History-making news now breaks, not on Cable News, but via a text message from my oldest daughter (who has friends in the White House Communications Office). Then bursts through my Twitter Feed– real time reactions from all over the world, speculation from journalists and news organizations… and lastly, mocking the floundering of the formerly mighty Cable News, who spent the hour before the President’s speech stumbling over themselves (and often just repeating what was appearing on Twitter 10-15 minutes previously). If the revolution in Egypt hadn’t made it clear, last night made it inescapable: Cable news’ run as the go-to source for breaking information, which really hit its stride with the Gulf War, is pretty much over.
Two things which strike me now, which have prompted me to post here (as they’re too detailed to distill to 140 characters on Twitter): The reactions, both on the left and right.
First, the right: I’m already seeing a tendency to either completely remove the President from any credit for this, or to start the inevitably-growing rumbling about how Obama will be “politicizing” this. To which I say, in the words of former Vice President Dick Cheney: Go fuck yourselves.
The right not only took credit for every positive thing that happened in the “War on Terror” from 2002-2008, but also for any bad thing that DIDN’T happen. Every month that passed where we weren’t attacked again was somehow directly because of President Bush’s vigilance. Every FBI sting where some hapless moron was tricked into planning a terrorist attack by the FBI itself, and then stopped, was treated as if President Bush, resplendent in a Captain America costume, was personally giving a Ratzi a sock on the jaw.
Even worse — the intimation that 9/11, despite happening 9 months into Bush’s watch, despite direct warning in the Threat Briefing, was somehow Clinton’s fault — for not taking Bin Laden out after the USS Cole bombing (despite GOP criticism at the time that Clinton was trying to “wag the dog” and divert attention away from his impeachment hearings). That a vote for Kerry in 2004 was “what the terrorists wanted.”
A reminder to these Kings of Politicization: 6 months after 9/11, President Bush said “I don’t know where he is, and honestly I don’t spend that much time on him… I’m not that concerned.” (Video)
Obama, upon taking office, directed the CIA to make Bin Laden a priority. But the right will now deny it, saying that this event is somehow a continuation of Bush’s efforts — despite words from his own mouth to the contrary. So again, a hearty fuck you. If Bush somehow deserved credit for his efforts — so does Obama. Even if you hate him.
Now, to my fellow travelers on the left: I’m seeing a lot of hand-wringing and self-righteous lecturing about how killing is wrong, celebrating murder is barbaric, etc. It’s situations like this that makes me wish there was a hashtag like #firstworldproblems that applied here — something like #privelegedprinciples.
I suppose it’s very easy to pontificate and finger-wag, if 9/11 was only something that you watched on television. If you didn’t know anyone who was killed, it’s quite comfortable to wrap yourself in your principles. For everyone else, this is justice. Maybe you should consider that, and keep your sense of outrage to yourself?
I mean, look at this picture:
Now tell those Firefighters that they’re being barbaric for celebrating the death of the man directly responsible for the death of their brethren. Go ahead.
Sometimes, comfortable first-world liberal, it’s not about you.