Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Sometimes I forget what 9/11 felt like. Steve Gilliard lives in New York, and remembers:
Everyone in New York shared in 9/11, and not in that phony bullshit gated community cower from the brown people way. They buried the dead for a year, and the funerals made the papers seven days a week.
That's about Ann Coulter, and you should read Steve's brilliant takedown of her. (He also notes the different media reaction between the 9/11 widows and Cindy Sheehan.) During the actual day of 9/11, it all felt so surreal. For a long time, it didn't really sink in for me until some months later. My girlfriend and I were walking downtown, when a plane flew overhead - at just the wrong angle. You see planes flying overhead all the time, but this one was just a bit out of place, and was moving fast.

Before I knew it I was grabbing Vicki's hand, and my stomach was in my boots.

Of course, it turned out to be nothing, but I had never realized that 9/11 had imprinted itself in my mind so thoroughly. That said, I would like to think I wasn't driven mad by the experience, the way so many seem to have been. Christopher Hitchens is an example of someone who went from "leftist alcoholic" to "alcoholic leninist" with relative ease, and his extremism - like his drinks, undiluted - found a welcoming party on the other side of the rhetorical spectrum. (I say rhetorical because I assume Hitchens is motivated by the search for the limelight, not anything as cumbersome as intellectual scruple.)

So what to make of the news that the RCMP has caught a passel of young men - most younger than me, in fact - who were planning all kinds of nasty excercises?

Well, the snarky side of me says this: These guys had to be total fucking boobs. Any idea how bad you need to be if the RCMP can find you? This is the organization with one of the worst records - yet the best PR - in Canadian history. The RCMP spent most of the 1970s - when it had nominal responsibility for catching Soviet spies - bugging and disrupting NDP and Quebec separatist meetings. Seriously. Read some books. Hilarity.

On the more serious side, it is good that the RCMP did catch them. And yes, I want to see them given the full protections of the law. In fact, given how restricted our laws have gotten, I'd actually like to see them get more protections, something more in line with what a liberal democracy might do. And if Clayton Ruby isn't calling entrapment, I'm inclined to believe him. (Thanks, Skippy.)

Finally, you've got to wonder at the mentality that celebrates - calling spades spades - this kind of event as a justification of all their prejudice. You see, we always knew those dirty muslims should've just been rounded up in camps! Imagine how happy these people would've been if those 3 tons of ammonium nitrate had actually been used?

And to address the Afghanistan issue - this is irrelevant. Afghanistan was either a good or bad idea before this, and it is either a good or bad idea afterwards. Fighting Hitler didn't become a bad idea during the Blitz, and Vietnam didn't become a good idea after Tet. Iraq seems to have barely raised to the level of conscious thought, much less an idea, but its status was unaffected by the Madrid bombings - a fact recognized by the Spanish electorate. And the British electorate didn't change its majority-disapproval of Iraq, even after the London tube bombings.

I hereby call these arrests as out of bounds for the Afghanistan discussion. Argue on your merits, people!

Calls to increase surveillance on Muslims (we assume some is already ongoing) or somehow increase our discrimination against law-abiding citizens are similarly repugnant. Doesn't this event show that existing law enforcement has all the powers it needs?

In short, can't we all just keep doing what we're doing? Does this really need to become a football? Can't we all just look at these boobs and laugh at their idiocy? And if not, why not?

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