There is a particular narrative about Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War that has always struck me as compelling. I bought the argument at the time and I think I still do, to some extent, even though I’m hardly a Reagan fan.
The story goes like this: Reagan was able to finally win the Cold War and drive a stake through the heart of the Evil Empire because he realized that the Soviet economy was already badly overextended trying to prop up the war machine. All he had to do was accelerate the arms race, dramatically increasing military spending (while also amping up the sabre-rattling rhetoric) and that would force the Russkis to bankrupt themselves trying to compete. Read more
In September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger jets. They flew three of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The fourth was retaken by the passengers and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. These things we know. Since then, much has transpired. For example:
- The US invaded Afghanistan, the nation that had harbored the terrorists and their mastermind, Osama bin Laden. The war has not been uniformly well managed and attempts to install a stable self-government have so far failed. Many experts argue that our efforts there have been woefully counterproductive. Read more
Something wicked this way comes.
There are a number of problems with these assertions, not the least of which is that when Saudi terrorists started flying hijacked jets into large buildings on September 11, 2001, George W. Bush had been president of the United States for the better part of eight months. The lapses in memory noted above are all striking, but especially so in the case of Giuliani, who was, from September 11 until he dropped out of the presidential race on January 30, 2008 (a span of roughly 2,332 days, if my math is accurate), unable to say so much as “hello” without somehow shoehorning “9/11” into the conversation. Read more
(Warning: Reality is never as neat and clean as theory, I’m afraid, but humans are inherently theoretical animals. So bear with me. The following may be a tad obscure in places, but it’s going somewhere worthwhile.)
University of Texas-Dallas Professor Frederick Turner has penned an interesting take on the current WTC memorial debate, and makes some very well-considered arguments about how the whole process is off the mark. In short, he believes the current proposals “express, as clearly as if it had been written all over them, that America was defeated by the terrorists,” and asserts that we should take this opportunity to erect something “more splendid, more beautiful and more truly symbolic of New York and of America than its predecessor.”
To his credit, he offers his own proposal for the memorial, complete with a nice set of sketches illustrating how it would look from various vantage points around the city. I have to say I’m impressed with the power of his vision, especially as it addresses the basic tenets of his larger argument. Read more