19 years since I and several thousand of my closest friends walked across a bridge from downtown Washington D.C. into Arlington, Va. and ended up seeking a beer and comfort with my Dear Old Dad—who was in Crystal City and therefore felt the walls shake in the conference room he was in—in the most frazzled feeling neighborhood bar I have ever experienced.
I’ve never been one to agree with those who believe these attacks were actually an inside job. I think hubris and stupid on the parts of Dubya and Cheney and their people was what allowed those 19 shits to commandeer and weaponize those planes. Leadership’s inability to “connect the dots” was cited many times to explain it away, as was a “lack of imagination.” I think Dubya and his crew believed that the Republican party had vanquished The Clinton and therefore did not have to listen to their boogey-boogey talk about some swarthy spectre plotting a devastating attack from some cave bunker.
One would think that the events of 19 years ago would have generally adjusted our leaders’ outlook toward the proactive squint, that it would cause an incoming administration to heed and respect the dire warnings of the outgoing, regardless of politics, regardless of that floating feeling of victory and the rush to plant one’s ass behind the Resolute desk.
One would think.
The author who’s had it most right this year is Steve Benen in The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics. Read that, and you will truly understand the landscape on which we traverse today.
Many were lost at once that day, as many are lost in slow motion through the marathon attack we face now. May better times be near.