September 16, 2021

Cruelty is a Feature, Not an Accident

By Glenn

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 ignited the rise of Big Government Conservatism.  Just a few months before, George W. Bush had won a razor thin election by presenting himself as a compassionate conservative. 

Within days of the September attacks his mask fell off. Bush started to channel the blood lust rising in conservative circles.  I will never forget my drive home on September 11. 

The local radio talk show hosts were interviewing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican moderate.  The WBAP hosts asked her if the United States was prepared to use nuclear weapons against the attackers.  Hutchison responded that a nuclear retaliation was possible.

That morning, no one knew who was responsible for the attacks.  No one could know how many innocent people a nuclear bomb would kill.  Despite this ignorance, this so called conservative moderate entertained the idea of murdering thousands as revenge. 

George W. Bush fed this blood lust.  Just days after the attack, he started building a false case against Iraq.  President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney fabricated an excuse to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Bush, Cheney, Fox News and talk radio then destroyed anyone that challenged their lies.  Conservatives called men like Senator Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam Veteran, a coward and traitor for opposing the Iraq War. 

Congressional Republicans jumped on the war bandwagon.  When America’s ally France tried to silence the drums of war, Congressional Republicans changed the menu in the cafeteria.  French fries became Freedom Fries.  French Toast became Freedom Toast.

Exploiting the September 11 attacks for political gain was very popular with the Republican base.  In 2004 Democrats nominated John Kerry, another Vietnam War Veteran, as their candidate.  Bush donors spread lies and smeared his service record.

Conservatives embraced the Swift Boat lies.  At the Republican Convention, participants mocked John Kerry’s service to America by wearing band aides with small Purple Hearts.  They falsely claimed Kerry faked his injuries to win one of America’s highest honors.

The 2008 Presidential election was no better.  Conservatives fabricated and spread the racist, bigoted lie that Barack Obama was a foreign born Muslim.  When the Republican nominee and Vietnam War hero John McCain defended Obama from these lies, conservatives turned on him too.

The September 11 attacks poisoned American conservatism.  Politicians, Fox News, and talk show hosts embraced cruelty and pain.   They demonized anyone who promoted compromise and dialogue.  Healing America requires facing this ugly truth.

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