Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Giuliani Emerges From His 9/11 Cryostasis Chamber

People ask us sometimes why we don't vote.

Asked by a moderator if he was suggesting the United States invited the [September 11th] attacks, [Ron] Paul said: "I'm suggesting we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it. And they are delighted that we're over there because Osama bin Laden has said: I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier."

An irate Giuliani interrupted and asked for a chance to respond.

"That's an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq," said Giuliani, who leads national polls in the Republican race.

"I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th," Giuliani said to wild applause, asking Paul to withdraw the comment [emphasis mine]

(A) What could your having lived through the World Trade Center razing have to do with your ability to judge its geopolitical causes? How would the sheer historical accident of you having been in New York City on a certain day grant you special, magical insight into the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East? Why does your surviving the attack give you a supernatural glimpse into the past at its cause?

The answers, of course, are "nothing," "it doesn't," and "it still doesn't," respectively. But the 9/11 reflex has been rubbed so raw in Mayor-for-life Giuliani that it's his response to everything. Even when it's irrelevant, as it is here.

In case it wasn't obvious: Giuliani is no more qualified to speak to the causes of September 11th than any other pundit, wonk or noodnik. Having been in Manhattan on the day of the attacks does not bestow upon him special awareness of the mind of the mystic Arab.

(B) So Giuliani has never before heard the notion that U.S. involvement in the Middle East - the presence of troops in Saudi Arabia, our enforcement of a no-fly-zone over Baghdad, the Battle of Mogadishu and all that jazz - enraged Osama bin Laden into stirring up an attack? He's never heard that theory? He's never read any of the fatwahs that bin Laden has issued? Never cruised a rightwing webjournal and read the author railing against "failure-obsessed leftists" who want to blame America for all global terrorism? Never? Not once ever?

Because we're pretty sure we started hearing that on September 12th, 2001. And have heard it with moderately increasing volume ever since.

Now it makes perfect sense to us that Giuliani wouldn't believe this theory in a million years. It flies in the face of the Right's five-year narrative ("they hate us for our freedom"), a story that's grown more and more tattered in the time being. So we see no problem - save a certain bizarre fantasism - with Giuliani insisting it Just Ain't So.

But to claim never to have heard the idea? "So you say people download music off the Internet now? And play it on portable machines, no larger than a Walkman? Well, God bless 'em, but I'd have to see that to believe it myself."

(C) This is (part of) why we don't vote. Not just to avoid legitimizing an illegitimate system, not just because there's no candidate even within a hair's breadth of our key issues, but because it's a waste of our time. For every one person who studies the issues, checks the candidates' actual voting records and comes to an informed conclusion, there's two hundred meatheads who break into "wild applause" whenever someone mentions 9/11, Saddam Hussein, the flag or our troops.

We can't outreason two hundred fools' gut reactions, so why bother?

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