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Either With Us Or Against Us?

I was living in New York City when terrorists brought down the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and I remember clear as day the way people rallied around President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the attack, setting aside party differences and ideological conflicts in favor of a unified front shown to the world. Of course the goodwill extended to Bush didn't last forever -- but it still was very much real, even if short-lived.

Now, nine years later, back home in Detroit and looking around at the reaction in the aftermath of yet another terror attempt (this one thankfully botched), I can't help but wonder why President Barack Obama can't get even a modicum of this kind of support. Instead, barely two weeks out from the incident, even as we still work to piece together what happened and what went wrong, the President's ideological opponents just won't stop reaching for dull knives in petty attempts to hamstring the man...

Harry Truman made "the buck stops here" the motto of his presidency and set a standard for accepting responsibility for the workings of an administration.

None of that for Obama. He has set himself up as the aggrieved party, as angry and appalled as everyone else that the terrorist was allowed to board the plane.

Listen, I'm not saying don't criticize the man. I'm not against that at all. But really, do so many of these criticisms from what many regard as respected perches have to be such a reach, so groundless and silly? Do they have to seem so crass and opportunistic? And why is that we never heard these same folks level these same criticisms at Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks or even Richard Reid's failed shoe-bombing? Three thousand Americans died on Bush's watch, and we still haven't caught man behind it all. Even so, Dubya never once "owned" anyone's failures (not even his own) -- and so many of the same people who jump feet first on Obama now never made so much as a peep in '01.

I dunno. Maybe back then it was considered "patriotic" to silently watch that proverbial buck reach the President's desk and whiz on by.

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  • 1

    Great points. My opinion is that the lack of any deaths allows the partisans (who are many) to get away with their political game playing. Had the plane went down, there would be more rallying around the President (at least I like to think that there would have been).

    • 1.1

      Do you think wuld have been? Do you really believe the nation would react to damage in Detroit the same way it did to the World Trade Center collapse? I doubt it. Most of the time when 9/11 is mentioned it's about New York, with the Pentagon and the PA crash seemingly forgotten.

  • 2

    They always prefer to say 'With Us' nevertheless they are usually ' Against Us '.
    As itt is more 'profitable' and convenient' for their 'business'...

  • 4

    Darrell, could we get a little more Detroit-centric blogging and less commentary on national and international politics?

    There are 100,000 bloggers commenting on the big political issues of the day but just a handful making insightful comments about Detroit. I'd love to see more on Detroit in Time's Detroit Blog. The Time Detroit project started out strong but seems to have petered out.

    I'm not saying to stop writing on the political issues that engage you, but perhaps you could blog on those somewhere other than in a blog dedicated to Detroit, and concentrate on Detroit issues here.

    Also, though it may not be what you've been asked to do here for Time, I'd love to see more original reporting on significant Detroit issues.

  • 5

    Terrorists have been plotting to kill us before Bush even got into office. Apparently Bill Clinton wanted to, or had the chance to, kill Osama...but at that time the world would have gasped and wondered why. Time goes by, Osama gathers his minons, and they creep their way into our country, robotically learning our culture so they can blend in, biding their time until they are ordered to flip the kill switch. 9/11 happens, and our world is changed forever. Bush said he'd get Osama, and he could have, but IMO only by carpet-bombing large swaths of areas he might be hiding in. Can't do that, cause America doesn't carpet-bomb (in this case, a pity). Terrorists don't fight like men, they hide in caves, they have no honor. I don't even consider them human.

    For any President to know every single move these terrorists make is an impossible job. It's up to the CIA, FBI, etc, to keep track of these losers. That bomber guy should never have boarded that plane, and IMO Obama was just as shocked as we were when he learned he had. A normal reaction, if you ask me.

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