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The Defense Rests

You know, I was going to tone it down today. I was prepared to move on, to write that long overdue piece on new Hall of Famer Jackson Browne. But too many things from yesterday something are nagging at me. In fact, the whole subject of the 9/11 widows and the Bush ads kept me awake most of the night. Words, thoughts, comments, quotes; they were all like little fleas nipping at my skin. I brushed one away, another one took its place. So I sit here with the imagery of September 11, 2001 on my mind, fingers poised at the keyboard. Instead of writing about making out with some hot French Canadian at a late 70's Jackson Browne concert, I'm rehashing yesterday's news. Call it a compelling tug at my brain. Yesterday, I once again addressed the issue of the Bush ads. Towards the end of the comments, someone named Wally wrote these words:
bq. Two questions: 1: Are the The Families of September 11th actually family members of victims of those who died on 9/11? And, 2: If they are, how is this attack on them any different than Ted Rall's "Widows" cartoon, other than the ideology of the attacker? And later: bq. But you can't have it both ways. You can't call someone out for an attack on one group, and then mirror that attack on a similar group. Family member's motivation is irrelevant. And today I saw this and this. Mr. Tooney expands on Wally's thoughts, to grandious proportions. Oh, he makes a veiled reference to yours truly: bq. Of course, the Rall-Hatin' Punk Rock Queen of the 9/11 Repub Set (guess who) has her "Cheney's Vault" panties twisted up over the response to the ads as well. He links to McGehee's post in which he links me, rather than linking to me himself. Whatever. Then he does this Rall parody, in which he is parodying people like myself, not Rall. And further up, he addresses the issue yet again, basically calling Debra Burlingame a stooge for Republicans because she was able to lobby - using her Republican connectins, I presume - to get her brother [the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon] a hero's burial in Arlington Cemetery. Wow. That certainly proves that she's in the pocket of the Republicans! Tooney all but accuses Burlingame of being prompted by the secret undeground Republican cabal in what to say during interviews. But that's neither here nor there for now. Allow me to address both Wally's questions and Tooney's assumptions. When I talk about the 9/11 widows am referring to a very specific, small group of widows who claim leadership of The Families of September 11th. I believe I made that clear yesterday. Also, I accused the women in question of having a political agenda, not a monetary one. Let's has this out (and some of this is reprinted from the comments I left Wally). Six months after 9/11, Ted Rall prints a comic that depicts the firemen's widows as money hungry women who are reveling in the deaths of their husbands because it's going to make them rich. I speak out against that vile comic. Two years after 9/11, I write about a tiny group of family members who are casting themselves about as representative of all the victims' families when they clearly are not. It is -fact- that their agenda is to get John Kerry elected president. It's pretty much out in the open and they admit it in all their interviews. All their posturing and bitching about the ads is not because of grief, it's not because of loss; it's because it gave them an excuse to knock Bush and to do it in the name of people who do not feel the same way. Are we seeing the difference yet? Wally? Tooney? I don't have a Republican agenda. When I vote for Bush in November, I won't be doing it in a flag waving, cheerleading kind of way. It's the "least worst" choice for me. I don't have a Right Wing agenda, because I am not a right winger. Simply put, I have a personal agenda. And that is to separate the wheat from the chaff. In my eyes, there is a difference between the family members who have taken it upon themselves to speak on behalf of every family member of every victim of 9/11, regardless of whatever political or monetary issues they are agonizing about. There is a difference between those who have seized this opportunity to use 9/11 as a political tool - something they have accused Bush of doing - and those who use 9/11 as a tool for betterment. Rall's original cartoon was despicable in that it lumped hundreds of women together and portrayed them as blood-sucking vampires of the almighty dollar. It was just six months after 9/11. He was crucifying people who were recently widowed in a most horrific way, people who were still in the grips of devastation. And that's why I thought it was ugly and cruel. My gripe with the women and men who are lambasting Bush's use of the images of 9/11 is this: Their cries of being used and abused by Bush's campaign are dishonest. They actively campaign for Kerry. The head of the IAFF is co-chair of the Kerry campaign. Can we expect them to be honest in their assesment of the ads? Can we really expect them to say the imags don;t bother them, that they think it's ok? That would negate any political gain they could get by showing anger towards the campaign and Bush. I have never called these people un-American. I never said they didn't have the right to bitch and complain. It's America, they have every right to stand up at a podium and curse the world if they want to. But they cannot and should not do that while under the guise of Families of September 11th. By doing that they purport to speak for all family members and they give the impression that they are speaking for all widows, widowers and relatives of the dead. If they called themselves something different, like The Fearsome Foursome or Kerry's Kids, I would have no problem with their posturing. If you cannot see the difference between my indignation and Rall's comic, you are not looking hard enough.


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Michele, it isn't all bad - I still love you and link you!

When you use your personal tragedies as a sword, you have to expect people to hit back. The Democrats have been particularly egregious about this, from Kerry's and Max Cleland's Vietnam service to Al Gore's weepy speech about how Big Tabacky killed his sister. (Although I give some credit to John Edwards, who has stoutly refused to make political hay from his son's tragic death). The same controversy erupted on a smaller scale in Australia with that guy who lost his son in the Bali bombing writing a nasty letter to John Howard about the Iraq war.

I'm willing to assume that these women really are motivated mostly by their grief here, but the rest of us shouldn't have to just sit back and agree with them just because they have suffered. Suffering grants no monopoly on wisdom.

The thing is that anyone who takes the time to look at this should be able to get it. You have to be pretty warped and twisted inside in order not to see that Rall was creating a straw man, generalizing about 9/11 widows in general, whereas your criticism (and mine, and others') was at very specific persons doing very specific things and claiming the mantle of "the 9/11 families."

Honestly, your soul has to be so twisted up with hatred for Bush that you can't see straight if the difference isn't clear to you.

Keep telling yourself that, sweetheart.

Wow, Timmy, that was an erudite and informative response to the discussion at hand. Allow me to reply in the same fashion: Fuck off.

Some are that twisted up Dean. Others see it, but it deflates their argument. When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When they aren't...

Should have added, others can't fashion an argument, see Timmy.

The Demo response was obviously a cheap shot they had waiting in the wings. The best bullshit they could think of - ready to jump on if we're all really that stupid, and if we're not... then on to the next cheap shot.

It sure would be nice to live in a country where politicians are bright enough (and honest enough) to debate the issues and where political parties have too much integrity to talk about anything other than the issues.

I can just imagine what it would feel like to be treated with that much respect.

I was waiting, hoping that no one would be crass enough to bring up the Burlingame/Arlington controversy. Now that someone has let's be logical:

1) Arlington cemetery is run by bureaucrats NOT the Pentagon (or what most of us normally would refer to the Pentagon)

2) The "rules" in place are there for very good reasons (obviously limited space vs. hugh demand).

3) These "rules" are broken more than a few times, usually for powerful politicians, Republican AND Democrat.

4) Chic Burlingame was in the military reserves at the time and given the proximity to where his remains were found to Arlington, I think it was a wise decision, and smart politically for the two senators to push. If Chuck Robb was still a senator, he would have pushed just as hard as Warner.

5)The Pentagon, itself, had to play by the rules. (even though they wouldn't have any problem granting the request without the political pressure, if they could).

Families of the victims should get the benefit of the doubt on this.

The Boy King's foot dragging and non-cooperation with the commission alone makes his image appropriation hypocritical. Add to that the many, many hours he spends fund raising and will only give the commission one hour, well, you know, hypocritical again.

Boy King... foot dragging..1 hours... fund raising.... zzzz

Don't y'all having anything NEW to add to the debate? Or do you think that the repetition will wear many of us down... Are we at the election, yet?

Are we there, yet?
Are we there, yet?
Are we there, yet?
Are we there, yet?

Sure, we'll move on from George II's non-cooperation with the BIPARTISAN 9/11 comission when you respond to it. So pull your fingers out of your ears, you can hear us, JFH, you ideology just blinds you.

Here's my response:

2) What information about 9-11 can the President provide that his staff can't?

More importantly, if the commission is supposed to make recommendations . . . and the recommendations are to go to the people in charge of national security . . . and the person at the top of the decisionmaking ladder is the president himself . . . you see where I'm going on this? At least for as long as Bush is in office, there's not much point in getting him to answer questions for his own edification.

What information can the pres. provide, that his staff can't, asks JFH. Is that directed toward posters who work in the White House? Is that one of them ree-tory-cal questions that don't reeelly have an answer? Is that merely blather in blind support of a pres. who has now decided to give the commission some of his fund raising time? It must be tough these days finding enuff sticks to prop up the Boy King's support.

We interrupt this tangential and fruitless wrangling for a little light self-promotion and on-topic discussion.

I busted my ass on this post four days ago and I can't seem to whore it around worth dink. Peaceful Tomorrows isn't the only national organization providing professional Bush-bashing services to the media.

And then there's A. R. Torres, who apparently doesn't like the President horning in on her action. She has two paying gigs from her 9/11 widow status, and is working on a graphic novel about it.

Not that there's anything wrong with being a professional 9/11 widow. I mean, if you have a story to tell, tell it. If you can get paid, get paid. But this idea that 9/11 is, like, proprietary...that's just weird. 9/11 was a pivotal event in world history. Practically everyone has some kind of stake in it.

Still giving doubt benefit, I do not comment on 9-11 victim's family's motives when they support the ads, or W.