Back in the old days, when Mort Sahl was a celebrated comedian, he used to tell a story about the time when doing a gig at a university, he took a pretty co-ed out to dinner. Once they were seated and the drinks were poured, he decided to start a conversation, so he said, “You know, today is December 7th.” She stared at him with a blank expression, so he explained: “You know, Pearl Harbor day.” She responded: “Oh, I was never much good at history.”
We were thinking about that this morning while perusing today’s newspapers, except that this time it wasn’t funny. Today is September 11 — an anniversary of 9/11 — but none of the major papers that cross our desk thought that this scarring event in recent American history was worth so much as an editorial peep. Neither the L.A. Times, nor the New York Times had anything to say on the subject. The L.A. Times had a “thumbsucking,” soulsearching op-ed by a former reporter, explaining why she did not explain 9/11 to her children, and the New York Times had an op-ed by some guy explaining that 9/11 was George W. Bush’s fault because he did not respond aggressively enough to CIA reports of an impending but unspecified terrorist attack.
We thought that the gratuitous slaughter of thousands of innocent, civilian Americans might have elicited at least an editorial word of mourning, if nothing else. We try to resist the charges that the American liberal establishment, which includes the major newspapers, hates America, its values and all it stands for to such an extent that it is willing to provide cover for our mortal enemies. How else do you explain this shameful silence? Even if you hate Geoge W. Bush, as so many of them do, didn’t the victims of 9/11 deserve a word of remembrance? And how else do you explain the deletion (self-censorship?) from television of images of Palestinian Arabs dancing in the streets with joy after learning of the 9/11 attacks?
After the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it was an oft-heard slogan for Americans to say “Remember Pearl Harbor!” And the architect of that attack, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto understood that sentiment and voiced his concern that attacking the United States was a dumb idea because it would engender a justified fury on our part, that would not cease until Japan was decisively and totally defeated. “I fear that all we have done,” said he after learning that the Japanese attack preceded a declaration of war, “is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
But 9/11 has not elicited a similar resolve on the part of today’s American establishment. Indeed, not so much as an editorial peep. Shame!