Blame America First?

Ann Althouse links to a New York Post article in which it is sensationally asserted that “‘Blame U.S. for 9/11’ Idiots” are actually in the majority. Their evidence? A Scripps Howard/Ohio University (OU? Oh Yeah!) poll which shows that 62% believe it’s either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the federal government turned a blind eye to warnings about the kind of attacks that occurred on September 11.

Where do you even start with this? Okay, well, since I have to start somewhere: I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the New York Post equates blaming the Bush administration with blaming the United States in general. When exactly did that happen? Yes, obviously, the Bush administration represents the United States, but that doesn’t mean that it embodies the entire nation. To me, blaming America means blaming our culture or our people for 9/11, which is exactly what ultraconservatives like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell did immediately following the attacks.

But there’s more to it than that. The New York Post would have us believe that 62% of the country have become 9/11 conspiracy theorists, but that’s not the case at all. There’s quite a difference between saying that the government ignored warnings about the 9/11 attacks and saying that the government was involved in perpetrating those attacks, which is what 9/11 conspiracy theorists say.

By lumping those who believe that the government may have ignored the warning signs in with those who believe the government actually carried out 9/11, the New York Post is lumping thinking critics of the Bush administration in with fanatics like Rosie O’Donnell. But as Think Progress points out, it is fact – not conspiracy theory – that the Bush administration did indeed ignore repeated warnings that attacks just like the ones that occurred on September 11, 2001 would occur. Fact, not fiction.

If Americans believe that the Bush administration willfully ignored warnings that 9/11 would occur, that might be more of a conspiracy theory. But if a majority of Americans do believe that, can they be blamed? The Bush administration misled its way into a war that most Americans would not have supported if they had been given the facts, and the Bush administration has again and again misrepresented the facts in regard to a number of issues. As a result, the administration has lost the trust of the public. Can the public be blamed for believing that a president who has manipulated 9/11 to assume unprecedented presidential power might have willfully turned a blind eye to 9/11 warnings?

Finally, I ask you: just who is blaming America first here? The New York Post is ready to assume the worst about a majority of the American people, calling them “idiots.” Ann Althouse refers to the public as foolish. Michelle Malkin declares America a “tinfoil hat nation.” If anybody’s blaming America, it seems to me that it’s the right; and it seems to me that they’re blaming the people for the lack of accountability and honesty within the Bush administration. Maybe they should take the beam out of their own eyes before trying to take the splinters out of the people’s. Their own false rhetoric and lack of transparency have brought us to this point.

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