Today's Republicans vs. the United States, Part 2 (Post-9/11 Punk'd):
As with many things in this world, before you blame others, you gotta blame yourself. In his "Well, fuck me, guess I was wrong" commentary in today's New York Times, former executive editor Bill Keller offers an explanation of why he and other liberal-ish writers supported the war in Iraq, even when it was headed for disaster. After saying that Slate writer Fred Kaplan decided that "whether or not an invasion was morally justified, he doubted the Bush administration was up to the task," Keller offers this: "The rest of us [liberal hawks] were still a little drugged by testosterone. And maybe a little too pleased with ourselves for standing up to evil and defying the caricature of liberals as, to borrow a phrase from those days, brie-eating surrender monkeys."
And there ya go. Right there is the epitaph for 21st-century liberalism, written large in the first years of the awful decade: We didn't want to seem like pussies.
You're gonna read a lot over this week about how George W. Bush and Dick Cheney abused an act of terrorism and used it to launch two failed wars. Once supposed liberals had had a taste of bloodlust by supporting the invasion of Afghanistan (which some of us opposed as being the equivalent of using an elephant to squash a grape), too many stayed on board with blowing up some Saddam Hussein in Iraq, including a majority of the Democrats in the Senate. Before that, of course, the odious Patriot Act was passed, and the door was open to let Republicans rape and pillage until 2007.
Keller writes, "I wanted to be on the side of doing something, and standing by was not enough." So instead, like too many in this country didn't stand up. Our leaders didn't lead. Cowed by the fear of being labeled "unpatriotic" or worse, they folded, and a good many liberals followed suit. Well, they could dance and justify, Saddam Hussein was a bad man. At least we'll get rid of him. It was delusional, the hubris of a country that had gone more than a generation without a serious military conflict.
After the attacks, some of us didn't lose our shit. We didn't go monkey fuck insane and demand blood and flesh as payment. We were the patriots. We knew that really being a pussy was to trust the post-9/11 world to the very man we believed was an incompetent buffoon with an evil inner circle on 9/10. Really? You wanna put that much power in the hands of the dude who had to go on a walkabout on his fake ranch to decide that medical research can go fuck itself? No, sorry, liberal hawks who have lived with regrets ever since shock and awe, a good many of us were strong enough to know that you don't give a loaded gun to a idiot and not expect him to shoot himself in the foot and then just spray random fire at us all.
Too many people did trust the White House. Too many people did believe that they would have the best interests of the nation at heart. Too many people were just so fucking scared. So what Republicans have done to this country, in dividing us under the guise of security and wrecking our economy under the guise of saving it, they have accomplished in no small part because too many of us allowed it to happen.
As for Bill Keller and the Times, if the newspaper - indeed, had anyone in the mainstream press done their jobs - then we might be looking back with less regret and more anger.