This is good. I’ll get some writing (non-blog) done. However I’d like to pose the rare political question based on the coverage of last night’s debate. Everyone from CNN to the National Review is all atwitter over Giuliani’s brash response to the question about whether the first Gulf War might have had something to do with 9/11. His response? Angrily denouncing the idea that anyone could find blame for anything America has done as a potential reason for the attack (I bet the answer would have been different if they suggested it was Clinton’s fault).
Have we really failed to move past this? Are there still people who believe that we were just walking along, minding our own business when terrorists decided to attack us for our freedom?
I guess what they’re trying to do is conflate two issues. The question is whether or not American foreign policy angered people in the Middle East from sanctions on Iraq, to support of of Israel, to troops in the holy land (as a result of the first Gulf War). Without judging the rightness or wrongness of these foreign policy decisions, we should be able to discuss whether or not these are things that piss off enough moderate Muslims that they start at least tacitly supporting terrorism against the West. However they’re reading the question instead as if they’re being asked if the U.S. deserved to be attacks for our misadventures in the Middle East. How is it that we still can’t discuss the things that we do abroad that piss people off at us without it being read as “you’re saying we deserved 9/11”.
This is truly a pitiful state of discourse. At some point we’re going to have to get our act together (the current barrier to progress should be obvious), and have leadership that diplomatically addresses the problem of the hatred of our country by, well, these days everybody. We’re not going to accomplish it if we can never discuss our actions that fuel hatred of our country without being accused of hating our country.
Ten years from now I’m worried the question will be asked of a politician, “Do you think (insert new terrorist act here) would have happened if it wasn’t for Bush’s Iraq war?”, and all it will do is generate another, “my country right or wrong” angry response.