What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
Also published in the New York Times yesterday, editor Bill Keller’s re-examining of his stance as a hawk on Iraq and the Times reports that helped the Bush administration sell its case for war. “Reporters at The Times made amends for the credulous prewar stories with investigations of the bad intelligence and with brave, relentless and illuminating coverage of the war and occupation,” Mr. Keller wrote. “But what The Times writes casts a long shadow. For years, our early stories hyping Iraq’s menace (and to a lesser extent what people like me wrote on the opinion pages) fed a suspicion, especially on the left, that we were not to be trusted.”