a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Re Mr. Rove’s remarks

Posted by Thomas Nephew on June 28th, 2005

The discussion below must be followed, I think, with a reference to Mr. Karl Rove’s remarks at a New York Conservative Party fundraiser in New York last week:

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.

Such wholesale contempt for his opposition, and such abuse of the 9/11 attacks for political gain are not (pace Paperwight*) a mere political smokescreen for deflecting (a wholly necessary) discussion and investigation of issues raised by the “Downing Street Memo” and subsequent revelations.

They may be that as well. But they are even more important than that. Rove’s comments are a serious and vicious slander of liberals, the left, and of democratic debate itself that deserve anger and contempt in their own right. They are yet another big lie — and this time, they are about me. I take them personally, I will not forgive them, I will not accept an apology for them. And I assume they come from the top.

I personally yield to no one in my utter enmity and hostility to those who perpetrated the atrocities of that day, and to the benighted beliefs and ideologies that guided them.

But that doesn’t mean how to fight back and what to preserve are not fit subjects for debate. Karl Rove’s comments — and by extension, George W. Bush’s thinking — suggest that we are very close to institutionalizing 9/11 as a defeat for American democracy, and as a tool for enforcing lockstep public opinion on how to defend what’s left. With typical Rovian chutzpah, 9/11 is supposedly a symbol of liberal ineffectualness — even though it was the extremist Republicans’ darling who flitted hither and yon like a scared butterfly in the aftermath, who ignored direct warnings about the impending attack, whose top defense priority prior to 9/11 was to waste billions on missile defense.

It seems it wasn’t just buildings and peoples’ lives that went up in smoke that day, it was respect for real democracy itself — and by the leaders of the victims’ own country, who seem to think it a luxury in easy times, rather than a principle forever.

We live in dangerous times, and not all of our weakened democracy’s enemies live beyond our borders. Some, in my opinion, have White House passes. And you have to assume they have their boss’s blessing.

* But see also this post.
UPDATE, 6/28: A “Take it to Karl” blog features lots of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, including Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom vets, who are none too pleased with Mr. Rove’s recent comments, either. Via Stryker at “digitalwarfighter.” (note edited to be more descriptive, 6/28)
UPDATE, 5/14/07: image link fixed.

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