September 11, 2011


Triumph of the normal: Liberals are disappointed that the US wasn't 'transformed' by 9/11-- but it was ordinary life the terrorists attacked (Kyle Smith, September 11, 2011, NY Post)

Liberals have never forgiven Bush for letting this crisis go to waste. During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama said, "A lot of you remember the tragedy of 9/11 and how all of the country was ready to come together and make enormous changes to make us not only safer, but to make us a better country and a more unified country. And President Bush did some smart things at the outset, but one of the opportunities that was missed was, when he spoke to the American people, he said, 'Go out and shop.' That wasn't the kind of call to service that I think the American people were looking for."

Columnist Thomas Friedman says that on 9/12 Bush should have announced a "Patriot Tax" of $1 per gallon of gas. In The New Yorker last week, George Packer said Bush's call to continue living our lives was "unreality . . . Wasn't there anything else? Should Americans enlist in the armed forces, join the foreign service, pay more taxes, do volunteer work, study foreign languages, travel to Muslim countries?" Packer calls Bush's policies "a malignant persistence," speaks favorably of a draft and calls for a solution to income inequality and (perhaps most of all) a balm for what he calls liberals' feelings of being "marginalized, misrepresented, ridiculed, scapegoated and worst of all, ignored."

In other words, liberals desire from 9/11 what they always desire: raising taxes. More citizens joyously marching off to serve the state. Spreading the wealth. Hitting energy companies. And the fuzzy internationalism that hustles to confront terrorist fanatics with the dewy undergraduate's weapons of understanding and compassion -- via vacations in Damascus and Berlitz lessons. As for joining the armed forces, Packer must have noticed while he was in Iraq that many Americans did exactly that, and not a few of them cited Bush as an inspiration. [...]

To some it is infuriating that Bush was right. In part because he declined to use his popularity (at a time when his approval ratings hit 92%) to make 9/11 a pretext for reforming America, life did go on mostly as normal.

Sometimes doing nothing constitutes a major accomplishment.

Posted by at September 11, 2011 6:32 PM

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