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Ignoring Things

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"Ignoring Things"

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I don’t watch the Beinart/Goldberg diavlogs because they appear to involve the premise that Jonah Goldberg is a person you should debate seriously, but I found myself reading a James Kirchick post that begins “Given Peter and Jonah’s discussion today about whether or not liberals are ignoring the attempted bombings in London and Glasgow last week, the first thing that came to mind when I heard about the failed bombs was a warning delivered by the British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell almost two years ago to the day.”

I’m pretty sure I haven’t been “ignoring” the bomb attempt, but I’ve certainly said less about it than, say, the NBA draft. That said, I find there to be two curious presumptions built into the question. One is that “you’re paying less attention than you should to failed bombings in a foreign country!” is framed as some kind of cutting accusation. Second, is that it’s taken as a given that hyping-up the threat of terrorism is something conservatives will want to do whereas downplaying it is something liberals will want to do.

It’s interesting because on another level if a liberal wants to make the case that Bush has been a horrible president implementing horrible policies, probably the most natural response is to say “look, some of what you say is true, but at the end of the day there haven’t been any more attacks since 9/11.” At that point, it falls to the liberal to point to all this international data indicating a substantial surge in Islamist violence during the Bush years as evidence of the administration’s failures.

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