Shown: posts 1 to 11 of 11. This is the beginning of the thread.
Posted by sigismund on September 11, 2011, at 14:42:10
I thought this, by Melvyn Leffler, was pretty reasonable.
Rather than heaping blame or casting praise on the Bush administration, 10 years after 9/11 it is time for Americans to reflect more deeply about their history and their values. Americans can affirm their core values yet recognise the hubris that inheres in them. They can identify the wanton brutality of others yet acknowledge that they themselves are the source of rage in many parts of the Arab world. Americans can agree that terrorism is a threat that must be addressed but realise it is not an existential menace akin to the military and ideological challenges posed ny German Nazism and Soviet Communism. They can acknowledge that the practice of projecting solutions to their problems onto the outside world means that they seek to avoid difficult choices at home, such as paying higher taxes, accepting universal conscription, or implementing a realistic energy policy. Americans can recognise that there is evil in the world, as Obama reminded his Nobel audience in December 2009, and they can admit, as he did, that force has a vital role to play in the affairs of humankind. But they can also recognise that the exercise of power can grievously injure those whom they wish to help and can undercut the very goals they seek to achieve. American can acknowledge the continuities in their interests and values yet wrestle with the judgements and trade-offs that are required to design a strategy that works in the post-Cold War era, where the threats are more varied, the enemies more elusive, and the power more fungible.
Posted by sigismund on September 11, 2011, at 16:57:24
In reply to 9/11, posted by sigismund on September 11, 2011, at 14:42:10
The Lancet said it was more than a million dead in Iraq (didn't it), and that was years ago now.
Then there is the ethnic cleansing and the homelessness.
Then all those Iraqi children under Clinton. That wasn't fun either.
Posted by floatingbridge on September 11, 2011, at 19:24:44
In reply to Re: 9/11, posted by sigismund on September 11, 2011, at 16:57:24
None of it was fun.
Who is Melvyn Leffner?
How is 9/11 looked upon, generally, where you are?
I reread Bush's speech given wherein he 'renews' US alliance with Great Britian.....
Posted by sigismund on September 11, 2011, at 21:03:03
In reply to Re: 9/11 » sigismund, posted by floatingbridge on September 11, 2011, at 19:24:44
The letters to the Herald today all remarked on the way that lives outside the empire or worth so much less. I understand it is more complex than that, overall. That life on the fringes of the American Imperium has suffered dreadful conflict, but that, as empires go, it has allowed the constituent parts a reasonable degree of freedom (not in South America).
It was an spectacular and terrible event which has had a toxic legacy, and seems to have been successful in its aim of damaging and destabilising the US.
Melvyn Leffnner is a professor of history in the US. He had a good article in the press. The coverage here has been, in the tabloids and TV, mind-numbing and unenlightening, as you would expect.
Posted by sigismund on September 12, 2011, at 21:57:19
In reply to Re: 9/11 » floatingbridge, posted by sigismund on September 11, 2011, at 21:03:03
Unfortunately the attacks were much more successful than bin Laden could ever have dreamed.
Posted by jane d on September 13, 2011, at 3:24:34
In reply to Re: 9/11 » floatingbridge, posted by sigismund on September 11, 2011, at 21:03:03
> Melvyn Leffnner is a professor of history in the US. He had a good article in the press. The coverage here has been, in the tabloids and TV, mind-numbing and unenlightening, as you would expect.
I made a point of avoiding as much of the coverage as I could. I always have. What slipped throught seemed to be as you describe. I hope it's mostly over now.
The tone of the Melvin Leffler excerpt you posted annoyed me and I spent some time trying to figure out why. I decided that it sounded too much like a sermon or a campaign speech and with our election cycle just starting I have already run out of patience for those. All rhetoric, no discussion. But then I also realized it was the conclusion of a longer piece and the tone made more sense. I assume the reasoning was earlier. It's this essay, isn't it? http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68201/melvyn-p-leffler/september-11-in-retrospect
The little bit you could read without logging in looked interesting but I didn't go further. Can you read it without a paid subscription? Were you able to read it?
Posted by sigismund on September 13, 2011, at 4:16:41
In reply to Re: 9/11 » sigismund, posted by jane d on September 13, 2011, at 3:24:34
>Can you read it without a paid subscription? Were you able to read it?
It was reproduced in the Australian Financial Review and I read it there, but I got no further than you did at that website.
What I copied out was (almost) the very last paragraphs. I find Foreign Affairs a bit conservative for me, but I also respect the limits on what can be achieved, and I thought what he was saying was reasonable enough. Anyway, perhaps the preachy tone is because it was the end of the article.
Posted by jane d on September 13, 2011, at 5:01:11
In reply to Re: 9/11 » jane d, posted by sigismund on September 13, 2011, at 4:16:41
> >Can you read it without a paid subscription? Were you able to read it?
> It was reproduced in the Australian Financial Review and I read it there, but I got no further than you did at that website.
> What I copied out was (almost) the very last paragraphs. I find Foreign Affairs a bit conservative for me, but I also respect the limits on what can be achieved, and I thought what he was saying was reasonable enough. Anyway, perhaps the preachy tone is because it was the end of the article.
I think that's it.
I broke down and registered at Foreign Affairs. That article is available free once you register. And it looks like there are other interesting ones there. I don't think i've looked at Foreign Affairs since high school (that would have been on stone tablets).
That article looks interesting. Thanks for pointing it out. However I didn't get all the way throught it. I'm hoping it's just the late hour and not evidence that my mind is rotting away. I'll try again tomorrow.
Posted by floatingbridge on September 13, 2011, at 13:24:00
In reply to Re: 9/11 » sigismund, posted by jane d on September 13, 2011, at 5:01:11
I am taking your post as a launching off point for observations, if that is alright with you. I certainly do not hold you answerable to anything, but rather would like to stand beside you and look at what we can see together. I hope you do not mind and feel free to comment or not as you feel compelled.
I haven't read the entire article (is it free to register?), and
upon re-reading, did not find it preachy; it was your comment that focused my attention on the excerpt again (thank you). The rhetorical style did have that swollen feeling that oftens ends essays and speeches, but I felt very quiet and reflective after reading the excerpt. And sad (my default position). I
am not ashamed or overly apologetic being an US citizen, bit feel a kind of creeping uneasiness in the wake of Sept 11th and our national response. It was like waking out of rem sleep into a stark reality.
I felt horror, shock, and despair as if I was witnessing a
beginning of an end, the history of the/my world broken into a before and after which would remain irrevocable. At the same moment I watched the planes crashing and the smoke and heard the frenzied calls, I went into a PTSD kind of mode and knew in my bones that beside the pathos and tragedy on US planes and cities that millions of lives would be crushed in the ensuing events. I had been asleep.
So my terror was a double terror. The personal and the global. I turned off the t.v and the radio and refused to see again and again chemical and soot filled faces of the firefighters, the emergency crew and the bystanders who rushed to help, the homeless and frightened who crossed the bridges on foot, those who jumped from the towers in personal moments of panic, despair and one can hope, a
final grace and acceptance of their death. My own brother was supposed tom work that day in a nearby building and by chance did not, but we did not know that,and all circuits were down. He saw the towers fall, and it is an indelible part of his life, as it would be for any person witnessing such spectacular destruction on the most beautiful morning of September.
I wept and shook and watched a very frightened George Bush Jr react less than my heroic ideal form the speeches which declared a crusade against an axis of evil.
As quoted in another post, history was now a rudderless ship blown on the winds from the depths of death. That is how I felt that day, all at once.
I taught at the time, and an pall fell over acedemia. Any speech suggesting even temperance and considered reflection was labelled treasonous. Strange imagery rose from the pages of the students' papers despite their intentions, like the flip-side dream image of logic and reason. In these papers, the argument, whatever it was about, would break into images of eagles soaring head and shoulders above the rest of the world--as the so deserved according to the authors. Where did this come from?
Did the US deserve the attack? No, absolutely not. No one deserves such treatment. I remember the pictures of Mussolini, his body beaten until he was a sack of crushed bone. It isn't even the question of did he deserve it, but did anyone in the world deserve to do that to another?
After being raised with the caricatured figure of Hitler as the face of evil, I feared that whatever had feuled that righteousness had somehow began to root in this country as well. Does this entitlement belong to America (US)? To Germany? Or any one country, or does it have to do with power itself and empire building? I don't know, because the answers are beyond me. I still argue over the most mundane affairs within my own household and find myself using my will and power over my son just when I feel like I am being such a good parent by doing what is necessary.
This is an excerpt of my memories, my thoughts, I who still love and fear the myth and promise of this country and in whose soul these are indelibly stamped.
Posted by sigismund on September 13, 2011, at 17:53:26
In reply to Re: 9/11 » jane d, posted by floatingbridge on September 13, 2011, at 13:24:00
The view from outside will always be different. It is such a big subject: the rights and wrongs of empire. You seek to strengthen the hand of the Gaullists against the communists by preserving the French Empire and you end up in Vietnam, during which I grew up. You were either for or against it, and the tonnages were what impressed or dismayed you. It's too big, hey? Like the USA maybe? Big country, lots of different people. Australia will be too big soon. An American friend once wrote to me that the US is subject to religious fevers (or something like that).
Thank you, fb, for that. I was especially interested in the soaring eagles cropping up in the essays. Where did that come from? Very interesting. We have different things, not least of which is an alcohol problem.
Posted by sigismund on September 13, 2011, at 19:11:30
In reply to Re: 9/11 » floatingbridge, posted by sigismund on September 13, 2011, at 17:53:26
This is so Chou En Lai (French revolution good or not), you might be interested in this story.
He was given, almost as tribute, as was the custom, the daughter from a minister in the Thai government around (I'm guessing) 1962. She doesn't understand anything.....just that she is going to China for a holiday. She grows up in his household and they have a quite reasonable relationship. Then the cultural revolution comes along. Around this time she meets an American boy in China and he asks her to marry him. She asks her father (as she has come to think of him) saying 'I'm not sure if I love this boy'. Chou says in effect 'Don't be ridiculous. Just go.' And she does.
This must be her. I see I have the dates wrong.
This is the end of the thread.
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