Paul Krugman bears his soul to us on the events of 9/11 and thereafter. He sets the framework for his short post with his title: The Years of Shame.
Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?
Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te (sic) 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.
I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.
Good grief. A columnist for the New York Times leaves a spelling error in his post, and the Times runs it anyway. And Krugman doesn’t seem to care enough to correct it. Is it me or do many bloggers care more about their prose than the New York Times, and isn’t this odd? Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.
But on to the main point. Let’s do this thing about Iraq … one … more … time. My own son did a combat tour of Iraq, so I have the right to say just about anything I want to concerning Operation Iraqi Freedom (though not as much right as those families who paid the ultimate sacrifice). Knowing something about nuclear technology and thus knowing the kind of infrastructure it takes to accomplish enrichment, I was ambivalent about the invasion (we call this phase Operation Iraqi Freedom I). With Michael Fumento and others, I know that chemical weapons are a poor substitute for military weapons (conventional ordnance is much more effective), and so that justification failed with me.
But whatever policy differences or questions I might have had with that phase of the campaign, there was no vacillation in my support for Operation Iraqi Freedom II (generally taken to be late 2003 – 2006) and III (2007 and on, i.e., surge and post-surge). During the height of the conflict, eighty to one hundred foreign fighters per month crossed the Jordanian and [mainly] Syrian borders to fight the U.S. in Iraq.
Al Qaeda poured an immense amount of capital into the campaign in Iraq, including money, philosophical underpinnings and personnel. Their writers went to work trying to justify suicide as a legitimate form of jihad, they spent a large amount of the monies donated by wealthy Saudis on Iraq, and they lost thousands of fighters who would otherwise have been able to fight in Afghanistan or come to the shores of the U.S. And I don’t buy the notion that Iraq was their raison d’être. I believe that they would have fought us anyway, anywhere.
Iraq was a quagmire for al Qaeda. It was a tremendous loss for them, regardless of the final disposition of the campaign for Iraq. I am proud of the role played by the American Soldier in Iraq. As a Marine father, I am proud of the role played by the U.S. Marines in the pacification of the Anbar Province. The ridiculous notions of … flipping … a tribe, as if this is some sort of parlor game, is a poor excuse for explaining what happened there. More than 1000 Marines perished in Iraq, and years of fighting set the preconditions for “flipping” those tribes.
I am proud of the first responders on 9/11. I am proud of how our nation responded, and I am proud of the contribution our warriors have made and are making to Operation Enduring Freedom. I am proud of the strengthening of our nation’s security apparatus since 9/11, and have noted that much more is needed. I am particularly proud of God’s grace to this country in the days since 9/11. Lastly, I am proud of the combat tour my son did in the U.S. Marines.
Isn’t it telling that Krugman is ashamed of the days since 9/11? It demarcates world views, no? Is it just me and is it odd that this seems more like Paul Krugman’s shame than America’s shame? I don’t think it’s just me, and it really isn’t all that odd.
Unlike the coward Krugman, I’ll leave comments open on this post.