Opinion Brief

Did conservatives exploit 9/11?

Paul Krugman outrages the Right by claiming that conservatives "poisoned" the memory of 9/11 by using the tragedy to justify a political agenda

The 9/11 terrorist attacks "should have been a unifying event," says Paul Krugman in The New York Times. Instead, they were hijacked for political gain. "Fake heroes" like ex-New York City police commissioner Bernie Kerik, his boss Rudy Giuliani, "and yes, George W. Bush, raced to cash in on the horror," using the attacks as justification for an unrelated war in Iraq. Krugman charges that "the memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned," and "even people on the Right know this." While commentators on the Right are livid, calling Krugman a "disgusting" and "deranged" coward, and a divisive "idiot," does Krugman have a point?

Of course conservatives exploited 9/11: Wake up, right-wingers, says Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars. Between bankrupting the nation on an Iraq war that had nothing to do with 9/11, approving torture, and letting the TSA grope grandmothers, you've got plenty to be ashamed of. Conservatives "have spent the better part of ten years cheerleading the senseless deaths of thousands of lives that posed no threat to us and the miserly constraining of union rights and health benefits to the first responders." The Right has made plenty of "mistakes... big ones."
"While thinking people grapple with 9/11 legacy..."

No way. It's the Left that politicized 9/11: Krugman's "shameful column" is typical of a strain of liberal derangement in which 9/11 is somehow "right-wing Christmas," says William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. In this view, "conservatives and Republicans are always the culprits." Nice try. Clearly, softie liberals are still bitter that "9/11 proved that their world view was wrong."
"I'm glad Krugman gave voice to it on this day"

Please, let's give this political food fight a rest: "Accusing someone of 'politicizing' a discussion of 9/11 is like accusing someone of 'athleticizing' a discussion of football," says Steven Taylor at Outside the Beltway. Whatever side you come down on, "Bush, Giuliani, 'enhanced interrogations,' the USA-PATRIOT Act, Afghanistan, Iraq, the TSA, and any number of other topics are all deeply political and divisive." That can't be avoided. But the least we can do is be civil about our disagreements.
"On 'politicizing' 9/11"

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