“We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger.” – U.S. President Barack Obama, July 2010
Ladies and gentlemen, our commander-in-chief. Doesn’t he make you proud?
Oh, there’s plenty else to say about the book’s released content, including a particularly pleasing passage in which Obama nakedly says he’s determining an Afghanistan strategy based on potential political gains and losses (“I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party”). Note also his studious avoidance of the words “victory” and “win.” But really, how much further must you go than the above gem?
Now given the source, I assume Obama isn’t going to flatly deny the quote. He hasn’t, as of this writing.
So would anyone care to give me a non-offensive reading of that? What’s the hot, focus group-tested spin on a claim that the United States has “absorbed” the September 11 attacks? I mean, we’re talking about The One here, so surely there is far-reaching wisdom in these words far beyond the superficial. What is it? Or did Woodward mishear the president? What did Obama say instead? Or did the president misspeak? What did Obama mean to say instead?
Shall we ask those who lost family members in the September 11 attacks whether they’ve “absorbed” those attacks? How about the New Yorkers who saw the planes hit? “Absorbed”? Just some run-of-the-mill terrible thing that happened nine years ago, and best forgotten? How about mothers and fathers getting their children back in pine boxes because they died trying to prevent another one? I know they’re delighted to hear the leader of the free world talk about their son’s or daughter’s sacrifice as a consequence of, well, just this thing we’ve “absorbed.”
Oh, and by the way, we can “absorb” another one. No problem.
Like millions of others, after my initial shock, disbelief, and anger, one of the very first things I felt that terrible Tuesday was fear of future attacks. September 11 tore open a whole new world of horrors. If this was possible, what awaited us? Thanks in large part to a vigorous prosecution of the war on terror, we’ve (mostly) avoided that new “reality.” I think it’s absurd to call that luck, just based on the elapsed time. Clearly we are doing a great many things correctly.
I know another 9/11 is possible. I will never accept that it is inevitable. I will never accept the notion that U.S. policy should treat it as inevitable.
That our president believes it, and potential future events like it, are to be “absorbed” is appallingly disgusting.