“GOP rep: What if terrorists self-infect and bring Ebola into the U.S.?”, as spotted by Allahpundit at Hot Air, who notes:
This is posted at BuzzFeed without comment apart from a transcript, a classic way to imply “this is preposterous to a newsworthy degree” without actually having to explain why. Here’s Jonathan Last putting some meat on the bones of the idea Joe Wilson is expressing:
What’s to stop a jihadist from going to Liberia, getting himself infected, and then flying to New York and riding the subway until he keels over? This is just the biological warfare version of a suicide bomb. Can you imagine the consequences if someone with Ebola vomited in a New York City subway car? A flight from Roberts International in Monrovia to JFK in New York is less than $2,000, meaning that the planning and infrastructure needed for such an attack is relatively trivial. This scenario may be highly unlikely. But so were the September 11 attacks and the Richard Reid attempted shoe bombing, both of which resulted in the creation of a permanent security apparatus around airports. We take drastic precautions all the time, if the potential losses are serious enough, so long as officials are paying attention to the threat.
BuzzFeed’s point here, I guess, is that it’s bad form for a congressman to articulate this possibility even if plenty of Americans are already worried about it because that would be fearmongering, quite unlike what Democrats do routinely with climate change, the “war on women,” horsesh*t like this, etc etc. It’s one thing for the rank-and-file boobs on the right to see terrorists under every rock, it’s another for a man in power who’s, um, almost certainly going to be reelected anyway to broach the subject. But never mind that. What’s the actual argument for why Last’s point is stupid?
After 9/11, when he wasn’t accused of orchestrating the event himself by at least a third of Democrats, GWB was routinely crucified by the left for not being better prepared for a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. (As I think James Lileks noted years ago in one of his columns, plunging a 747 into the WTC is what just about everybody tries as a goof at least once soon after purchasing Microsoft’s “Flight Simulator” computer game.) But if Bush had been making speeches, starting from say, first running for national office in 1999 until September 10th, 2001 suggesting that the WTC was vulnerable to another terrorist attack, particularly an attack using multiple hijacked airliners by Jihadis on suicide missions, he’d have been looked at by the left, not the least of which their operatives with bylines, as a fear-mongering Strangelove-esque crank and anti-Muslim “racist,” in exactly the same way as GOP Rep. Wilson is being attacked today.
Similarly, the reverse was true from 2003 on: From the moment Desert Storm was over, the left grumbled that Papa Bush had left Saddam Hussein in power, and with a stockpile of WNDs; here’s Al Gore droning on the topic on the campaign stump in 1992. And Bill Clinton lobbed cruise missiles against Saddam and similarly talked of regime change in 1998. Once GWB decided to take Clinton up on the idea in 2003, naturally the left did a political 180.
And now with Hillary soon having to justify her vote for the Iraq War in 2003, the left pivoted once again on Iraq and WMDs, earlier this week, via their leading house organ, the New York Times.
In his article last month in the London Telegraph titled “The greatest cultural victory of the Left has been to disregard the Nazi-Soviet Pact,” Daniel Hannan wrote:
When Hitler attacked the USSR – to the utter astonishment of Stalin, who initially ordered his soldiers not to shoot back – it was in everyone’s interest to forget the earlier phase of the war. Western Communists, who had performed extraordinary acrobatics to justify their entente with fascism, now carried out another somersault and claimed that the Nazi-Soviet Pact had only ever been a tactical pause, a moment when Stalin brilliantly stalled while building up his military capacity. Even today, the historiographical imprint of that propaganda lingers.
To the modern reader, George Orwell’s depiction of how enmity alternates between Eurasia and Eastasia seems far-fetched; but when he published his great novel in 1948, such things were a recent memory. It suited Western Leftists, during and after the War, to argue that Hitler had been uniquely evil, certainly wickeder than Stalin. It was thus necessary to forget the enthusiasm with which the two tyrants had collaborated.
They’ve been pivoting ever since; watch next year for the same leftists who accused Hillary of the most virulent racism in 2008 to tell you she’s the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being they’ve ever known in their life.
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Were they wrong then and right now? Or right then and wrong now? Matt Yglesias of GE-sponsored Vox.com says yes.