George W. Bush's dreadful 9/11 speech

Bush did not explicitly say so, but he appeared to be referencing Jan. 6. And he used the rhetorical trick of denying that there was “cultural overlap” between the 9/11 terrorists and the Jan. 6 rioters before outlining areas of such overlap. They were similar in their “disdain for pluralism,” Bush said, their “disregard for human life,” and their “determination to defile national symbols.” In these, Bush argued, not only was there cultural overlap between the two groups — they actually came from “the same foul spirit.”

With that, Bush joined a group of commentators, mostly but not entirely on the left, who maintain that 9/11 and 1/6 are similar. And they do so in the face of the obvious, enormous differences between the two. The Sept. 11 attacks killed roughly 3,000 people, brought down New York’s tallest skyscrapers, destroyed part of the Pentagon, crashed four passenger jetliners, resulted in two wars, and changed U.S. foreign policy for decades. The Jan. 6 riot led to the natural-causes death of one Capitol Police officer, the shooting death of one rioter at the hands of police, the “acute amphetamine intoxication” death of another rioter, and the natural-causes deaths of two more. Had the 9/11 attackers survived, they would have been charged with mass murder. Most of the Jan. 6 rioters have been charged with “Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.” Parts of the Capitol were ransacked, but not seriously enough that Congress could not meet and finish its election certification work on the night of the riot. The riot was appalling, and the participants deserve punishment, but it was simply nothing like Sept. 11. To visualize the difference, imagine that on the night of the 9/11 attacks, there was a convention that went on as scheduled at the World Trade Center.

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