1.) Globalization and Post-modern Theory.
Globalization has become a new buzzword and clichť for those of us who constantly see this word in books, the newspapers and other media outlets. Hence, it seems inappropriate to dedicate one more op-ed to this so much discussed topic. However, given the fact that we are currently discussing the issue of global history, I felt the desire to write a commentary on globalization and its relation to post-modern theory.
I have to let the reader know that I will deal mostly with terms and concepts. First, I will proceed to define briefly what globalization is. It is crystal clear that this phenomenon is basically a process of economic integration. It is not just economic integration that is going on, for sure. There has been a great deal of international cultural exchange and mixture at the global scale. But, and this is one of the main points of this piece, even this "cultural" globalization is driven by powerful economic forces working across national boundaries. Globalization is basically the commercial expansion of huge corporations, such as Coco-Cola, Nike, Citigroup and McDonalds around the globe. Even so-called communist countries, like China, have already several
McDonalds branches. Globalization is a development of extreme historical significance, because this level of economic integration had been never achieved before.
The next section of this commentary will deal with globalization and post-modern theory. Post-modern thinkers have announced the death of various concepts that have been very useful for the social sciences, including history. They have been claiming that we now live in a "post-production", "post-labor", and "post-capitalist" society. For post-modernists, the concepts of labor, class and ideology are said to be theoretical antiques and outdated. As Perry Anderson mentions in his extraordinary essay on post-modern philosophy, post-modern thinkers take a cultural entity such as language and transform it as the ultimate ground of human reality, meaning human society and history. Language becomes a self-contained system without any referents outside of itself. The linguistic
mystification of human reality is one of the symptoms of a larger development within post-modern philosophy: the aesthetic "absolutization" of culture over the economic mode in post-modern social analysis. Let me say that I have nothing against the general validity of post-modern scholarship, such as post-colonial, gender or queer studies. It is just that I believe that their prioritation of culture over the economic mode is equally one-sided as that of so-called orthodox Marxist historians.
Post-modern philosophy tends to reify social reality by claiming, "everything is now cultural." I think that it is pretty clear that we still live in a world of classes and capitalist exploitation. We donít have to be "orthodox Marxist" historians and social scientists to realize that the phenomenon of globalization is driven by powerful economic interests. Economics is what drives globalization, pure and simple. Post-modernist thinkers suffer from the same delusion that Karl Marx accused the Young Hegelians in his German Ideology. According to Marx, Young Hegelians ignored that history is made by real human beings involved in their material (social, economic and cultural) relations. The Young Hegelians thought that "in the three years 1842-1845 more of the past was swept in Germany than at any other times in three centuries. All of this is supposed to have taken place in the realm of pure thought." Most post-modern philosophers are on the political left, who sincerely want to change their societies for the better. But by ignoring the material basis of society and human history, they are, I think, just building castles in the air.
The basic point of this op-ed is that one does not have to be a through-bred Marxist, and I believe I am not one, to realize that Marxist historical materialism is an excellent tool to do global-historical analysis, certainly as compared to a rarefied and practically ineffectual post-modern discourse.
TERRORISM: THE WORLD UNDER ATTACK
On September 11, terrorism visited the American mainland with a ferocity that shook its very foundation and the tremors were felt all across the world. The evil face of terror reared its ugly head and the world, as we know it will never be the same again. That the terrorists were not unemployed, illiterate zealots but regular people blending into the fabric of our society has redefined the parameters of terrorism. It is a new breed of terrorism, infinitely more dangerous, that we are confronted with today. The spotlight is on Afghanistan, a country at the crossroads of Asia, that has been ravaged by armed forces over the centuries but has never faced such a relentless attack on itís society and culture by itís own people.
Taliban (or Godís students) is a militantly religious organization that took control of Afghanistan in 1996 and is dedicated to establishing a strictly Islamic society in Afghanistan. The growth of the taliban mirrors lessons in history for us that the present is never divorced from the past. The seeds that are sown by us in the exigencies of the situation often germinate in climes that are alien and beyond our control. The seeds of Taliban were sown during the height of the cold war era when the erstwhile USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The CIA in collision with the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) of Pakistan trained and armed the mujahideen (freedom fighters) of Afghanistan to fight the "evil empire". The refugees who fled the fighting in Afghanistan took refuge in Pakistan. The madrasas (religious schools), which sprang up, in Pakistan to provide discourses in religion to these refugees were the training centers for the future taliban.
To a people hardened by years of guerrilla warfare and a life on the edge, the return to civilian society was hard to comprehend. They knew of no other way of life than the battlefields of Afghanistan. The power vacuum in the afghan polity had to be filled and the taliban were ready with their forces. South Asia because of its strategic location and proximity to the Middle East is a hot bed for terrorist activities. The Al-Qaeda terrorist organization is an umbrella group, which shelters many smaller such groups fighting in Bosnia, the Middle East and Jammu &Kashmir. The trail of terror in the valley of Kashmir leads right back to the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan aided and abetted by the government of Pakistan. The Indian government had also considered the military option against the taliban in the wake of the hijacking of Indian airlines flight from Nepal. That plane stood on the tarmac at kandhar for more than a week before the Indian government was forced to concede the demands of the hijackers. Such a unilateral action needs the support of the international community. The United States with its global reach and economic might can exercise such an option; a right, which is denied, too many smaller nations suffering state sponsored terrorism.
Governments all over the world have at some time or another given tacit support to groups of extremists for political or military gains. However, as the following examples will show, these gains can at best be very transitory and the consequences over the long term are disastrous .The examples are in an Indian context. The Sikh extremist leader Sant Bhindranwale was nurtured in the initial stages by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, as a bulwark against the Akalis (Opposition party in the state of Punjab). As history has shown repeatedly, these extremist forces multiply in a chain reaction and explode in a trail of destruction that feeds on the hand that nurtured them .The assassination of indira Gandhi and the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in itís aftermath were the tragic consequences of these policies. The same is true of the Indian involvement in the sectarian conflict in Sri Lanka. The LTTE (Liberation Tigers Of Tamil Elam) is a separatist organization fighting the Singhalese in Sri lanka In the 80ís they received arms from the Indian state of Tamil nadu. When their patrons feel the need to reign in these forces there is a backlash. The assassination of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was masterminded because he was perceived a threat to the interests of the LTTE.
The attack on the World Trade Towers has put a lot of issues in the perspective for the Americans in particular and the world in general. The most important is the realization that there can be no short-term policies or gains in the fight against terrorism. It is a long haul that we are in for. Governments across the world need to understand that the fight against terrorism in one country is not unrelated to their security needs. A terrorist that bombs a plane in Tel Aviv could be the one that plants another in Paris .The horizon of terrorism has expanded to an international level, the fight against them has to be on a similar scale. The investigation into the WTC attack is revealing the tenacious links of terrorists across national frontiers. We need to isolate the terror groups and those who support them and demolish their networks of terror across the world. Our efforts should not be hampered due to considerations of national sovereignty. There can only be two types of states in the future, those that support terror and those that donít.
If by our concerted efforts we can make our world secure against the mindless terror of September 11 then maybe the sacrifice of so many lives would not seem so much in vain. We have to remember our pain of September 11 and share the pain of people suffering so much more, and for so much longer, all over the world. As the only superpower of the twenty-first century, America needs to secure not just itself against terrorism but the world.
3.) Home Sweet Home
A piece of loose leaf paper, a gum wrapper, cigarette butts, a Shoperite shopping bag, should I go on?...because I could. These are just a few of the items I have seen on the streets on my walk to work this morning. It is truly amazing how much garbage accumulates in the streets. I know New York Cityís population is large but can that many people be that inconsiderate. I often sweep in front of my home here in Brooklyn and within a half an hour, it looks as though I was never out there at all.
I love his city and I take pride in calling it home. That is why I go out of my way to throw the smallest piece of trash in the garbage pail. The city is my home and whin I am home I do not throw the trash on the floor. When I finish eating dimmer, I do not empty my plate on the floor next to me. I throw it in the garbage like anything else. I say this because I can imagine what the inside of their homes look like. If they are willing to throw their garbage in the streets, I assume they do it at home.
I put this to the test, and observed my friends homes. They looked clean enough to me and these are the same people I observed throwing garbage on the floor outside their homes. So my previous assumption of all peopleís homes based on the condition of the streets must be false (I am sure there are some exceptions).
So why then are the streets so filthy. I find it puzzling because I hope our society is sensible enough to realize that garbage brings vermin, bugs, and disease. I would like to think most people I associate with are sensible enough, so it canít be that. After further observation of people in the streets, I found that people are just too lazy to walk to the trash can. Most people want to eat but do not want to throw their garbage out. Otherwise I would not find pizza, sandwiches, McDonalds, and their wrappers almost everywhere. Some people want to own dogs but refuse to pick up the dogís business that was left behind. When people place business flyers on car windshields, I notice that the flyer almost immediately hits the floor upon the drivers arrival.
I know that most people are very busy with a lot of things on their minds. The last thing they probably think about is a little piece of paper, when they discard it on the floor. There are millions of people in New York City, so times each piece of paper by the number of people and you got a lot of paper, not to mention the amounts of chewing gum that gets stuck to my shoes in the heat of the summer.
I ask everyone to wake up and pay attention to your surroundings. Look around you and ask yourself if you are pleased with the sight of the streets and the condition they are in. If your are pleased (shame on you) then I will be moving out very soon. If you are not satisfied and just as sick about the trash as I am, then do something about it. Call the local sanitation department in your area to report people who litter and people that donít curb their dogs, if you are not willing to do it yourself.
I know that in the past I was guilty of littering once in a while but now I am willing to tell anyone I see littering that what they are doing is wrong. I often get into shouting matches with some but most know I am right and do not answer back..I am willing to fight for my home and I ask you to do the same. I respect my home and do not want others to destroy my quality of life. Do You?
New York has made a terrible mistake and it has nothing to do with the price of a subway token or even the Board of Education this time. The mistake and ultimately the problem, was electing Hillary Clinton Senator. What were we thinking? Hillary, as she likes to be known as, is not even from here; she doesnít even live in the area now that she is our senator. Bill Clinton does though and arenít we lucky for that.
Hillary had a strong opponent in Rudy Guliani, and I admit that even though I am not a Guliani supporter. Mrs. Clinton, a fact that she likes to hide, ran a very deceptive campaign. A political advisor set up every move she made. Her house, she chose it in between the city and the country so neither would seem to have her favor. Her slogan, just Hillary, no Clinton added. Maybe she thought that we were too dumb to realize that she was still married to the man who lied to the country. Now your telling me that a woman who did not realize her husband was a lying cheat would actually be able to put this campaign together.
Hillary should not have even been able to run. The law that states you only have to have residence in a state for six months to run for state office is outdated. Carpetbaggers like Hillary are now using this law to get a seat in the Senate. The law should be changed to, you must LIVE, not just buy a house, in the state for at least five years before running for state office. How can you represent a state when you have not lived though itís hardships or crisis? Then there is the ever-nagging question of, why didnít she run in the state she was born in or that she lived in while Bill was governor. Did they know something that we didnít?
She fooled enough of us though on Election Day to get elected and what has she done so far for us. Hillary had the backing of the teachers union and many other groups. Now that the teachers are looking for a new contract and were is our Senator. When she was running she promised us a contract, she promised us her support. I think she forgot all that when she moved into her new house in Washington D.C. Not to worry though, she kept her house in New York. Why, you may ask, because she has to keep up the appearance of being a New Yorker to be able to represent us. What were we thinking?
5.) Why Ancient History is important.
During the last 25 years, Ancient History has begun to disappear in many colleges and high schools. It has been pushed aside in favor of courses that deal with Modern History. I believe that it is imperative that the discipline of Ancient History return to campusí across the country.
Historians who placed greater emphasis on maoder history vis a vis ancient history had their reasons. One reason or problem centers around graduates with Phds in history. Many of theses graduates have degrees in European or American history. As elder classicists and Egyptologists retire, there are fewer scholars to replace them.
A second problem or perception at history departments in America is that Ancient History is viewed as less important than modern history. This thinking has its logic. The 21st century will be much more global in scope than previous centuries. This change requires that students be well versed in the immediate events which led to the 21st century.
This approach leads to a problem. How does a historian, well-versed in the problems and events that led to the 21st century deal with the problems and events that led to the 20th century or the 19th century? This is the dilemma faced by Will Durant in the late 1920ís and early 1930ís. Durant, was planning to write a book on 19th Century Europe when he realized that he could not adequately write that history without explaining the events of the 18th century, 17th century, etc. He solved his problem by writing a monumental 11 volume Story of Civilization.
I fear that if the present trend continues, we will all be in Durantís shoes. There is an alternative. Colleges and universities need to promote the 5,000 plus years of written history. Time and money need to be invested to promote the history of our past. This comprehensive approach will help direct people toward Classical Studies, Egyptology ans Ancient Near Eastern History while fostering a greater appreciation for the modern world in which we live.
6.) NATIONALIZE THE AIRLINES
It is clear the national air carriers are facing a major crisis, one they may not overcome. There is a real possibility the nationís airlines will go out of business as a result of the most recent terrorist attack, which morphed a method of transportation into a weapon of mass destruction. The greatest obstacle the airlines are facing is how to regain the confidence of the American public. All the security upgrades in the world may not restore this necessary confidence in a quick enough manner to save the airlines. Federal aide will fall short of this prerequisite of airline revenue restoration. However, direct federal control of the airlines, by the US Military, can restore confidence quickly.
Letís face it; the airlines were in poor shape prior to this tragedy. Customer satisfaction was terribly low, much of it a direct result of airlines over scheduling departures and incurring predictable delays due to overcapacity. Airport security was merely an illusion. Driven to maximize profits in what is a low margin business, airline management skimped on security budgets. Motivated by profit, the airlines must keep their cost structure as low as possible.
One way they sought to control costs was to contract out their security obligations to private companies. These sub-contractors, also driven by profit motives, keep their costs low by limiting, and in some cases eliminating, employee training programs. In addition, security employees were paid low wages, lower than what they could earn working at a McDonalds.
These examples of low skilled and poorly trained employees holding positions that require a high level of attention to detail and motivation can all be linked to security needs, and the associated costs, taking a backseat to maximizing shareholder value. Corporate managers decided how much to spend on security, with the objective to maximize profits hanging over their collective heads.
The airlines know their security is poor, and they knew it long before the tragedy of September 11 2001. No responsible manager walking through airport security could possibly ignore the obvious results of keeping security expenditures to a bare minimum. Placing the airlines under Federal control will place security and operational responsibilities in the hands of highly trained, motivated and experienced personnel, whose overriding objective will be for the proper control measures over what can be, in the hands of the wrong person, a weapon of mass destruction.
In 1917, the Federal Government took over the running of the railroads. The logistical needs of deploying an American Army overseas to fight World War I far exceeded the capacity of the railroads. The Government introduced technical improvements and modernized the system. When the war was complete, the Government returned the railroads to private control. The American public bailed out the railroads, as a direct response to their proven inability to meet the demands of the American war effort, but not with a handout of money.
America today is once again at war, a far cry from previous wars in the 20th Century, the differences brightly illuminated by others over the past week, but a war nonetheless. The airlines are not up to the job required. Past performance proves that. Let the US Military take the reins, make the necessary improvements in training, physical security procedures, and provide the American public with a strong demonstration of resolve to insure their safety while traveling by air. The American public deserves decisions effecting their security not be made by a profit driven manager, but by an objective driven leader. Nationalizing the airlines will eliminate the negative impact of profit motives on security issues and quickly regain consumer confidence.
7.) Open Op-Ed: Concerning Patterson, "Americans and the Writing of 20th C U.S. History"
September 25, 2001
I am writing this op-ed in response to questions that were raised by James Pattersonís "Americans and the Writing of Twentieth-Century United States History". On page 195, Patterson puts forth valid criticisms of social history as recently written about twentieth-century America. Patterson believes that "a good deal of recent academic writing about twentieth-century America has highlighted the flaws of civilization in America . . . and tend as a result to downplay the extraordinary technological, scientific, and political changes Ė many of them promoting freer, more comfortable lives for people Ė that have taken place in our lifetime.". The reason I found his criticisms of particular interest is that I have spent the past eight or so years of my life as a political dissident and critic of United States foreign and domestic policies. I have been on the side of those criticizing the United States while leaving little room for "looking at the bright side", so to speak. So, an important question for me, is do I agree with Pattersonís critique? Why or why not?
I have often found myself in political discussions with others where I argue against the United States as a country that truly supports and defends freedom - and then I am asked, "Donít people in the United States generally live some of the freest lives on the planet?". This question has caused me to open up my analysis to more complexity. As we all know, complexity can be frightening and confusing. Simplistic analyses are so much more . . . simple. Honestly, I do not have first hand knowledge of the relative social freedom that citizens of other countries have. Iíve traveled to other countries, but Iíve always just been a tourist, catching a fleeting glimpse of social structures. What I do know, however, from reading, traveling and discussions is that, when compared with the vast majority of other nations, the United States offers its citizens an extraordinary degree of social freedom. Not all citizens are offered an equal degree of freedom and opportunity Ė a fact which is the basis of much of the social historianís criticism. For example, as a white, male, heterosexual, middle-class citizen, I enjoy a much greater degree than most. But the overall freedom of Americans certainly appears to be greater than in other parts of the world.
Why have I chosen to ignore such a comparative approach to social history? It is because I have had my own ideological beliefs that I have wanted to support through my "research". Recent social history, it would appear, may suffer from the same condition. In this sense, I agree with Pattersonís criticism that, "If American scholars were to do more to compare historical developments in the United States with those in other nations, they might arrive at somewhat less gloomy perspectives." (p195) I have no problem with gloomy perspectives. If a condition is gloomy then it should be honestly viewed as such. But I do have a problem with historiography that is not comparative and contextual in nature. In Daniel T. Rodgersí piece titled "Exceptionalism" we saw that American historians have been moving away from a view of the United States as exceptional to the rest of the world toward a more correct view of the United States as deeply connected to a global history. It would be a mistake for social historians to swing to the opposite end of the pendulum and criticize the United States without a global perspective.
As a final note, with this global perspective the question begs to be raised: How does the United States maintain such a relative degree of freedom? How is so much abundance provided to American citizens? A global perspective shows that the wealth of the United States comes at the direct expense of less wealthy and less powerful countries. Sweatshops in Indonesia, China, and Haiti providing cheap clothing to American consumers is only one example of the source of some of our "freedom". I raise this question because it ties together the critical approach of recent social historians and the comparative, "global" approach suggested by Patterson. Taking all these questions into consideration, I am left with an unwieldy and complex situation: Realizing and admitting that the United States offers its citizens an extraordinarily free lifestyle and that it should be praised for this fact, and also being critical of the United States on two levels. First, "relative freedom" does not mean "enough freedom". Second, our freedom comes at the cost of other nations.
On the fateful morning of September 11, 2001, four commercial airliner jets were
hijacked with box cutters and small knives as the weapon of choice. Each of the
hijackers had the intention of using these planes as a guided missile in targeting symbolic
or strategic buildings in the United States. These juggernauts were used to attack the
World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia. Consequently, over
6500 civilians were killed including over 200 passengers in the air. No one watching TV
in the days following the attacks will be able to erase the horrifying images engraved
deep in their memories of these jarring events.
As a result of this cataclysm, a new paranoia has taken over the American population.
With the possibility of further terrorist attacks, there is a propensity to safeguard oneself
by not flying. This ascendant view is that one can avert the peril of another terrorist
attack by avoiding areas that terrorists may use as their battleground.
Despite the urging of public officials, people are driving hours cross-country to reach
their destinations. Yesterday, a man entered an airplane with box cutters hoping that he
would not be caught. This was to prove to his wife that airlines were not safe enough for
her to take her planned trip to Ireland. A woman called an airline complaining that her
manicure set contained a scissors which should have been confiscated by security.
There are those with the opinion that four fifty story towers should be built to replace
the Twin Towers to prevent another attack by a plane. Some vow to never step into the
Twin Towers if they are rebuilt. With such fears, the Twin Towers, a symbol of
American capitalism and democracy and a familiar feature of the New York skyline will
never rise again.
Lapses in security coupled with recent attacks are galvanizing the nation to adapt a
new lifestyle in which it is believed that perverse acts of terrorism can be obviated.
Whether this is an ephemeral or more permanent change remains to be seen. In the
meantime, this anomaly is serving as a catalyst in creating long term damage to the
airline industry and to the economy as a whole. Living in fear and taking all
precautionary measures possible will not eradicate terrorism or guarantee ones safety.
Pundits and terrorism experts are looking to Israel for some ideas on how to live with
the threat of terrorism. The Israeli owned airline El Al received many accolades in recent
days for being on the forefront when it came to safety standards. El Al has locked
cockpits, air marshals, and non-Israeli citizens of all nationalities are singled out for extra
questioning and search. These measures successfully prevented hijackings and attempts
at terrorist attacks in the last few decades. However, it could not prevent an El Al cargo
plane from crashing into a residential building in Amsterdam in the early 1990s, killing
hundreds. The accident was attributed to mechanical failure.
Israel, which is subject to acts of terrorism on a constant basis, is still often caught by
surprise. Since hijacking an Israeli plane is not plausible, terrorists have resorted to a
different kind of terrorism. Suicide bombers may stage an attack in a shopping mall,
Pizza shop, fruit store, or bus. Avoiding these public areas has not lead to a decline in
As Americans are increasingly turning to the "safety" of their own cars, planes remain
the safest mode of transportation statistically. Americaís fear of flying is palpable.
However, one must recognize that ones fate cannot be avoided by discarding the option
of air travel or crowded areas. One objective of Middle Eastern terrorists is to put a halt
to democratic and Western lifestyles. By transforming our lifestyles, we are admitting
defeat. The government and airlines must take precautionary measures but that alone will
not help the United States win the war on terrorism.
THE LEGALIZATION OF DRUGS
In today's society drugs are used for different reasons some being medicinal and other social; therefore, the legalization and regulating of drugs could solve some of the problems arising from drug use. Interestingly, the word "drugs", causes quite a stir and a somewhat negative response but that because of the association with crime and the deterioration of the neighborhoods.
According to the medical dictionary, a drug is defined as any substance taken orally or injected into the body for the treatment and prevention of disease, and there are several categories of drugs.
There are stimulants such as caffeine and coke. Depressants such as Valium and zxnax that are used to slow a person down, Hallucinogens such as LSD, PCP and Angel dust. Cannabis such as Hashish and Marijuana.
Former United States Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders had suggested that legalization of drugs might be a good idea because it could help curb the rise in crime and the Government should look into it. For this, she was ridiculed by Capitol Hill left, right and center. Dee Dee Myers the Whitehouse spokeswoman declared, "The President is firmly against legalizing drugs and he is not inclined in this case to even study the issue."
The war on drugs has produced very little positive results instead, drugs have skyrocketed and law enforcement officials have become more corrupted even to the point where members of the DEA are now being prosecuted for being "dirty". In reality, there isn't any war on drugs; so what's the solution? As of this point, there aren't any.
Joseph Califano Jr; Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Carter Administration and is now President of the Center on Addiction and substance abuse at Columbia University, has argued against legalizing drugs claiming that significant progress has been made against illegal drugs and that legalization would sabotage efforts being made by campaigns such as the Partnership for a Drug-free America who has helped reducing drug use by more than 75% since 1985, but in England, it was proven that legalization in its form of medicalization has worked and that doctors giving the drugs to addicts, kept England free of drug related crime for over 50 years. Then in 1971 the British signed on to our prohibition, which resulted in drugs becoming Britain's number one crime problem.
Another very interesting topic has also surfaced. A recent study by the University of Kansas that was published by Newsweek in the Fall of 1999, has shown that there is also an alarming rate of addiction caused by the use of "over the counter drugs" and efforts are now being made to ban some of these products and more people are now turning to herbal remedies to find a cure for what ever ails them.
In my opinion, drugs should not be legalized because, not only of the devastating effect it has had on the minority community in terms of crime and the spread of deadly diseases such as AIDS and Tuberculosis, but also because our economic situation and the moral obligation each of us has to provide a better world for the generations to come.
On the other hand, why not legalize drugs? The money made can help reduce the deficit so that there won't be any need for cutbacks and lay-offs or tuition increases. It could also get rid of the "drug pushers" because the prices would drop and there won't be much money to be made on the streets so they will lose interest. This could be one way of wining the war on drugs.
All in all, drugs legalization would be disastrous to the nation because there would be wide spread use, public safety would be jeopardized and America could become a nation of Zombies and total chaos.
On September 11, 2001, the United States of America suffered an unparalleled terrorist attack on two symbols of national excellence, the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. The destruction is still somewhat unimaginable, while the tremendous loss of human life is unbearable. The moment the first plane struck, America lost something it will never recover, its innocence. During the aftermath of the attack, many are already concerned with the future of lower Manhattan, even as the country moves closer towards war. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss the three main possibilities that we are confronted with.
The main difficulty for those who must ultimately decide on what should be done is satisfying the various needs of those involved. In order to facilitate the discussion, I will cast aside the problems that often hinder projects of this nature such as zoning difficulties, transportation concerns, public disapproval and lack of funding. In the end, given the enormity of the situation, these matters will be overcome.
One argument is for building something that exceeds the magnificence of the World Trade Center. Some have even gone as far as suggesting that it should be rebuilt without any significant changes being made. There are a number of reasons why some may suggest a plan such as this. Given the nature of the atrocity, many feel that it was not merely an attack on the economic infrastructure of the United States, but an attack on what the enormous towers represented: wealth, power, excellence, and above all, capitalism. To construct something that does not imply the same standards would be unacceptable. Another reason is that it would show the resilience and determination of the American people. Most importantly, it will serve as an indication that the United States will not cower in the wake terrorist acts. I view this final component, not as an act of arrogance, but as one of stability. It must be made clear that The United States will not falter during difficult times. It has often been said that new Yorkers possess a gritty, self-sufficient quality and this act of defiance would certainly prove that theory correct.
Those who feel that rebuilding the World Trade Center cite security as their main concern. It has become clear that large buildings are considered primary targets for terrorists. It has also become painfully clear that they are difficult to defend. Although security measures will be increased and fortified, unless military patrols become commonplace, The United States will remain virtually defenseless against a hijacked commercial airliner. Even if such planes are consistently deployed, the short distance from any of the three major airports may be too difficult to overcome.
Another idea, then, is to build a more modest financial complex to replace the World Trade Center. The rationale behind this is similar to that which is used to refute the idea of rebuilding the towers. Many view this as a more practical solution. Corporations have had to leave Manhattan as a result of this attack, and it is not reasonable to think that they would be eager to return to a building that is similar to the one that displaced them.
The third idea I would like to explore would avoid construction of buildings entirely. Those who favor this proposal advocate in favor of using the entire space as a memorial to honor the innocent people who lost their lives during the tragedy. A scenic park would certainly provide a serene environment to represent the loved ones who were lost. It would also help to negate the horror and chaos that distastefully scarred that day forever.
This suggestion has not been received well. It is viewed as idealistic and unreasonable. Lower Manhattan has long been a central location for business and commerce, and the World Trade Center for almost three decades epitomized that tradition. The land is valuable as it is plentiful; to allow it to remain unoccupied by businesses is unacceptable to many. The economy of New York City is heavily dependent upon the money that is generated from that area. It may be impossible to recover the revenue that would be lost if the land is not taken advantage of.
The sensitivity surrounding this topic is unprecedented, for never before has The United states suffered such as vicious attack. It is necessary for those who must ultimately make this decision to act quickly, yet responsibly. They are charged with the difficult task of considering the needs of the grieving families as well as the needs of the economy simultaneously.
I feel that the best solution is a direct compromise between two of the aforementioned proposals. The City of New York should accept plans that will illuminate the skyline as the World Trade Center once did. Although I am not in favor of duplicating the towers, I do feel that the new buildings should be as fortuitous as their predecessors. I also believe that it is imperative to construct a tasteful memorial to those who had their lives stripped away from them. If a suitable agreement is reached, both the buildings and the memorial will forever remind us of the tragic event that took place on September 11, 2001.
I reached this conclusion based on two factors. First, I do not feel that the construction of an elaborate structure will place its inhabitants in harmís way. The horrific event that transpired on September 11th should forever serve as a reminder to those who secure our safety how sacred it actually is. The days of relaxed security must remain in the past, for if they do not, we will hang our heads in sorrow once again. Some feel that heightened security will stifle our open society. I firmly disagree that liberty is at stake, but it is still a price that I am willing to pay. The prospect of reoccurrence is far too painful, whereas the inconveniences we may experience are rather trivial.
The second conclusion to construct a memorial is one that was much easier to agree upon. To occupy that space without dedicating a portion of it to our fallen countrymen would be folly. Human life must be cherished and when it is lost, it must be equally remembered. Our innocence may have been stripped and our lives altered, but our pride and hope for the future must remain forever.
Some New Tools in the War on Drugs and the War on Terror
Two of the great problems of our time are drug trafficking and terrorism. In fact there are well-established connections between the two. Terrorist organizations are funded in part from the profits of the drug trade. (In fact, it was recently revealed that in May of this year, the United States paid the Taliban 43 million dollars to destroy their opium crop. How much of that money was used for pilot training?) Narco-traficantes use terror in Colombia and Mexico to ensure that law enforcement and the courts do not interfere with efficient flow of drugs throughout the world. There are no quick-fixes for these problems. Because there will always be a market for illicit drugs, and terrorists willing to advance their cause, each of these problems will continue to exist. Any effort to combat these scourges will require the use of traditional and innovative techniques.
The "war on drugs" and the "war on terror" have too often involved attacking the problem directly by trying to capture people who have already dedicated themselves to evading the law. My suggestion is to assist them in their own destruction. How will the American government accomplish this? By using "counterfeit" and genetically engineered drugs. If the international drug market becomes flooded with very low quality or fake drugs, the Ďcurrencyí of many terrorist and drug organizations will be drastically de-valued, severely disrupting operations.
It has been widely reported that the terrorist organization Hezbollah, paid for weapons and training using counterfeit American dollars. One of the reasons the American currency was redesigned was that counterfeiters had become too expert at copying it. My idea is to put a twist on the terroristís own game: use counterfeit drugs to disrupt their cash flow.
We know that the Taliban, for example, relies on the sale of opium and heroin to stay in power. If suddenly that region of the world was flooded with a substance that looked and smelled like opium but was completely without any psychoactive effect, their economy would be thrown into disarray. Buyers of heroin and opium would constantly be wondering if they were getting the "real deal". An added benefit is that fewer people would be harmed by drugs.
Recent advances in biotechtology can be used against terrorists and drug traffickers. Multinational companies like Monsanto and DuPont have created pesticide resistant crops. The idea behind them is that these crops will resist lots of pesticide spray. An unintended consequence of this use is that weeds have acquired this pesticide resistance gene. Fields that have these "super weeds" require very expensive, labor intensive de-weeding. In other words, no anti-weed spray will work against them. If opium poppy fields, marijuana fields, and coca plantations are over-run with these "super-weeds," profits will be significantly reduced.
The use of "dummy drugs," expertly designed to look, feel, smell, and taste like the real thing would probably be expensive. However, the cost would be infinitesimally small compared to the cost of law enforcement and incarceration and terrorism.
These are untested ideas. However, we are in uncharted waters now. The new war on drugs/ terrorism will require a multifaceted approach and a willingness to abandon ideas that have been tried repeatedly and have failed.
Amid all this talk about invading Afghanistan, it seems Americans have forgotten that we have already committed billions of dollars to prevent the flow of drugs from Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico. Many are worried about a new guerilla war in the jungles of Colombia. The war on drugs and terror cannot be fought separately. It would be foolish not to take advantage of the non-violent tools we have at our disposal.
Childhood is a precious time that shouldnít be wasted. It is a time when children donít or shouldnít have to worry about the problems of adulthood. They should live in a carefree environment in which the problems of everyday life go undetected. Those of us, who have enjoyed this type of childhood, donít understand or comprehend the fact that not all children have this carefree, naÔve childhood. Many children, especially those in the third world countries donít get to have the same type of childhood, we had, growing up in an industrialized nation. These children, whose age varies are laborers leading prematurely adult lives working literally for a piece of bread under conditions damaging to their physical, social and emotional well being.
In my opinion, child labor should be stopped. Yet, child labor is one of the oldest "traditions" that is not based in any one country, religion or race. Child labor became "big business" during the Industrial Revolution, in which the smallness of a child was needed to perform certain tasks. However, it did not end there. Children were and still are being used as slave or indentured labor. In all parts of the world, child labor is a "normal" everyday occurrence, in which children are being sold or offered "better lives" then what they are living. It is not just the small businesses that use child labor. Big corporations, such as Disney, use children as a source of labor. For these companies, whose products are mainly manufactured outside the U.S., feel that as long as they produce a product that can withstand everyday usage, it is good. The children who work for these companies do so because their families need money or they are trying to make a better life for themselves. The children shouldnít have to think in such adult terms as whether or not the money they make will help pay for food or if they move away from their families would their lives be any better.
What the companies donít understand is that by using child labor, they are taking away a life that in many respects should be trouble-free and carefree as possible. The companies should, instead, work with the adults of the country, village or town. They should instruct the adults on how a product is made or how to operate a machine. The companies should also pay a salary that will be adequate for the family. Iím not saying that it should make all the families rich, but they should be paid enough so they will be able to buy food, clothing and other necessities that are needed by all who live in the household.
As indigestible as the disaster still feels, it appears even more surreal the further time removes us from its immediacy. Even for those of us who have always been fatalistic and have expected some event of the sort that has occurred, there is no way for us to possibly frame reality around the disaster and to the reaction over the disaster. The United States has reached full maturity with this first attack upon its cities. The attack on the World Trade Center did not start a war; the attack merely brought the war home. Too bad most of us are not taking this opportunity to reflect. Policymaker's and the populace's overreaction signify that we are not ready to learn the lessons of maturity. President Bush's couching the event in terms of a holy crusade of civilization against evil seems almost as unfathomable as the event itself. By placing the disaster in terms of an isolated crime rather than a deed that was the culmination of a desperate political reaction, President Bush eclipses the US's responsibility and perpetuates the myth of purity. I am feeling stunned by the overly choreographed overreaction. Instead of reflecting on the horror of what has happened, in this time of uncertainty most are looking for something to grasp on to and are looking for quick answers.
Similar to the way the U.S. made some severe political miscalculations in the1930s by supporting/tolerating Hitler to act as a buffer against the Soviets, the U.S. sowed the very seeds of attack by supporting ultra-Islamic nationalism when Osama Bin Laden was empowered as a client freedom fighter against Soviet dominance in Afghanistan. Again, U.S. policymakers should have gone beyond their chronic myopia and realize that they were once again creating yet another Frankenstein monster. How many times have we seen this pattern in US foreign affairs? Remember that with Bush I it was Noriega? The seeds of nationalism that US policymakers manipulated during the Cold War would inevitably backfire when the Soviets were removed from the picture.
The U.S. should not and cannot act as a moral authority, especially in the Middle East. By essentially taking over the British position at the end of World War II, the US assumed a neo-colonial position in the Middle East for the last 60 years. The overthrow of Moggadesh in Iran and the propping up of a dictator was an early education for the inhabitants of this part of the world of the US's actual position. For the last decade or so the U.S. arbitrarily bombed civilians and implemented economic and trade sanctions which have denied basic foodstuffs and medicines to the Iraqi people. By the way, similar to the US's inflexible relationship with Castro, the US's position has only increased Saddam Hussein's power and popularity.
Other recent episodes of US foreign policy which should not be forgotten, which dispels the myth of US moral superiority, is the US's cultivation and support of mercenary armies and police states throughout Central America over the last 150 years. President Bush's statement that g*d is not neutral about the decision between freedom and fear, justice and cruelty suggests that he is so removed from reality that he isn't even aware that the US is filled with extremist apocalyptic hate groups and associated militias. Timothy McVeigh was merely a symptom of a deep pathology that will recurrently haunt us if not addressed. A pathology which deifies violence and force over reconciliation. The new booming prison industry with it s exponential growth proves that one doesn't have to look beyond our borders to see that despite the fact that the US is one of the freest nations, we score low in respect to human rights.
The US is equally removed from reality in respect to its retaliatory reactiveness. The jingoism feels dangerously choreographed and feels steeped in denial. Yes, the terrorist deed was awful, but I intrinsically believe that our obsession for retaliation is going to bring us dangerously close to Armageddon. What makes us believe that this invisible enemy is going to stop at this isolated evil deed? As catastrophic as the leveling the World Trade Center was, the enemy probably as much more in store for the US. This enemy has proven themselves capable of any action. Do we really want to push them to commit further horrible acts? This is one definite time that force cannot erase violence. We are not fighting against an organized army, which exists in one spatial place. This enemy is possibly innocuous, I mean they exist everywhere and will be impossible to pindown to one time and place.
As many political analysts have pointed out the Turks, British and Russians have not been able to successful invade Afghanistan, so what leads us to believe that the US is going to be more successful? Do we have such faith in our technical superiority that we are going to recurrently make the same mistakes that we made with Vietnam? In Vietnam the most advanced air support was used, in addition to tremendous amounts of napalm and incendiary bombs, and it didn't add up to a victory in the face of nationalism. Simultaneously, these are different times. With the break-up of the Soviet Union there is a large number of free-lance nuclear and germ warfare scientists look for a means to make a living and some of who have probably been appropriated by the ultra fundamentalist Islamic world. Let us not buy in too much about airliner security. The tightening of air security might be necessary and the anti-missile plan is definitely a strangelovian pork barrel project, but the unpredictability of terrorism suggests that the threat will probably not come from airspace. More importantly even if the enemy has nuclear technology what are the chances that the can deliver a nuclear device via an ICBM? Again, as many have suggested next time the terror will be larger, more devastating and invisible. The enemy will probably use biological and or chemical weapons. The enemy can deliver a biological or chemical weapon effortlessly. If delivered correctly, a light bulb filled with anthrax or smallpox can wipe out a large metropolitan city. Can we afford to push a group of people so far to use such desperate measures?
It is regretful that we, as a nation, didn't assimilate the lessons of Vietnam. The Vietnam syndrome still seems to be with us. We are under the fatal delusion if we deliver enough hardware and transcend any political dissent we can win any war. Desert Storm obviously fueled this delusion. But the terrorist anger was obviously fueled by the US relations with Iraq, and Israel, the bombing of the Sudan as well as free market globalization which has impoverished more outside of the US than it has helped.
And now we approached the concept of the enemy. Concept, because we can not even be sure who this enemy is. The Bush administration's Newspeak is justified with the concept of security, but the American people and more importantly humanity deserves to know the truth if the US government really knows if it is Bin Laden. This is probably the one of the top historical events of Modern History. The way the event is being couched it sounds if we are in for a long global war. If the world is headed for a long conflict and the US wants to guarantee that we are keeping the moral high ground the US needs to prove to the world that we are retaliating against the actual enemy. Even if Bin Laden is erased from the world stage, several other sycophants will replace him to fill the vacuum.
And on possible political dissent, there is talk of the need to give up our civil liberties in the name of security. The Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA allows the government transcendent powers in the name of security. Could martial law already have been implemented without having been given any publicity? I am not even sure if there even needs to be a law to justify the loss of civil liberties. In the last two weeks I have been completely immobilized, because I have been in a state of fatalistic shock believing that the destruction at the World Trade Center was merely the beginning of the end. I mean despite the Federal government's new agency which handles security threats, the Homeland Security Agency, a name which resonates with Orwellianism, I still already have voluntarily given up my some of my civil liberties and way of life. Since the incident, fearing for the safety of my family, I have barely left the house to do anything beyond the tasks beyond essential survival; if it is the end of the world I want to spend the last few moments of life with my wife and baby. We are being told that that there are going to be extensive wiretaps. Fantastic, I have nothing to hide, except now I fear that anything I may say might be taken out of context. We are being told that this is going to be a long drawn out conflict requiring sacrifice. So we should expect continued tax cuts, lay-offs and corporate bailouts such as the feds just did for the airlines? The Pentagon via the Executive has engaged an obscure Civil War stipulation called the Feed and Forage Act that allows the military to spend more than what has been appropriated for by Congress. This clause seems like giving ultimate and infinite powers to the commander and chief. The forage act allows for continual mobilization without dissent or inquiry.
There has been an amazing spectacle of a show that has been put on in my neighborhood since the incident. I feel as if I have suddenly woken up in South Central LA or downtown Tel Aviv with the constant sirens and helicopters. The show is apparently not universal and merely specific to my mixed neighborhood, because this past weekend I spent time two miles from where the Trade Center was and it felt more everyday then my sudden crisis filled neighborhood. Somebody is definitely being put in check with all the spectacle of activity. Simultaneously, it is obvious that the police haven taken advantage of the public perception of them as heroes. The police have seemed to cross the thin blue. Sirens and running red lights have been constant over the last few weeks. On my way to school I noticed that the police appropriated the bike path for semi-permanent parking and that they have taken the license to attach American flags to there cars, and uniforms. Despite the secular nature of the flag, this still seems to be a controversial erasure between the division of church and state. I mean the patriotic jingoism as taken on proportions of the new religion. Don't get me wrong, I love this country. I love it s freedoms, potentials, peoples and geography, but I am beginning to feel like I have to hang up a flag. A flag to signify that I am part of the consensus otherwise the lack of a flag maybe misinterpreted as not being part of the collective. The good old herd instinct reflex kicks in when confusion reigns.
The myopia goes further than what occurs in my small world of fear. Suddenly the President is given free reign. We are distracted from the fact that there is a severe economic recession occurring, that Social Security is being tapped, that military appropriations are going to sky rocket, that a useless missile defense shield is probably going to be built amongst other absurd acts. All these absurdities don't seem to matter to the people of the United States in the face of war. The spectre of war is a perfect scenario in which not to ask the tougher questions. A decade ago after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact there seemed to be unlimited potential. My generation survived Reagan. Most of my peers had given up hope in a possible future by the early 80s. Between a severely recessed economy and a President who was living in a fictive world of good vs. evil in terms of the Cold War my peers and I believed that tomorrow probably did not exist. Thankfully we were wrong and the history progressed gently for most of the world rather than violently. In 1990, after years of deferring to the war machine, there was talk of a peace dividend, to give back or at least reinvigorate the decayed infrastructure. This peace dividend obviously never happened. The US was momentarily distracted by the escapades of Panama and Persian Gulf War, but over the last 7 years there has been unlimited economic growth. The US could have made a multitude of decisions from a place of abundance, but we didn't. We were more occupied or were told that we were more occupied by reality programming and what were the contours of the scandal of the moment. Too bad, because we have now returned to a place of crisis, scarcity and desperation. For the moment is sounds like sacrifice is being promoted as the method of being. In this brave new world of crisis there will not be room for growth, generosity, and compassion.
In times of tragedy Americans turn to three things that they tend to ignore when times are
sound. They look to patriotism for strength, religion for comfort, and to history for information.
It is in times of peril that we hear the cries of, "Where is Afghanistan, or Kosova?" Historians
will join the politicians and the movie stars as guests of early morning or news chat-shows. The
current crisis involving the attack on the World Trade Center is especially suited for the historian
because the area involved is so rich in history, and the range of peopleís queriesí will be vast.
The public realizes during times like this that historians inform them about their own world and
make the past relevant to them. It is incumbent on historians to make sure that they donít pander
to or ignore the needs of the public that they are trying to inform.
On the one hand, it might be easy for historians to join in on the flag waving of the
general public either in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience or out of a true sense of
patriotism. It would be simple to mouth what the politicians say about how great we are, but it is
not the job of the historian to make the public feel good about themselves. They turn to God and
the flag for that. If the historian gives into repeating patriotic rhetoric, then they lose their
credibility. If they are not believed, then they will be unable to inform the public truthfully which
is the real duty of the historian in times of crisis. On the other hand, it might be even easier for
academic historians to ignore the needs of their audience, and they are writing for a larger
audience. They are not simply writing for the historical journals anymore. Therefore, they have
to take into account such things as the patriotism and faith of the public. Ever since the days of
Joe McCarthy, historians have become suspicious of patriotic rhetoric. Global history has
replaced the flag in the academy. Following the lead of Jesse Jackson and the Nation magazine
by blaming current events on racism will only alienate the public even more from history.
Just three days after the attack on the World Trade Center, Bill Moyers hosted a
biography of the career of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden. Much of the show was focused on
speeches given by or about this man. Now more than ever historians must do this, let the
documents speak for themselves. Global history must join with American exceptionalism in
order to inform the general public without taking away from the beliefs that give them faith and
16.) Given the brought spectrum of historical topics from which to choose, I have chosen the revisionist take on Christopher Columbus. As a seventh grade social studies teacher, Columbus and his voyages is often a difficult subject to teach.
Do I choose to take the road that so many before me have taken; to present Columbus in a fictional status, as the man who, not only, turned the world upside down but doubled it in size, as well. Or do I teach about the Columbus that so many revisionist historians choose to speak about; the Columbus who enslaved, killed, and destroyed the Native American, who, in his own journal accounts, spoke of the sexual popularity of the ten year old Native American girls.
In the past, I have tried to incorporate both levels of thinking into my classroom. Where-by-which, I try to give my students a chance to explore "the man and the myth". Itís a difficult task to undertake. Indeed, it is much harder to learn than unlearn. With Columbus fictional accounts of his life and deeds far outnumber any serious non-fiction accounts on such events.
The question I often deal with is, if Columbus is not the person they were taught that he was, why then do the textbooks omit, what most would consider, important information about his character and his actions. The only logical answer I can think of is that textbooks are searching for way to present thousands of years of information to students who, generally, have little to no regard for historical perspective, in an informative and, at the same time, interesting manner.
But, what are the damages caused by such thinking, if this is indeed the case. They are catastrophic, in my opinion. History can often be far more glamorous and far more interesting than any textbook can, or will, ever be. Students are being denied their rights to know the whole truth about their history, because to McGraw-Hill it is not economically viable.
This is not the first time I have expressed my opinions on this matter. And to say that I was the first would be a complete lie. Why, then, if so many share the same opinion does nothing change? Textbooks have changed very little over the last 20 or so years as far as historical content.
I encourage my students to explore topics of interest to them. Independent research seems to bring out the historian in all of them. As an assignment, students are encouraged to find a topic of interest, research it, and compare it to what little information is presented to them via their textbooks. Does the information match? Are there omissions? Are there bold-faced lies?
I know how hard this can be. Much like the entire nation, I was spoon fed this "watered down" version of history. I became increasing bored with what I was being taught, then, in high school, I was taught history the way it should have been: the right way. One day, with any luck, we will all be taught the right way.
Explored by many philosophers, debated by many historians, and excessively analyzed by psychologists, human nature has retained its mystery to humanity and as a result allowed its explorers to get as far as a theory, supported by hypothetical examples. Perhaps the truth of what human nature is all about is meant to have an everlasting place in the realm of mysteries. Several convincing theories are floating out there in the intellectual, as well as, ordinary world. Yet most do not seem to approach the dilemma of what human nature truly is with an objective mind. Instead, many explanations for human nature seem to operate on the foundation of the time period in which they were written. Thomas Hobbesís dark-sided explanation during English civil upheavals, or John Lockeís more optimistic explanations during a more enlightened, and democratically prone monarchy testify to the reality that our great thinkers have written Ďsubjective truthsí. Even the greatest of social theorists, Sigmund Freud, has a pessimistic view of human nature, but not to forget that his ideas were written in the times of Franco-Prussian War, World War I, and his implicit expectations of World War II.
A great paradox emerges within the theories of human nature particularly in the twentieth century. It seems that desperate attempts have been made to explain the human nature while highlighting the reality that many irrational acts have been committed in the twentieth century. How are the scholars from so many diverse fields are trying to understand the logic and the rational behind irrational behavior? A very puzzling situation seems to unfold. Perhaps because humans are endowed with an ability to think like no other species on earth, their behavior is always open to unpredictable patterns. And as a result, confinement of human nature to a practical and universal system is unrealistic. In other words, either there is no Ďessenceí in human nature, or the essence is a mystery that is not perceivable to human mind.
Two German thinkers of the nineteenth century both affirm this paradoxical reality (whether conscious of it or not). Karl Marx presented a deterministic model of human nature. Once humans entered into social relations they get locked into a system that works independently of them. Once this occurs, human history can be quite accurately predicted. I do not think any insightful person with a decent knowledge of human history would go along with that model. Max Weber, on the other hand, presented a more realistic model in which three types of leadership and thus three types of societies have existed throughout history. This approach demonstrates a more realistic view that human history has not always followed rational patterns.
There seems to be something about human beings that does not confine them to a strictly logical or a rational life. Weberís charismatic leader in fact affirms that humans have a tendency, provided the proper atmosphere, to follow and act in ways that are everything but logical or rational. When this happens history as a continues and predictable pattern breaks down. Human nature adjusts and internalizes certain ways when interacting with the surrounding environment. But there is more to humans than conditionally trained responses.
18.) "A Fight to Insure the Liberty of the World"
President Kennedy was quoted saying to the world that "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and success of liberty". Decades after President Kennedy initiated his speech, we find our 43rd President George W. Bush making the same promises.
In regards to Kennedy's quote, the authors of the book Imagined Histories state that " Today, we can not imagine any president promising to pay any price to promote liberty in the world". In 1998, this statement might have been considered a valid one; but in the aftermath of the events that occurred on September 11, 2001, this statement can be looked at as untrue. For the first time since President Kennedy, one of the major promises of a president is to promote liberty and defend freedom for the United States and the world.
President Bush fully describes his campaign to defend freedom in his address to Congress on September 20, 2001. In his address, he explains that "Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom". Bush adresses the fight for liberty and the ending of terrorism as " Not, however, just America's fight, and what is at stake just America's freedom. This is the world's fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance, and freedom...".
Is President Bush promising to pay any price to promote liberty in the world? The answer to this question is obvious. President Bush is willing to pay any price, even if it means war, to promote liberty and to end terrorism. A World War may be in the near future and President Bush is fully aware that any decision that he might make may speed up the process of a World War.