Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More 9/11 Discussion: Krugman and Rosen

The arbiters of official meaning are not pleased with Paul Krugman for speaking out about what its response to 9/11 has done to America.  Krugman blogged about the post-9/11 period on Sunday, calling it a period of shame for the U.S. 

And for saying the obvious, he's now being pilloried by the likes of Michelle Malkin, who's calling him a "smug coward," and Glenn Reynolds, who declares that Krugman is a "sad and irrelevant little man."  Yet Krugman is saying nothing more than what many other commentators, including Chris Hedges and David Bromwich, have said during this period of commemoration.

The pundits of the right have chosen him as an easy target, in the hopes of demonstrating that any and all criticism of the path the nation took in response to 9/11 under Bush (and has continued under Obama) will continue to be unthinkable-even when that path includes wars based on lies, the militarization of a nation that has no substantial reason to be at war, suspension of civil liberties, the acceptance of torture, etc.

We have fallen tremendously far as a nation after 9/11.  And our fall is our own doing.

And as Krugman's 9/11 piece notes, among those who put us on the path of decline were mainstream media commentators who ought to have been monitoring the government critically, not acting as its cheerleaders.  Ruth Rosen has an illuminating piece right now at AlterNet, asking why it was that a group of prominent "liberal" journalists, almost without exception male, lost their heads as Mr. Bush went to war, and turned themselves into his "useful idiots."

Rosen zeroes in on New York Times columnist Bill Keller, who now confesses that he was duped by Messrs. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfield, and that he let this gang of criminals lead him by his journalistic nose.  As Rosen notes, Keller attributes his willingness to be so led to the drugging effects of testosterone: he says that he and the neoliberal media boys' club that cheered the Iraqi war on were "drugged by testosterone."

And that's an alarming admission, it seems to me.  When those among us who claim to be most enlightened--the media elite--freely admit that crude gender stereotypes can still dictate how they view activities like starting a needless war on the basis of lies, or trashing civil liberties and torturing people, we're in serious trouble as a culture.

Because we're not enlightened at all, it turns out, and crude, reflexive, unexamined primal instincts rooted in notions of male entitlement still determine what we do to an astonishing degree--what even our "enlightened" commentariat does--to our woe.  And to the woe of the whole world, since the U.S. still has imperial status in the world, even though that status is rapidly declining.

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