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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

If You Ever Needed to be Reminded that Iraq has Nothing to do with 9/11...

World Trade Center in flamesSeptember 11, 2001 may have been the most boring work day of my entire life. I had a seriously weird temp job that day, working for the Wisconsin Physicians' Service (WPS). WPS was switching their phone system and they weren't able to put calls on hold, so my job was to take messages. If you called when the phone queue was full, you'd get me, I'd take your name and number, then someone who knew what the hell they were talking about would call you back later. I wasn't really happy with the gig, since no one who called was very happy to talk to me, but there ya go.

It wasn't boring to start with but, as the events of the day unfolded, it got boring fast. No one on September 11, 2001 was super-interested in their health insurance. They had other things to worry about. This left me to stare out the window at what was otherwise a clear, beautiful day and wish I had CNN. I knew something was up, something about terrorists and a plane crash and the World Trade Center, but that was about it. I remember seeing a plane plow into one of the towers on the cafeteria TV and wondering how in the hell they got that footage -- I found out later it was the second plane. I didn't know there were two.

I felt ignorant as hell that day. WPS didn't get enough calls to give me anything to do. I might have answered a call an hour -- I'm guessing less. It gave me a lot of time to think, to worry, to wonder. It sucked on so many levels. When I left that day, I went straight home, watched CNN, and did what I thought every good american should do -- get caught up on what happened, get hammered, and get pissed off at Osama bin Laden. Seriously pissed off. Murderously pissed off. My TV is lucky to have survived.

I don't really mean this to be a trip down my Bad Memory Lane. Everyone has a 9/11 story. Most are less boring than mine. Mine seems especially significant because it seemed so damned long. Nothing happened to me that day -- almost literally. And it didn't take me long to get caught up or get drunk. I woke up the next day with an awful hangover, a second very boring day ahead of me (9/11 was my first day on the job), and a very good understanding of the events that happened the previous day. Watching people dive out of skyscraper windows turned out to be not very hard to understand.

I've spent the last 6 years thinking about that day. Not constantly, but I really do think of it at least once a day -- how uncertain our futures are, how people who've never met us judge us collectively and find us guilty individually, how I could -- at pretty much any moment -- find myself diving out the window of a skyscraper to greet certain death below. I think about the differences in certain death and how one certain death is better and more merciful than another.

So, on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, we were faced with a deep and pressing problem -- did someone hurt Gen. David Freakin' Petraeus's feelings?, Sue MoveOn for Defamation:

Based on some preliminary research into the legal requirements for a defamation suit, there seems to be a reasonable basis for a suit. If I am right, a lawsuit should be filed as soon as possible - and surely there would be law firms willing to take the case pro bono.

I am opposed unnecessary and self-serving lawsuits, but this is neither. Launching a lawsuit would bring truly just punishment upon, and serve the interests of the entire country by discrediting a radical and unpatriotic group. At the end of the year, should receive the same esteem as PETA.'s punishment will come mainly from the general populace, who will see as extremists who will attempt to sully the reputation of one of our finest military men in order to bring about an American defeat in Iraq.

See, bought an ad in the New York Times that suggested that Gen. Petraeus would "betray us." This is unforgivable and this is the big story. In the shadow of 9/11, with 3,000 people dead, the big story is that a bunch of lefties were mean to a general and may have hurt his feelings.

The big story is not that, six years after his crime, Osama bin Laden is still at large. The big story is not that Bush has used bin Laden as his own personal Goldstein for six freakin' years and done absolutely jack shit to bring him to justice. The big story is not that the war in Iraq has done more to increase terrorism than decrease it.

No, the big freakin' crime today is that someone was mean to Petraeus. In fact, now that Gen. Petraeus is finally putting out his big report that's so damned important that no one can even talk about Iraq without hearing from him, the big news isn't what Petraeus said -- it's what was said about Petraeus.

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-FL:

General Petraeus has decades of honorable service and his dedication to this nation is unparalleled. The general, alongside our troops, is literally laying his life on the line for our country and to try to slander his reputation for political gain is shameful, disappointing, and marks a new low in this debate.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-CT:

General Petraeus has served his country honorably and selflessly for over thirty-five years. He has risked his life in combat and accepted lengthy deployments away from his family to defend our nation and its citizens from its enemies. For this, he deserves the respect, admiration, and gratitude of every American -- not the disgraceful slander of,

Mitt Romney:

Democrats must make a choice. Will they embrace these deplorable tactics or give General Petraeus a fair hearing? It should be the hope of all Americans that we give him a fair hearing. Certainly, he and our men and women in Iraq deserve it. In the coming days and weeks, there will be much debate about the future course in Iraq, but this debate should be free of the kind of shameful tactics has shown today. It's time we heard from the generals, not Washington politicians and not ultra-liberal advocacy groups. All Americans should keep an open mind.

Six years after 9/11, the question isn't what the hell we're doing screwing around in Iraq -- a country that has jack to do with 9/11. No, the question is why people are mean to a General in a war that has jack to do with 9/11. This big report we were all supposed be waiting for isn't the big news -- no, the big news is that someone insulted some goddammed general in some goddammed war that some goddammed president got us goddammed stuck in.

We were waiting for this report, as the president urged us to, and suddenly it's not all that important. What's important is one damned man and one damned distraction. Petraeus's and Crocker's report was all-important two days ago. One day ago, it became totally unimportant. In just one more "look over there!", we're all supposed to be totally freaked out over criticism of Petraeus. Suddenly, it's not about the war at all.

I look out my window and this 9/11 looks exactly like the original to me. It's a beautiful early autumn day. It's cool and I'm so used to running fans that it seems a little silent. The same clear blue sky stretched over both days.

But that day, in 2001, was about what hate could do. It was a wake up call to tell us we live in a larger world.

Today, it's about what a nice guy Gen. David Petraeus is.

Frankly, I don't give a shit.


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1 comment:

Matt said...

Word up!