‘over’ 9/11.

    If you haven’t checked your blogging world today, you probably didn’t read this, a Kos diary indicating that the author (and a great deal of his kompadres) are ‘over’ 9/11.

    Somebody has to be the first one to say it.
    I’m over it.
    Yes I was some…

    Trackback by MoveOnAndShutUp.org — 4/21/2006 @ 6:12 pm

  13. Some interesting, but not particularly relevant comments. The only thing that will alleviate the overwhelming concern of the American people after 9/11 is the fact that we see bin-Ladin and Al-Zawahiri and their CAIR cohorts hanged in public. People–that’s the bottom line.

    Comment by Mescalero — 4/21/2006 @ 10:43 pm

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