Roundup: Talking About History
This is where we excerpt articles about history that appear in the media. Among the subjects included on this page are: anniversaries of historical events, legacies of presidents, cutting-edge research, and historical disputes.
SOURCE: Daily Beast (09-13-11)
Eleanor Clift is a contributing editor for Newsweek.
People are always going to care about the Kennedys, and as the years stretch on from that mythical time in politics we called Camelot, memories can be tested. How else to explain the widespread reaction to the release of a set of taped interviews recorded 47 years ago by Jackie Kennedy that reveal a woman who sounds more like one of the Real Housewives of (pick your city) than the Jackie we knew, or thought we knew?
Our Jackie is embodied forever in that bloodstained pink suit. She bore the grief of a nation with such dignity, and then guarded her privacy until she died in 1994 at age 64. This Jackie is harshly judgmental, dispensing petty opinions that say as much about her as they do the objects of her disdain. She calls...
SOURCE: Foreign Policy (09-13-11)
Christian Caryl is the Washington chief editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He is also a contributing editor to Foreign Policy and a senior fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies.
Deng Xiaoping is the most important 20th-century leader you know almost nothing about -- unless you're Chinese. While most people in the People's Republic are perfectly aware that Deng deserves most of the credit for lifting them out of poverty and heaving China into the ranks of the world's leading industrial nations, in the rest of the world Chairman Mao is the one on the t-shirt. No question about it: Outside of his homeland,...
SOURCE: LA Times (09-09-11)
SOURCE: CS Monitor (9-9-11)
Jim Sollisch is creative director at Marcus Thomas Advertising.
This would be a monument to the power of words as much as it would be a memorial to a man. I wanted poetry made dimensional. I wanted the cadences and rhythms of his voice to resonate through stone or water or light. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
This is not just one of the most famous speeches in...
SOURCE: WaPo (9-9-11)
Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer for the Weekly Standard and the author of “Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President.”
He’s been called Darth Vader, feared or derided as a trigger-happy, torture-loving puppet master who called the shots over the eight years of the George W. Bush White House. And now, with the publication of his memoir, “In My Time,” Dick Cheney has once again grabbed the media spotlight. But what about the former vice president is real, exaggerated, or outright myth?
1. Dick Cheney ran the Bush administration.
Even before George W. Bush’s presidency started, conventional wisdom held that the real locus of power in the White House was with the vice president. A few days after the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore, a “Saturday...
SOURCE: The Atlantic (9-11-11)
Naveed Ahmad is an investigative journalist and academic focusing on diplomacy, security, energy, and democratization.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Tauseef Akhtar walks through a body scanner at the entrance gate of the Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajveri shrine in Lahore. A guard comes over to cautiously search his body for explosives. The 32-year-old Akhtar, who has eaten and slept here for the last 16 years, says he does not endorse this practice of screening devotees on the mausoleum of a saint, but he understands the need.
On July 1, 2010, three suicide bombers had killed 42 and injured 176 of the innocent devotees in Lahore's most iconic and revered religious site.
The tomb of Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajveri, a Central Asian Sufi saint who lived around 1000 AD, attracts thousands of followers daily, with Thursdays and Fridays the most crowded. Some 3,000 people were present in the complex when the terrorists struck.
"I was inside the main hall when two blasts...
SOURCE: NYT (9-10-11)
Stephen Mihm is an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia and the co-author of “Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance.”
LEGEND has it that the newspaper mogul Joseph Pulitzer stumbled into success, buying The New York World on a lark in 1883. But this didn’t seem right to James McGrath Morris, who began working on a biography of Pulitzer a decade ago. Pulitzer was a deliberate, calculating man; impulse purchases weren’t part of his modus operandi.
Mr. Morris suspected that one place to look for countervailing evidence was the arrival notices that 19th-century newspapers would print whenever someone significant checked into a local hotel — a forerunner to the tweet, enabling friends to know someone was in town and where to find them. If Pulitzer visited New York City to check out takeover targets prior to 1883, he might surface in these mundane social announcements. The problem was, The New York Times and other papers...
SOURCE: Special to HNN (09-11-11)
Lee P. Ruddin is Roundup Editor at HNN.
“9/11 changed U.S. foreign policy dramatically,” says Gideon Rose. The editor of Foreign Affairs made his comments in a video as part of a special Council on Foreign Relations series that explores how the events of September 11 affected international relations. While such an assertion appears incontrovertible, the historical record says otherwise. It is only right and proper, then, as we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, that we look at how America, in Rose’s words, “unleashed … power” on the Middle East generally and Iraq specifically, pre- and post-2001.
Do not get me wrong, Rose is spot on when he refers to “domestic political constraints” being lifted after the felling of the World Trade Center towers and part of the Pentagon building. Indeed, I find the former Clinton official’s argument that 9/11 forced...
SOURCE: TomDispatch (9-8-11)
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s as well as The End of Victory Culture, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book, The United States of Fear (Haymarket Books), will be published in November.
Let's bag it.
I’m talking about the tenth anniversary ceremonies for 9/11, and everything that goes with them: the solemn reading of the names of the dead, the tolling of bells, the honoring of first responders, the...
SOURCE: Truthdig (9-6-11)
Stanley Kutler is the author of “The Wars of Watergate” and other writings.
We fashionably compress our commemorations of 9/11 events into a neat triangle to include the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. But in accepting this, we terribly distort our history, for any link between 9/11, the present Afghanistan War and the Iraq War is patently false. To perpetuate the deceits of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney is only to delude ourselves. The attack on America did not legitimate the foreign policy debacles that have hobbled us for much of the past decade.
The American response in Afghanistan to the aerial assault of September 2001 was proper if it were limited to the overthrow of a regime that harbored the nation’s avowed enemies and designed to capture the perpetrators themselves. But the decade-long quagmire of the Afghanistan War (with more casualties to come and with further devastation to our economy) has little justification for the nation’...
SOURCE: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (9-2-11)
Julian Bond is a professor of history at the University of Virginia and a distinguished scholar in residence at American University. Jeanne Theoharis is professor of political science at Brooklyn College. She is writing a biography of Rosa Parks that is to be published next year. They wrote this for the Washington Post.
Rosa Parks gave the first installment of her papers to Wayne State University’s Walter Reuther Library in 1976, explaining, “I do hope that my contribution can be made use of.”
Thirty-five years later, nobody is making use of the rest of her papers.
After her death in 2005, all of her effects and the rights to license her name became the subject of a dispute between Parks’ nieces and nephews and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, which she co-founded...
SOURCE: Daily Beast (09-04-11)
Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, weekly columnist for the Sunday Times of London, brought his hugely popular blog, The Dish, to the Daily Beast in 2011. He's the author of several books, including Virtually Normal, Love Undetectable, and The Conservative Soul.
There was a perfunctory knock on my door before a friend rushed in to wake me up. “They’ve attacked the World Trade Center,” he yelled, looming suddenly above my bed. “They already did that,” I groggily responded. “You’ve got to get up!” he shouted as he rushed back out the door. And I actually went back to sleep. An hour later, rousing myself, I made my way to the laptop and saw a photo...
SOURCE: WSJ (09-06-11)
Bret Stephens is the foreign-affairs columnist of the Wall Street Journal.
December 7, 1951, came and went with scant ceremony. Harry Truman spent the day vacationing in Key West. Alben Barkley gave a speech in Honolulu in which he defended the war in Korea. Time magazine skipped the Pearl Harbor anniversary altogether: Its cover story that week was a lengthy profile of DeWitt and Lila Wallace. The Daily Double goes to the reader who can identify Barkley or the Wallaces without first turning to Google.
Compare that to the wall-to-wall attention being given to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Leon Panetta will speak at the Washington National Cathedral on Friday. President Obama will speak there Sunday, after visits to the three...
SOURCE: WSJ (09-06-11)
Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03, and is co-editor of Confronting Terror: 9/11 and the Future of American National Security, just published by Encounter Books.
Ten years ago this week, I switched on the TV in my Justice Department office and saw United Flight 175 destroy one of the World Trade Center towers. Shortly thereafter, American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. One of the passengers on board was my friend Barbara Olson, a noted author and political commentator, who called from the plane to warn us. Only the brave Americans on United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania prevented a fourth plane from reaching D.C.
As I left a deserted Washington that night, I witnessed the unbelievable—our capital's dark sky lit...
SOURCE: WaPo (09-06-11)
Richard Cohen is a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post.
The teacher stands before a class of young men. He is flanked by open windows. A military parade passes outside the school, and martial music fills the classroom. The teacher, Mr. Kantorek, is exhorting his students to enlist. “I believe it will be a quick war,” he says, “and there will be few losses.” It is 1914, the war lasted four years, and the losses were staggering. This is how the movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” begins. So did Sept. 11, 2001.
We are just a few days short of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that caused an enormous loss of life and a...
SOURCE: Daily Beast (09-04-11)
Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University and a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His latest book, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, was published in November.
How different would the world be today if there had been no 9/11? What if the attacks had been foiled or bungled? One obvious answer is that Americans would probably care a lot less than they do about the rest of the world.
Back on the eve of destruction, in early September 2001, only 13 percent of Americans believed that the...
SOURCE: New Republic (03-09-11)
Eric Trager, the Ira Weiner fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is writing his dissertation on Egyptian opposition parties.
The 9/11 attacks catalyzed a tremendous shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. Rather than prioritizing petrol, Washington targeted terrorist organizations, dethroned a dictator, and lobbied throughout the region for liberalization. Yet despite the billions of dollars spent policing Baghdad and protecting Benghazi, the unpopularity of the United States in the Arab world continues to be fueled by the belief that Islamist terrorists had nothing to do with 9/11, with many claiming the attacks were an American, Israeli, or joint American-Israeli conspiracy. In this sense, overcoming 9/11 revisionism is, perhaps, the greatest challenge facing American...