That'll Show 'Em

Smart post by pseudononymous blogger Jon Swift on the apparent forbidden desire of many on the right for another terrorist attack to realign our priorities—shoring up support for the war in Iraq, domestic wiretapping, and insert-your-own-policy-here. The post includes choice quotes from Michael Fumento, Jonah Goldberg, and Rudy Giuliani, as well as this jaw-dropper from the chair of the Arkansas Republican Party:

"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country."

The quote from Fumento is interesting, too. After lamenting that Hollywood doesn't have the guts to put Muslim or Arabic villains in its movies and that, worse, it had the gall to cast an actual hero in the new Die Hard movie who "looks decidedly Arabic," Fumento wishes aloud:

A lot of people have suggested that, pathetically, it's going to take another terrorist attack to wake us from our slumber. Wouldn't it be fitting if it were in a movie theater?

Much hinges on the ambiguous placement of the word "pathetically," here. Does Fumento think it's pathetic that people would suggest such a thing (in which case he's right), or does he concede their point, and think it's pathetic that it indeed will take another terrorist attack to make America see the terrorist threat in the sensible way that Michael Fumento does?

In any case, as Matthew Yglesias notes, there was at least one "decidedly Arabic-looking" American hero in the run-up to September 11. Problem is, no one listened to him.

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  • ||

    Morons all of them. It is my sincere hope that we never have another terrorist attack and the country is free to be fat dumb happy and completely without purpose of meaning. Yeah, guilty baby boomers call the World War II generation the "greatest generation" but only a moron would envy them and what they had to go through. I'll take living in the Seinfeld decade anytime.

    Some people are just stupid and have never experienced real hardship and are somehow intrigued by the idea of facing it. Bill Clinton once said that he was sorry there were no great crises during his Presidency. I always contrasted that with Eisenhower, someone who really did face crisis, saying how happy he was to leave the Army and know that the lives of millions no longer depended on his decisions. I think there is a little bit of idiotic wishful thinking going on here.

  • highnumber||

    I guess I am a pseudonymous blogger, too.

    And so is ProGLib.

    But not Viking Moose.

    BTW, Mr Balko (if that is your real name), that's the correct spelling of the word used to mean "using a fake name."

  • Jesse Walker||

    Does Fumento think it's pathetic that people would suggest such a thing (in which case he's right), or does he concede their point, and think it's pathetic that it indeed will take another terrorist attack to make America see the terrorist threat in the sensible way that Michael Fumento does?

    It would have to be the latter, since "pathetically" comes after "that." I suppose he could claim that he isn't conceding the point, though the sentence that comes afterwards sure suggests that he is.

  • ||

    I think you are right Jesse. If he meant it to mean the other, he would have said, "some people have pathetically suggested" not "some people have suggested that pathetically". Perhaps it was sloppy language on his part and he didn't mean it that way, but I don't see how you can read the words as written to mean anything but that "pathetically" it will take another terroists attack for Americans to see the threat.

  • ||

    Would "American needs another terrorist attack for people to understand why" we should do A, B, and C be the right-wing equivalent to "American needs a million Mogadishus to understand why" we should do X, Y, and Z? I think so.

    Some community college profession I've never heard of said the latter, and was roundly denounced by every leftish political figure of any import.

    The Chairman of the Republican Party in Arkansas, for one, said the former.

    John, props for not defending the indefensible.

  • ||

    More terrorist attacks will heighten our responsiveness to terrorism, which is good, because that will reduce terrorist attacks. Ergo, more terrorism = less terrorism. See, it all makes sense. In other news: We have always been at war with Oceania.

  • ||

    And if we were facing terror attacks on a regular basis, it might indeed be necessary to do some of that. One every 6 years and counting, not so much.

  • ||

    Do you really think that any of these guys are hoping to trade innocent American lives just to score a few poicy points? That's like saying lefty pundits are glad that the Iraq war is going bad (meaning more iraqi civilinas and american soliders are dying) because it makes the right look bad.

  • ||

    What we see hear, is a fetish for authoritarianism amongst certain members of the right. It is one thing to argue that fascist policies, such as suspending habeas, are needed to prevent terrorism. But here we see the argument that terrorism is (however unfortunately/pathetically) needed to achieve (the desirable goal of) iron-fisted rule.

  • ed||

    It's a stretch (maybe wishful thinking?) to say American holy-warriors are wishing for another attack on U.S. soil. Even the quotes cited fail to support this theory. I liken this to equally dubious claims from the right that critics of the war secretly want our soldiers to fail in Iraq and elsewhere, that they want us to lose the war. Your "jaw-dropper": "...I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly..." failed to drop my jaw. He was clearly speaking hypothetically. I'll need better proof than that.

  • GILMORE||

    Some community college profession I've never heard of said the latter, and was roundly denounced by every leftish political figure of any import.

    Not exactly joester. He was a columbia university tenured prof.

    And, at the time, the fervor on the antiwar left was such that it didnt start registering caveats for this comment for over a month. I was paying attention to this story because a) I was there at the time, and b) was disgusted by the rhetoric of the antiwar crowd, who lumped Iraq in with every sin of history, ranging from buffalo slaughters, slavery, US intervention in guatamala, the spanish american war, etc etc

    As to the rightists, they are sincere in their desire for another attack, since the first had given them a sense of their moral authority, which they've sqandered horribly. They want another attack to try again. Or at least to punish new yorkers again for just being the godless mutts we are

  • GILMORE||

    That's like saying lefty pundits are glad that the Iraq war is going bad (meaning more iraqi civilinas and american soliders are dying) because it makes the right look bad.

    ummm..... yeah?

    Seriously, I cant tell you how many armchair leftists i've met who are happy we are stuck in the mud (sand?) in Iraq.

    It's equally gross and contemptable as this shit on the right. But you do have to suspend your disbelief at times to take them at face value.

  • BTS||

    Actually, having seen Live Free or Die Hard, I can say that the guy only looked Arabic to ignorant race-baiters. His character was named Bowman and the actor himself is a Maori.

    Disclosure: I thought he was an Indian for a while.

  • ||

    highnumber,

    It's more a cognomen than a pseudonym.

  • ||

    All you have to do is observe the right-wing blogswarm whenever there is any event that could possibly contain a Muslim. They are just salivating for another attack.

    The perfect example dissected is Debbie Schlussel on fumes in a mall:
    http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/6337.html

    or Debbie on Virginia Tech:
    http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/5646.html

    All of which shot to the top of Technorati and Memeorandum based on the number of wingnut links. "Maybe this is the one!"

    For fun, you should check out Debbie lamenting the lack of Muslims in Die Hard: http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2007/05/the_gops_wood_a.html

  • ||

    Abdul,

    Do you really think that any of these guys are hoping to trade innocent American lives just to score a few poicy points?

    Speaking for myself, no. I think that these guys are trying to make themselves feel better, in the face of collapsing support for their party and ideology, by attributing their own beliefs to a superior understanding of how the big bad world works, and their opponents' disagreement to a naive misunderstanding of that world.

  • ed||

    Quotes from certified wackos don't count.

  • ||

    A lot of people have suggested that, pathetically, it's going to take another terrorist attack to wake us from our slumber.

    I think this could be read either way, and both make sense. I don't know whether "a lot of people" have really suggested that, but if it does take another terrorist attack to make Americans take terrorism seriously, that is indeed pathetic. I don't see this as actually wishing for any such thing, though.

    Milligan's (the Ark. guy) comment, however, can easily be read as hoping anothe rterrorist attack happens. I suspect that's a mis-statement of what he truly thinks, but the onus is on him to clear that up.

  • ||

    After the next terrorist atrocity on our soil, whose vibrator will be humming the loudest--Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin or Debbie Schlussel?

    After these broads, and their fellow travelers, dry themselves off, they will be falling all over themselves to tell us who needs to put in a concentration camp.

    It is delusional to say 9/11 was an "inside job" Reichstag fire. Conversely, YOU are delusional if deny that many on the authoritarian right will deeply appreciate the "opportunities" afforded to them by the next major hit (or, minor hit that they try to portray as major). There is a HUGE market in fear and loathing to be exploited, at least in their eyes.

  • ||

    After the next terrorist atrocity on our soil, whose vibrator will be humming the loudest--Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin or Debbie Schlussel?

    Michelle's goes up to eleven.

    Where can you go from there? Where?
    Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

    But Pam's (of Atlas Shrugged) goes up to twelve.

  • ||

    Even if they are just "hypothetical" statements, those are some pretty fucked up hypotheticals. And, yes, I would lump these in with the "million Mogadishus" statement.

  • ||

    Fellow fake-namer here. I'm not surprised neocon America wants another attack. (1) They aren't affected, unless they live in NYC or DC, and even then they can make a career off of it like Rudy, (2) they don't like NYC or DC anyway given the level of "anti-elite" rhetoric they spew, and (3) they think NYC and maybe DC 'deserve it'. Middle America-NYC solidarity lasted until about September 15th.

  • Fluffy||

    I tend to cut these guys some slack.

    I don't think this is really all that different from saying something like, "Once Hugo Chavez runs Venezuela into the ground, people will see that his policies weren't a good idea."

    Part of politics is predicting the outcome of policies. If you think that the policies advocated by others will result in Very Bad Things, it is natural that you will say something along the lines of "When Very Bad Thing X happens, you'll see that I was right all along! Who'll be laughing then, huh? Huh?" It's called spite. Nothing really wrong with a little bit of spite.

  • ||

    "I think that these guys are trying to make themselves feel better, in the face of collapsing support for their party and ideology, by attributing their own beliefs to a superior understanding of how the big bad world works, and their opponents' disagreement to a naive misunderstanding of that world."

    Why are you bringing up Al Gore and the global warming alarmists?

  • ||

    Ooh, man, if Al Gore and concern about global warming were undergoing a massive collapse in credibility among both experts and the general public, instead of exactly the opposite happening, that would be a really good one!

  • ||

    joe,

    Al Gore is what? Having a massive gain in credibility? Sometimes I wonder where you get these strange ideas.

    Anyway, I guess Gore really isn't running for office this time around. I'm surprised.

  • ||

    "A lot of people have suggested that, pathetically, it's going to take another terrorist attack..."
    So, let me get this straight. Another attack would prove how effective the policies and procedures to PREVENT attacks have been?
    "to wake us from our slumber."
    Exactly who is slumbering? The public because they tire of a war far away whose progress (use that terms as loosely as possible) can't be understood by almost anyone? Puhleeze. Had the concentration remained on Afgahnistan and finding Osama I believe that the public would still be behind you (even if he hadn't been captured yet). Instead, knowing the chances of finding Osama were low, you decided to pick a fight with the low hanging fruit of the Middle East.
    Another attack on US soil would only prove that the policies have failed, not support that they have been the right ones.
    And it still wouldn't get the Left off the hook for proposing absolutely nothing other than...well...nothing.

  • ||

    Pro Lib,

    How's the international release of that anti-global warming documentary going?

  • ||

    We're not slumbering. We're just not really that scared. And we're busy pursuing happiness as we see fit. Which, unfortunately, involves watching the doings of skanky women with limited talent.

  • ||

    joe,

    Um, what the hell are you talking about?

  • ||

    and you wonder why *they* hate us so much

  • GILMORE||

    joe | July 11, 2007, 3:22pm | #
    Pro Lib,

    How's the international release of that anti-global warming documentary going?


    Jesus joe, thats a silly point. Are you saying "because hysterical exaggerations make widely popular films, they therefore must be true"?

    It's like Worthingtons Law = i.e. 'more money=better than'

    best sketch ever
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF8wLg5Asgo

  • Robert R.||

    I'll take living in the Seinfeld decade anytime.

    After the "Turbulent Sixties," "The Me Decade," and "The Decade of Greed," I think the 1990s should be named "The Decade About Nothing."

  • ||

    Um, what the hell are you talking about?

    Yes, exactly.

    Are you saying "because hysterical exaggerations make widely popular films, they therefore must be true"?

    No, not even remotely.

  • ||

    Be quiet, joe, or I'm going to force feed you until you are as large as Al Gore.

    With haggis, of course. What else does one force feed with?

  • ||

    We either fight them over there, or we fight i>them over here!



    The above is a common refrain. I heard in on the Limbaugh show not one half hour ago. The Old Rushie was bemoaning the fact that Americans were not getting all worked up whenever that phrase was used.

    I know why people don't get their dander up when they hear that. It's a false dichotomy! There's another option, and it is "there are other solutions besides fighting them!"

  • ||

    I am violently ignoring them. With extreme contempt.

  • dhex||

    or we pick a third area to fight them at.

    like, uh, an offshore oil platform in the middle of the north sea.

  • VM||

    FIGHT THEM IN THUNDERDOME!!!!!

    BUST A DEAL, FACE THE WHEEL!!!!!!!

  • ||

    Two go in, one comes out.

  • Russ 2000||

    and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly

    Love it when politicians unwittingly give creedence to "inside job" theories, at least for the next "terrorist" attack.

  • ||

    Pro Libertate,

    Were the sheep raised humanely?

  • ||

    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... dyin' times here!

  • ||

    Why, yes, joe, of course! They roamed the moors in complete freedom. And, when it came time to die, they were allowed to fight mano a mano in the Ring of Haggis. Granted, they weren't armed with swords, but they really couldn't grip them with hooves, anyway.

    Good thing you didn't ask if they were cooked humanely.

  • ||

    """We're not slumbering. We're just not really that scared. And we're busy pursuing happiness as we see fit. Which, unfortunately, involves watching the doings of skanky women with limited talent."""

    Agreed.

    But, I think slumbering means not paying attention to Chicken Little.

  • ||

    Chicken Little bothers me not at all. On most of her issues except, perhaps, for the impending alien invasion.

  • Brady Brunch||

    How many more children must die from gun violence before society demands new legislation?

  • BruceM||

    I'm scared that the GOP will soon realize, if they have not already, that the only chance they have to retain any semblance of power after the 2008 elections is if a big terrorist attack happens sometime in the near future. Since the republicans have resorted to trying to scare Americans by saying they "have a gut feeling" that an attack will happen soon, they are clearly out of ideas. Unfortunately, a big terrorist attack would temporarily cause a large portion of Americans to instantly support the iraq war, Bush's hardline, unconstitutional, unlawful actions taken in the name of "fighting terrorism" and anything else Bush says along with a threat on behalf of the terrorists against your children. The only way Bush and the modern republican party can have any meaningful popular support is if buildings are smoldering in US cities, Americans are dead on American soil, and 24/7 news coverage is constantly reminding Americans that they are in danger.

    If Bush knew of a big impending terrorist attack on US soil, he would do nothing to stop it. His legacy and the GOP's success in the 2008 election is dependent upon a terrist attack occurring before the election and killing a few hundred americans on US soil. It's the only thing Bush has going for him.

  • VM||

    Brady Brunch | July 11, 2007, 6:02pm | #
    How many more children must die from gun violence before society demands new legislation?


    letsee...

    Marsha, Peter, Greg, Jan, Bobby, Cindy...

    at least six more.

  • ||

    Giuliani would probably benefit the most from a terrorist attack.

    Let's hope that the anthrax perp isn't a supporter.

  • Matt||

    It's this post that's pathetic. None of the quotations show any eagerness at all for a terrorist attack, just a resigned and rueful knowledge that one will surely occur, given the foolish attitudes of people like Balko. Meanwhile, not a word is said about the left/libertarian world's spiteful relish for and glory in any bad news from Iraq and in American defeat.

  • ||

    Right-wing nut: I hope that there's a terrorist attack that kills thousands of U.S. citizens so that I can be proven right and my side's politicians can capitalize on those deaths to gain political power.

    Left-wing nut: I hope that we lose the war so that thousands of U.S. lives were expended in vain so I can be proven right and my side's politicians can capitalize on those deaths to gain political power.

    In other news, left and right-wing nut-jobs collectively believe in 1) socialism as the cure for all problems (the biggest killer of human beings since polio) and 2) evolution is a fraud.

    In OTHER, other news, both sides were found to be more full of crap than Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh's digestive tracts combined with their respective political stances.

  • ||

    Fool climbs up diving board: Look at me! Look at me! Look, everybody! Look at me!

    Man in crowd: No, don't! You're going to hurt yourself!

    Fool: I'll show you!

    *Massive bellyflop, sound waves level trees in a 1/4 mile radius*

    Fool, emerging from water: Told ya! How does it feel to be wrong?!? Watch this one!

    Man in crowd: No, don't! You're going to hurt yourself again.

    Fool climbs ladder, shouts: Look at me, everyone, look at me!

    *Jumps off ladder, hits pavement next to pool*

    Man in crowd: All right, that's it! You need to stop!

    Fool: You WANTED ME to fail! You WANTED ME to hurt myself, you sicko!

  • ||

    I think Chertoff put himself in a stupid position. If a terrorist attack does happen, it makes DHS look real bad because they couldn't stop one that the director, in his gut, knew was coming. Of course, I think they would try to use it as an excuse to need more power, but I don't know if that would work.

  • Michael Fumento||

    1. The actor I said "looked Arabic" but is actually a New Zealander (Boy, isn't that a howler!) played an Arab in the movie "Three Kings." Oops.

    2. Read about why in Tom Clancy's book "The Sum of all Fears" the terrorists were Islamists but when it came time to make it a movie the studio (over Clancy's objections) turned them into neo-Nazis. Maybe you'll think twice about what I wrote when I observed that since 9/11 there hasn't been a single movie that has cast Islamist terrorists as the villains that was not in fact about the 9/11 attacks themselves.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sum_of_All_Fears_%28film%29#Deviations_from_the_book

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