Some of you might think my description of Chris Christie’s attack on Rand Paul is unfair. You’re wrong, but I understand why you might think so. It is absolutely true that a person could and should appeal to the attack of 9/11 in arguing for our current unconstitutional spying and drone-bombing and arming of terrorists in Syria and our wars, both past and future. I understand that.
But Chris Christie doesn’t offer any argument. He offers nothing but an appeal to prejudice.
“I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. … I’m very nervous about the direction this is moving in.”
If Chris Christie knows a widow or orphan of 9/11 who isn’t either 1. a “blowback” critic of US Mideast foreign policy, or 2. an unapologetic “truther” (which I do not advocate!), then I’m impressed. But if Paul and Christie were given meetings with ten randomly-selected widows or orphans, I think Christie would be in for a shock—assuming he doesn’t already know better.
Again, all this is debatable, but emotional appeals to widows aren’t debate.
Notice that Christie’s tactics are the same that could be, and probably were, used against him when he defended the appointment of a Muslim judge:
Christie thinks his critics were “ignorant,” when they attack the Muslim judge he likes. He declares that Muslims were “inappropriately detained.” Yet he finds such ignorant tactics useful when he needs them. Is it really so obviously dangerous to say that Iraq was inappropriately invaded? Is the current theocratic dictatorship and Al Qaeda hideout in Iraq a worthwhile prize for the price of thousands of dead soldiers? Was handing Iran a natural Shiite ally a great plan?
No matter how Christie understands 9/11, against the understanding of many more widows and orphans than he wants to admit, nothing about that attack justifies making the United State a weaker nation. Getting US citizens compliant to TSA gropings and government spying, doesn’t make them safer; it makes them more likely to fall to tyranny, whether foreign or domestic. Spending the nation into bankruptcy to support an international occupation does not protect the nation from enemies. Sponsoring terrorists (or using a handshake to deny one is doing so) does not make Americans safer. Pretending wars would cost billions or even “pay for themselves” and then spending multi-trillions did not make America more secure.
It would be wonderful to see a reasoned debate between Chris Christie and Rand Paul. It is time to objectively diagnose ourselves, and consider whether or not, rather than being a “wake-up call,” the attacks of September 11, 2001 affected our nation like a brain injury. Has the Bush-Obama strategy amounted to a workable response, or an irrational and dangerous thrashing around in the world? This isn’t the same as deciding whether either of these men are good or evil. We all know what road is paved with good intentions.
While claiming to be for a conversation, Christie seems to be doing all he can to prevent Americans from showing any real interest about where our road is headed.