Those patriotic Internet-Americans who honor the anniversary of 9/11 by surfing political blogs all day for something to get offended about seized on a pointed blog post from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman yesterday, and show no sign of letting up. Paul Krugman is now the most worst person in the history of America, for pointing out that certain politicians made some bad decisions after 9/11.
What happened after 9/11 - and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not - was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits - people who should have understood very well what was happening - took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.
Nearly every — well, no, actually, let's make that a full "every" — conservative political outlet slammed Krugman all day for this. It helped that they already hated his economics! Now he is both a terrible liberal economist and a terrorist, too. And it culminated in this tweeted missive from George W. Bush's longtime Secretary of War, Donald Rumsfeld, this morning: "After reading Krugman's repugnant piece on 9/11, I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times this AM." Interesting that he waited until this blog post, now, to cancel his subscription, after years of complaining about how the Times' War on Terror reporters were committing treason after treason, by reporting on things.
Krugman's obviously right about the many terrible ways in which political actors exploited the tragedy of 9/11 in the following years. There are important lessons to be learned from that period of recent political history! But this: "The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame." Really? The mature adult brain, on a day of memorialization, should still be able to remember the 3,000 deaths on 9/11 and respond, "this was a sad thing that happened," without becoming subsumed with the bitterness of political violation.
[Image via AP]