I’ve been leaning over backwards to try to understand ‘why they hate us’ – and I think we should do that, if only to understand what we’re up against (and in some cases, going forward, to make better decisions than we’ve made in the past). But that doesn’t mean I think their hatred is justified, even if in some instances it is understandable.

Lest you worry that ‘we deserved’ this, Michael Rutkaus and David Smith linked me to two good columns that ably dispatch that view as rubbish:

The first is from The Economist. The second, from the Miami Herald.

Finally, a lot of people know by now that Mark Bingham – the six-foot-five, 230-pound 31-year-old amateur rugby player who almost surely helped down the ‘fourth plane’ in Pennsylvania – was gay. At his memorial service, Senator John McCain said that Bingham may literally have saved his life, as the plane was very possibly headed for the Capitol.

Can you imagine what would have happened if, on top of the World Trade Center tragedy, and the Pentagon, our nation’s Capitol had been destroyed?

Might the Bush administration been able to show the same admirable cool-headedness it so far has? Or might a nuclear missile or two have been let fly instead? Obviously we don’t know. It’s probably a stretch to suggest we would have done that, and a further stretch to imagine such a nuclear strike could have touched off some kind of Armageddon (though it might have made some future nuclear war more likely, for the precedent it set). But it’s not impossible. So maybe this nice gay guy – a friend of a friend in San Francisco – saved the world. It’s certainly likely he played a key role in saving our nation’s Capitol.

So if you have 3 minutes, listen to this NPR commentary by Scott Simon that contrasts Jerry Falwell and Mark Bingham.

(To be fair, Falwell and Robertson have disassociated themselves from their own remarks. When the Reverend Falwell said, ‘the ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this,’ he didn’t mean it. As he told Geraldo Rivera on CNBC, he hadn’t slept much the night before, and so he ‘misspoke.’ Slip o’ the tongue. And when the billionaire Reverend Robertson responded, ‘Well, yes,’ it was because he wasn’t sure what ‘the ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this’ – a complex, convoluted sentence if ever there was one – meant. When the Reverend Falwell, after listing the pagans and the gays and lesbians and the feminists, et al, said, on national TV, ‘I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen,” he just wasn’t expressing himself clearly, he told Geraldo, because that’s certainly not something he would have said if he had had more sleep. And when the Reverend Robertson shot back, ‘I totally concur,’ what he meant to say was, ‘I totally disagree.’ Got it?)

Anyway, don’t miss the NPR commentary.

Tomorrow: SOMETHING financial – anything! Please!


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