Censored in America: Post 9/11 Censorship and the Bush Administration
Censorship is not a new concept and is probably as old as the beginnings of communication itself. Governments have always kept information from the public, often in the interest of national security. Censorship has also been used to silence opposition to the government. In the past it seemed that this was common practice in other countries; usually non-democratic countries like the former Soviet Union or places with power hungry, tyrannical dictators who must take such measures to maintain control of the people. In recent years America has become the victim of this practice as our president, George W. Bush, has gone to great lengths to keep certain information, even information and records that were previously freely available to the general public, out of the mainstream. The Bush Administration has enforced a strict censorship policy via the Patriot Act and extreme limiting of the Freedom of Information Act, using 9/11 and its duty to protect the U.S. from terrorism as the reason.
Censorship is the action of any person or group controlling what can and cannot be viewed, read, or used by the public. Censorship is not limited to national or state governments, but is found in our schools, on the internet, in our libraries, and even in our families. If parents adjust settings on their televisions to prevent their children from seeing a certain program, they are censoring what their children see and hear. When schools ban a particular text from their libraries, they are exercising censorship. Those forms of censorship are usually attempted in the name of morality, whereas governments’ purpose is much more insidious. In the case of the Bush Administration there is a clear power grab—our government wants to hide or distort information to further its own agenda, which is clearly not in the best interest of the American people and which they would not approve of.
Cleverly disguised as an All-American Act of Congress, the Patriot Act is a major source of censorship in this country. Drawn up very shortly after the 9/11 incident, the Patriot Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001 in order to prevent terrorism from reaching our nation’s soil again. The hasty decision made by Congress turned out to be one of the greatest fiascos in American history, granting sweeping search and surveillance power to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies while eliminating checks and balances that protected Americans’ basic rights from invasive government. The Patriot Act infringes on several civil rights including free speech, protection from unwarranted search and seizures, arrests without probable cause, public trial by jury, cruel and unusual punishment, and equal protection and due process for all citizens and non citizens. The right to equal protection is particularly noticeable since 9/11—there have been many unjust arrests that were made around racial profiling. Public trials have been denied to thousands of these individuals, as they do not deserve this most basic right because they are a great risk to the safety and well-being of our nation. Guantanamo Bay is the site of residence for many of those held captive and many others have been sent to other countries to get around anti-torture laws. These residents to not have the same rights we do as they are not on American soil and are susceptible to “advanced interrogation techniques” (torture). This is obviously done so the government can deny its involvement or that it is even happening.
One significant case of censorship occurred when the U.S. did not allow an Iranian Nobel Prize winning woman, Shirin Ebadi, to publish a book about her struggles and the need for democracy in Iran (Democracy, human rights, and Islam in modern Iran: Psychological, social and cultural perspectives). President Bush even commended...
Islamophobia denotes prejudice against, hatred for, or irrational fear of Muslims. Such fear and hostility leads to discriminations against Muslims, exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political or social process, stereotyping, the presumption of guilt by association, and most frequently, hate crimes. In post9/11 America, Islamophobia has resulted in the general and unquestioned acceptance that Islam does not share common values with other major faiths, that Islam is a religion of violence and supports terrorism, and even that Islam has a violent political ideology. According to a study done in July of 2002 by the Arab American Institute Foundation on profiling, “[n]early one in three Arab Americans say they have personally experienced discrimination in the past because of their ethnicity.” A poll done more recently in 2011 suggests that only “[t]hree-in-ten Americans say they interact daily (6 percent) or occasionally (24 percent) with a Muslim. More than two-thirds (68 percent) report that they seldom or never interact with a Muslim.” This paper will discuss that in accordance with Muqtedar Khan’s article “American Exceptionalism and American Muslims,” that while the “United States has become a place where Islam thrives in all its diversified glory,”3 statistics show that Muslim’s are discriminated against.
In 2011, The Washington Post...
When dealing with racial tensions between Americans and Muslims after such a catastrophic event such as September 11th, the outlook on Muslims from an American’s standpoint may forever be tarnished. Much like the way Americans viewed Japanese following the attack on Pearl Harbor, although the Japanese people who we may come in contact with in the U.S. had nothing to do with the attack because they are Japanese, after the attack was not the best of times for them. All over the world following September 11th you would hear reports of violence towards Muslims by American citizens who in their own mind thought they were standing up for their country and in a way “getting back” at the Muslim community by burning flags, threatening, or causing physical harm to individuals solely based on their Arab ethnicity.
In the case of Kurt Westergaard and his very controversial cartoon where he depicts the prophet Muhammad to be a terrorist, I feel that yes maybe he went a little too far by labeling the character in the cartoon Muhammad. If Westergaard would have wrote the same cartoon with the same texts and pictures but only used another Arab/Muslim name besides Muhammad I believe the cartoon would not have caused such a big uproar. In my opinion it is wrong for anyone to make fun or pass judgment on another individual just because they are different from you, especially...
...Government Reorganization Post9/11
The September 11, 2001 attack by the Al-Qaida terrorists was a great challenge to the American government than any other disaster that had occurred in the past decades. The government was threatened to an extent that any possible future attacks that had been suggested by this terrorist group had to be dealt with before it could actually be perpetrated against the American citizens. Since the days of 9/11, the nation has spent a reported $635.9 billion on homeland security and has implemented many changes, strategies and processes to better prepare our nations Security. The government had few institutions that would have coped with this disaster before it happened but thereafter, it has moved towards solving this problem by establishing several institutions and initiatives including the U.S.A. Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Incident Management System, Homeland Security Presidential Directives 5 and 8, and the Transportation Security Administration, all aimed at countering any intended attacks whether within the country or abroad. Their implementations are at local level as well as state and federal level.
The USA Patriot Act signed in October 26, 2001 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was aimed at reducing limitations to law agencies to search...
...all other groups. Though the post September 11th ethnocentrism of Americans is often unleashed upon Arabs, it is not because that group is Arab. It is simply because they are not American. Had Americans carried out this event, the ethnocentric attitudes would not be as prevalent.
Ethnocentrism can be dangerous, because when one has such strong feelings of pride in one's own group, if those feelings are attacked or contested, that person can react very negatively. It can create feelings of animosity between groups. It can also be dangerous in that it creates an attitude of unimportance towards learning about other cultures (Neulip, 2003). Finally, it is clear that if taken too extremely, it can turn into racism or discrimination of all those that are not members of a particular group. Feelings of racism and hatred have never led to anything positive.
Communication with others is the best solution to combating ethnocentrism. Without learning about other cultures we can never begin to understand them. Without understanding other cultures, we cannot expect to live in peace with them. It is not important that we agree with the values and customs of other cultures, but it is important that we understand them, even though they may be the polar opposite of our own beliefs. Ideally, understanding other cultures could lead to a mutual respect for all human beings.
Borden, Sandra L. "Communitarian Journalism and Flag Displays after September...
...terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 security in airports was considered anything but excellent, but for the most part did the job that was expected of them, making sure that people who boarded the planes did not have weapons or that no bombs made it onto the airplane. It was also on this horrendous day that the United States public took serious concern over the nation’s airport security. September 11th changed the world’s attitude on airport security, and how important of a concern the nation’s airport security was and will continue to be. The terrorist attacks also showed the entire world how easily the old system was to manipulate, and how much improvements airports needed before they could be truly considered secure.
In the early 60’s airport security wasn’t even an issue. Nothing was checked going on to the plane. Back then people felt secure, and safe. But as time went on, people started to threaten others on board. Sometimes they would even hold passengers and even the flight crew hostage. According to a CNN TV Show “Airline Security Special Report” (Turney, Bishop & Fitzgerald, 2004) In 1983, a plane was hijacked. Except in this high jacking, the highjacker got violent. After this incident happened, all carryon baggage was to be scanned and checked. This made the flyers feel a lot safer, and for a while stopped the high jacking. As time went on though, the highjackings got more sophisticated and more violent. Before September...
...people were going to have to deal with for a while. "It's not easy being a survivor," said one of the firefighters apart of 9/11. They did not understand why they were still alive and so many of their felloe firefighters and other who were dieing around them. They were seen as heroes to the world, but to themselves they did not feel like one, knowing how many people were suffering and dieing. NO one should have had to see or gone through what so many people did on that very day.
"Ground Zero," as some would call it, where thousands and thousands of lives were lost, with should go without saying, putting a huge hole in the population. As people were trying to save lives, it became extremely difficult because all the debris was flying in the air and was destroying things by the second. Buildings collapsing all around you made you feel there were nothing you could do but save yourself. Fire trucks, ambulances, cars, anything that you could imagine were crushed into almost nothing. Aids were becoming in high demand considering the amounts of people injured who needed to be cared for immediately. Manhattan was a mess, firefighters putting in 24-hour shifts to try and get things cleaned up, but it felt like it was never end. This defiantly put a big dent in New York's economy causing the average taxpayer to cough up more cast to help the aid and after affects of 9/11. More money was needed to restructure and re-build...
The Impact of 9-11
On September 11, 2001 America woke up expecting a normal day. What America did not expect was that this day was going to change history forever. On that day Islamic extremist high-jacked four U.S. airplanes with the intent of crashing them into the twin towers, the Pentagon and the White House. Two of the planes did indeed crash into the twin towers in New York City and another was used to hit the pentagon. The passengers on the last plane however, fought back, and it was landed before it could be used to hit the white house. “A decade later, what happened on Sept. 11 still resonates for much of the country. Even more Americans now say the horror of that day changed their lives.”1 These were the first attacks ever directed toward U.S. civilian population. These organized attacks lead to the need for an immediate change in the way the United States approached defending itself.
One of the major changes that were caused by the attack of 9/11 was the introduction to the Patriot Act. “The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The title of the act is a ten-letter acronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001The Patriot Act gives the U.S. power to deter and punish terrorist acts...
...United We Stand
Although people say, “every picture tells a story,” a picture cannot exemplify every detail about the event involved in that event. The attack on September, 11 2001 was a turning point in American history. There are many visual representations and written testimonies that lead us to have different feelings about the attack on September 11, 2001; more specifically, the reason behind these different emotions is because there is a vast difference in a testimony of the event, and simply a photo of the attack. It does not matter whether you were involved in the terrifying act or if you simply heard about it on the television; this attack changed everyone’s life. “It affected us, it affects all of us, even if you don’t realize it. I just want everyone to remember that although it’s been 10 years, we still remember it like it was yesterday, and we shouldn’t forget.” (2011)
One of the most famous pictures (2001) from 9/11, photo of three firemen raising the American flag at the site of the World Trade Center attacks. After seeing the image of three firefighters hanging the American flag only eight hours after the tragic attack we were able to see the true patriotism of our country. Many people may have believed that this was a representation that the tragedy was over, but it was only just beginning. This flag was raised to give citizens proof that through all that was going to come; our flag would still...