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9.11 investigation

A Beautiful Mindset: The Left Attacks from the Right

These beautiful minds seem to have forgotten that calling oneself a progressive usually requires one to espouse progressive viewpoints. In their frenzy to assail Republicans, some on the Left are actually attacking Bush from the right. This beautiful mindset makes it possible for purported progressives to hate Bush for going overboard after 9/11 and hate him for not going overboard before 9/11.
Weekend Edition
April 16 / 18, 2004

A Beautiful Mindset

The Left Attacks from the Right

By MICKEY Z.

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

-Barbara Bush, on ABC/Good Morning America, March 18, 2003

Barbara Bush, a woman responsible for the profound observation that "war is not nice," may perceive her mind as beautiful...but it's more of a state of mind she's talking about (and the concept of beauty need not apply).

As South African activist Steven Biko said: "The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed" and this mindset of denial pervades both Right and Left these days. How else can we explain all the beautiful minds bestowing importance upon doublespeaking distractions like the 9/11 Commission hearings and the infamous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (PBD)?

Even if we were to assume for a moment that Richard Clarke was telling the truth, there is absolutely no reason why his book or testimony should offer any solace to the Left. Blaming Bush in an election year is convenient but hardly relevant...and to support Clarke is to support more military and less civil rights. It is support for pre-emptive strikes and increased power to U.S. secret police. Somehow, this hasn't stopped lefties from exploiting the hearings to push their Anyone-But-Bush (ABB) agenda.

Writing in The Nation, John Nichols narrows the 9/11 focus down to Condoleeza Rice being asked about "the title of President (sic) Bush's daily briefing document for August 6, 2001." Nichols explains: "After several inept attempts to avoid the question, Rice finally answered, 'I believe the title was, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.'"

Fellow Nation writer, David Corn jumped on the same issue: "Rice's handling of this dicey topic undermines her credibility," he wrote (as if she ever had credibility in genuinely progressive quarters). "In May 2002, the White House, responding to a CBS News report, acknowledged that Bush had received this PDB and that the briefing had noted that bin Laden was interested in hijacking aircraft. This news caused a brief media and political frenzy. Had Bush ignored a warning that 9/11-like attacks were coming?"

At Alternet, where the ABB mindset has effectively forced out any opposing viewpoints, David J. Sirota, Christy Harvey, and Judd Legum scold the Bush White House for not endorsing "F.B.I. requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators" and vetoing "a request to divert $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism."

These beautiful minds seem to have forgotten that calling oneself a progressive usually requires one to espouse progressive viewpoints. In their frenzy to assail Republicans, some on the Left are actually attacking Bush from the right. This beautiful mindset makes it possible for purported progressives to hate Bush for going overboard after 9/11 and hate him for not going overboard before 9/11.

Convenient, huh?

Richard Clarke offered nothing of relevance at the hearings and time spent analyzing his testimony is essentially time wasted. The important questions were never asked...the important witnesses never called. Hands were wrung over Condi Rice but why would anyone expect her to provide any context or historical perspective? Why is it worth the time or effort to dissect her comments when, for example, Nobel Peace Prize winner (and Democrat) Jimmy Carter was nowhere to be found? Why not start by holding him accountable for U.S. actions in the late 70s that helped create the very terror networks (and blowback) Clarke feared? The Left will make hay over Bush's handling (or mishandling) of pre-9/11 warnings and make it an "issue" in the presidential race but who will demand answers from Zbigniew Brzezinski who, started the $6 billion effort at Carter's behest? When asked about this effort in 1998, Brzezinski replied: "What was more important...a few stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?" Perhaps that group of 9/11 widows would like to ask the same question, but the Left is too busy frying Rice and burning Bush.

"The history of Afghanistan and the U.S. involvement in it provide a stark example of the costs of using countries as pawns and of elevating control of resources such as oil over human rights," writes Mark Zepezauer in his brilliant book, Boomerang. "The consequences, as we suddenly learned on September 11, have hit home."

The consequences hit home but the connections are not being made. The beautiful mindset wants John Kerry in the White House...not a history lesson on U.S. intervention in Afghanistan.

Speaking of Afghanistan, another offshoot of this let's-pretend approach is the much-trumpeted "movement" to oppose the occupation of Iraq while the U.S. taxpayer-subsidized occupation of Afghanistan garners little notice and, in case of subversives like Tim Robbins, is greeted with support. (Then there's always the occupation of North America...but I digress). Hell, some of today's radicals are even blaming Dubya for not going after Afghanistan before the planes hit the towers...as Richard Clarke might have preferred (even though 15 of the19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and none came from Afghanistan).

"It is much easier to be against the blatantly illegal Iraq war," says Sonali Kolhatkar ( http://www.uprisingradio.org). "But Afghanistan was another situation. How could we argue that the U.S. should not bomb a country that was harboring terrorists who attacked innocent U.S. civilians? Perhaps activists have avoided Afghanistan because of its obvious links to Al Qaeda and the tempting promise by Bush to deliver freedom for the most oppressed women in the world."

Perhaps it's also because too many of those same activists live in a make-believe world where issues are reduced to simplistic slogans and false solutions...and hatred of Republicans blinds them to reality.

Reality? Did I foolishly mention reality? As Barbara Bush might say: "It's not relevant...why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

~ ~ ~

Mickey Z. is the author of two upcoming books: "A Gigantic Mistake: Articles and Essays for Your Intellectual Self-Defense" (Prime Books/Library Empyreal) and "the Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda" (Common Courage Press). He can be reached at  mzx2@earthlink.net

homepage: homepage: http://www.counterpunch.org/mickey04162004.html
address: address: CounterPunch

Try chanting 19.Apr.2004 13:31

politics as possible

The "beautiful mindset" of progressives has an Achilles heal in that "hatred of Republicans blinds them [progressives] to reality." But, of course, the "beautiful mindset" of radicals has a similar weakness in that hatred of Democrats blinds them (radicals) to reality. It's all about forging a mindset that is proof against any invading reality. That is something that is much easier for a soignee member of the international ruling elite (like Barbara Bush) than for working people in U.S.A. today. We have no choice but to acknowledge the realities of our daily lives and forge our own mindsets (probably politically incorrect by either progressive or radical standards). Recommendation: turn off the teevee and avoid all mainstream media like the plague that it is. Think for youself.

OR

Barbara Bush was once asked if her son, Dubya, was sincere in his religiousity. She replied, "He's our [the Bush family's] guru."

So, try chanting.

Try chanting "GWB Is Reagan, Phase III." 19.Apr.2004 15:07

karl rove

the fascists are in power - at least, until Peak Oil hits - and voting for Kerry only buys you more.

(even if Kerry 'wins', you lose)

KARL ROVE 19.Apr.2004 15:58

politics as possible

I'm trying it, but it ain't working. It's giving me a headache. Not consciousness raising at all. But I'll keep trying a while longer:

"Even if Kerry loses, I win-n-n-n."

"Even if Kerry loses, I win-n-n-n."

"Even if Kerry loses, I win-n-n-n."

(Maybe you have to be Karl Rove for it to work.)

to 'politics as possible' - 19.Apr.2004 16:49

you got it wrong.

it's not "Even if Kerry loses, I win-n-n-n."

it's actually:

"No matter who wins, the FASCIST MULTIMILLIONAIRE WARMONGERS win-n-n-n."

"There's hardly anything more important that people can learn than the fact that the really critical thing isn't who is sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in- in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating- those are the things that determine what happens."
-- Howard Zinn


Progressives can be politicians too 19.Apr.2004 21:29

It's all about compromise

The majority of Americans are not progressive and never will be. Therefore it is inevitable that Progressives will sell-out and start selling Amway.

TO "you got it wrong" 20.Apr.2004 13:35

politics as possible

Excellent quote from Zinn. But it has to be modified in the 21st Century context. First of all, as for factory sit-down strikes, shutting down production and so forth, there is an obvious problem for us here in the U.S. The factories have mostly been exported. But it's part of the romantic leftist dream --- the masses of factory workers marching shoulder-to-shoulder in phalanxes and shutting everything down.

Also, as for the sit-in tactic in the streets and in the halls of government --- doesn't the intensification of the government's repression and suppression infrastructure have something to do with that? Have you gotten into a U.S. Courthouse carrying a leftist poster lately? Thus, I have suggested that there is a significant difference between Bush's support of Ashcroft's "Patriot Act II" and Kerry's support of the automatic retirement of "Patriot Act I" under the "sunset" provision in the original Act.

Clearly, however, political action limited to voting is . . . limiting.

'pop' 20.Apr.2004 16:17

ygiw

"a significant difference between Bush's support of Ashcroft's "Patriot Act II" and Kerry's support of the automatic retirement of "Patriot Act I" under the "sunset" provision in the original Act."

--"Kerry support", "Bush support" blah blah blah. a romantic leftist dream, and totally unsubstantiated rhetoric at this point. Is Kerry going to abolish - or do anything at all - about Camp X-Ray / Guantanamo?

Kerry voted IN FAVOR of USA Patriot Act. we'll all see what happens to the USA Patriot Act.

(p.s. good luck if this is what you've hung you're 'hopes' for Kerry on)

"ygiw" 20.Apr.2004 18:17

"pap"

YGIW says: "p.s. good luck if this is what you've hung you're 'hopes' for Kerry on"

Why the quotes around 'hopes' ? --- I haven't used that word. I suppose, however, that I will hope for the best if Kerry is elected, but I will hope for the best no matter what. That's why, although I am basically a Green, I am voting for Kucinich on May 18. I won't take the cheap shot of asking you about your "hopes for Bush" --- but, since you're interested in "hopes", what do you hang your hopes (for yourself and for the world) on?

blah 21.Apr.2004 00:39

blah blah

"Why the quotes around 'hopes' ? --- I haven't used that word. I suppose, however, that I will hope for the best if Kerry is elected, but I will hope for the best no matter what."

--why do you keep bringing up Kerry's vague statement about the "sunset provision" then? what is the point of even bringing that up? is this the one thing that makes Kerry such a great guy (after having voted the Act into law, thanks John)?

The Patriot Act is here until repealed - period, end.

"although I am basically a Green, I am voting for Kucinich on May 18."

--well, that means RIGHT NOW you are a registered Democrat.

"I won't take the cheap shot . . .what do you hang your hopes (for yourself and for the world) on?"

--Peak Oil. coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

TO: BLAH BLAH BLAH 21.Apr.2004 09:52

politics as possible

blah blah link
"Why the quotes around 'hopes' ? --- I haven't used that word. I suppose, however, that I will hope for the best if Kerry is elected, but I will hope for the best no matter what."

--why do you keep bringing up Kerry's vague statement about the "sunset provision" then? what is the point of even bringing that up? is this the one thing that makes Kerry such a great guy (after having voted the Act into law, thanks John)?

"Blah Blah Blah" says: "The Patriot Act is here until repealed - period, end."

The Patriot Act doesn't have to be repealed because the "sunset" provision means that it will automatically die unless perpetuated by another "Patriot Act." So that's the point: Bush supports the Patriot Act as is, or in form that expands police powers of the Federal government --- Kerry doesn't support that.

"Blah Blah" quotes me, as follows: "although I am basically a Green, I am voting for Kucinich on May 18." Then "Blah Blah Blah" says: "that means RIGHT NOW you are a registered Democrat."

Yeah, that's right. So what's your registration right now --- or are you registered to vote at all?

"Blah Blah" quotes me asking: "what do you hang your hopes (for yourself and for the world) on?"
"Blah Blah" responds: "Peak Oil. coming soon to a neighborhood near you."

Okay, so Peak Oil is coming soon, but until then, what do you propose? I guess you are just hunkering down and living a survivalist life-style, hording up essentials and trade items, so as to survive and be ready to prosper when Peak Oil arrives? Anything in your plans about community or global consciousness? Any political action at all? Not advocating voting? Advocating revolution? What caliber of ammo do you recommend I should be stockpiling? Just wondering.

pap, you need to educate yourself 21.Apr.2004 12:55

ex-democrat voter

The Patriot Act will not "automatically die". The sunset provisions are not for the entire act but only for selected portions of it. It needs to be repealed and Kerry has never stated that he supports repealing it. In fact, just the opposite he has stated of the Patriot Act, "I think there are good parts to it and bad parts to it."

Kerry voted for the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act and doesn't plan to repeal either. The best thing for Kerry supporters to do is either to lobby Kerry to change his position or begin explaining why we "need" the Patriot Act (or portions of it at least) and the Homeland Security Act as Kerry believes.

Off The Newswire Now, Nobody Cares Anyway. 21.Apr.2004 12:59

blah blah blah

why do you keep bringing up Kerry's vague statement about the "sunset provision" then? what is the point of even bringing that up? is this the one thing that makes Kerry such a great guy (after having voted the Act into law, thanks John)? "Blah Blah Blah" says: "The Patriot Act is here until repealed - period, end." The Patriot Act doesn't have to be repealed because the "sunset" provision means that it will automatically die unless perpetuated by another "Patriot Act." So that's the point: Bush supports the Patriot Act as is, or in form that expands police powers of the Federal government --- Kerry doesn't support that."

--good luck. Kerry has already stated he'll fight a "better" 'war on terror' than Bus$h & Co. will. all it takes is one 'terror' blast to blow your "sunset" to hell, and make USA Patriot PERMANENT.

"that means RIGHT NOW you are a registered Democrat." Yeah, that's right. So what's your registration right now --- or are you registered to vote at all?"

--of course I'm registered. and I will - as always - be casting my vote for local / regional / Congressional races where I have a much greater proportional chance of influencing the outcome with it. but unlike you, I'm not getting all bent out of shape about the Presidential candidates.

Okay, so Peak Oil is coming soon, but until then, what do you propose?

--nothing.

can't stop it from arriving. only prepare for the massive change in lifestyle.