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Sep 11 2011

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads have been preempted by the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Ahmed Rashid: And Hate Begat Hate

LAHORE, Pakistan

IN their shock after Sept. 11, 2001, Americans frequently asked, “Why do they hate us so much?” It wasn’t clear just who “they” were – Muslims, Arabs or simply anyone who was not American. The easy answer that many Americans found comforting was equally vague: that “they” were jealous of America’s wealth, opportunities, democracy and what have you.

But in this part of the world – in Pakistan, where I live, and in Afghanistan next door, from which the Sept. 11 attacks were directed – those who detested America were much more identifiable, and so were their reasons. They were a small group of Islamic extremists who supported Al Qaeda; a larger group of students studying at madrasas, which had expanded rapidly since the 1980s; and young militants who had been empowered by years of support from Pakistan’s military intelligence services to fight against India in Kashmir. They were a tiny minority of Pakistan’s 150 million people at the time. In their eyes, America was an imperial, oppressive, heathen power just like the Soviet Union, which they had defeated in Afghanistan.

Michelle Chen: Ten Years On, Sick Ground Zero Workers Still Without Proper Care

This weekend, the public will mourn a site of loss, recasting the painful memories and haunting fears that still hover over the aftermath at Ground Zero. But the people who worked and breathed that tragedy in the days and months following September 11 won’t be at the primary commemoration ceremony for the families of victims. The Mayor’s decision to limit the attendees by excluding the 9/11 first responders is an unnerving metaphor for an unhealed scar of 9/11. Many of the rescue and recovery workers who labored at Ground Zero have been plagued by a metastasizing medical crisis, aggravated by chronic political failure.

This week, 9/11 firefighters and police chiefs rallied to demand changes to the rules governing compensation for health problems tied to poisonous air and debris at Ground Zero. They want federal funds to support treatment for cancer, which is currently omitted from the primary legislation covering Ground Zero-related medical needs. For years, researchers have been uncovering fresh evidence of widespread and devastating illnesses afflicting a large portion of people exposed to the aftermath; ongoing health issues range from crippling lung and breathing problems to post-traumatic stress disorder. But adequate funding for 9/11 workers has often been ensnared in political gridlock, not to mention the general incompetence of the healthcare system.

David Sirota: Growing Up: Why Schools Need to Teach 9/11

Kids must learn the complex truths about the attacks to combat the Islamophobic myths they’ve grown up with

Ten years ago this week, I, like many living in Washington at the time, was fleeing my office building. In those minutes of mayhem, I knew only what the police were screaming: Get out fast, because we’re being attacked by terrorists.

In the years since 9/11, we’ve learned a lot about that awful day — and about ourselves.

We’ve learned, for instance, about the attack’s mechanics — we know which particular terrorists orchestrated it and how many lives those mass murderers tragically destroyed. We also know about 9/11’s long-term legacy — we have healthcare data showing that it created a kind of mass post-traumatic stress disorder, and we have evidence that it generated a significant rise in anti-Muslim bigotry. And, of course, we’ve learned that our government can turn catastrophes like 9/11 into political weapons that successfully coerce America into supporting wars and relinquishing civil liberties.

Ray McGovern: Bird-Dogging Torturers in NYC

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 nears, many ex-Bush administration officials who approved torture in the “war on terror” and botched the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are back in the spotlight taking bows from appreciative audiences in tightly controlled settings.

Back in my native New York on Thursday afternoon, I was bolstered by a scene of what I call real New Yorkers (along with tourists and honking cab drivers) joining in a protest of the adulation bestowed on torture lawyer John Yoo at the swank University Club off Fifth Avenue.

What became gradually and reassuringly clear is that New York continues to be a tale of two cities. And those whom my grandmother used to call “the swells” remain a loud but increasingly transparent minority.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The New GOP: Anti-Kids, Anti-Jobs, Anti-Business… And Anti-Republican

This is not your father’s (or mother’s) GOP. During a time of national crisis, the president has submitted an urgently-needed jobs bill that is well within the mainstream for Republicans as well as Democrats. But today’s Republicans are a new breed, dedicated not to their country or even an ideology.

Who could best express the absurd lengths these politicians will go to destroy anything that’s stands in their way? Nobody I can think of — except Groucho Marx. But before Groucho has his say, let’s have ours.

Their refusal to pass the strongest provisions in this reasonable bill, if that’s what they choose to do, will be conclusive proof that their only allegiances are to their own re-elections and the massive corporations that they serve. This bill is far from perfect, but it’s a start.

Maureen Dowd: Sleeping Barry Awakes

WOW, what a relief.

The president was strong and House Republicans were conciliatory.

There was only one teensy-weensy problem: The president is weak and House Republicans are obstructionist.

Congressional Republicans, heeding polls indicating that their all-out assault on President Obama was risky, finally tempered their public comments after the jobs speech on Thursday and stopped acting like big jerks.

Obama, heeding plummeting polls and beseeching voices from his despairing base, finally deigned to get tough.

In the capital of political tactics, it was just another fine day of faking it.