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Maggie Otradovec Blog Post 11/11

“The 2000 Election and the ‘War on Terrorism’” begins by discussing the lackluster candidates for the 43rd presidency. What makes this election notable, however, is how controversial it was. Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote while Republican George W. Bush won the electoral vote. This happens (only twice before this in 1877 and 1888), but not to this extent. Florida was the deciding state, and Bush was deemed the winner by merely 537 votes. Gore wanted to continue the recount, so the Republican Party took the election to the Supreme Court, which, to the benefit of the Republican Party, was Conservative-ruled. Naturally, the conservative justices took the position that benefited their party, and the liberals did the same with theirs. By the end of the election, Bush was crowned President of the United States, and held that position for two terms. 

Only nine months into his administration, however, he faced the first attack on American soil in sixty years. On September 11, 2001, three different passenger airplanes were hijacked by terrorists. One flew into each of the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, and one flew into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The haunting site was broadcasted on televisions all over the world. Everyone in America saw those towers fall and kill thousands of people. 

Everyone who lived through 9/11 knows where they were when the Twin Towers fell. Most of us freshman in college were either newborns or hadn’t been born yet, leaving our parents to wonder how they could bring a child into this kind of world. We say “we remember” every year and we honor those who lost their lives on that terrible day. However, as we remember our own citizens who lost their lives, we often forget about those who lost their lives due to American retaliation. 

As described in Elba’s article, an anti-Muslim sentiment was present in the United States prior to 9/11. Muslim Africans brought to the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries were forced to convert to Christianity. However, the attack brought Islamophobia to the forefront of American fear. Bush declared the “war on terror,” and we have been involved in conflict in the Middle East since. Nearly twenty years later, Muslim Americans still face prejudice based on their heritage and religion. It’s a sad reality to think of how many more casualties there really were due to 9/11. While we will never forget those who died in the United States that day, we must remember those who died in the Middle East as its consequence. 

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  1. Delaney Demaret Delaney Demaret

    I like your point about recognizing the loss of lives due to American retaliation after 9/11. Responding to violence the way American foreign policy did was a devastating choice for the both the Middle East and the world paradigm for fairness and morality.

  2. Jeffrey Sprung Jeffrey Sprung

    When reading about the 2000 election dilemma between Al Gore and George W. Bush in Zinn’s chapter “The 2000 Election and the ‘War on Terrorism’” within PHUS, I was immediately reminded of the 2020 election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. As you pointed out, the electoral vote in the 2000 election was extremely close and caused Al Gore to call for the recount of votes in Florida. The fact that Zinn mentions that the Katherine Harris, the Republican secretary of state of Florida at the time, “rushed through a partial recounting [of ballots] that left Bush ahead” (676) was alarming to learn about and made me skeptical about the fairness of the counting of ballots that occurred in the swing states of the 2020 election.

  3. William Coben William Coben

    While I like your point about remembering the lost lives of all who died on 9/11 and in response to it, it is critically important to also note that the United States had no choice but to take military action in the Middle East. The hijacking of American planes along with the slaughter of thousands of Americans calls for retaliation, and while the civilian casualties are saddening and wrong, Al-Qaeda deserved a military response and frankly should have expected one.

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