United, United, United We Stand


Some dude named "Thoreau" reads The Washington Post and responds to David Ignatius's column, an encomnium to flag-clutchin' American unity after 9/11 and how awful it is that we've lost it.

[A]s inspiring as it was to see everybody standing in line to give blood on 9/11, a lot of bad things happened because a nation was busy marching to the tune of a single drummer. If there's another terrorist attack, we could do worse than to argue amongst ourselves. As long as those internal debates don't lead to shootings or half the population sending the other half to a concentration camp, I think some divide and rancorous debate could be a healthy response to a terrorist attack.

So I hope Ignatius is right, and that we do refuse to march lockstep if there's another terrorist attack. Because if we respond to another attack by marching lockstep behind the government, you can kiss the Bill of Rights goodbye. The sequel to the Patriot Act will be a terror to behold.

Today the ever-serious Joe Lieberman strolls onto the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page and proves Thoreau's point:

The threat posed by Iran to our soldiers' lives, our security as a nation and our allies in the Middle East is a truth that cannot be wished or waved away. It must be confronted head-on. The regime in Iran is betting that our political disunity in Washington will constrain us in responding to its attacks. For the sake of our nation's security, we must unite and prove them wrong.

The hilarious subtext of this kind of unity talk, of course, is that the country isn't "divided" about slogging it out in Iraq or dropping some bombs on Iran. Upwards of 60 percent of the country opposes a war with Iran. And yet it's always the default point in this debate: "Divided" means "not foursquare behind the war party."

Title reference is below. I think it captures all of the thoughtfulness and measure (and masculinity) of Lieberman's column.