The kids on the Internet have a saying, or as it's known, a "meme." Whenever an Internet discussion gives rise to a claim that's patently absurd, someone is likely to respond with "O RLY?"
Pronounced "Oh, really?" it's a response that indicates anything from mild skepticism to outright scorn. For some reason, it's often paired with a goofy picture of a quizzical looking owl.
Well, you know me, always hip to what's happenin' now with the youths on the webs, there. So, without further ado, we bring you a column we call The O RLY? Factor:
First, there's hysteric-in-chief Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who got his knickers in a bunch when the failed Christmas Day attack on an American airliner was described as an "attempt." Hoekstra took to his Twitter account to try and raise the fear level: "It was a terrorist attack!" he tweeted. "Just not as successful as they (AQ) planned."
O RLY? Well, perhaps Rep. Hoekstra was so eager to politicize the incident that he didn't exactly think through the implications of what he was saying. See, it's a wingnut article of faith that "Thanks to George W. Bush, America wasn't attacked after 9/11."
If, however, you've changed the rules so that even an attempt counts as an attack, then that talking point goes right out the window, because there was a nearly identical failed attack by "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. And therefore, all of Bush's waterboarding, wiretapping, renditions and "black sites" didn't keep us that safe after all, now did they?
Unless, of course, you attempt to rewrite history even further, like former White House mouthpiece Dana Perino, who asserted on TV, apparently with a straight face, that "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."
O RLY? I seem to remember that Dubbya was inaugurated in January 2001 and that the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred in September of that year. Now, I'm no fancy political consultant like Ms. Perino, but I do have a nifty little device called a "calendar" that tells me that Sept. 11, 2001, was during President Bush's term.
Ms. Perino went on to insist that the terrible massacre at Fort Hood must be described as a terrorist attack. "We owe it to the American people to call it what it is," Perino said.
O RLY? Because so far, no one has developed any evidence that I know of that Nidal Malik Hasan was anything but a lone Muslim nutball who thought he was killing in the name of Allah.
But if we're going to call attacks by lone Muslim nutballs "terrorist attacks," then, as we've mentioned before in this column, you have to include DC sniper John Allan Muhammad, who was, according to his partner, Lee Boyd Malvo, engaged in "jihad."
You have to include Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, who drove his SUV into a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to, in his words, "avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world" and follow in the steps of his hero, 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta. And so, we're back to attacks on our country during Bush's term.
The star of today's O RLY? Factor, however, is former Vice President Dick "Shooter" Cheney, who's broken with years of tradition and decorum to try and undermine the president. (I remember when this was called "treason," but that's a rant for another day.) President Obama, Cheney sneered, "pretends we're not at war" with terrorists.
O RLY? This might come as a surprise to Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, or his deputy Khwaz Ali Mehsud, or to the top Al Quaeda official in Somalia, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. It might come as a surprise to Al Quaeda trainers Mufti Noor Wali and Abdullah Hamas al Filistini, not to mention senior Al Quaeda commander Zuhaib al Zahibi.
It might come as a surprise to them, that is, if they weren't all dead, just a few of the many terrorists killed by American forces in the past year.
It would definitely come as a surprise to those same forces who are still being deployed in the fight against Al Qaeda and their sponsors in the Taliban. Guess Shooter forgot about them.
This has been the O RLY? Factor. We report, you deride.
And just remember: The wingnuts only think they can get away with these outrageous lies because they think you're too stupid to know the difference.