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Posted by on Sep 21, 2007 in At TMV | 48 comments

Why Are You So Freaked Out?


These women are 9/11 widows. They’re not afraid of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who says he wants to lay wreath at Ground Zero when he comes to New York to address the U.N., even though it was Iran that attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

So why are so many Americans freaked out by the possibility that some good may actually come of such a gesture?

Why are you so freaked out?

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  • 1) No good will come of it.
    2) Ahmadinejad should be arrested the moment he sets foot in the US.

  • And your four-year-old linkage has exactly what to do with Ahmadinejad’s desire to get some propaganda photos of him figuratively urinating on the ashes of our 9/11 dead, Shaun?

    Does any sane person actually and sincerely believe Ahmadinejad’s proposal to visit the WTC site had any other purpose?

  • T-Steel

    No good will come out of it even if Ahmadinejad is sincere. He is despised here in the States. A potential incident involving Ahmadinejad and a group of American citizens would just inflame relations even more. Plain and simple.

    I’m curious Holly, you think arresting a leader of a nation on US soil would be wise?

  • Entropy

    I’m ambivalent about it, personally.

  • C Stanley

    Where do people get off accusing others of being “freaked out” or afraid of Ahmadinejhad just because some of us aren’t naive enough to think that ‘some good might come of his visit to the WTC site’? That sentiment has nothing to do with fearing him, it’s just seeing him for what he is and calling him on this PR stunt.

  • Davebo

    Because outrage is now high fashion in America.

    The visit is a win win for the US. Either he is respectful, lays a wreath, and moves on, or he’s disrespectful and the world gets yet another example of what a horrid person he is.

    But there is a potential down side. He could ask why Iraqi’s are now paying the price for a terrorist attack committed by Saudi Arabians.

    It’s certainly a good question, but I doubt it’s one the administration wants aired.

  • DLS

    So why are so many Americans freaked out by the possibility that some good may actually come of such a gesture?

    You’re inaccurate and probably dishonest about “so many Americans” as well as “the possibility that some good may actually come.”

  • George Sorwell

    Shaun’s link is to a 2003 article called “Study shows Fox News viewers misinformed about war, Iraq, WMD”.

    It seems obvious to me that the point of that link is to illustrate recent, well-known examples of freaking out.

    Like Entropy, I am ambivalent about this. But I recognize that it’s also a propaganda win for Ahmadinejad if he’s prevented from going to Ground Zero. The fact that some people were bound to loudly object (loudly freak out?) meant some propagenda victory was inevitable for Ahmadinejad.

  • krit

    Why not let him visit and lay down a wreath, but keep out the press?

  • domajot

    Once again the US ruins a chance to demonstrate what civilized statesmanship looks like. Once again Ahmedijhan wins in PR.

    This was intended as a publicity stunt, I’m sure, but this was a chance to show that we can rise above petty provocations and demonstrate that we practice the tolerance to visitors that we preach.

    Instead, we demonstrate that we need tough words and empty gestures to feel secure in what we are.
    I wonder whom we are trying to convince, because the kind of freaked out reaction in some comments certainly doesn’t convince anyone else.

  • hanginjohnny

    He’s already accomplished his aim for hype and hysteria by poking a badger with a spoon- we should also not allow Saudi politicians and leaders access to Ground Zero until they formally apologize and pay reparations- and this doesn’t include trying to buy 20% stake in NASDAQ.

  • jweidner

    I’ll simply point out that during the Cold War, Kruschev spent 13 days in the United States, visiting many sites here. Of course, he was denied entry to Disneyland, but that was Walt’s decision, not the government’s.

    Is there a parallel? I don’t know. But I find it silly that in a historical perspective, we had no problem inviting the Premier of the Soviet Union (a country we were preparing for nuclear war with) to spend a little time here, but we can’t find enough backbone to let Ahmadinejad come on over.

    I agree with Davebo particularly – either he’s respectful, and all parties come out looking decent, or he’s disrespectful, and the US gains a few points internationally.

  • George Sorwell

    Joe Gandelman also has a thread about this. He quotes Mitt Romney suggesting somebody ought to take Ahmadinejad to the Holocaust Museum.

    I’m not a big Romney fan, but I found myself feeling some respect for him. That’s an excellent piece of political jujitsu. And Ahmadinejad might also learn something from a visit to the Holocaust Museum.

  • jweidner

    Thanks George, I didn’t get to Joe’s post before I wrote my comment.

  • krit

    I honestly see Ahmadinejad and Iran as more of a threat to our hold on ME oil supplies than an existential threat to the US or Israel. Iran is trying to become a regional power, not a superpower, and sees control of the Strait of Hormooz as their ace in the hole. They do support acts of terrorism, but unlike our Saudi allies, have not been tied to 9/11. Ahmadinejad- who is an antisemitic little jerk, has been blown out of proportion to appear to be a villain of Hitler or Stalinesque proportion. His country lacks an air force or navy, and has an economy 1/20th the size of ours.

    Let the pipsqeak lay his wreath, to show our benevolence as a nation. Limit press access so that the incident gets little world-wide attention.

  • Davebo

    Let the pipsqeak lay his wreath, to show our benevolence as a nation. Limit press access so that the incident gets little world-wide attention.

    Well, the first sentence makes sense, but limit the press access? Not very American. At least the way America used to be.

  • I don’t think that the sincerity of Ahmadinejad’s desire to pay tribute to all ten of those killed at the World Trade Center that day can be gainsaid.

    Holly – arrested for what?

  • krit

    If its a sincere gesture, Ahmadinejad will still want to pay his respects. If not, it will soon become apparent its just a PR stunt. But not allowing him to go at all shows our fear.

  • By the way – what’s the citation for the 9/11 widows being “unafraid” of (and by implication, not opposing) Ahmadinejad’s visit? The linked story says not a word about it. Don’t get all Holly on us now, Shaun, support your assertions or withdraw them.

  • DLS

    A potential incident involving Ahmadinejad and a group of American citizens would just inflame relations even more.

    He doesn’t deserve access to Ground Zero and shouldn’t be able to speak at Columbia. Let him speak before the cast of clowns called the U.N. General Assembly (where much of his hatred and degeneracy are shared and welcomed).

    Add to that suspicion of Mossad if the guy were assassinated, though I’d have a laugh at the expense of losers here in the USA and elsewhere if Mossad were questioned about it and repeated what it said when a terrorist kingpin met an untimely end some time ago by a car bomb: “Some people lead dangerous lives.”

  • Simon:

    Find the fricking citation yourself. I don’t respond to people who thoroughly twist my posts as you did over at my GOP offering. And did so merely for the sake of misrepresenting, not engaging in a dialogue.

  • Spare us the faux outrage, Mr. Mullen. Your post said that “the [Republican] party’s base just doesn’t like blacks.” Unless you have some criterion that differentiates blacks qua blacks from non-blacks qua non blacks other than race, you accused Republicans (or at absolute minimum, the GOP base) of racism. Since everyone here can read, res ipsa loquitur.

    And faux outrage can’t bootstrap you out of the fact that the instant post rests heavily on the premise of the 9/11 widows being “unafraid” of (and by implication, not opposing) Ahmadinejad’s visit, underlined by the prominent picture of said widows. Yet, just like Holly and her accusations, you make assertions that are central to the post while providing no evidence in support of them at all, and just like Holly, when called on to provide evidence, throw a hissy fit and demand anyone who disputes the veracity of your claims provides evidence that you’re wrong (although to be clear, I’m not positively asserting that the widows haven’t made such a statement, only that you must provide evidence in order to rely on the claim). This is, to say the least, not intellectually credible. When you make assertions, it is your burden to provide evidence, a fortiori when asked to do so. So I ask again: what evidence do you offer for this claim, a claim that is absolutely central to your post?

  • Sam

    Ground Zero is holy ground to Americans. It is the patriotic analog of Mecca or the Wailing Wall to many of us. A man who leads a gov’t that is supporting terrorism and speaks in hardly anything other than the most warlike rhetoric does not deserve to stand there. Iran still celebrates a Death to America day in case you’ve forgotten.

    Let him come and open a dialog with us and see if he truly wants to sort out the many issues between our countries. But don’t slap us in the face at the same time.

  • George Sorwell

    Outrage kabuki rears its head on yet another post by Shaun!!

  • Davebo


    I believe you’ve covered this on your own blog.

    Just because no one is commenting (or reading) there doesn’t mean you have to bring it here, off topic.

    Maybe you could discuss it with yourself at stubborn facts?

  • Davebo, I’ve not said anything about the 9/11 widows or Ahmadinejad’s visit at SF, and it was Mullen who brought up the topic of his other post today. What did I bring here that is off topic?

  • C Stanley

    Gee, Davebo, how is it that you knew something about the content at Stubborn Facts, since you’ve pegged it as a blog that no one reads?

    Make it easier on yourself: next time, just write “nanny-nanny-boo-boo, we like Shaun but we don’t like you” in response to Simon. Your comment was no more meaningful (or mature) than that anyway.

  • StockBoySF

    First of all I don’t like Ahmadinejad and I think he poses a threat to the US and US interests. But then again many countries do- certainly not the same threat as Iran.

    At any rate, the terrorists involved in 9/11 were from one of America’s strongest ME allies- Saudia Arabia (and Bush still loves SA).

    Bush has used the 9/11 attacks to rally the world around the US. I also think Ahmadinejad is a nut, but as the leader of a country if he wants to express his sympathy at the WTC site, then let him. By the way, does anyone know if any Iranians were working at the WTC and killed during the 9/11attacks? It just wasn’t American citizens that lost their lives, though the attack was obviously aimed at America.

    So I think in the interest of international relations we should set aside our differences (and dislike) of Ahmadinejad and let him visit.

    America is the world’s sole superpower at the moment. We should feel secure enough to let some second-rate leader visit the site of a national (international catestrophe to hear Bush tell it). What does the US government have to fear from a visit? Does the government think that US citizens will line the streets and treat Ahmadinejad as a savior? Or are they afraid he’ll strap on bombs and blow himself up?

    I think Bush is just getting off on his power trip of being able to say “No” to Ahmadinejad’s visit. Too bad Bush feels the need to waste his time on this when there are other pressing issues.

  • Sam

    No one is afraid of Ahmadinejad, he’s just not welcome. He’s like a Browns fan at a Stealer game. If he does get allowed to the site, I hope somone dumps a beer on his head.

  • domajot


    Wow! What intelligence! What persuasive argumentation!

    Here we are talking about one of the most dangerous men on earth, and instead of discussing the various ways it would be best to reactt to his visit, we address each other with slurs – on one accasion, in baby languate. At least I’m grateful no one responded with ‘goo goo ga ga”.

    What’s really sad is that everyone actually agrees about Ahmedimedjan: no one likes him. We deal with that by attacking each other?

    Obviously, we don’t need a war in distant Iraq to make us crazy. Anyone having a different viewpoint is cause for verbal riots. Talk about eating one’s own! It is one of the ways the Bin Ladens and Ahmedimejhads win, by destroying who we are, or courld be, at out best.

    Geiroge Sorwell’s ‘ourtrage kabuki’ link is most apt.

  • StockBoySF

    domajot: if Ahmedinejad wants to visit the WTC site in NY then I think he should get as much protection as we would afford any other person in his position. I think the event should be as low-key as possible (which I know isn’t possible!) I could care less whether he visits or not and the visit doesn’t mean a thing to me. I think it’s best that we all just ignore his visit. But I think Ahmedinejad will be greeted by crowds of jeering protesters (and they have every right to protest and I probably agree with much of hat they have to say). But I think it woud be a much more powerful message of protest if we all just shut up about it and went about our business.

    Can you just imagine being Ahmedinejad, coming to America hoping and expecting large crowds of protesters and then once your tour begins there’s absolutely not one single protester arund to give you the coverage you expected. What a let down (for Ahmedinejad)! And I think that’s how his visit should be treated.

    As far as him being one of the most dangerous men on Earth: you’re right on that point. His comments about wiping out the Jewish race just make me cringe and want to run for the hills.

    I fear that Bush and Ahmedinejad will get into a nuclear war because neither has the sense to back down (and Iran may not have nuclear weapons but they might be able to drag other countries in, i..e N. Korea). We all know how Bush likes to act tough and throw bombs (or whatever) around without thinking, and I’m afraid that Ahmedinejad borders on suicidal. The two of them at odds with each other are an absolute menace to us all.

  • krit

    I agree with StockBoy. Many Arab VIPs that are welcomed into the US and given the red carpet treatment are holocaust deniers and want Israel wiped off the map. It is standard propaganda in the Arab world. It is also true that most, if not all of Iraq’s neighbors are interfering in the Iraq War and sending in jihadists to aid in the insurgency effort. Some of that is due to anti-US sentiment in the region, some is due to fear of an enlarged Iranian presence.

    What makes Ahmadinejad different than leaders of surrounding countries, is that he has had the nerve to begin a program to develop nuclear weapons, and has proudly announced it to the world. The key is to make this a nonissue for him at home, by allowing the visit, but without any fanfare that would pump up his status.

  • gadfly

    Iran attacked the US on 9/11?

  • StockBoySF

    gadfly: I’m not sure what your question about Iran and 9/11 refers to. But I don’t recall any of the posts here making that statement. If it’s here I guess it just didn’t register with me.

  • Iran attacked the US on 9/11?

    Actually, according to a recent poll, 33% of Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved with the 9/11 attacks.

    But make no mistake. Once we go to war with Iran, that same 33% will insist that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was personally involved with the 9/11 attacks.

  • gadfly said,

    Iran attacked the US on 9/11?

    I was going to set that aside, but sure, that’s another unsourced assertion with no link or any other kind of citation. Pure ipse dixit.

  • Sam

    Stockboy, gadfly is referring to the last sentence of the first paragraph of the article.

  • domajot

    Shaun had this clause in the post:”….even though it was Iran that attacked the U.S. on 9/11.”

    Anyone not hyperventilating on the ‘get Shaun’ brigade would realize that this should have read:
    “even IF Iran……..” If you read Shaun’S posts, you know that strong opinions or not, he is extemely well aware of FACTS.

    The subject here is not the author of the post, but the reaction to the proposed visit. Living in NY, I know that the 9/11 widows are not shy about issuing statements if they are unanimously of one view. I have heard no statement from them regarding the visit, so that speaks volumes. Had they been upset, we would have heard about it, believe me.

    The fact that crtics can’t stay on the topic of the post instead of creating sideline outrage shows does not speak well for the critics IMHO.

  • C Stanley

    Actually there was a well publicized post by one of the widows (on HuffPo, I think) which said what Shaun says they said. However, generally when you write a blog post about what someone else has said, you link to it so that people can see the context (for example, in this instance, I’m not certain whether all of the women pictured are of the same mind on this issue or not, and Shaun’s post cerrtainly implies that they are; personally I’d not appreciate someone assuming that my opinion on every issue was going to mirror the opinions of a particular person who shared my experience).

    I’m not sure why Shaun took offense at Simon asking for the link, unless it was because the way Simon asked it. However, you’d think that Shaun might also note that the way he writes his posts similarly provokes emotional responses from his readers, so if he’d prefer cooler headed responses then he ought to change his writing style and if his desire is to provoke heated exchanges then he shouldn’t complain when that’s exactly what he gets.

  • I would note that the “Jersey Widows” are a very far cry from a representative sample of all 9/11 widows and widowers, however hard they try to present themselves as such. In a statistical universe that size, one can find just about any opinion and reaction represented. Then all you have to do is cherry-pick out the one you want, and imply it speaks for all.

  • domajot

    So, this is still all about Shaun, and nothing to do with the Ahmadimedjad (whatever the speeling is)vsit!

    Are you proposing that bands of commenters haunt other bloggers, picking apart posts they don’t like, sentence by senence, in attempts to discredit them, so that their own view of the world will prevail?

    As I said on MVDG, if you are interested in rational debate, half of the battle is in how you respond to provocation.(I have to work on that myself). Attakcing like a pack of wolves or gnawing on something that irritiates you, like a dog with a bone, is not conducive to that end. Instead, it invites rertibution. The gang has made its point, now move on (sorry, another provocation, there).

    Just as a reminder, one of the reasons some commenters became so agitated on this site was the posting of some very procative opinions by conservatives, including insults to whole groups of people.

    It happens. Stick to the topc of the post. Go on to other things. Worse things can happen than reading an article you don;t likfe.

    I haven’t kept up with the various 9/11 groups. I know there are several, Perhaps the reason there is nothing major in local mews (I haven’t heard anything) is that some of them have become a bit of a nuisance re building on the site, wanting to have last say on every detail. At other times, I’ve heard very intelligent and well reasoned statements form them. Honestly, I can’t be sure now which group the ‘them’ was.
    Still, like every other group, they have a right to voice their views, no matter who they are.

    So, how do you think Ahmadimejad should be received? (Just kidding, I’ve already gone on to other things.)

    I really haven’t kept up with 9/11 families or widows. I only know there is more thant one group and that they are not in accord. I haven’t heard anything on local news, but perhaps their internet postings explains that.

  • domajot

    The last straggler paragraph is an error.
    Please ignore.

  • domajot

    I guess Shaun should have tracked down every 9/11 widow himself to test the statistical margin of error for what he referrenced. That’s not how bloggers work, as far as I can see. Not too much work in the field.

    Yours is an argument for the sake of an argument, IMHO.

  • C Stanley

    I would think that just providing context by putting the link to reference the one widow’s blog post would have sufficed, Doma- or having failed to do so, perhaps refraining from telling Simon to “find the frickin’ link himself” when asked about it.

    The post itself didn’t have that much substance and was provocative in its question “Why are we freaked out”. Sorry if you think that we got off track in the discussion, but it’s puzzling why you blame the commenters rather than looking at how the post itself was constructed.

  • domajot

    I blame the commenters for making this about how the post was constructed, by whom it was constructed, and the opinion that was consturcted instead of abiding by the comment policy at TMV: address the topic.

    The topic was Ahnadimehad’s proposed visit to the 9/11 sute,

    Displeasure about the way the post was written has been amply expressed. Now it’s beginning to look like the post is just an excuse for a larger agenda.

    Some posts just won’t reflect your views. Express your opinion and get over it, is my acvice.

    I thave a very negaive reaction when some people wantt to create political wars instead on engaging in debate about the topic at hand.
    I also have a very negative reaction when people gang up on someone. I don’t like bullying in private life,I don;t like it on blog sites, and I dont’t like it in politics. My impression (not backed by scientific evidence or a timely link, true) is that what is happening here is political bullying.

  • domajot

    My turn to ask a question.
    Why is it that you and your felloe TMV monitors pass directly by all the interesting posts up right now to congregrate at the one post you don;t like and hover there so long?

    It doesn’t seem like a very sound way to either judge a site or to pass one’s time. What is the purpose of this concentrated attention?
    What is the pleasure?

    I’d really like to know.

  • krit

    There does seem to be a regular group of commenters who go into attack mode when they see one of Shaun’s posts. No law says you have to read them…………

  • C Stanley

    No, there’s no law that says we have to read em, and there’s no law that says you have to read and respond to our comments either. 😉

    Shaun’s posts are one form of expression, and our response to them is another. I’m not sure why you feel you’d characterize comments that are critical of his style as “attacks”.

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