Kristol finds fault with ‘trauma’

KRISTOL FINDS FAULT WITH ‘TRAUMA’…. On Friday night, when President Obama defended our First American principles while hosting a White House iftar, he initially noted that we must “recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan.” Obama added, “The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.”

The president went on to explain, however, that he believes Muslim Americans “have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country… This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.”

Plenty has been said about the latter part of this sentiment. But leave it to Bill Kristol to find fault with the former.

For Obama, 9/11 was a “deeply traumatic event for our country.” Traumatic events invite characteristic reactions and over-reactions — fearfulness, anger, even hysteria. That’s how Obama understands the source of objections to the Ground Zero mosque. It’s all emotional. The arguments don’t have to be taken seriously. The criticisms of the mosque are the emotional reactions of a traumatized people.

But Americans aren’t traumatized…. Obama (like Bloomberg) doesn’t feel he even has to engage the arguments against the mosque — because he regards his fellow citizens as emotionally traumatized victims, not citizens who might have a reasonable point of view.

Kristol liked this line of thinking so much, he repeated it on Fox News yesterday.

Now, Kristol long ago abandoned the pretense of seriousness or intellectual honesty, so it’s hardly worth nothing how deeply deceptive his criticism is. But I would point the selective outrage on display. Kristol’s whine is predicated on the notion that “deeply traumatic” was the wrong characterization. It’s evidence that the president is, I don’t know, bad or something.

But Steve M. took the next logical step — he found several examples of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their team describing the 9/11 attacks as, you guessed it, “traumatic.”

I can’t find any evidence of Kristol complaining about it at the time.