Saturday, June 25, 2005

Karl Rove's Rabbit Hole

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. - Karl Rove

September 11th, 2001 I was driving to work when the NPR station I was listening to interupted Morning Edition to say that a jet liner had crashed into the World Trade Center. The first thought I had was "I hope this is just an accident." I recalled the 1993 bombing. Tom Clancy's "Debt Of Honor" crossed my mind. Less than a year before, we had witnessed the tenacity of Bin Laden to strike us with the suicide bombing of the Cole. I knew that this was probably not an accident.

As I pulled into the parking lot, NPR announced that a second plane had crashed into the South Tower. I was positive that we were under attack.

I went to the office, ran into a few coworkers, and of course we were all stunned and asking everyone who wandered by "did you hear"? We turned on a TV in our conference room, and watched the video of the second plane crashing over and over. We watched the scene as it unfolded with rescue worker, police and fire fighters, summoning all their skills and courage, trying to save as many people as possible. At 9:30, people started showing up for a planned meeting. As stunned as we were, we turned off the TV, and made a feeble attempt at preserving normalcy. About 20 minutes into the meeting, a coworker came in, and spoke to one of my colleagues, who was also a Disaster Medical Assistance Team worker in the Public Health Service. He then told us that the Pentagon had been hit. He knew that he'd probably be activated shortly, and we cancelled the meeting. While he was contacting his DMAT team to get their stuff together, we were implementing our own informatics disaster recovery plan.

Our building was closed, and I hurried home to wait on my children returning from school, I glued myself to the television waiting for the next shoe to drop. I watched as people chose to jump to their death rather than perish in the inferno. I watched as the towers collapsed, knowing that they were filled with rescue workers. I knew we were now at war.

I grew up in Hoboken, NJ, directly across from midtown Manhattan. The Trade Center was being built while I was in high school. There were parks and other spots along the smallish Hoboken palisades, where teenagers would gather to watch the submarine races, with the fantastic backdrop of the New York skyline. Between the amore, we'd sit and watch what was then becoming the worlds largest buildings and how it defined that view. Having left the area, it was always the first thing you'd see driving up the New Jersey turnpike that reminded you that you were almost home.

I did not say to myself, "that's some bad pilot." I did not sit there, after hearing that we're under attack, reading a story to second graders. My first reaction was shock, turned to fear, turned to grief, turned to anger, turned to a desire to deal with those who made this happen. I turned to our government, in the expectation that they would present a solution to what happened, and make it unlikely that this would ever happen again. Those, Mr. Rove, were my first thoughts. And yes Mr. Rove, I am a proud liberal.

But my feelings aren’t as important as my expectation of my leadership. One being that my elected leader show good judgment and contribute to the best solution to the problems we faced as people. In the face of the al Qaeda threat I almost laugh at your characterization of liberals wanting to understand our enemy.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.” - Sun Tzu

Just as Yosemite Sam, who muttered “Of course you know this means war” at every opportunity, could never defeat Bugs Bunny, you will not defeat terrorism or make us more secure by making war your first, last, and only solution. You will not defeat terrorism with the false frames of nonexistent Iraq threats. You will not defeat terrorism until you fully understand what motivates people into putting their cause and beliefs ahead of their own self interest, and makes them willing to blow themselves up. Until you understand that perpetual war is only a small part of an overall solution, you, your administration, and unfortunately the rest of us are doomed to repeat this history, never learning its lessons.

You helped take us to war, Mr. Rove. Not only against the real enemy, but you manipulated public opinion to wage a more serious war against a people who posed marginal or no threat to us. You chose to ignore the international communities concerns and moved almost unilaterally, save a faux guise of a coalition of the arm twisted and bought off. You violated the trust of not only the world, but your own people with exaggerated claims, third hand accounts of criminals and drunks, and discredited evidence. Professionals in your administration and military, who warned you that the lack of planning, false facts, and consensus building, might lead to a morass were fired, retired, or subject to character assassination. Those who supported the myths and distortions, and otherwise lacked good judgment were promoted, given solemn awards, or keys to the public bank. The goodwill toward America that was almost unanimous after 9/11, has since been squandered on a poorly planned, poorly executed, and poorly managed pipedream.

Perhaps you understand this and chose to use your sickening soundbites to create a good feelings among the heehawing Governor Pataki, the silent Mayor Bloomberg, and the rest of the conservatives who continue to reward failed leadership. Perhaps your arsenal is so strained that all you can do is blame those of us that expected more of our leaders, and are sincerely concerned with their lack of wisdom and judgment. Perhaps you understand that your message rings hollow, after attacking an innocent people, while those states who continue to actively support terrorists are called “friends” by your boss.

You took your best shot, Mr. Rove, but we aren’t quite laughing with you.

Update: Visit our friends at Daily Kos, and check out noinfo'sRove: The Paragraph before. The boy's got soul and spunk in his rant.

Also of note, is Joe Conason's Salon article, Karl Rove is a liar. It's worth the wade through the madnatory ad view.


At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty good posting, as I said in Scullyville. You miss a certain amount of the full unsavory character of Rove, but do a good job of dissecting the political interference with the military in the war on terror.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Dick Tuck said...

Thanks, Beat.

The thing is, although I agree with much of the Joe Conason characterization, you can't always win a battle by polemics. Conason may be an Ann Coulter with his facts straight, but that doesn't make him an effective communicator. In fact, I think the more rapid fire you get with "liar", the less people hear you.

Compelling arguments are won more on framing your values and facts than logic and facts.

You saw what happened when I tried shock and awe. Most people believed a fake strawman of what I said, rather than the factual basis of my argument.

I'm becoming more of a Lakoff student as of late, and highly recommend him to anyone who wants to be a keyboard warrior.


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