WONKETTE WORLD O' BOOKS  12:54 pm March 31, 2011

Bill Bennett Wishes Every Day Could Be 9/11

by Greer Mansfield

Incorporating Washington Post Book World.Bill Bennett — or as he calls himself on his book jackets, “William J. Bennett”– has shown over the course of his long career that he’s mainly interested in three things: 1) holding back the tide of drug dealers eager to dine on your children; 2) reducing world literature to “And the moral of the story is…” formulas for encouraging good behavior; and 3) giving the Mooslims a good kicking. The way to give them a good kicking is through bombs and “moral clarity,” which is shorthand for “America is always right, because our noted ally God says so.” What is Dr. Bennett up to these days, book-wise?

Willy B. and his morning radio show producer Seth Leibsohn have just unleashed a blistering new scorcher of a hellacious flame-thrower titled The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam. This isn’t to be confused with Bennett’s 2003 blockbuster Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism, though Bennett seems eager to recapture the magic of the ’01-’03 era:

In early 2002, as our men and women were fighting in Afghanistan, polling for support of that effort showed public support exceeded 90 percent.

That was the high tide of Moral Clarity. Somewhere along the way, though, America lost its taste for victory inconclusive and bloody occupations of ornery lands. Bennett accordingly switches to sad face mode:

Fast-forward to the present. As of this writing, the latest polling reveals support for our Afghani efforts to be the minority position; some 58 percent of Americans oppose the war.

Your reviewer thinks that all the Afghan War needs is a little re-branding; rename the operation “Our Afghani Efforts” and public support should sky-rocket! It sounds as boring and inoffensive as your job at the Wal-Mart or insurance office or doomed stucco-subdivision construction company.

Lord Bill of Jalalabad and his deputy author are particularly hung up on the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, which was, after all, committed by a Muslim. The mass shooting was a sign, Bennett says, that militant Islam is lurking behind every corner, even the corners here in America (like THAT one, right next to the Starbucks), and that consequently we need to bomb Iran (while not forgetting our oldie-but-goodie commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Because the only way to deal with scattered religious fanatic losers like the would-be underwear killer, the Fort Hood shooter and that guy in Portland who wanted to blow up a Christmas tree is to unleash the full might of the United States Armed Forces against “Terrorism,” i.e. use robot planes and cruise missiles to blow penniless goat-herders and Tehrani college students (and plumbers, and shopkeepers, etc.) to hell. Moral clarity!

Bennett has always enjoyed simplifying things that aren’t known for being simple. In his most famous book he came to the conclusion that works of literature that raise tough ethical questions are actually much more like Michael Bay movies than works of literature that raise tough ethical questions. In his view they offer us “moral clarity,” good guys vs. bad guys, right decisions versus wrong decisions and so on, much like a Bill Bennett book (this worth-reading article explains much better than your reviewer can).

For example: Bennett has written elsewhere about Macbeth as if it were a straightforward “Bad Dude and His Lady Get Their Asses Handed to Them” story. Which is exactly right, come to think of it, because at the end of the play an Apache helicopter shoots Macbeth to death and a B-52 drops a bomb on his castle.

The core of The Fight of Our Lives is Dr. Bennett’s nostalgia for the days and months just after 9/11, when the entire nation was united in Moral Clarity:

After the attacks of September 11th, 2001, there was tremendous resolve in this country, just as there had been after Pearl Harbor…

We saw reports of people putting off their divorces, we saw an uptick in Bible sales, and we saw more and more people with addiction problems trying to get sober. We saw flag pins on lapels; we saw more flags on porches. We saw and heard better music.

What is he talking about here? We ask out of genuine historical curiosity, because we don’t remember this “better music” part at all (we remember Britney Spears existing before and after 9/11, though perhaps the attacks did kill off Limp Bizkit) Also: “saw” music? Sounds a bit psychedelic, Mr. Former Drug Czar!

Anyway, point is: Bennett wants us to get back that enchanted time, bliss was in that war-dawn and all that. If you want to clear your morals and ward off springtime allergies of National Doubt and Angst, this is the book for you!

The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam by William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn, Thomas Nelson Books, 208 pages, $13.59

Thanks to Wonkette operative “Kevin B.”

 
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{ 91 comments }

ManchuCandidate March 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I'll put a dollar on that bet!!

Why does anyone take someone who lost millions of bucks playing poker seriously?

MildMidwesterner March 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm

You must not gamble. Everyone knows that you always double down after losing the first million.

WunkRocker March 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Maybe he has one of these on his car? http://bit.ly/huWxJ4 You know, instead of Trucknutz like a real 'merican.

Jim89048 March 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Want!

SorosBot March 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm

You forgot the one other thing Bennett is really interested in: losing millions of dollars in Vegas.

LettucePrey March 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

And he did so in the lamest way possible: at the slots, the machines for old ladies and retards. His “gaming” is on the same level as rats who pull the lever for the cocaine.

gef05 March 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

At least the rats had some sort of payoff.

SorosBot March 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm

The slots are mostly played by poor gamblers, too, and have the worst odds; rich gamblers like Bennett usually go for the table games.

CapeClod March 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Hence this book, which simply regurgitates everything he has already said.

donner_froh March 31, 2011 at 12:58 pm

He must get paid by the number of words in the subtitle.

jus_wonderin March 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm

"We saw and heard better music."

Uh, really?

SorosBot March 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm

A lot of fundies like Bennett enjoy that horrible rah-rah jingoistic country crap that came in vogue after 9/11; but that doesn't make this any less of a lie, as that music is objectively shit.

Also, "we saw more and more people with addiction problems trying to get sober". Um, I think we saw a lot more people develop addiction problems, and worsen existing one.

vodkamuppet March 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Like my cousin who worked at ground zero after the attack and was so messed up from all the horrible shit he saw that he got on heroin, got clean and then was dead of a methadone OD by June 2002. He did technically get sober for a bit, before the cure fucking killed him.

SorosBot March 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm

God, that's horrible.

vodkamuppet April 1, 2011 at 1:32 am

I'm still very sad about that.

elviouslyqueer March 31, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Wait, I'm confused. Was Kory Shore even born then?

Boredw/Gravitas March 31, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Well, Lee Greenwood's career finally took off. Regrettably.

trashbot March 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm

you forgot:
4) heavy gambling

DownFist Troll March 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm

followed by more heavy gambling, and then even more heavy gambling.

Billmatic March 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Better music in his world is probably Alan Jackson and Toby Keith.

Hatrabbit March 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Kory Shore.

PublicLuxury March 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Maybe if Laura Bush could stop fucking Osama Bin Laden long enough to turn him over to the FEDS we might get a little National Pride back. Or not.

MrFizzy March 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm

That's how she got cross-eyed.

LettucePrey March 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Bill Bennett: looking backwards through the microscope of life since 1932.

MaxUdargo March 31, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Honestly, what is this guy suggesting? That America needs to exist in a constant state of crisis? This is his idea of a perfect world?

Yes, when people are seized by a sense of crisis, it does "clarify" things a bit. Mundane concerns are forgotten as everybody focuses on an existential threat. So what? We want to live in that state 24/7 for the rest of our lives?

This is like Glenn Beck's 9/12 meme. It's like these people feel that a state of fear and anger is the healthiest state of mind. Does anybody remember feeling good on 9/12? I remember a nation afraid to send an airplane into the air, and those of us lucky enough not to be stuck at an airport somewhere were glued to our televisions waiting to see if there was going to be a second wave of attacks. But, yeah, we were all real fucking focused. There was a lot of fucking clarity. If only we could live like Bill Murray in that movie with the beaver, and every day could be 9/12 over and over. That would be wonderful.

Anyway, you may now proceed to ignore all the heart-felt emotion I've just openly poured from my soul and commence making jokes about the only word I wrote that registered in your mind. But Beck and Bennett want to remind you that, if this were 9/12, you wouldn't be thinking about female genitals.

Mumbletypeg March 31, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Actually I was thinking of the other, more recent movie with the beaver, starring Mad Max.
You'll have to work a little harder to deliver ignorable commentary.. What I've read when I happen to spot it here & there I've been enjoying so far.

riverside68 March 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm

So much crazy, so little time,
The poets don't write anything down, they just sit back and watch it all happen.
Party on Wonkeratti!

CapeClod March 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Why doesn't Michael Bay make a movie about us attacking Iran? That way, the stupid people who watch Michael Bay films will think we did atack Iran and everybody will just shut up about it.

DownFist Troll March 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Transformers 4: Attacking the Caliphatebot

KenLayIsAlive March 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm

You misread it a little. Bill Bennet wished that every Roulette Wheel spin would have 9/11 chance of him winning.

randcoolcatdaddy March 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm

"We saw reports of people putting off their divorces, we saw an uptick in Bible sales, and we saw more and more people with addiction problems trying to get sober."

Enough about George W. Bush – what about everyone else?

Andrew Drinker March 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm

"You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
- William Jack-off Bennett

GregComlish March 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm

In Bennett's defense, he did concede that when Black women had abortions it was actually because they were racist.

Lionel[redacted]Esq March 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

In fairness, Bill Bennett has $100 large riding on the over of 10,000 Muslims killed by the US this year, so he has a lot of skin in the game.

petehammer March 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Besides Nick Lache (sp?) and Jessica Simpson, who put off their divorce? "Honey, I know you're distant and I'm an alcoholic, but when those planes hit them towers, I knew I loved you again."

LOVE!

baconzgood March 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I got down to the title of the book and I gotta say: WHAT THE HELL KINDA TITLE IS THAT? 20 WORDS!!!! WHERE THE FUCK IS HIS EDITOR???

Oblios_Cap March 31, 2011 at 1:08 pm

We saw reports of people putting off their divorces, we saw an uptick in Bible sales, and we saw more and more people with addiction problems trying to get sober. We saw flag pins on lapels; we saw more flags on porches. We saw and heard better music

What music was that jackass listening to? I'll bet it was the Pat Boone Heavy Metal album.

Anyway, all those things (Bible sales, flag pinz – bitch, please!) look like examples of moral stupidity to me. Trying to get sober? Why?

tcaalaw April 1, 2011 at 9:25 am

What music was that jackass listening to? I'll bet it was the Pat Boone Heavy Metal album.

As someone who purchased Pat Boone's No More Mr. Nice Guy: In a Metal Mood, I'm offended by the suggestion that my musical tastes overlap with those of Bill Bennett.

donner_froh March 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm

We saw and heard better music.

I saw music when I dropped acid. The notes were just floating there like clouds. Who knew Bill B. was a druggie?

Tundra Grifter March 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Not to mention those cool trails when you slowly waved your hand through the air – and being swallowed by the wall.

elviouslyqueer March 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm

We saw reports of people putting off their divorces, we saw an uptick in Bible sales, and we saw more and more people with addiction problems trying to get sober. We saw flag pins on lapels; we saw more flags on porches. We saw and heard better music.

Yes, Bill, those were halcyon days when our fearless leader and his minions lied through their teeth to rationalize attacking a country that had zero to do with 9/11, and offered us encouragement by telling us to go shopping "Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed."

Hatrabbit March 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Moral clarity = Kill the fuckers!

It's in the bible fer Christ's sake. Look it up!

Yours sincerely,

Hatrabbit J. Retardlington.

Troubledog March 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Phase 1: Things were great
Phase 2:
Phase 3: It's Obama's fault!

BloviateMe March 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

He's right.

After 9/11, I bought a bible. After thumbing through it, I sacrified a couple chickens, sold my daughters, and committed a hate crime against some random homo.

I never felt so American.

DownFist Troll March 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

If only there were millions more American's just like you good sir…Oh right, Kentucky is still a state.

JustPixelz March 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Morality is what guides people despite expediency and emotional impulses. Like wanting to lie about being raped or incested to get one of those sweet, sweet Indiana abortions, but knowing to do so would be wrong. In Bennet's formulation, national moral clarity strikes me as a collective(!) impulse to action regardless of moral consequences.

In Afghanistan after 9/11, our national interest and values said we should apprehend bin Laden et al and hold him responsible for his crimes. Instead we regarded his whereabouts as an act of war by the disliked Taliban. So a few bombs and dead future leaders later, we have lost bin Laden and that moral clarity. Could we have found a just outcome without warfare? We'll never know.

In Iraq we had no clarity, moral or otherwise.

Today Repubicans like Bennett are trying to fabricate a moral clarity about American Muslims as a group. That is, they are untermensch, the enemy within. True moral clarity — and fidelity to the Constitution — tells us we cannot succumb to that emotional impulse. It's hard to resist the simple expediency of hatred. But we are obliged to do so. Are you with me William J?

AngryBlakGuy March 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

…frankly I'm surprised they haven't made 9/11 a conservative holiday yet. Instead of giving gifts or grilling hamburgers and hotdogs like other holidays they would celebrate by randomly throwing a dart at a map of 3rd world countries and then invading(pronounced: LIBERATE) that country in the name of George W. Bush!

Jerri March 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Pop_Socket March 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Sounds like the perfect replacement for that socialist Labor Day.

FraAnima March 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Saw music – ya know, when Leroy puts a saw head tween his knees, bends it, and bangs out a tune with a spoon. Bill loves that music at the hoe down!

Come here a minute March 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm

War gives Bill Bennett a squirmish.

arihaya March 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

but but,,,

after 9/11, we succeeded in capturing the perpetrators Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden , and installing a stable democracy in Afghanistan ,, right right?

Oblios_Cap March 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm

<a href ="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12925024&quot; > This is more like the Moral Clarity Bill thinks we need.

donner_froh March 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm

This book will go nicely on the shelf next to Bennett's other book that I own: "A Sure Thing: Drawing to an Inside Straight; Hitting on 17 against a Face Card; Betting Your IRA on a Hot Tip at the Track"

genxr March 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm

And then we invaded Iraq. Divorce rates went up, lapel pins got lost in the laundry, and Justin Beiber arrived on the scene.

I can see his point now.

__kth__ March 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Bennett wants it to be 9/12 Groundhog Day because his side wins elections in that kind of climate. The end.

chascates March 31, 2011 at 1:26 pm

ERUDITION, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
–Ambrose Bierce

cheaphits March 31, 2011 at 1:26 pm

"Fast-forward to the present. As of this writing, the latest polling reveals support for our Afghani efforts to be the minority position; some 58 percent of Americans oppose the war"

Could that 32% possibly be discouraged by 10 years of no changes on the battlefield to speak of, a hopelessly corrupt government we've installed, a cost of two billion a week, countless deaths and destruction and our allies getting ready to bail?

Naaah, it's probably that moral clarity thingie, like Bozo says..

Worthly[♬♪♬♪♫♪♬]Skum March 31, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Your reviewer thinks that all the Afghan War needs is a little re-branding..

Operation War Dildo

Operation Eternal Flamer

Operation Browns Scrubber

Operation Molting Eagle

not that Dewey March 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Operation Enduring Casualties

Jim89048 March 31, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Operation Punishing War Dildo Mallet.

BarackMyWorld March 31, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Last time I listened to Bill Bennett on CNN, it was right after the 2008 Democratic Convention, and he was on CNN saying one of the reasons Barack Obama, U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European affairs as well as sponsor and co-author of several laws regarding foreign policy, wasn't qualified to be president was because he had no foreign policy experience.

The last time I saw Bennett on CNN, it was a few weeks later when he was touting Sarah Palin's qualifications to be vice president.

In short, Bennett is a hypocritical sack of crap that has no problem revising his own "beliefs" for the sake of political expediency and thus has all the moral authority of a delusional gambler, which he also happens to (in fact) also be.

Trollsintofisting March 31, 2011 at 1:35 pm

His next book title: America's fight against Gamblor! The war to snatch the US from his neon claws

BlueStateLibel March 31, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Laugh all you want, libtards, but when Osama bin Laden heard that Mildred and Harry Smith of Idaho weren't getting divorced, and Harry was wearing a flag pin, he lost all fight to win. Look it up!

FlownOver March 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Somebody please organize a cockpunch flash mob.

Beetagger March 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Wait, didn't Bennett used to visit a dominatrix in Vegas. He might like cockpunching. No fruit cup for you!

friendlyskies March 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Moral clarity, wtf? Is the US Euphemism Generator still a pack of taxpayer-swindling PR flunkies kept in tacky stuccoed Fairfax Mcmansions, or has the traditional group of Axe-scented douches been replaced with some kind of Watsonesque supercomputer?

Moral clarity?? It doesn't even make sense. They need to read some George Orwell and get back to their roots.

Lascauxcaveman March 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Lord Bill of Jalalabad and his deputy author are particularly hung up on the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, which was, after all, committed by a Muslim an officer of the US Army.

Fixed.

mumbly_ジョジョ March 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Honestly, it *does* kinda seem like the latter is more predictive of propensity to mass-murder. Even if you decide to look just in the US America, rather than counting all the Morlocks slaughtering people abroad, as well.

Well, crap, I guess that means I Hate the Troops.

DonnyKerabotsos March 31, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Finally a book that blends the superficiality of a tea-bagger's political philosophy with the kind of cranky longing for the good old days that one usually only encounters on a visit to a dementia ward.

Allmighty_Manos March 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm

"Bill Bennett — or as he calls himself on his book jackets, “William J. Bennett”–"

Or as I call him, Buttluv Rentboy

SorosBot March 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Mr. Bennett wants "moral clarity" where everything is presented in terms of pure good versus evil, with no gray or complexity, which only appropriate for children. If you want that kind of morality, you better stick to kids' cartoons; and then only the crappier ones like He-Man or Care Bears; hell, even Power Rangers has had morally complex storylines , particularly in Time Force.

pdiddycornchips March 31, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I found Ivan Ooze interesting, not because he was complex but because his character is an allegory. Buried underground for all those years and then released by a bunch of (union no doubt) construction workers, only to cause chaos and destruction throughout the city.

mumbly_ジョジョ March 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Also, too, Gargoyles, Batman, The Last Airbender…

Honestly, now that I'm thinking about it, even shit like Captain Planet which, despite all its Designated Villainy, managed to squeeze out more moral complexity than Bill Bennet could grapple with.

poncho_pilot March 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm

He-Man: where even the protagonist's name is explicitly drawn out for you in case his occasional shirtlessness and furry underwear made his sexual orientation ambiguous.

Ducksworthy March 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm

our Afghani efforts ? Given that Mr. Former Drug Czar and present (recovering or not) gambling addict has neither paid taxes in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor volunteered his services in pursuit of said wars, how are they partially his?

Jim89048 March 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Wait–Bennett was aborted?

Mahousu March 31, 2011 at 2:12 pm

We saw and heard better music.

Clearly Bob Bennett, a notorious J-pop fan, is referring to Perfume and their debut single, Omajinai Perori. Probably he's been disappointed by their recent commercial tie-ins with Pino and Natural Beauty Basic.

It's just the purity of the art he cares about, man.

mumbly_ジョジョ March 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm

So, the divorce thing is an all-out lie; the post-dotcom bubble probably saw the same uptick in divorce rates that every other economic stumble has, and I distinctly remember human interest fluff stories talking about the increasing trend of committed couples not to get married at all, either out of protest or because it was too much of a hassle/expense.

Also, I assume by "better music" he means, "Clear Channel banned all those goddamn hippies from the airwaves", but he's still lying, because all of the remaining music was unbelievably shitty.

mumbly_ジョジョ March 31, 2011 at 2:18 pm

ANYWAY: you know who else loved adorning everything with flags and fetishized his country's military force, especially when that force was directed against an unpopular religious minority?

poncho_pilot March 31, 2011 at 5:08 pm

the Village People?

SorosBot March 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Augustus Caesar?

Come here a minute March 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm

After 9/11 we not only saw better music, we heard better aromas, smelled better textures, touched better tastes, and tasted better colors.

V572del c:/*.* y/n? March 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm

So I'm just imagining somebody putting together the President's Daily Brief, and deciding what important things need to go in it: uptick in Bible sales, seeing better music, people delaying divorces. Yes, this explains a lot about the Bush administration.

It also explains that, if you don't have any actual numerical statistics to support what you want to assert, you can just make up some uncheckable bullshit and hope no one will argue with it. This is why Bennett was so highly regarded as a scholar before he was named our National Scold.

Slim_Pickins March 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm

All in all, the two blonde talking heads with the blown circuit boards made more sense.

jonzin March 31, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Do these douches have anything else on their mind besides fucking boys and 9/11? Oh, abortion. What the fuck? It's time to move on bitches!

owhatever March 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Bennett never got over Monica Lewinsky laughing out loud when he flashed his dingle.

frostbitefalls March 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm

9/11 FOREVER!

Or, as Flannery O'Connor's Misfit put it, " She would of been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

poncho_pilot March 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm

"Also: “saw” music? Sounds a bit psychedelic, Mr. Former Drug Czar!"

i can hear the grass grow.

fuflans March 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm

i fucking hate those simplistic interpretations of shakespeare. it's never black and white with him and people who think so are idiots.

oh, yeah, right.

ttommyunger April 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I know one thing, based on this bloviating, wheezing blowhard's track record; whatever he says, I'm betting against it.

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