Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Can the United States move beyond the narcissism of 9/11?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
 
CHIMO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:48 PM
Original message
Can the United States move beyond the narcissism of 9/11?
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks the then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, called in her senior staff and asked them to think seriously about "how capitalise on these opportunities". The primary opportunity came from a public united in anger, grief and fear which the Bush administration sought to leverage to maximum political effect. "I think September 11 was one of those great earthquakes that clarify and sharpen," Rice told the New Yorker six months afterwards. "Events are in much sharper relief."

Ten years later the US response to the terror attacks have clarified three things: the limits to what its enormous military power can achieve, its relative geopolitical decline and the intensity of its polarised political culture. It proved itself incapable of winning the wars it chose to fight and incapable of paying for them and incapable of coming to any consensus as to why. The combination of domestic repression at home and military aggression abroad kept no one safe, and endangered the lives of many. The execution of Osama bin Laden provoked such joy in part because almost every other American response to 9/11 is regarded as a partial or total failure.

Inevitably, the unity brought about by the tragedy of 9/11 proved as intense as it was fleeting. The rally around the flag was a genuine, impulsive reaction to events in a nation where patriotism is not an optional addendum to the political culture but an essential, central component of it. Having been attacked as a nation, people logically felt the need to identify as a nation.

But beyond mourning of the immediate victims' friends and families, there was an element of narcissism to this national grief that would play out in policy and remains evident in the tone of many of today's retrospectives. The problem, for some, was not that such a tragedy had happened but that it could have happened in America and to Americans. The ability to empathise with others who had suffered similar tragedies and the desire to prevent further such suffering proved elusive when set against the need to avenge the attacks. It was as though Americans were unique in their ability to feel pain and the deaths of civilians of other nations were worth less.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/04/nar...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. I certainly hope so. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
southmost Donating Member (528 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. well, 9/11 itself didn't move the US beyond its narcissism
eom
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
arcane1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
3. We've had sunshine blown up our collective ass for generations
It would take a generation-long cleanse to purge ourselves of it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jimlup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
4. Judging by what I have seen in our culture I would have to say "NO!" unfortunately /nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
5. That 'unity' is a myth.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
6. We like narcissism, we don't want to move on. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
xocet Donating Member (699 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. No. The US is not yet over Pearl Harbor which was 70 years ago - and ...
this year an apparently significant number of people want to commemorate the US Civil War which was 150 years ago.

So, in 2151 CE, the US (all other things being equal) will be commemorating:

  • the 150th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 CE,
  • the 290th anniversary of the US Civil War and
  • the 210th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.


Thomas Jefferson had a nice statement regarding the construction of memorials to such events which might well be extended to such commemorations. It is in one of his letters that addressed the reconstruction of the White House (or possibly the Capitol) after the British had burned it. At the moment, I cannot find the citation for this letter, though.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Fri Sep 19th 2014, 05:38 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC