Jacob Weisberg's "Should We Blame Clinton?" pressed the button with Fray readers—even by "Ballot Box" standards the number of postings was high. Also up there, and even more controversial, was David Plotz's "Life's Odds and Sept. 11."
Subject: Recalculating the Blame
Re: "Ballot Box: Should We Blame Clinton?"
Date: Fri Oct 12 8:19 a.m. PT
It is in the nature of successful terrorist attacks that they are always foreseeable and never foreseen. Terrorists rely on the fact that their actions are unexpected. … It is therefore always possible, after the fact, to devise a strategy that could have averted any terrorist strike; and the government, bearing responsibility for the welfare of all its people, can always be blamed. Thus, the mere fact that a terrorist attack occurred when it could have been prevented is not a complete case for government neglect. A fair evaluation of the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush II's defenses against terrorism would have to include the number of terrorist attacks that were successfully thwarted, the number of unsuccessful attempts that were made.
Subject: When To Mourn
Re: "Life's Odds and Sept. 11"
Date: Wed Oct 10 8:19 a.m. PT
Part of the dilemma that David Plotz faces is largely a by-product of the great American sentimentalism that was so prevalent when, say, Princess Diana died. People … [were] weeping and moaning as if a meaningful part of their immediate lives, like a close friend or beloved pet, had suddenly been removed. Irrational would be an understatement. … Doesn't it seem like maybe we are a culture that has placed such great import on our silly, impulsive feelings and not enough on our iron wills?
Subject: Winning the Talk
Re: "Frame Game: Terror Unanswered"
Date: Wed Oct 10 5:45 p.m. PT
It avails us comparatively little to kill Bin Laden and others if all it proves to the rest of the world is what they already knew: that Americans can bomb better than anybody else. The Union victory in the Civil War, the Allied victory in World War II, didn't just prove who was stronger. They proved, for most people, who was right. … Bush's supporters sneer at the notion that presidential leadership is "performance art." That would be news to political leaders from King David to Bill Clinton, who easily grasped that a leader's public persona is the one tool which is really under his complete control. …
Subject: The Things We Do for Oil
Re: "Explainer: Are 1 Million Children Dying in Iraq?"
Date: Wed Oct 10 10:27 a.m. PT
Are we any better than heroin addicts? Can anyone tell me a valid reason why we should be in bed fornicating with so many despots, thugs, and murderers if it were not for the oil? … It's high time we faced the withdrawal symptoms and came down from this petro-high. That doesn't mean we are not compelled to take out Bin Laden and some others, but it does mean we should immediately abandon the practice of propping up despotism.
Last week we suggested a littlecontest: best sentence from a Fray post. No interest. Not even the most obvious entries (Marylb on goldfish or Stomasso on ritual Satanic abuse). Nobody cared. But the God of Wine suggested "A Tale of Two Frays: A Game," and in no time there were 100 entries and suggestions. But we're not bitter (no, no), because it is such a good game. The idea is to find an upside and a downside to some chosen aspect of Fray life, e.g., locdog's: "Best: Lets you say things that would get you at least five broken ribs in any bar in America. Worst: Well, it lets other people do that too." All keen Fraysters should rush immediately to this thread, and we'll feature the best entries next week.
The week's key posters: RonK got his star—sample his style here. Amber wants a mention: We said before that she is a troublemaker, argumentative and high maintenance, and that is also why she is a favorite poster; just too unpredictable to get a star. Don't change a thing, Amber. And the Whizzer—the Terror of the Fray—strayed from his usual style and impressed us here.
More Fray issues: Epicuria has, as ever, some interesting suggestions for the Fray, although there is also this extraordinary phrase about the Fray editor: "She's pretty far down the pecking order." What? We may need to be revived by our teams of underlings