Sunday, September 30, 2007

Friedman is right...and wrong

As to Tom Friedman's idea that we need to forget 9/11, well, there's no better way to kick off an era of 'free' pundit access by having a top columnist poke a sharp stick at Rudy. Doesn't hurt the site traffic, either. But his piece is worth some discussion. I've been thinking about it, too.

Whether purposely or not, he actually did a nice job of laying out the coming Democratic platform for 08. Here's a taste:
Before 9/11, the world thought America’s slogan was: “Where anything is possible for anybody.” But that is not our global brand anymore. Our government has been exporting fear, not hope: “Give me your tired, your poor and your fingerprints.”
9/11 was evidently a wake-up call for him. He seems to long for a return to the salad days when the population was kept ignorant to the threat; when captured terrorists were given a seat on CIA Airlines for a whirlwind tour of the Middle East until they found vacancy at some country's "enhanced interrogation" facility (funny, they say Republicans are in favor of outsourcing but America outsourced torture in the 90s and nobody cared then); and when our response was to lob a few cruise missiles which prompted some random shiekh to scribble something called a fatwa. But to the jihadists, 9/10 was no different than 9/11 or 9/12.

It's not healthy to run a campaign entirely on 9/11, which Rudy appears to be doing. But it seems Friedman is excluding any candidate that makes mention. Terrorism is not going anywhere regardless of who wins in 2008. Matter of fact, we've been told repeatedly by his own paper that our invasion of Iraq caused more terrorists, which means they will likely act one day. The genie is out of that bottle.

To illustrate, people get some kind of weird, wistful feelings about the 90s when people still loved us. The facts show a different picture. Messers Yousef, Atta, Moussaoui, the Blind Sheikh, bin Laden, Zawahiri, and a host of others were all busy plotting our destruction. Were we better off not knowing? Would things have been radically different had Yousef been successful in knocking down the Towers when he bombed them in 1993 (who would we have retaliated against)?

The Democrats will oblige Mr. Friedman. Their candidates will indeed attempt to turn GTMO into a soup kitchen and treat terrorists like two-bit car thieves. But such things won't alter our image. Bushitlerburton has not been the sole cause of America's degradation of brand--Britney, serial killers, Paris, terrible rap music, corruption and high crime rates and child molesters have all contributed greatly as well, complicating the picture.

As for me, I expect our next leader to NEVER FORGET 9/11 while pursuing the people who want to destroy us. Along the way it wouldn't hurt to remind folks about some of the things that foreigners once saw as great about our nation, and lead us back in that direction. Not sure it's possible anymore but it never hurts to try. But calling people stupid for remaining vigilant about a serious threat is hardly helpful.

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