Shortly after the attacks on 9/11, a stunned nation struggled to explain how such noxious hatred could have formed and congealed into the heinous plot that took the lives of so many innocent people. In a statement that still ranks amongst the most feeble-minded insults to America’s intelligence, George W. Bush proclaimed that “they hate us for our freedom.”
As observers who were less dim-witted than the inarticulate, persistently mediocre, dynastic runt who occupied the White House began to weigh in on the post-9/11 analysis, there were reasoned commentaries that outlined how the foreign policy of the United States could have contributed to the response taken by the Al Qaeda extremists. Many nationalistic Arabs and Islamic zealots resented our meddling in their affairs. However, when the thoughtful experts who offered these insights came forward, they were quickly castigated for what daft conservatives called “blaming America.” Any suggestion that our own actions might have set off the radical fringe groups in the Middle East was tantamount to treason.
Cut to April 2013. The aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing predictably inflamed the same small-minded wingnuts who fell for Bush’s tripe and they are now resorting to a “blame America” pose of their own. With a president whom they regard as illegitimate, unqualified, and unfamiliar with their brand of white, Christian pseudo-patriotism, it is suddenly acceptable to assign responsibility for a terrorist act to the government they simultaneously love and hate.
Yesterday on his radio program, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade explicitly laid the blame for the the Boston tragedy on the steps of the White House:
“[Y]ou talk to these radicals in the Middle East and they say, ‘America, don’t get involved, leave us alone.’ So like it or not, this president has left them alone. And guess what happens? Now the IEDs are blowing up in our streets. So what are we supposed to learn from that?”
Setting aside the fact that Kilmeade offered no evidence of Obama having “left alone” any Middle East nation, or otherwise abandoning our interests in the region, his remarks plainly assert that the events of the past week in Boston were the fault of America’s behavior, rather than that of the perpetrators. In late 2001, that would have been considered blasphemy. In addition, Kilmeade is presuming that there is a jihadist component to the marathon bombing for which there is currently no proof.
Not to be left out, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly penned an op-ed that espoused the familiar and disturbing notion that “Freedom puts all of us at risk.” This might have been a perfectly reasonable articulation of the view that a free people are necessarily exposed to risks due to limitations on the part of government to interfere with their private lives. But that is not what O’Reilly meant. At the end of the same paragraph he disparagingly referred to the “security be damned” “zealots” who protest privacy invasions like warrantless wiretapping, “stop and frisk,” and deadly drone missions that too often result in the loss of innocent lives. So O’Reilly clearly does regard freedom as a dispensable impediment to security.
The rest of O’Reilly’s article is a laughable defense of his absurd statement that the Boston marathon bombing was not a tragedy by some imaginary definition he concocted. He doubles down on that theme by asserting that the desire of fanatics who want to kill us “is not tragic; it is real.” And he concludes by demanding that Obama “bring a sense of urgency to terrorism.” How Obama should behave differently, and where the lack of urgency is, O’Reilly never bothers to explain.
Both of these Fox News mouthpieces are advancing the notion that the harm done to America is of its own making. And unlike the rational perspectives put forth by informed analysts after 9/11, O’Reilly and Kilmeade are unable to support their positions which are nothing more than diatribes aimed at an administration they detest. What is certain is that their conservative brethren will fail to condemn them for blaming America, as they did when others were accused of the same offense. Apparently blaming America is just fine if it’s done by right-wingers who can’t form a coherent argument, and it’s aimed at a Democratic president they blame for everything else anyway.