Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

July 6, 2007

IN DEFENSE OF 'POLITICAL DISHARMONY'....It looks like the column of the day actually ran yesterday, with David Ignatius' piece in the Washington Post about the state of America's readiness for another possible terrorist attack. Ignatius' column believes we should all be more united. Behind who or what? Well, that's the tricky part.

[In the event of an attack,] Liberals would blame the Bush administration for making America a more vulnerable target. Didn't the war in Iraq inflame Muslim terrorists around the world? Wouldn't we have been safer today if we had focused on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan rather than embarking on a costly war that has sapped the military and CIA and added to America's enemies? These arguments aren't imaginary: We hear them every day, almost as rehearsals for the post-attack finger-pointing.

And how would conservatives respond? They would blame liberals, who, in their view, have weakened America's anti-terrorism defenses. Couldn't we have stopped the bombers if critics hadn't exposed the National Security Agency's secret wiretapping program? Wouldn't aggressive CIA interrogation techniques have yielded more intelligence that might have prevented the tragedy? Didn't congressional demands to withdraw from Iraq embolden the terrorists? I can hear the voices on talk radio and cable news right now.

Ignatius added that our divisions are so deep, we are not "politically healthy." We had a shared sense of purpose after 9/11, but it has "totally...dissipated."

I suppose some of this is true, as far as it goes. Americans have substantive policy disagreements about national security and foreign policy. The past several years have, thanks to an intentional strategy, driven people apart. Ignatius' description of what the arguments would be in the event of another attack is probably right.

But Ignatius leaves out the important parts. What should Americans with sincere disagreements do? Ignatius doesn't say. He simply wants the nation to "get serious, and to get ready."

It all sounds very nice, except for the details, which in this case are non-existent. As Ignatius describes it, Americans simply need to get unified. Unified behind what? Behind unity.

I don't doubt that Ignatius means well, but his argument is lazy and hard to take seriously. It's easy to urge Americans to get together; it's a challenge to lay out an agenda for them to rally behind. It's simple to tell people to stop arguing; it's hard to talk about solutions. The column reads like Broderism at its least persuasive.

Ignatius' column sings the virtues of national unity as if policy differences were inherently petty and parochial. They're not. Those arguments he attributes to the left and right are indicative of a serious disagreement about the direction of the country. His Post column seems to suggest that the debates simply end so that we can all get together, arm in arm, against our common foes.

But that's not "politically healthy." As Atrios put it:

It's an interesting phenomenon with people who spend much of their lives in the Beltway that they forget that disagreement is at the root of politics. It isn't a flaw. People have genuine disagreements about stuff. There's nothing wrong with that. There's no virtue in everyone agreeing about everything, even if they all happen to agree with David Ignatius. It's frightening, not delightful, when people blindly line up to support their nominal leaders.

Ignatius believes we're not prepared for the "next attack." I'm very much inclined to agree. If he wants to perhaps talk about what we should do about this in his next column, I'll be sure to take it seriously.

Steve Benen 4:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (94)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

If he wants to perhaps talk about what we should do about this in his next column...

Gracious, no! People might disagree.

Nobody at Versailles wants any unpleasantness. There are parties to go to, for goodness sake!

Posted by: bleh on July 6, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

The column just points to the further decline of the WaPo. Does he intentionally ignore all the BS we've heard from Bush's mouth all these years? All the name calling he and his minions have done?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on July 6, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ignatius' column sings the virtues of national unity as if policy differences were inherently petty and parochial.

Kevin, I see I have to remind you once again America is in the middle of a WAR right now. The WAR on Terrorism. In past wars Americans have been willing to put aside their political difference for the greater good of defeating the enemy. This is what happened in WWI, WWII, and the Revolutionary War. Today's soldiers are the successors to the Greatest Generation who laid down their blood to defeat the imperial Japanese and Nazis in Iwo Jima. They are also the successors to our founding fathers who picked up muskets and pitchforks to defend this country from paying high taxes and taxation without representation.
The British lacks unity and the result was the multiple terrorist attacks in London. We would never want that to happen here. This is all the unity we have been asking for. How can you be against the unity of supporting our troops in time of war?

Posted by: Al on July 6, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

We had a shared sense of purpose after 9/11, but it has "totally...dissipated."

Now how the fuck do you suppose that happened?

Posted by: thersites on July 6, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you needn't remind Kevin of anything. He is on vacation. Has been for over a week. Steve is doing the blogging. Make with the reading comprehension already, whadya say?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 6, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting to note that according to Ignatius, the potential liberal complaints are all about our neglect of the real enemies abroad, and the potential complaints from the conservatives are all about the inability of our government to break our own laws.

Paerhaps Ingnatius is saying that conservatives are full of shit. If he is, what is the problem?

Posted by: gregor on July 6, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Ignatius believes we're not prepared for the "next attack." I'm very much inclined to agree."

I don't agree. IOW, we're probably as prepared as people should be for mostly random, largely insignificant events.

In the liberal rush to sound "serious" about terrorism and foreign policy, liberals end up giving legitimacy to the threat-hyping, paranoia, etc. (Primarily Republican themes).

So, no, we shouldn't worry much about terrorism. We need not invest more in terrorism. We are already WAAAAY past the point where we have invested too much in time, resources, and mental energy and attention to these largely insignificant events.

Most would agree that the US shouldn't invest, say, 1 trillion of it's 12 trillion dollar GDP, right? There's a point where you have over-insured yourself, invested resources past the social cost of the event you seek to avoid.

There's other things out there, other people who could be helped with that money. If saving lives were really the focus. Instead of looking tough and killin muslims.

Posted by: luci on July 6, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

God, the Right really are the Borg, aren't they? Unify! Obey!

Maybe that's what's with the "Kevin" thing; the Al-drone can see the byline on the post, but the meme hasn't reached enough of the hive-mind to alter its behavior.

Posted by: bleh on July 6, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

From the Ignatius article...
In a politically healthy nation, the news from Britain would have a galvanizing effect. Politicians and the public would pull together and take appropriate steps to prepare for future terrorist attacks on America.

I don't think anyone other than the news media is all that fired up over the bombings. Small time jihadis with a failed attempt. The attempted bring-down of the WTCs in 92 didn't really galvanize the nation either. Nor did the attacks overseas at the Cole, the embassies, Khobar Towers, etc. And we've had our own little versions of islamists going off on their own little jihads in country already, e.g., the guy in NC who ran down people on campus. That didn't galvanize us.

It is going to take an attack that is in the US, that is successful, and is big.

Posted by: RSM on July 6, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

...not prepared for the next attack

Why's that? Has someone gutted our public health system and our domestic emergency-response infrastructure, while squandering valuable resources in a senseless war a country that didn't attack us? But he sure looks good with a bullhorn, doesn't he? That's the important thing.

gregor at 4:31 has it exactly right.

Posted by: thersites on July 6, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Have a look at similar drivel by Cal Thomas on today's (shudder) Washington Times page:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070706/COMMENTARY09/107060002/1012

Thomas wants Bush to appoint a bipartisan commission to help him govern.

Now that's rich.

Posted by: JM on July 6, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Unite behind the Uniter?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 6, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the blood stirs at David Igatius' bold, contrarian proposal for a nation of yes men.....

We were united behind Bush in 2002 and 2003, and look where that got us -- right into the Iraq War quagmire. Frankly, a little less blind obedience and a little more questioning authority at the time and we would have been a lot better off.

Posted by: Stefan on July 6, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Its a shame how nobody on the Right wanted to be United when Clinton was President.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 6, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

The other side of the coin, courtesy of Alexander Cockburn, who tells the story of a conversation his father had many decades ago with a member of a small Scottish left grouplet that had recently split from the Scottish CP and then, to his father's surprise, split again. When Cockburn asked why the new group had divided, the Scot replied "We found we were agreeing on everything. It was politically unhealthy!"

The joy of sects.

Posted by: Henry on July 6, 2007 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: It is going to take an attack that is in the US, that is successful, and is big [to galvanize us].

Something like a "new Pearl Harbor," eh?

What do you think the chances are that a big new attack would galvanize us right into war with Iran?

Posted by: JM on July 6, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan nails it.

Posted by: gregor on July 6, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

He does not mean well. If you demand unity when the people in power are unwilling to compromise, then you are demanding obedience. Anyone who doesn't stfu and do what he's told is a terrorist.

Posted by: Bloix on July 6, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Why would national unity prevent another terrorist attack? The whole premise makes no sense. Checking terrorism is mostly a matter of good police work, plus luck.

I don't recall a great deal of disunity prior to 9/11. Bush was accepted as the president and his first nine months limped along without terrible political infighting.

Besides, the Republicans despised Clinton, but the border people still got that guy entering from Canada to blow up the Los Angeles airport in 1999. Prior to that, the WTC attackers of 1993 had been arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to prison, including one rounded up in Pakistan and returned to the USA for trial.

And when the 9/11 attack took place, the cops and firefighters in New York headed for the World Trade Center, Democrats and Republicans alike. They did the same thing in 1993, when Dinkins was the mayor.

Posted by: Edward Furey on July 6, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Americans simply need to get unified. Unified behind what?

I'll have to check back with hollywood. I think our best bets are a large meteorite, a supervolcano, a supercomputer taking over our nuclear weapons and launching a first strike, and/or an invasion by russians, chinese, and/or martians. Although computer scientists are sort of on the shit list in the third scenario.

The bottom line is lots of us have to die in an unprovoked attack.

Personally I'd rather remain divided.

Posted by: B on July 6, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Why would national unity prevent another terrorist attack? The whole premise makes no sense. Checking terrorism is mostly a matter of good police work, plus luck.

I don't recall a great deal of disunity prior to 9/11. Bush was accepted as the president and his first nine months limped along without terrible political infighting.

Besides, the Republicans despised Clinton, but the border people still got that guy entering from Canada to blow up the Los Angeles airport in 1999. Prior to that, the WTC attackers of 1993 had been arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to prison, including one rounded up in Pakistan and returned to the USA for trial.

And when the 9/11 attack took place, the cops and firefighters in New York headed for the World Trade Center, Democrats and Republicans alike. They did the same thing in 1993, when Dinkins was the mayor.

Posted by: Edward Furey on July 6, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Corporate media is worried they may have lost the ability to make Americans hysterical. If they lose that, they have lost their reason for being.

Posted by: Brojo on July 6, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Al has forgotten, if he ever new, that WWII started in September 1939. Until December 1941, Americans were bitterly divided over whether to join Britain in fighting Germany or not. Hitler solved the problem by declaring war on the USA after Pearl Harbour - why nobody quite knows.

Posted by: James Wimberley on July 6, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

It is going to take an attack that is in the US, that is successful, and is big.

You keep wishing and hoping, RSM. Maybe one day the jihadis will get their act together and give you the horrible, devastating attack you've been waiting for.

Me, personally, if the cost of "galvanizing" us is a mass casualty terrorist attack I'd rather say thanks, but no to the galvanizing. But what do I know, walking by Ground Zero every single day....

Posted by: Stefan on July 6, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, are you saying that you agree with this guy?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 6, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hitler solved the problem by declaring war on the USA after Pearl Harbour - why nobody quite knows.
Posted by: James Wimberley on July 6, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mainly due to the military aid (planes and pilots) we were supplying to Britain.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 6, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK


steve: Unified behind what?


america is already unified....

disapprove: 65%
approve: 26%
undecided: 9%

- Newsweek 7/6/07

Posted by: mr. irony on July 6, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Our readiness is dependent on people doing their jobs not on what GwB or Obama say (or Congress or cable heads or bloggers, for that matter). They might be conservatives or liberals, it doesn't matter.
What's worrisome is the decline in competency generally but it's not a surprise given the examples before us from government and the media, particularly.
Where Ignatius goes off the idealistic deep end is confusing political disagreement with a more deep seated anger at the "other". We need only witness Iraq as an exemplar of settling differences to show Ignatius how real disagreements get settled.
It is nice to know another millionaire pundit cares so much about harmony. What a sweetheart.

Posted by: TJM on July 6, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
You keep wishing and hoping, RSM. Maybe one day the jihadis will get their act together and give you the horrible, devastating attack you've been waiting for.

Hmmm, that's the sort of comment I'd expect from heavy or disputo, like I'd want my friends and family to be injured in some sort of chem/bio/big explosion, or that you would infer from my post that I place galvanizatio nas some sort of desirable holy grail. Non sequitor.

Tell me this, since you walk by ground zero everyday. Why didn't the country galvanize around the first WTC strike like it did the second? Wasn't the terrorist threat post-1992 similar to the threat post-2001? It's almost like there's a sense of "no harm, no foul" at play.

Posted by: RSM on July 6, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Can't we all just agree to agree? This is just another variation on the usual meme: supporting Bush is somehow magically "non-partisan" -- it is just doing what is "right for the country." Unlike dirty hippie liberals who hate America and are so "partisan." Let's all be non-partisan and support the Bush administration!

Wow. I just summed up 6 years of David Broder's column.

Posted by: Orson on July 6, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ignatius is the neocon boobie who wrote the following in March '05:

"We are now watching a glorious catastrophe take place in the Middle East. The old system that had looked so stable is ripping apart, with each beam pulling another down as it falls. The sudden stress that produced the catastrophe was the
American invasion of Iraq two years ago. But this Arab power structure has been rotting at the joints for a generation. The real force that's bringing it down is public anger. It's hard not to feel giddy, watching the dominoes fall.

There's no stopping the Middle East's glorious catastrophe now that it has begun. We are careening around the curve of history, and it's useful to remember a basic rule for navigating slippery roads: Once you're in the curve, you can't hit the brakes. The only way for America to keep this car on the road is to keep its foot on the accelerator."

So, Ignatius "felt giddy" watching the "glorious catastrophe" we caused. The man is a monster. The american people should want nothing to do with his notions of "unity".

Posted by: Chrissy on July 6, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Rove only cares about getting 50.0001% of the votes. "Uniting" any more than that is a waste in the Rove-world.

Posted by: RobertSeattle on July 6, 2007 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why didn't the country galvanize around the first WTC strike like it did the second?

Because (i) it failed and (ii) the perpetrators were quickly rounded up, tried, and jailed.

Wasn't the terrorist threat post-1992 similar to the threat post-2001?

No, not at all. For one thing, al Qaeda as it exists now didn't exist in 1992. It only really came into being in the mid to late 1990s.

Posted by: Stefan on July 6, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

rsm: Why didn't the country galvanize around the first WTC strike like it did the second? Wasn't the terrorist threat post-1992 similar to the threat post-2001? It's almost like there's a sense of "no harm, no foul" at play.


maybe because....

“You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist.” - New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg June-2007


Posted by: mr. irony on July 6, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Rove only cares about getting 50.0001% of the votes. "Uniting" any more than that is a waste in the Rove-world.
Posted by: RobertSeattle on July 6, 2007 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Thats' just because you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Some of the people some of the time is good enough.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 6, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Why didn't the country galvanize around the first WTC strike like it did the second?

And another thing, I don't remember too many people arguing that we shouldn't find, arrest and punish the perpetrators of the 1993 attack -- so in that sense yes, we were already united. It's just that we were united around common sense and competence, which doesn't really get the blood stirring the way a crazy scheme to blow up some completely unrelated shit does.

Posted by: Stefan on July 6, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: Why didn't the country galvanize around the first WTC strike like it did the second?

Because (i) it failed and (ii) the perpetrators were quickly rounded up, tried, and jailed.

I think the "it failed" portion of the explanation carries more weight than the second. Gaming it out, can you imagine how the country would have reacted if it had succeeded? Many, many more thousands would have died that did on 9/11. It's just a fact that our decision making isn't rational.

And another thing, I don't remember too many people arguing that we shouldn't find, arrest and punish the perpetrators of the 1993 attack -- so in that sense yes, we were already united. It's just that we were united around common sense and competence, which doesn't really get the blood stirring the way a crazy scheme to blow up some completely unrelated shit does.

Well, I think most people feel that going in to Afghanistan to remove the terrorist sanctuary was smart. If it was smart after 2001, why wasn't it smart before, when it could have prevented 9/11? Yea, hindsight is 20-20, but we knew they meant us harm (Cole, Khobar Towers, etc.) and were targeting our homeland.

So if 1992 and all the attacks overseas didn't galvanize us, I hardly expect a few amateurs in Britain "getting their jihadi on" to do so, politically healthy or not. Ignatius is expecting a bit much.

Posted by: RSM on July 6, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, wake up and go back to sleep, Al!

More seriously, this also reminds me of Ike and his famously -- and fatuously -- saying that Americans all needed to believe -- in something.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on July 6, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

One of the great things about the last paragraph is that it admits that the "voices on talk radio and cable news" represent conservatives and "blame liberals". Your SCLM at work yet again.

One of the awful things (among many) in that same piece is that it doesn't say if these conservative smears have any, you know, TRUTH to them. Nor does it try to counterbalance the loss in civil liberties to the theoretical gain in security.

"Those who wish to trade liberty for security deserve neither." Is that about right?

Posted by: centerfielddj on July 6, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Gaming it out, can you imagine how the country would have reacted if it had succeeded?

Yeah, and we would have done...what differently? The attack was carried out by Egyptian and Pakistani plotters based in New Jersey. Whom exactly would we have invaded?

I do know one thing, though -- the GOP, rather than rallying around the President, would have used it as an immediate opportunity to attack Clinton.

Posted by: Stefan on July 6, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I think most people feel that going in to Afghanistan to remove the terrorist sanctuary was smart. If it was smart after 2001, why wasn't it smart before, when it could have prevented 9/11?

Because the Taliban didn't have control of Afghanistan in 1992, and bin Laden only moved there in the late 1990s?

And considering how the GOP screamed and whined and undermined Clinton when he was trying to prevent a genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo, yeah, I'm real sure they would have supported him in an attack on Afghanistan in 1998 or 1999, during the height of impeachment. And then maybe they would have given him a pony!

Yea, hindsight is 20-20, but we knew they meant us harm (Cole, Khobar Towers, etc.) and were targeting our homeland.

The Khobar Towers attack was carried out by the Iranians, not by al Qadea. For god's sake, learn the difference. And neither the Cole attack nor Khobar Towers was in "our homeland" (I hate that quasi-fascist phrase, by the way).

Posted by: Stefan on July 6, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen: "Americans have substantive policy disagreements about national security and foreign policy."

No. When you mention the word "substantive", you wrongly credit these neocons and right-wing religious fundamentalists for being rational people, and not the dangerous fuckin' nutballs they've long since proven themselves to be.

We can never have "substantive policy disagreements" with such completely delusional, amoral and cowardly people, who tend to tilt sharply toward a rather vicious and potentially lethal collective sociopathy when more than two of them are together at any one time.

The time for talking is done.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 6, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Ignatius can join the anti-war effort anytime he likes. However, I do not think that is what he wants unity for. Ignatius wants unity to provide individual protection for the crimes he wants the nation to commit.

Posted by: Brojo on July 6, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

If it [attacking Afghanistan] was smart after 2001, why wasn't it smart before [after the 1993 bombing], when it could have prevented 9/11?

Because al Qaeda didn't yet exist, and bin Laden wasn't in Afghanistan, and the Taliban hadn't taken over Afghanistan yet.

We could have prevented 9/11 by assassinating bin Laden's mother in 1955, but that wouldn't have made a lot of sense, either.

Posted by: rea on July 6, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK
….If it was smart after 2001, why wasn't it smart before, when it could have prevented 9/11? …. RSM at 5:26 PM
Every time Clinton took action, the Republicans of American attacked him for 'Wag the Dog.' Candidate Bush even remarked that he was not going to send cruise missiles after tents in the desert. So, to give your rhetorical question an answer, your party and your news media were against it. Posted by: Mike on July 6, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing truly would have changed if the `93 attack had actually brought down a tower because the airlines still wouldn't have spent the extra profit to beef up security, reinforce cabin doors, or instruct cabins to not give up control of the planes for anything. And remember, when Clinton dared bomb al Quida camps, everyone's first concern was what it would do to the record-high stock markets and the Lewinski investigation.

Posted by: yocoolz on July 6, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

isn't it schmucks like ignatius who have created the bitter divisions. when he was busy clapping for bush's aggression against iraq did he ever once mention the disenfranchised, marginalized antiwar positions and how unhealthy the shutting down and excluding a significant portion of the populace from the discussion of policy, screw him.

Posted by: della Rovere on July 6, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Dana Rohrbacher has no qualms about wishing terror attacks be visited on those who disagree with him on torture and extraordinary rendition.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) [told] a group protesting America's use of torture and rendition that, because they don't support these illegal and fundamentally un-American policies, he hopes their families "suffer the consequences." Now what do you suppose he meant by that?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 6, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii >"...The time for talking is done."

Except for the sentencing of the delusional nutballs of course

Whatever you`ve got in your bong is great stuff so keep on keepin on brah !

"Proof depends on who you are. We're looking for a preponderance of evidence, and some people need more of a preponderance than other people." - John Kantner

Posted by: daCascadian on July 6, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

If it was smart after 2001, why wasn't it smart before, when it could have prevented 9/11? RSM @ 5:26

Actually, it would have been smart. Wasn't that the substance of Clinton's interview with Fox's Chris Wallace? Didn't he say that the CIA certification that the attack on the Cole was the work of AQ came too late for his administration to act?

Didn't he ask repeatedly why no one questions Bush on this?

Posted by: no fortunate son on July 6, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Mike (and Stefan similarly)
Every time Clinton took action, the Republicans of American attacked him for 'Wag the Dog.' Candidate Bush even remarked that he was not going to send cruise missiles after tents in the desert. So, to give your rhetorical question an answer, your party and your news media were against it.

Always with the politics, and of course missing my entire point. The 9/11 attacks galvanized the people, politicians be damned. And where the people go, the pols follow. None of the other attacks did, whether done by Iranians or Egyptians or other flavors of bad guys.

The repubs aren't my party, Mike. But certainly neither are the Dems. Unlike you I'm not a kept man. Don't you hate it when the "trolls" don't fit into your wee little pigeon-memes?

Posted by: RSM on July 6, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

"I do know one thing, though -- the GOP, rather than rallying around the President, would have used it as an immediate opportunity to attack Clinton."

They have only one enemy, and it's the Democratic Party. Witness:

-- the K Street Project.

-- the Texas redistricting.

-- the US Attorney scandal.

-- Ken Starr.

It goes on & on & on.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

-- Karl Rove, June, 2005

While Baghdad burned.

Posted by: your_momma on July 6, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

The repubs aren't my party

Another rat flees the sinking ship.

Posted by: Disputo on July 6, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: where the people go, the pols follow

That's excellent news! Over half the people want Cheney impeached, and just under half want Bush impeached, too!

http://americanresearchgroup.com/

Posted by: thersites on July 6, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Come on people, get with the agenda: Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer! Then again, maybe it would be better if we just stayed a diverese multiparty somewhat muddled democracy.

Posted by: fafner1 on July 6, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Always with the politics, and of course missing my entire point. The 9/11 attacks galvanized the people, politicians be damned. And where the people go, the pols follow. None of the other attacks did, whether done by Iranians or Egyptians or other flavors of bad guys."

What did you think it was going to be about, dipshit? The post is titled "In Defense of Political Disharmony." I'm not sure what you mean by the attacks galvanizing the people, but it certainly wasn't the "people's" idea to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to adjust terror alerts like a thermostat; as a cudgel to launch an unprovoked war; as an excuse to torture, to deny habeas corpus -- all the while shrieking about national security in an attempt to create a "permanent Republican majority."

No, the Republicans aren't your party. It's only natural to scratch your chin & say, "If only Clinton had..."

Posted by: junebug on July 6, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't the war in Iraq inflame Muslim terrorists around the world? Wouldn't we have been safer today if we had focused on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan rather than embarking on a costly war that has sapped the military and CIA and added to America's enemies?

Nobody has ever managed to explain why al Qaeda and other radical Muslims would have been somehow less inflamed if the U.S. had only invaded and occupied Afghanistan. We toppled one of the few fundamentalist Muslim governments that was completely sympathetic to al Qaeda, and the place where much of al Qaeda was based at the time.

No, apparently invading the secular nation of Iraq was the only thing that would piss all the religious radicals off.

How's that again?

I'm sure a lot of complicated explanations have been developed for why this is so, but common sense dictates otherwise.

Posted by: elmendorf on July 6, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

If foreigners coated Americans with rust-resistant zinc, would that arouse them to awareness and action? Americans dislike oxidation, just check the anti-oxidant sales, but they also seem to dislike the ruination of the rule of law, which is why W. Bush's policies are waking them from their slumber to unite against all Republicans. This type of unity is what Ignatius does not want.

Posted by: Brojo on July 6, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Elmendorf –

Invading Iraq didn’t piss off al Qaeda. It was exactly the kind of dumb ass move they hoped we would make in response to 911. What it did do is piss off a lot of non-radical Muslims and make them a whole bunch more sympathetic to al Qaeda’s propaganda.

Posted by: fafner1 on July 6, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

The whole deal about Islam is unity. The West on the other hand is about seperation of powers, a private and a public, protecting the rights of the minority etc. The whole structural framework of the West is one of seperations which surpisingly are able to deliver united States. This call for unity for unity's sake is unWestern.

Posted by: apollo on July 6, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

How's this disharmony working out for those inside the beltway ? Let's see, Bush and the Democratic Congress are polling in the mid twenties. We won't do anything except attack Bush sounds like a good plan. Hell, the New York Times stock has fallen by 50% since they instituted that plan. "It will be a slam dunk Harry. The voters are gonna love it". Meanwhile, Mayor Mike is taking out 6 month CD's on that billion he's set aside.
Pete

Posted by: Pete on July 6, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

How's this disharmony working out for those inside the beltway ? Let's see, Bush and the Democratic Congress are polling in the mid twenties. We won't do anything except attack Bush sounds like a good plan. Hell, the New York Times stock has fallen by 50% since they instituted that plan. "It will be a slam dunk Harry. The voters are gonna love it". Meanwhile, Mayor Mike is taking out 6 month CD's on that billion he's set aside.
Pete

Posted by: Pete on July 6, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

What did you think it was going to be about, dipshit?

My post? Exactly what I wrote about, moron. Which is that Ignatius is wrong, you miserable asswipe, that nobody is going to get galvanized again until the shit hits the really big fan, doofus, and a bunch of small-time jihadis lighting themselves on fire in the UK ain't it, you simple-minded blue version of a dittohead. Don't get stuck on stupid and actually read for a change, you halfwitted inbred.

Posted by: RSM on July 6, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

"The 9/11 attacks galvanized the people, politicians be damned. And where the people go, the pols follow."

Maybe you can parlay the genius in your last post into explaining exactly how it is that the "people" led the politicians anywhere after 9/11, as you so ambitiously claim.

Dip. Shit.

Posted by: junebug on July 6, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

If it was smart after 2001, why wasn't it smart before, when it could have prevented 9/11? Yea, hindsight is 20-20, but we knew they meant us harm (Cole, Khobar Towers, etc.) and were targeting our homeland.

That's too easy. If GWB had paid attention to the warnings of the departing Clinton admin and to his own intel briefings and actually had lifted a finger to stop AQ from flying planes into the WTC and Pentagon, he would have never gotten his Iraq war.

Next question.

Posted by: Disputo on July 6, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK
Unlike you I'm not a kept man.… you halfwitted inbred. RSM at 7:42 PM
As typical of Republicans, when you have no facts and no argument, you indulge in ferocious, but childish, name-calling. If you walk like a pigeon, hoo like a pigeon and shit like a pigeon, you're a pigeon. No, I didn't miss your point; I addressed your point. Republicans and you play politics with terrorism.

Perhaps in your rush to blame Clinton, your didn't hear that Bush ignored all the warning he received about bin Laden, al Qaeda, and terrorism. When they struck, after he found the courage to return home, his first reaction was to find some way to use the sad event to sell a war on Iraq.

Whether you are servicing Bush for fee or for free, you're still a Bushwhore.

Posted by: Mike on July 6, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

apollo:The whole deal about Islam is unity.

No, no it's not. Besides the Sunni-Shi'a split, within each major sect are quite a few less popular ones. Shi'a include seveners, fivers, I mean Islam isn't about unity at all. Hell, there are 4 or 5 branches of legal thought and the Arabic language is full of words with multiple meanings. There isn't any pope or the equivalent in Islam.
Not only are they different, they seem to take those differences rather seriously, at least according to the news from Iraq.

Posted by: TJM on July 6, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

This idiocy from Ignatius, who has written interesting things on occasion, is disappointing. Disunity in America is rapidly decreasing at the moment. Why? Because the left and Democrats are winning the argument, and the right and the GOP are losing. Disunity in these kinds of situations is solved when someone wins. Americans were bitterly and viciously divided over civil rights, Vietnam and Watergate in the late '60s and early '70s; by the late '70s, they became unified around the proposition that civil rights was a noble crusade, Nixon was a crook and Vietnam had been insane. They didn't all compromise and say, well, Vietnam had its merits, Watergate was a mishap but Nixon a fundamentally OK guy, civil rights perhaps an overreach, etc. The more vicious and angry people get towards President Bush and the GOP, the more unified Americans become. Right now, about 73% of Americans are in full accord, and the number just keeps growing. What Ignatius needs to do is cut his vestigial strings to the GOP; they are getting crushed, and the faster the better.

Posted by: brooksfoe on July 6, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Americans didn't have any "shared political purpose" after Sept. 11. Everybody was just angry and scared shitless, that's all.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on July 6, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

anybody who writes the kind of "why can't we all be as one" tripe that ignatius wrote,

is a political, social, and psychological moron.

what this nation experienced following sept 11, 2001 was pseudo-patriotism,

a foolish, unfocused, vainglorius fit of passion,

a false togetherness engendered by whitehouse and televison news manipulation.

the white house's interst in this manipulation is understandable,

and, if you think about it,

so is the media's.


war and patriotism, sell

ads.


these days, we don't face a military-industrial complex,

we face a military-media complex.

of course we are not prepared for the next attack. why should we be?

whence it will come?

in what form?

from whom?

are unknown.

but we can expect, and should demand, that our fbi and cia are working to insure that they find out who has designs on destruction in america before it happens,

in contra-distinction to their unforgivable institutional incompetence prior to sept 11, 2001.

Posted by: orionATL on July 6, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest single problem is that we do not have a chief executive who has any talent or motivation for uniting us in a common cause.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on July 6, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

President Hillary Clinton can bring us all together.

President Clinton can put the nation on its path to greatness once again.

President Clinton means a greater America.

Posted by: unitedwestabd on July 6, 2007 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Poor, picked on RSM. He just hates me because I recognize a coward when I see one. And someone whose idea of a fair fight is to sitting a mile away from the action while raining down death and destruction on helpless citizens is most certainly a coward. But what really gets him is that he knows he is a coward and lives in fear of being called on it.

Posted by: heavy on July 7, 2007 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

George W Bush and his right wing noise machine actively promoted disharmony and division,
and continue to do so to this day. They thrive on it.
No more for the war machine. Ignatius is unseemingly vague.
Time to deal with domestic issues.
While I harbor some antagonism toward Ralph Nader for costing dems in 2000, he had excellent points on Olbermann last night as related to there being too much emphasis on war and a total neglect of domestic policies such as the one in effect for 5 years saying, for example, items for sale on American shelves must be identified by country--his stance--the Bushies are ignoring that our populace is being poisoned by goods from China.
And Congress needs to focus on this kind of safety as well.

Posted by: consider wisely on July 7, 2007 at 6:37 AM | PERMALINK

from further up: “You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist.” - New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg June-2007

and.....fwiw...

i was watching a t-v program on the season of summer on the science channel last night...

it said...that 80-to-90 percent of the people who are hit by lightning...

survive...

Posted by: mr. irony on July 7, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

disputo: If GWB had paid attention to the warnings of the departing Clinton admin and to his own intel briefings and actually had lifted a finger to stop AQ from flying planes into the WTC and Pentagon, he would have never gotten his Iraq war.


and just to underline that...

remember when gwb and rice were in milan in july-2001...for the g-8 summit...

airspace was shut down...

due to threats of terrorists using planes as weapons..

Posted by: mr. irony on July 7, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

While I harbor some antagonism toward Ralph Nader for costing dems in 2000, he had excellent points on Olbermann last night as related to there being too much emphasis on war and a total neglect of domestic policies such as the one in effect for 5 years saying, for example, items for sale on American shelves must be identified by country--his stance--the Bushies are ignoring that our populace is being poisoned by goods from China.

Nice to see Nader going back to his roots and doing what he does best. He'll never fully rehab himself in my eyes, but it's good for him to start tipping back the karmic balance.

Posted by: Disputo on July 7, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

remember when gwb and rice were in milan in july-2001...for the g-8 summit...airspace was shut down...

And Ashcroft started flying in government supplied small jets months before the hijack attacks.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 7, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

As typical of Republicans, when you have no facts and no argument, you indulge in ferocious, but childish, name-calling...you're still a Bushwhore.
Posted by: Mike

Since Junebug opened up the whole name calling thing by calling me a dipshit, I guess he/she/it had no facts and no argument. Thank you for pointing that out.

Poor, picked on RSM. He just hates me because I recognize a coward when I see one.
written poorly as always by heavy

No, I hate you because you're stupid water carrier for your former whoremongering Commander in Chief.

Posted by: RSM on July 7, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Mike sez:

As typical of Republicans, when you have no facts and no argument, you indulge in ferocious, but childish, name-calling...you're still a Bushwhore.

The other Red Meat Mike sez:

Since Junebug opened up the whole name calling thing by calling me a dipshit, I guess he/she/it had no facts and no argument. Thank you for pointing that out.

I hate to break it to you, but:

If A then B

does not imply

If B then A

Posted by: Disputo on July 7, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Mike wrote:
Perhaps in your rush to blame Clinton...

This is the perfect example of the stupidity of the people here. My whole series of posts was entirely neutral on any sort of blamesmanship, only talking about how it takes a big attack to galvanize the Americans, and a few jihadis in Britain ain't going to do it. Frankly, I thought folks here would agree with that, based on the comments to the thread on the attack.

How you converted that into an attack on Clinton, I don't know. You must be so locked and cocked to read exactly want you want or expect to see, words be damned. Why do you even bother to read anything? Just start spouting off fact-free and clueless about the posts you are commenting on. And be sure to throw in a "Bushwhore" just to amplify the message that all square pegs must get crammed into your little round brain hole, no matter how poorly they fit. An obvious sign of prejudice.

Posted by: RSM on July 7, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo
I hate to break it to you...

Disputo, the day you break anything to anybody I'll be looking for the second coming. You're definitely a second-stringer here.

Posted by: RSM on July 7, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Let's clarify something about the "Commander in Chief" - if you ain't in uniform, the president, whatever presiddent you may be referring to, isn't your "Commander in Chief." Let's get that bit set straight right now.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 7, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

And what do I get from RSM for pointing out the illogic in his argument? A thank you? An apology? A retraction? Any acknowledgment at all? Nope. Just another pathetic insult.

*yawn*

Wingnuts. True to form to their bitter, delusional end.

Oh wait; that's right... RSM is no longer a wingnut... he's now an Independent -- just like Bill OReilley.

LMAO.

Posted by: Disputo on July 7, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

shorter RSM: I'd prefer people not to read what I write in the context of me being a disingenuous water-carrier for the GWB admin.

I hate to break it to you RSM, but you have a reputation on here for a reason. Stop blaming everyone else for you own lack of self-insight.

Posted by: Disputo on July 7, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

if you ain't in uniform, the president, whatever presiddent you may be referring to, isn't your "Commander in Chief." Let's get that bit set straight right now.

At least the "whoremongering" part was right. Batting .500 gets you in the hall of fame.

Posted by: RSM on July 7, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I would take a "whoremonger" over a warmonger with no conscience any day of the week. I wish someone would give aWol a blowjob so we could impeach him, too. Before he causes another million unnecessary Iraqi deaths and 3600 more American G.I's die in the desert.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 7, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK
Since Junebug opened up the whole name calling thing by calling me a dipshit, ....you're stupid water carrier for your former whoremongering Commander in Chief. RSM at 2:01 PM
At 7:42 PM, you said: moron, asswipe, doofus, simple-minded blue version of a ditto head, halfwitted inbred and at 8:03 PM Junebug said "Dip. Shit." So your excuse for your childish name calling is that you knew that 21 minutes after you said it, someone would comment " Dip. Shit."? Frankly, after what you said, Dip.Shit is pretty mild.

Earlier, at 4:39 PM, you were whining about "the attempted bring-down of the WTCs in 92 ....the attacks overseas at the Cole, the embassies, Khobar Towers... the guy in NC who ran down people on campus. That didn't galvanize us."

After Stefan explained why, you are now whining about C-in-C Clinton. That sure sounds like casting aspersions and blame far and wide.

While you claim not to be a Republican, you use the moniker, RedState which is a designation for a Republican state. If you aren't Republican, why not BushlikkerMike, or RedMike?
What is getting you through the day: four six packs and a crack pipe? No sane or sober man can travel though time as you claim to do.

Posted by: Mike on July 7, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

De gustibus...

RSM and Trashhauler always add to a thread in an interesting way - though I usually disagree, I appreciate their presence. minion, too. I don't get the invective they receive. What's the point in the like-minded just echoing one another?

There are others to just brush past. And a least one guy with three small initials for a monicker seems mentally ill - and I don't mean that rhetorically.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 7, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Mike
At 7:42 PM, you said: moron, asswipe, doofus, simple-minded blue version of a ditto head, halfwitted inbred and at 8:03 PM Junebug said "Dip. Shit."...What is getting you through the day: four six packs and a crack pipe? No sane or sober man can travel though time as you claim to do.

Head's up, Mike, your stupid is showing. Look at junebug's 6:48 PM post, which in the universe I live in comes before 7:42 PM. Junebug repeated itself at 8:03 PM because it lacks imagination. I'm embarassed for you and your lack of reading skills.

Posted by: RSM on July 7, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

It dissipated because 1 side betrayed the other by calling them un-american at every fucking turn.

Posted by: MNPundit on July 7, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

It dissipated because 1 side betrayed the other by calling them un-american at every fucking turn.

So, so true and...

I hope someday you can reclaim the word 'america.' It's in a pretty lost place at the moment

and has come to have a pretty bad taste. But when these guys are wielding the word, to be 'un' their definition is definitely where you want to be.

And Canadians have always embraced the concept of un-American. Indeed, it's a large (too large) part of our self-image; we are the un-Americans. But it's not such a bad place to be... It all depends on the image conjured by the word.

Posted by: snicker-snack (late in the thread, obtuse and abtruse) on July 7, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK
....which in the universe I live in ....RSM at 11:07 PM
Bushwhores do inhabit their own universe. Posted by: Mike on July 8, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bushwhore
Posted by: Mike

Biden fluffer

[Knock it off - both of you - or I will turn off the comments and delete your idiotic name-calling. --Mod]

Posted by: RSM on July 8, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly