I hope that film can add its unique qualities to the journalistic record on this set of events, so that Americans can truly understand one of the most important, dramatic and personally intense intersections of principle and personalities in their own recent history — a history that is not behind us but that still comes home to us, wounded or maddened or accompanied by officials bearing a wrapped flag to loved ones, week after week after week.
Should be an interesting flick. The way the press attacked Wilson, while ignoring the data (or lack thereof) was shameful, and one of their worst failures in modern history.
UPDATE: There is also an interesting aspect of the film, in that they actually get to explore what it was that Vallerie Plame was *doing* as CIA operative. This isn’t something Plame can talk about, and hasn’t, and isn’t something the CIA will confirm or deny. It is only in the creative world of cinematic reality that it can be explored.
And it should not be forgotten here, a man (well, a Scooter) got sentenced to prison for doing this. Yes, I know, Bush commuted his sentence, but even Bush wouldn’t pardon the guy. What they did was wrong, and it was done to silence critics and facts and sell a war of agression.
I was sleeping when I heard those words. I don’t remember what my dream was that day, as I lay all comfy in my bed.
I had recently left a job in Colorado and was planning on moving to New York City to continue life and see if a long distance relationship could turn into a viable short distance one (it didnt’). During the move I was staying with my folks in Dallas on that fateful morning, eight years ago.
Quickly rising from my slumber, I moved immediately to the television and watched in horror as the rest of the days events unfolded.
I had planned today to write a bit more about the current health care reform agenda and how those opposed to it aren’t really interested in anything resembling an honest debate. Instead, you can read about that here , as I’m going to tell the other half of my 9/11 experience.
Most of the rest of that morning was spent frantically calling on the phone to my girlfriend, and her family and friends, trying to find out if she was all right. She lived in an apartment on Ave A and 3rd street, and I remembered the calm moments of climbing to the rooftop of her building and marveling at the views of the Twin Towers, and the amazing accomplishtments of modern man, as I would enjoy the simple comfort of a cigarette, basking in the glow and energy of the City.
Ultimately a call finally got through, and some semblance of peace returned to my heart. Over the new few weeks the stench of burning bodies and debris became too much for her, and a long bus ride brought her back to my arms, ending the first half of this story.
Fast forward to three years later, and I am living in New York, single, and wandering the town around the time of the Repbuclian National Convention in 2004. Our country had since surrendered its sanity to fear after the events of that September day three years previous, and was currently conducting a war against a country that had no involvement in the attacks. I had marched against the war a number of times, pointing out, again and again (sometimes loudly, sometimes softly) that the war and 9/11 had little connection outside of a tenuous religious and skin tone one.
Vast conspiracy theories about the attacks and the war had been created, and cynicism and skepticism about our government and its aim was rampant. While I never felt that even someone as evil as Dick Cheney could allow such an attack to occur, I was, and am, more than willing to say that politicians are often willing to use the fear they create to accomplish their own agendas.
I am was lamenting this fact in a random bar after a couple of Dewars and waters and having struck up a conversation with the bartender and a couple of patrons about whatever and whatever.
It was then that the other side of the 9/11 hit me.
“I lost seven friends on that day,” the bartender said.
And so the convesation came to a screetching halt. What had been a general lament became a personal attack, and I crossed a line from which it was impossible to pull back.
Now we are seeing the same distrust and conspiracy theories come up around an overhaul of a health care system, and economy, that is eating away at our future prosperity.
It is this level is distrust in one another, and working from vastly different sets of facts and evidence that make the conversation about how to go forward from here so frustrating. In this sense, the attacks on 9/11 pale in comparison to the response to those attacks. As we give into the fear and terror that a collapse of our economic way of life engender, our ability to rationally address the problems diminish. They way forward becomes lost in a cloud of conspiracy and distrust.
This, to me, is the saddest legacy of those attacks. We still haven’t recovered, we have simply transferred the fear of the other, to the fear of the self.
And so it goes, eight years on.
 : Most Republicans made clear during the day that Obama’s speech had done nothing to lessen their opposition.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio stuck to Republican positions that the Democratic health-care proposals would give illegal immigrants health care, pay for abortions, and establish panels that make life-and-death decisions. Obama said they would not.
PolitiFact.com, a truth squad run by the St. Petersburg Times, found that there was no subsidy for illegal immigrants in the legislation, no “death panels,” and no public money for abortion.
Wow, where to start with this one. I’ve been reading a lot, as per, regarding what used to be a debate about much needed health care reform in this country. That debate has since devolved into mad, crazy fear-mongering and nutjobbery about the creeping tide of communism/fascism/LOUD NOISES coming to our country.
A quick stat for you: here’s a nice graph of all the companies that Obama has nationalized…
To compare and contrast, take a look at Hugo Chavez. You’ll also note that in the case of Chavez, and every other historical power monger, they have had no fear of loudly declaring their intentions.
Sadly, to those of the crazed and dazed right of this country, it is in fact Obama’s lack of saying he wants pull any of this crap that means he really wants to. I know, I know, that doesn’t make any sense to sane and rational people, but that’s where we are at nowadays.
One of the major fears that opponents of health care reform (and more the point, foes of Democrats in general, as that who is really driving the “debate”) is the generalized fear of government that all Americans now seem to hold near and dear.
This fear tends to be illustrated by the mantra, “what has government ever done right?”
When I hear this, I’m always reminded of a wonderful scene from a movie about a guy who wasn’t quite Jesus.
The argument here, however, isn’t that government is the end-all, be-all solution to all problems. No one, outside of the Hugo Chavez’s of the world is making such an argument. The point here is simply that while often inefficient and frustrating, it’s nice to have clean water, and go the store and buy clean meat, and turn on the TV and have clean signals, and the list go on for a while.
Back to the greater point, what about totalitarianism? This is the actual fear that many Americans have, that an all powerful government will watch their every move, torture them, re-educate them, and the destroy their economy.
The really funny thing about contemporary Republicans (not to be confused with conservatives, who have largely been left out in the cold by the extremists) is that when this was actually happening, and the government was conducting warrantless wiretaps, torturing people, and destroying the economy by borrowing a trillion dollars to conduct a war sold on lies, there come from the right a defeanening silence, if not outright cheers.
Indeed, many decided that torture was all right for their safety, and warrantless wiretaps were needed for their safety, and invading countries that didn’t attack us was necessary for their safety. Back then (all the way back in 2008) the President needed to have all these powers and this vast leeway in order to protect the United States of America.
It was terribly frustrating to make the argument at that point that no, we really shouldn’t be starting a two-front war when the first front is stalled, and no, we really shouldn’t be torturing people, and no, borrowing money to blow stuff up was a bad idea, as anyone who stood up to this trend was quickly branded a GodlessTreasonous Anti-American. I would politely (well, relatively politely) point out that whatever powers were handed or conceded to Bush, would by proxy be handed to the next President, which at the time looked to be another Clinton.
This would generally generate a moment of pause, and then the nationalistic ferver would again take over and the “Love it or Leave it” chants would come louder.
Now the shoe is on the other foot, and finally many can see how poorly it fits their conception of our nation.
Where can we go from here is the question that probably bugs me most. We have an entrenched class of nattering nabobs who have convinced nearly half of the Republican party that our President isn’t even really an American.
What can you say to the deluded that brings them back down to reality? What can you do when evidence placed directly in front of their faces in ignored? How can you convince those convinced they are fighting the next Hitler/Mao/Stalin to take a deep breath, relax, and use their right to vote in the next election, and actually trust in the very fiber of our Democracy and trust in the Constitution they profess to love so much?
I certainly don’t know the best answer to these questions, but luckily I can accept comments and suggestions as to the right path. I know there is one, somewhere.
Perhaps I believe so because somewhere along the way, as I was protesting against the war, and the torture, and listened to those absolutely sure Bush would stage an attack to secure a third term, and then found them to be horribly mistaken, somewhere along that way I learned to breathe, and I learned to relax,. And I remembered to vote for what I thought was right.
I learned that change can come. Now that change is here, and the fear it brings came right along with it.
Quite a bit surprised by this one. It’s tough to find the right line in a rant like this, but GOM does a very good job.
I can’t vouch for his other work, but this one is very well done. Personally I think Obama is being practical in how to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq. I’m fairly certain he understands that the “surge stragety” for Iraq won’t pay dividends in Afghanistan, and will be settling on another strategy to try and turn the tide in that country.
Oh, and here’s the shoe incident he mentioned…
I wonder if we could all head to the White House and throw our shoes at it. I wonder if Bush would get it then.
That’s probably the first thing I’m going to do once they dedicate his library in my home town (he just bought a house down the street from me).
For some reason that might do the trick, and I think he would finally get it….so….who’s up for a quick trip to D.C.?
I’m fairly certain Cheney wouldn’t get it. He would either ignore it or order everyone shot…in the face.
Around the Arab world, if you want to escalate a situation, by saying for example “I’m going to thump you”, add the words “with a shoe” and you’re adding serious insult to the threat of possible injury.
It’s that cultural significance that has added real sting to the assault by an Iraqi journalist against US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference.
In Arab culture it’s considered rude even to display the sole of one’s shoe to a fellow human being.
Certainly, crossing one’s legs ankle-on-knee style should never be done in a public place for fear of offending the person next to you.
The sensitivity is related to the fact shoes are considered ritually unclean in the Muslim faith.
In addition to ritual ablutions before prayer, Muslims must take off their shoes to pray, and wearing shoes inside a mosque is forbidden.
There’s a lot of dust in the Middle East, you see, and it gets everywhere…and a lot of camels and other livestock…it’s a cultural tradition with a good bit of common sense behind it, when you think about it.