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apologies and a stream of crap

[I've been working on this all day. I've written and deleted ten different things, ranging from two words to five paragraphs. While I was deleting Jeff Jarvis wrote basically the same thing. But I'm going to go ahead and publish mine as well.] Richard Clarke's opening statement yesterday:
I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened, and what we must do to prevent a reoccurrence. I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television. Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness.
First point: Most American people already understand why 9/11 happened. Those who aren't busy trying to make everything Bush's or Clinton's fault understand. It happened because there are people of a certain ideology that would like to see every American and every non-Muslim person dead. If it wasn't 9/11, it would have been another day, another way. Second point: These hearings are not going to help prevent a reoccurrence. They will only serve to point fingers, deflect blame and further divide our country. If there is to be a reoccurrence of a day like 9/11, it is probably already a plan in action and having everyone sitting around discussing the past instead of worrying about the future is counterproductive. Third point: By apologizing, you are assuming guilt. I do not hold my government responsible for 9/11. Even if we had caught and killed bin Laden, the plan was already in motion. It wouldn't have mattered. Even if we cut off the head of the snake, his body still goes on slithering. My government did not fail me. If they failed me, there would be more than 3,000 dead people. If they failed me, we would be under Sharia law or, going back further, a communist country. I believe with all my heart that my government - from the Clinton years to the Bush years - did their best for us with what they knew. An apology like this one is a passive-aggressive move designed to elicit hugs and handshakes and maybe a few book sales. What I would prefer is that someone would stand up in D.C. and say "We have nothing to apologize for. The Murdering Islamists and their followers are the ones who need to apologize, and you will never get that." And then we kill the bastards, move forward and try to stop this from every happening again. Put down your signs, put away your dossiers and get off your ass and actually do something except Monday quarterbacking. ..........You know, this is getting redundant and ridiculous. Every day, I write the same story with different settings. Every day, I write out of anger or despair or worry. And I preach to the proverbial choir. The people who aren't in that choir - for the most part they stop by, they drop a few assumptions and insults in the comments and they move on. There are some readers who stick around, and have stuck around for a long time, and they know how to converse and debate and I appreciate them for that. But what good is it doing me to rant and rave every day? What purpose does it serve to sit down at the keyboard every morning and type away about terrorism and war when nearly everyone who reads this thing feels the same way I do? I have 43 articles in a folder waiting to be written about or cited. I have emails with links to other articles or blog posts. It's what I do. Write about all the bad things going on the world. I have to do that at Command Post as well. Even if it's on a different level over there, it still makes all too aware of everything that's going on around us. Before I started a blog, I didn't know that much about world affairs. Now I feel like I know too much. And it all comes tumbling out every morning, sometimes in the afternoon and evening, and jesus christ people, aren't you getting tired of it? Aren't you tired of reading what I'm tired of writing? Yet, I don't stop. Even though I have no idea what the purpose is, I don't stop. I've been interviewed three times in the past two weeks by people writing papers on blogging. Each one has asked me "Why do you blog?" I said to the last person, I don't know. I honestly don't know.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference apologies and a stream of crap:

» Scapegoats from Leaning Towards the Dark Side
Michele has some thoughts on Richard Clarke's apology. My government did not fail me. If they failed me, there would be more than 3,000 dead people. If they failed me, we would be under Sharia law or, going back further,... [Read More]

» I know the feeling from Beth's Contradictory Brain
Part of what was getting me down last night was also all this utter bullshit about the 9/11 blame game [Read More]

» We think we know why the blogger blogs from sisu
"Before I started a blog, I didn't know that much about world affairs," writes Michele at A Small Victory: Now I feel like I know too much. And it all comes tumbling out every morning, sometimes in the afternoon [Read More]

» A war of attrition, and a response to Dick Clarke from the True Nature of Reality
Attrition Michele says a couple of things I wanted to cite over at a small victory. Taking the second first, she is at a low point, with war-weariness very understandably setting in. You know, this is getting redundant and ridiculous.... [Read More]

» Outfoxed from sisu
As we blogged here LIVE the other day -- and the New York Post is editorializing today -- former Sen. Bob Kerrey lost it at the 9/11 hearings: [Kerry] couldn't keep from sputtering his outrage over Fox News Channel's decision [Read More]

» The DailySpam!: the Page 3 Girls Edition! from Who Tends the Fires
Our first annual as often as we can roundup of the Influential Women of the Blogosphere... Michele strews apologies and a stream of crap. Heh. One of *thos... [Read More]

» WHY from trying to grok
Michele questions blogging. I can relate. (Thanks, Beth.)... [Read More]

» She might be tired of sayin' it, but nobody says it better from Read My Lips
What I would prefer is that someone would stand up in D.C. and say "We have nothing to apologize for. The Murdering Islamists and their followers are the ones who need to apologize, and you will never get that." And... [Read More]

» Roll Call XVIII from The New SteveSilver.net
19 Ss. Here we go: Blog: S/FJ Blogger: Sasha Frere-Jones Location: New York Have I Met Him? : No Why Hes On The Roll: A longtime writer for the Village Voice, Sasha (yes, he's a dude) recently became the New... [Read More]

» Roll Call XVIII from The New SteveSilver.net
19 Ss. Here we go: Blog: S/FJ Blogger: Sasha Frere-Jones Location: New York Have I Met Him? : No Why Hes On The Roll: A longtime writer for the Village Voice, Sasha (yes, he's a dude) recently became the New... [Read More]

» Roll Call XVIII from The New SteveSilver.net
19 Ss. Here we go: Blog: S/FJ Blogger: Sasha Frere-Jones Location: New York Have I Met Him? : No Why Hes On The Roll: A longtime writer for the Village Voice, Sasha (yes, he's a dude) recently became the New... [Read More]

Comments

"Even if we had caught and killed bin Laden, the plan was already in motion. "

That is, if we had caught or killed him in 2001. It would be quite different if we had killed him in, say, 1997.

I do agree that there is no way either Bush or Clinton could have launched the necessary invasion of Afghanistan in the absence of a 9-11 style massacre. We could have done more, though. We could have taken him from Sudan.

Personally I feel that Clarke has no integrity and I DO NOT accept his apology.

My apology is being "collected" by the men and women of the US armed forces.

I know why I read this site every day.

Because you express your ideas with passion and intelligence and because you can make us laugh and think all at the same time. Because you can write the same thing in a different way every day without resorting to the boilerplate insults that drive down debate.

And because you can see a difference between the far left, far right and those who, while committed to the left or right, understand and value the roll of debate in our cyber-civic lives.

Michele, we value reading your blog because when you open your mouth, 99+% of the time something intelligent will be coming out of it.

And we welcome that.

You know, this is getting redundant and ridiculous. Every day, I write the same story with different settings. Every day, I write out of anger or despair or worry. And I preach to the proverbial choir.

Just because the majority of your regular readers agree with you doesn't mean you are wasting your time, Michele. The point is that you know a whole lot more about a whole lot of this stuff than I do and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to clue me in.

No, that doesn't mean I take what you write as gospel. No, it doesn't mean that I don't look elsewhere for information too. What it does mean is I've found a source that explains things that are important for me to know and reads between the lines with a skill that I don't have. I trust your interpretations, I respect your opinions and it is very reassuring to know that any 'tude or thunder you unleash is most likely going to be traveling along my skew.

So keep it up, your efforts are not for naught! :)

I believe what you are doing is very important. I liken it to Benjamin Franklin's work with the Pennsylvania Gazette, and others like him, who felt so strongly about their message that they gave it everything they had. They held fierce devotion to their causes, and poured themselves into publishing their thoughts, disseminating ideas.

They stimulated dialogue, arguments, thought. It was and is, remarkable.

It isn't just about arguments Michele (although the amazing thing about this medium is the ability to engage in real-time to duke it out), nor is it just preaching to the choir. Like-minded individuals sound out their ideas with one another, to learn and polish their thoughts. Those on opposite sides engage in rhetoric and discussion. If it's a weak minded, stupid argument, it fails.

If it's good, it sharpens us. It exercises our minds and our brains.

Its roots are at the very foundation of our liberties, the right of free expression.

I don't know why you do it, either. But I'm glad you do, because most of us can't.

How many people who come here every day have contemplated starting up a blog, but for one reason or another have never gotten around to it? I wish you could do a show of hands! Further, how many people who come here every day have bitten the bullet and started blogs (in my case, probably a dozen times) only to abandon the project a short time later?

You've just got...."it." Some sort of creative quality that goes beyond just being good with words. You're able to remain an active participant in this demanding medium that a lot of people, some of them great wordsmiths, just can't hack. Hell, you might just be a glutton for punishment. When I recall the hate mail I got a few years ago for moderating a message board - the topic was an innocuous rock band, a totally apolitical thing - I can only fathom the electronic beatings you take.

Maybe it's simple. Maybe you do it because you're good at it. And like all things that not everyone is good at, there has to be some joy in it despite the headaches.

Don't stop writing - you are doing a good job! The efforts of bloggers in general have been a great service to people like myself who have been trying to make sense of all the craziness in the world. My understanding of world events has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years thanks to all of you. I feel much more confident in the positions I hold because I know that the facts that I need to back them up are right here on the internet. I like the fact that there are so many people like yourself putting words and evidence out there that match my own convictions. Keep up the good work - it is making a difference!

You aren't wasting yout time, Michele, and I, for one, am not tired of it. Well, occasionally I do get tired of the mouth-breathers who drop in here and tell us we're fascists, but that's not your problem.

Keep writing; I'll keep reading.

I have decided to give the same response to people who ask me why I blog.

However, I won't say "honestly." Not a single honest thing about what I write.

Michele, I'm one of those folks who is not exactly in the choir, at least when it comes to GW Bush - or the existence of "American Idol".

I come here because you write with intelligence and passion and humor and heart and I believe you are sincere. I sometimes disagree with you, but I've never really understood the supposed pleasures of being a sycophant, anyway...

If we were tired of reading it, do you really think we'd still be here?
Or was that a hypothetical question? Oh whatever... The point is, you're better at blogging than most people and that's why we (I guess I can only really speak for myself, but I'm fairly certain the other readers agree) come back.

Don't stop because the cruelty in our world is getting to you. Like they say, "Life's a bitch and then you die." I say, Bitch back while you have the chance.

I do understand how you can get worn out. This is a day by day struggle with people who endlessly are working to elect as President a man and a party who seem to be like the discredited Brits and French of the 1930s. Most of us here think that any policy of "understanding, conferences and UN debates or "Miranda" policing"
would be perilous. And that is why you keep at it. To give up means that the chance of converting just a few voters is lost.

And your passion gets some of us away from the "what's the use" syndrome.

I send emails forwarding articles and commentary every day to a small list of friends and relatives. Maybe I can "turn" a few of them. Of course, there are the Bush haters who can't be turned.

Keep at Michele.

DON'T stop writing. I don't agree with you on all topics, but I enjoy reading your blog. Even your seemingly redundant but well-placed rantings about 9/11.

Don't stop writing. If nothing else, I find it very comforting to know that I am not alone in my thoughts about the state of the world. It is easy to feel alone these days and, frankly, scary...

I keep reading you for several reasons:

1. You often say what I was thinking, but in a clearer more coherent way than I could.

2. I am surrounded by people with whom I disagree politically (some of them are lapping up this Clarke stuff), and it's a relief to be reminded I'm not the only one who feels the way I do.

3. You're about the only blogger who can make me angry AND make me blow milk out my nose from laughing so hard in the same day. (The same post, sometimes). Never undervalue the worth of making other people laugh.

Michelle, I feel exactly the same way. I'm sick of getting pissed off every day and feeling like the media conspires against any kind of rational illuminating debate. It is indeed very, very depressing. So I don't bother updating my damn blog unless it's something that interests me. You sound like maybe you're doing it now mostly for your readership; I don't have that problem, both of my readers are cool with whatever I do. ;-) Just be careful, better to refocus and make yourself happy than get all mopey and end up quitting. Do whatever stirs you.

Michelle,

I've been lurking around here for a short while and find I come back several times a day. You have a way with words and communicate well. Don't give up.

Ray

I'm glad that you do blog, and I wish I was driven enough to maintain my own.

I firmly believe that one a the major problems is that people are drawn to having themselves classified. I am a right wing left wing radical. I am a staunch defender of human rights and equally believe as you do that we should take massive and punitive action against Islamic fundamentalists regardless of cost. The danger they pose (and more importantly the reluctance of the rest of the Islamic world to seriously oppose them) can potentially disrupt the entire structure of modern civilization; their aim is to force us to regress by 400 years because that is where they live.
When you stop ranting and raving every day they are beginning to win. Because they are classified as "liberals", an enormous number of people blind themselves to truths which are so blatantly obvious and jump on the band wagon of other leftists so that they appear to conform to their stereotype. Equally, the right wing must not become apologists for those who unecessarily endanger the very freedoms we are seeking to protect.
Every individual issue should be looked at in terms of its merits. It cannot be the case that everyone who disagrees with us on one point is therefore wrong about everything. Clearly the converse applies.
KEEP WRITING

Michelle,

The impulse to save the world from itself is a strong one. One that cannot and should not be ignored.

You don't know why you do this. I do. You do it because you are a romantic an optimist. You do it because despite all of the dreck, the stupidity and the naked evil you examine on a regular basis you believe that there are those that are good and rational and honest. Yo do it because if you can reach one such person you will have made the world a better place.

You do it because it needs to be done.

Damn that hits home, kiddo. Gut deep like a punch in the stomach. One of those days, eh? ;]

Started to blog this, and then I realised that maybe you need it as much as I need to remember and write it sometimes.

"Before I started a blog, I didn't know that much about world affairs. Now I feel like I know too much. And it all comes tumbling out every morning, sometimes in the afternoon and evening, and jesus christ people, aren't you getting tired of it? Aren't you tired of reading what I'm tired of writing?"

Sure. And I get tired of it too. That's why I do the guns and hunting posts, blog about training the dog and birthing the cats, do the humour and the absurdity posts, and the weekly movie reviews and cooking posts, and the odd absurdity roundups in amongst the serious news in the Spam! posts. And it's why Denita writes about gardening and the kid et al. It's a break from the routine atrocities and the idiocies - a break we damned well have to have: both us and our readers.

If we don't, we get a freaking surfeit of this crap, and it eats at our bloody souls. And we die inside, just a little bit, every damned time.

And we always come back to it, too. Wolves circling outside the campfires... keeping the other predators off of our turf. "This far - no farther." Or else.

"But what good is it doing me to rant and rave every day? What purpose does it serve to sit down at the keyboard every morning and type away about terrorism and war when nearly everyone who reads this thing feels the same way I do?"

This is going to sound pretentious as hell, but I don't give a flying rats ass if it does:

We come back to it because we have to. We do it because, blessing or curse, we have The Words. And the Words won't let us go, and they won't let us walk too far away from it... because we die just a little bit when we do that, also.

It's the art of the Bard: to wield The Words like a scalpel; to incite, to inflame, to illuminate, to obfuscate, to clarify, to scorn, to mock... to send a great honking bellow of ribald scorn out into the world and frag the darkness; to bring down the mighty; and to raise up those who need the cheer with something wickedly funny. To bring light where it's needed, and to bring the sword where it's just. To note the fallen and to commend the standing. To stare into the face of the wolf hours, and to roll them back with laughter and ridicule.
The keep the chronicle of the days so that none may forget... even as we are forgotten.

We're the new Bards. We have The Words. And the Words won't fucking let us go, once they're in us. ;)

1200 years ago and more, our kind raised Kings, and tore down the high. We went where we pleased, and did as we would. We wielded scorn and praise where it fit.. and we kept the lore, and we passed it on so that the Ideals didn't die.

shrug The ancient enemy is still the same. It just wears different faces. Today it's the jihadist and the idiotarian, but behind the mask it's still the same flat silver eyes and vacuous mindless cheer behind the greasepaint and sharksteeth grin. It lives in the darkness of the Wolf Hours where we do. Tomorrow it'll have a different face... and if we have done right by The Words, theer'll be others to stand in the firelight against it.

And all of that's irrelevant. snicker We do it because we fucking have to, and because the words won't let us go. And because if we don't, then it may not be done. because we have the fire, and while it burns, we can't do anything else until it releases us.

Pre10tious? wolf grin Fucking-A. And Prideful and Arrogant and a hundred other things - but it's also true.

Take the breaks as they come, write the words as they occur, and enjoy the ride - until the muse lets us go and we burn and gutter out. You know as well as I do that when the Words are right... there's no other feeling in the universe like it: not life, not death, not drugs, not even sex. I don't think that you can walk away before your time any more than I can.

And remember that you're not alone.

Amen Bear! I'm new to the online blog thing. I have journaled for years but then I noticed this blog thing...monitored it for a while...then started looking at it seriously. Great way for me to say "I told ya so" when my said sooths come to be reality.

Keep yer head up Michele! You are an inspiration to me and probably all kinds of other folks out there. Like Bear said, there are those of us that have Words that we just gotta put down somewhere. They may make no sense to anyone but us but whether it's on a napkin, in a journal, or in a blog, they gotta come out or you will start having complete conversations with yourself...hmmm...I already do that but that's for me and my therapist to talk about...

You blog for us, the silent majority. We come and read and absorb what you have written. We find ourselves validated. We see that we are not alone. You feel our pain in a very public way that we may not have time for or the boldness. But we come here and read your words every day. And we come away stronger. Please don't stop because you are lending the rest of us your strength. It helps us to see our convictions reflected here because most of the mirrors out here in the world are circus mirrors but yours feels more true than most. You may feel from tim eto time that you are alone, that you are babbling, that you have said this a hundred times... But we need to share it with you. We need to know that we are not alone and reasonable people can agree that Indymedia and Democrat Underground ARE insane. Please understand; you validate us. You validate me. I may not require validation but it is sure nice to have... Thank you!

I feel kinda silly adding my own comment at the end of all these great one's. I agree with so many of them, and a lot of them said it a lot better than I can.

I guess just know that I appreciate what you do. A lot. And I for one think it's important.

And, Damn it! What happened to Rachel Lucas? I loved her too, in her turn. Real life intrudes I suppose... Please, please hang in there... eventually you should be able to hack these missives into a book and then we will all buy it and you can have a bigger house. So there!

Didn't expect him to have the guts to say this but maybe people are standing up and being counted. Former Archbishop of Canterbury for example
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/03/26/narch26.xml

I can't tell you why you do what you do, but you do it well. Keep up the good work.

"Most American people already understand why 9/11 happened"

Yes, I know why it happened. It was because Bush broke into pre-crime and stole the most gifted pre-cog -- Agatha.

Wait....Bush is Tom Cruise??

Bush has proposed an increase in funding for more Tom Cruise missiles...

Ok, so it was a stretch. :)

Oh, please Michele! No more soliciting pity from your readers. You know why you write--

But when will you stop and question what you think you know about Sept 11? I am reading the Richard Clarke book and I find it a relief that at least ONE member of the goddamn Bush administration has offered an apology. What do you mean your government didn't fail you? Would you feel the same way if Clinton had been in the Oval Office that day?
I'll give you one very simple way this could have been stopped: if Logan Airport had not been served by minimum wage rent-a-cops then maybe Mohammad Atta would have been stopped before boarding flight 11.
You can learn from past mistakes. these hearings will go a long way toward highlighting those mistakes.

Brad:

  • You'll know when I'm trying to solicit pity - I will write something like "Pity me, fools."

*I know what I need to know about 9/11. Everything else is black helicopter worthy.

  • Glad you're reading Clarke's book. Now compare it to his testimony. Get back to me on that one.
  • Clinton: Check the five or so times this week alone that I said I believe both Clinton and Bush did the best they could. By the way, I voted for Clinton last time around.
  • You mean the Logan Airport that John Kerry received warnings about regarding their crap security? The warnings Kerry ignored?
  • These hearings are a waste of America's time. Who the hell cares about the past when we are looking at genocide in our future?

"Who the hell cares about the past when we are looking at genocide in our future?"

How smug.

What happened to Santayana's maxim: "He who forgets the past is condemned to relive it"

Or a more recent statement, from former Senate Intelligence Committee chair Bob Graham:
"The American people deserve to know what their government has done -- and should be doing -- to protect them from terrorists, and who should be held accountable for shortcomings that have left our country vulnerable."

Give me a break, Brad. These hearings merely provide both sides a chance to parade and preen and act important, to pretend they care about the failures of 9/11, not about who the current holder of the Presidential office is. It's all about trying to assign blame to the other guy, whoever he may be, in order to get (or keep) power.

These hearings are meaningless, just like Clarke's apology.

What happened to Santana's maxim?

"Got a black magic wo-maaaaan".

Keep writing, Michelle. Good lord, without people like you, there's just Hannidy and Coulter and folks like that there.

But one thing about Clarke. Was he aware that his apology was going to have a political effect? Sure. He's a career civil servant. Was it nonetheless sincere? I think so, and I think it reflects a deep level of frustration.

Was Busharu the only one looking in the wrong place at the wrong time, approaching the situation with the wrong tools? Hell no. Dates back to Carter, at the very least. But Bush is the problem right now and with any luck, Kerry will be the next problem.

But aside from all of that - when the HELL did you see anyone last get up on their hind legs and apologise for what they percieved to be a personal failure in service to the American people?!?

I really like the precident, whatever the motives.

I think you should stop writing.

By the way, this comment...

"Personally I feel that Clarke has no integrity and I DO NOT accept his apology.

My apology is being "collected" by the men and women of the US armed forces."

...was brilliant.

In the words of a famous wizard:

"Do not be so quick to deal out death and judgement, for not even the wisest can see all that will come to pass."