Sunday, August 15, 2010


Here's Bill Kristol's gloss on one line in the president's speech Friday night:

... For Obama, 9/11 was a "deeply traumatic event for our country." Traumatic events invite characteristic reactions and over-reactions--fearfulness, anger, even hysteria. That's how Obama understands the source of objections to the Ground Zero mosque. It's all emotional. The arguments don't have to be taken seriously. The criticisms of the mosque are the emotional reactions of a traumatized people.

But Americans aren't traumatized. 9/11 was an attack on America, to which Americans have responded firmly, maturely, and appropriately....

So wait -- it's inappropriate to say that Americans were "traumatized" by 9/11? It means you're a contemptuous America-hating appeaser?

Gosh, I guess Kristol just never got around to making this point in August 2004, when, at a campaign rally, President Bush said this about Rudy Giuliani:

I'm proud to be traveling with this good man. He's a great leader, a great friend, and a wonderful American. He showed the world great courage during traumatic times, and I'm proud to be standing by him.

And I guess Kristol also neglected to make this point a few months earlier, when President Bush said of 9/11,

It affected our national psyche and it affected the economy. Remember, we had to shut down Wall Street, and airplanes didn't fly. It was a traumatic time for the American economy.

And I guess Kristol also was too preoccupied to react in 2003 when then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said,

But September 11th, it has to be for me the most traumatic circumstance that I've ever found myself in.

Or in 2002, when President Bush said,

Not only do I believe that we're going to have lasting peace when we achieve our objectives in the war against terror, but I know that afterwards, and during this period of trauma for many Americans, this country's strength, its goodness and compassion will serve as a beacon for the rest of the world to see.

Or in 2001 -- mere weeks after 9/11 -- when Vice President Cheney said of 9/11,

But it was pretty dramatic for all Americans. And I think it forced a lot of us, all of us really, to think anew about how we operate. Certainly about how we function in the government. What our priorities ought to be. It's been, on the one hand, I'm sure, a traumatic experience for a great many people.

Well, Kristol is a busy man, isn't he? Better late than never in denouncing this deeply insulting use of the language -- right?


(Via TBogg, whose response to Kristol is blistering.)


UPDATE: Via Steve Benen, I see that Kristol repeated the nonsense about the word "traumatic" on Fox News yesterday.

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