Friday, August 19, 2005

Liberal Lighthouse: 9/11/2005 -- Where's Osama? - Michael Tomasky has a powerful piece [subscription required] in the September 2005 print issue of The American Prospect (Vol. 16, No. 9) as we approach the 4th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. For those of you who won't be able to access the full article, here are some of its best parts, starting with its opening paragraphs:

This September 11 will mark the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. The media will focus on the ceremonies at the former World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, and other cities and towns around the country that will honor the dead. The Bush administration, meanwhile, will do its best to remind Americans that today’s George W. Bush -- except for the Watergate-era Richard Nixon, the most unpopular two-term president, at this point in his tenure, since scienti?c polling began in the 1940s -- is the same man who led the country through tragedy.

In truth, the anniversary should be the occasion for a thoroughgoing discussion of how America has combated terrorism in the last four years. And on that front, even the disaster Bush has created in Iraq takes a back seat to one overwhelming fact: By the time night falls on September 11, Osama bin Laden will have been at large for 1,461 days.

America vanquished world fascism in less time: We obtained Germany’s surrender in 1,243 days, Japan’s in 1,365. Even the third Punic War, in which Carthage was burned to the ground and emptied of citizens who were taken en masse into Roman slavery, lasted around 1,100 days (and troops needed a little longer to get into position back in 149 B.C.).
Five paragraphs later, Tomasky notes in discussing the Bush Administration's rush to war in Iraq and its abandonment of the hunt for Osama in Afghanistan/Pakistan:
Whatever the apologists say, the truth is simple: The administration held back troops from Afghanistan so that it could send 150,000 to Iraq. That, and nothing else, is the reason bin Laden is still at large.
Then, Tomasky ends his piece by imagining how the right-wing would be reacting to a Gore Presidency with Osama still at large under the exact same conditions and levies a parallel and fully justified condemnation of Bush:
But listen closely to the silence: Outside of magazines like this one and a handful of liberal Web sites, the subject is rarely discussed.

Just imagine bin Laden having been at large this long in President Al Gore’s administration. In fact, it’s impossible to imagine, because President Gore, under such circumstances, wouldn’t have lasted this long. You probably didn’t know, until you read this column, the number of days bin Laden has been at large. But I assure you that if Gore had been president, you and every American would have known, because the right would have seen to it that you knew, asking every day, “Where’s Osama?” If Gore hadn’t been impeached, it’s doubtful he’d have survived a re-election campaign, with Americans aghast at how weak and immoral a president had to be to permit those 2,700 deaths to go unavenged this long.

To be sure, the difference is partly a Democratic failure -- they’re afraid of the right-wing noise machine, pure and simple. That’s a failure of nerve, and it’s an appalling one.

But the moral failure belongs to Bush and his subordinates and their amen chorus of slatternly propagandists and so-called intellectuals, who made great political advantage of 9-11 but spit on the grieving families by pretending that there is no imperative in seeing justice done for their losses. They may be able to control the dialogue, but they can’t control the facts -- and the facts condemn them all.
Let's remember this come 9/11/2005. Thanks, Michael Tomasky, for keeping the light shining on this obvious and sobering truth.

1 comment:

Schroeder said...

In the three years since 9-11, the Administration has yet to arrive at a clear definition of the enemy or the aim in the War on Terrorism; to date, American policy has combined ambitious public statements with ambiguity on critical particulars. Heretofore, the costs of pursuing such ambitious but ill-defined goals have been high but tolerable. The ongoing insurgency in Iraq, however, is increasing the costs of grand strategic ambiguity to the point where fundamental choices can no longer be deferred.

From an Army War College paper published earlier this year.

So it isn't just crybaby liberals and mothers who lost sons complaining about the failure of this president to vindicate in a measured and directed way the murders of 9/11.