Holton Hears A Wha'? 

Cope critiques a critic

The following is a letter I received in response to the column "The Never-Ending 9/11" (BW, Opinion, Sept. 7, 2011):

Sept. 11, 2011/Editors, Boise Weekly/ He is loose again!/ Bill Cope is out of his cage./ Do something!!!!/ He calls our leaders liars, but offer [sic] no proof or evidence of lies./ He calls our leaders criminals, but sites [sic] no laws broken./ He calls our leaders inept, but cannot deny all decisions were made with the best intentions./ He can write a whole article on 9/11 and does not blame bin Laden, or al-Qaida, or the Taliban, or even Saddam Hussein for the evil in this world./ He prefers to blame us, and he seems to enjoy it./ Give him a new job like delivering papers.

At the bottom was scrawled the single name "Holton." No other personal information was provided.

If you don't know what I wrote that has Holton so fired up, you can find that column on BW's website. (For your convenience, I would reprint the whole thing here, today. But were I to rerun that entire column, it would leave no room for either Holton's letter or what I intend to say about Holton's letter. You can see that, can't you?)

I once again admit a mistake in "The Never-Ending 9/11" that still has me embarrassed. I was about 1 million percent sure that the attack came on a Thursday. There was no question in my mind, not until my error was pointed out in a nice note from a Philadelphia fellow visiting Boise. Even then, I was ready to email back and insist 9/11/01 was a Thursday. Good thing I checked. Gad, for a while there, you could have boiled water on my cheeks.

But that blunder isn't what has Holton upset, and from the tone of his letter, I'm pretty certain that had he caught the error himself, he wouldn't have been shy about mentioning it. No, Holton had other concerns, insinuating ("... Cope is out of his cage") that I am either a dangerous animal, insane, a convict or all of the above. I am not much bothered by this sort of contrived mockery. It's typical of a certain strain of humor that is A) usually lifted from other sources as some people find it impossible to come up with anything original to say themselves, and B) isn't funny anyway, therefore making the insulter look even more foolish than the insultee.

It was what followed that lame opening that convinced me I could get another column--this column--out of the letter. You see, I have always trusted my readers to be generally informed. Most of the people I know (and from what I can gather, most of the people they know) are at least moderately aware of the events, the lowdown, the rumors, the facts, the scuttlebutt, the info--in short, the news--that seeps into one's brain as we stumble through the days. I rely on that commonalty of awareness when I write these columns. I would not be doing this if I felt I had to backfill every remark with every possible component that led to me making that remark. In other words, don't count on me to bring you up to date. I have a responsibility to layer a perspective over what we already know. You, dear reader, have a responsibility to know a thing or two.

It is precisely that responsibility (to know something) that Holton seems to have neglected. For instance, he says "[Cope] calls our leaders liars." No, no, no, Holton, not "our leaders" as a generic group. I assumed anyone reading that piece would know it was George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld ... that whole foul mob ... that I called liars. I also assumed readers would be at least peripherally aware that the lies and misrepresentations have been documented extensively, often from people within that administration.

And Holton, when you insist no laws were broken, evidently you never heard of the Valerie Plame affair or the hubbub over habeas corpus and torture, to mention just a fraction of the illegal activity. Or when you scold me for calling those bums incompetent and make the excuse that "all decisions were made with the best intentions," you must explain whose "best intentions" were served by fabricating evidence against Iraq when everyone but the Fox dopes knew that regime had nothing to do with 9/11? Or dumping billions of dollars down the craphole of private contractor fraud, waste and theft ... for whom was that intended to be best?

My point being, Holton, the history you missed has been known to most of us for years now. Perhaps if you read any one of the books dealing with the violations of law, morality and public trust--I'd start with The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan--it might bring you up somewhat closer to speed.

Now, as to the accusation I blamed us instead of bin Laden, et al, for the evil, I believe you misread the column, Holton. I reread it carefully, just to make certain that out of the two of us, it wasn't me who has his head up his ass, and I could find no substance to what you say I said. I did say there were Americans who took shameful advantage of the opportunity that 9/11 presented. But never did I blame us for that power grab and profiteering. I didn't do it. None of my friends did it. No one I respect did it.

Finally, as to me getting a different job at BW--you suggested I be reassigned to delivering papers--I checked with my bosses and they assured me they are content that I continue doing what I've done since I started writing these opinions--i.e., delivering readers. And Holton, here in the early stages of the current campaign to decide the nation's future, I need to thank you for giving me yet another opportunity to remind those readers what a nightmare we were dragged into the last time we chose people who knew so little to lead the way.

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