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Lee Harris: Repressing 9-11
Tech Central Station ^ | March 8, 2004 | Lee Harris

Posted on 03/08/2004 9:42:31 AM PST by quidnunc

Last week, President Bush was attacked by members of the Democratic Party for using images of 9/11 in a campaign ad, and by the next day there was the normal political and media uproar over this burning question: Should the President be scolded for daring to use such images, or should he be defended?

I do not wish to weigh in on this question because, like many burning questions being asked today, I think it is absurdly irrelevant, like the burning question whether President Bush should have worn a flight jacket while aboard a helicopter. Instead the question I want to ask is how our nation permits such "issues" to become burning questions in the first place. Do we have nothing more urgent to worry about?

The answer to this question should be an easy one. Yes, we do have many more urgent things to worry about; and by far the most urgent is what to do about 9/11.

Here I am not talking about what to do about future 9/11's — catastrophic terror that may or may not happen in our near or our distant future — I am referring back to the 9/11 that occurred on a beautiful morning over two and a half years ago. And our most urgent question today is: What should we as a nation do with our collective memory from that day?

-snip-

To insist that your enemy is not your enemy when he insists on being one is to rob him of his humanity, and to endanger your own existence — and all for the sake of preserving an unsustainable illusion. To recognize an enemy, and to treat him as one, is not to dehumanize him — on the contrary, it is to treat him as your equal. It is to take him seriously. It is to meet him on his own terms.

But that is just what liberal Democrats cannot bring themselves to do. They insist on pretending that 9/11 was just a kind of glitch, instead of seeing it as an act of devotion carried out by men who were motivated by the highest ethical purpose that they could comprehend.

This is the terrible truth revealed by 9/11. It was not an act of crazed loonies, unlikely to reoccur; it was the symbolic gesture of an entire culture — a culture that looked upon those who died in carrying out their mission as heroic martyrs who triumphed over a vastly more powerful enemy. That is why so much of the Arab world celebrated the great victory accordingly, by dancing in the streets and cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers — another set of images that liberals are forced to repress, since to acknowledge such behavior is to acknowledge the concept of the enemy that is embodied in such wild rejoicing at the annihilation of men and women whom you had never met.

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at techcentralstation.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: ads; bush2004; excerptlist; gwb2004; leeharris
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1 posted on 03/08/2004 9:42:32 AM PST by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc; 1Mike; 3catsanadog; ~Vor~; ~Kim4VRWC's~; A CA Guy; A Citizen Reporter; abner; Aeronaut; ..
This explain the difference between "us" and "them" -- not to mention "good" and "evil."
2 posted on 03/08/2004 9:45:59 AM PST by Howlin (Charter Member of the Incredible Interlocking Institutional Power!!!!)
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To: Howlin
This explain the difference between "us" and "them" -- not to mention "good" and "evil."

You got it. Thanks for the ping, I needed something to take my mind off my research.

3 posted on 03/08/2004 9:49:04 AM PST by SandyInSeattle (Has John Kerry never heard of the Container Security Initiative?)
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To: Howlin
What I get from the article is that we ought to be showing images of 9-11, including the arabs dancing in the streets. The threat is real. It should not be sugar-coated.
4 posted on 03/08/2004 9:49:49 AM PST by Aeronaut (Peace: in international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.)
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To: Howlin
As you know, I attended the Town Hall meeting in Ontario two years ago. In that speech, the president used the word "evil" 10 times. Recognizing good vs. evil is truly a strength of this man. The left refuses to do that. There lies the problem with their leadership or lack thereof.
5 posted on 03/08/2004 9:51:42 AM PST by doug from upland (Don't wait until it is too late to stop Hillary -- do something today!)
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To: Aeronaut; quidnunc; Howlin
Yes, we should NEVER FORGET.
6 posted on 03/08/2004 9:52:13 AM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: quidnunc
later
7 posted on 03/08/2004 9:53:26 AM PST by don-o
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To: doug from upland; Howlin
Teresa Kerry has been busy:

When Teresa Heinz-Kerry arrived, she handed me a pin that read in the center:
“Asses of Evil”
with “Bush”, “Cheney”, “Rumsfeld” and “Ashcroft” surrounding it.

8 posted on 03/08/2004 9:57:44 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
When Teresa Heinz-Kerry arrived, she handed me a pin that read in the center:...

If true...I simply scratch my head and ask myself how it's possible this
shrew was ever married to a Republican Senator.
9 posted on 03/08/2004 10:01:19 AM PST by VOA
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To: Aeronaut
Amen.It must be shown...and the hatred and glee must be faced,too.
10 posted on 03/08/2004 10:01:22 AM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
She should wear the badge. She is an ass of evil.
11 posted on 03/08/2004 10:02:19 AM PST by doug from upland (Don't wait until it is too late to stop Hillary -- do something today!)
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To: Howlin
This is the terrible truth revealed by 9/11. It was not an act of crazed loonies, unlikely to reoccur; it was the symbolic gesture of an entire culture — a culture that looked upon those who died in carrying out their mission as heroic martyrs who triumphed over a vastly more powerful enemy.

A truth President Bush immediately grasped and understood and Kerry "the threat of terrorism has been exaggerated" does not and never will.

12 posted on 03/08/2004 10:02:44 AM PST by cyncooper ("Maybe they were hoping he'd lose the next Iraqi election")
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To: cyncooper
They mean to kill each and every last one of us.
13 posted on 03/08/2004 10:04:08 AM PST by Howlin (Charter Member of the Incredible Interlocking Institutional Power!!!!)
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To: VOA
Click the link, goes to their website!!!!!
14 posted on 03/08/2004 10:04:16 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Howlin
Remember Bush said "you're either with us, or against us"?

The Democrats are just not "with it".

15 posted on 03/08/2004 10:07:21 AM PST by BigSkyFreeper (Liberalism is Communism one drink at a time. - P.J. O'Rourke)
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To: BigSkyFreeper
Love PJ. . .that would be a great bumper sticker; or just a note to share on someone's car who has the Kerry sticker. . .
16 posted on 03/08/2004 10:16:04 AM PST by cricket
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just turned on Rush - Roger sitting in - but taking on Theresa big time. . .funding terrorism and the 'asses of evil' as well.

GREAT!!!

17 posted on 03/08/2004 10:18:41 AM PST by cricket
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To: VOA
He died in a plane crash two weeks after making fun of Kerry at a Democratic meeting. Then Kerry married the widder.
18 posted on 03/08/2004 10:19:20 AM PST by WaterDragon
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To: Howlin
Thanks for the ping
19 posted on 03/08/2004 10:19:26 AM PST by firewalk
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To: quidnunc
It's hard to discuss the many points in this excellent article, which also needs to be archived for posterity.

(article)

Last week, President Bush was attacked by members of the Democratic Party for using images of 9/11 in a campaign ad, and by the next day there was the normal political and media uproar over this burning question: Should the President be scolded for daring to use such images, or should he be defended?

I do not wish to weigh in on this question because, like many burning questions being asked today, I think it is absurdly irrelevant, like the burning question whether President Bush should have worn a flight jacket while aboard a helicopter. Instead the question I want to ask is how our nation permits such "issues" to become burning questions in the first place. Do we have nothing more urgent to worry about?

The answer to this question should be an easy one. Yes, we do have many more urgent things to worry about; and by far the most urgent is what to do about 9/11.

 

Here I am not talking about what to do about future 9/11's -- catastrophic terror that may or may not happen in our near or our distant future -- I am referring back to the 9/11 that occurred on a beautiful morning over two and a half years ago. And our most urgent question today is: What should we as a nation do with our collective memory from that day?

 

Increasingly the answer that is being given to this question by liberal Democrats is simple, Repress it. Push it out of our mind. Pretend that it never happened; or if you absolutely must refer to 9/11, pretend it was something along the lines of an earthquake or a freakish tidal wave -- a natural disaster without the slightest political implications. A tragedy, of course, but something we should all put behind us and move on.

 

That is why the Democrats and the liberal media became apoplectic at the images of 9/11 that appeared in the Bush campaign ad. It was not Bush's use of the images that was so disturbing to them, but the images themselves. Democrats and liberals do not want to be reminded of 9/11; nor do they wish their country to be reminded of it either. Not because it is perceived as a campaign theme of the opposite party, but because 9/11, if rightly understood, requires a complete rethinking of their own warm and fuzzy vision of multilateral harmony in a conflict free world.

           

The memory of 9/11 must be repressed because otherwise liberals would have to come to terms with the concept of The Enemy. They would have to face the grim and disturbing truth that there are people out there who relish the thought of pointlessly killing thousands of our fellow citizens, simply because they are our fellow citizens -- not for a political objective, or to achieve a military goal, but just because they see us as their enemy.

 

A friend of mine recently said that he did not like the concept of the enemy and that, as far as he was concerned, all men were his brothers. But what if the man whom you wish to regard as your brother does not return your fraternal feelings of affection; what if he regards your offer as an insult to his honor? "You dare to call yourself my brother, you dog?" In which case, what do you do then? Do you respect his feelings, and accept him as your enemy? Or do you treat him as an inferior being and wave aside his protestations as if he were a four year old child -- "Now, now, Bobby, you don't really mean to say those bad things about mommy."

           

To insist that your enemy is not your enemy when he insists on being one is to rob him of his humanity, and to endanger your own existence -- and all for the sake of preserving an unsustainable illusion. To recognize an enemy, and to treat him as one, is not to dehumanize him -- on the contrary, it is to treat him as your equal. It is to take him seriously. It is to meet him on his own terms.

           

But that is just what liberal Democrats cannot bring themselves to do. They insist on pretending that 9/11 was just a kind of glitch, instead of seeing it as an act of devotion carried out by men who were motivated by the highest ethical purpose that they could comprehend.

           

This is the terrible truth revealed by 9/11. It was not an act of crazed loonies, unlikely to reoccur; it was the symbolic gesture of an entire culture -- a culture that looked upon those who died in carrying out their mission as heroic martyrs who triumphed over a vastly more powerful enemy. That is why so much of the Arab world celebrated the great victory accordingly, by dancing in the streets and cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers -- another set of images that liberals are forced to repress, since to acknowledge such behavior is to acknowledge the concept of the enemy that is embodied in such wild rejoicing at the annihilation of men and women whom you had never met.

 

It is almost as if we, as a nation, are entering into what psychologists call denial. Instead of making the necessary adjustments to reality in response to 9/11, we are engaged in a process of denying it, both by outright repression of all public memory of the event and by making it a subject of incomprehensibly stupid political controversy, dividing us as a people into warring factions over absolutely nothing -- and often it would seem for no better reason than to have something to bicker about on radio talk shows.

           

When I wrote my book, Civilization and Its Enemies, I said that we had not yet comprehended the significance of 9/11. Today we are not any closer to understanding it; and, indeed, as a nation we seem to be drifting farther and farther away from the true issues raised by it.

 

The Bush administration has announced that its campaign theme will be that we are in Iraq to keep other 9/11's from happening on our soil; but how could anyone who understood the first 9/11 possibly think such a thing? If the first 9/11 was brought to us by Arab nationals living in Hamburg, acting out a fantasy, how could the occupation of Iraq have prevented it then, and how could it prevent another such event in the future?

 

Here is a genuine issue for the Democrats to criticize. They could point to it and say, "This shows that the Bush administration does not really yet understand the nature of the beast that we are dealing with." And yet, instead of taking on this question, they insist on beating up the President for daring to remind the American people that 9/11 ever occurred.

 

The Bush campaign can be justly rebuked for trying to argue that anything we can do in Iraq will prevent another 9/11, because of all people they should know better. But what rebuke is appropriate for those who wish to pretend that 9/11 never happened at all?


20 posted on 03/08/2004 10:19:30 AM PST by Gritty ("Most men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power-Abe Lincoln)
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