Category Archives: War and the Middle East

Japanese Internment & Policing of Middle Eastern Bodies

For my RBA, I plan to research parallels between Japanese internment in response to Pearl Harbor and the policing of Middle Eastern bodies after 9/11 to show that containment culture and the marginalization of races is been embedded in American history. Due to extreme paranoia, the races held responsible for Pearl Harbor and 9/11 soon became seen as the “enemy,” and the military swept up innocent people and forced them into detention facilities in order to increase national security. However, as I will prove in my RBA, containment has only exposed America to racism, xenophobia, and animosity, leading America to be less safe. Below depicts the possible structure for my RBA:

barnett-rba-outline

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Mind Map: Cold War Superpower Responsibility for the Current Middle East

new-mind-mapIn my RBA, I will be examining how the impacts of the Cold War had on the Middle East helped set the stage for the region’s current crises. Particularly, I will be arguing that a lack of foresight and the tendencies for US and the USSR to view these nations as mere complements to their own objectives cemented the rise of current causes of disorder in the Middle East. This mind map identifies the various topics I need to be sure to address in my RBA in order to successfully weave a persuasive narrative of how the US and the USSR can be considered responsible for some of the region’s current turmoil. The mind map was made through Bubl.us (can be viewed at https://bubbl.us/?s=7459346#Mzc1ODAxMi83NDU5MzQ2L2ExMzFhMjk1MGZiOWQzNmZlMWE2OTk1OWEwMGU4NDQx?X).

 

Mind Mapping link between Executive Office and American Exceptionalism

In my RBA I am going to go through a series of sections in order to reach the eventual conclusion that the American Public is partially culpable for allowing Bush to mislead the public into the War in Iraq. In those sections I will explore the role of a modern President and more broadly the Executive Office, I will also look at how we define American Exceptionalism in terms of the Executive Office, lastly I will demonstrate how American Exceptionalism and the Executive Office have become linked.

https://mm.tt/793960028?t=UW1ygIKQwc

 

Intelligence Dilemma: an Ethical Crisis Right Beneath Our Noses

My research topic for the RBA is determining whether post-9/11 American intelligence policy, very similar to Cold War intelligence methodology, is within the best interest of the United States and its citizens. Specifically, I will discuss how there is an ethical dilemma with modern intelligence tactics that seek to protect the nation at the expense of civil liberties and privacy rights, citing the USA Patriot Act and airport discrimination as key examples. Then, I will explain the direction that US intelligence policy should follow to best align with the interests of Americans. Ultimately, there should be a balance between privacy and security in the United States, and exploring the ethics and shortcomings of current US intelligence policy will help illuminate the best way to achieve this balance. My brainstorming map illustrates this progression of both major arguments stemming from my topic.

Link to RBA brainstorming map: https://bubbl.us/?s=7458748#Mzc1Nzc0MC83NDU4NzQ4LzQ0MjBlZGNmNWRlOTE1NjJjODRjM2RmZTNlZDNkNmNm?X

My research topic

For my RBA, I will be exploring how islamophobia is a new form of McCarthyism, as the discrimination against Muslims and Arabs and the divergence in culture and ideology that emerged after 9/11 is reminiscent of the Red Scare. I will connect this to the overarching idea that a New Cold War has emerged, this time opposing terrorism and Western civilizations. Here is my road map:

https://www.mindmeister.com/793211938?new=1

Culpability of Bush and the American Public in the Lead Up to the Iraq War

I am currently researching whether or not Bush and his administration mislead the American public regarding the evidence they put forth to justify the war in Iraq. This topic is incredibly relevant because the actions of the Bush Administration directly affect the current relationship between the Executive Office and the American people, as well as America’s standing abroad.

Scholars who have evaluated this question have overwhelming concluded that the Bush Administration mislead the America public in an attempt to try and garner support for the war. Most scholars argue that the Bush Administration not only emphasized the possibility that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but also sometimes presented the evidence of WMDs as unquestionable. Additionally, the administration made sweeping claims about Iraq’s connection to al Qaeda often times presenting inconclusive evidence as fact. Most of the scholarly articles on this subject conclude that it was Bush and his allies who were at fault for leading the country into war over false pretenses. However, given the unsteady nature of the country post 9/11, the American people were thirsting for a rhetoric that solidified American strength and made the country feel secure again. Many scholars are too quick to place the whole blame on the Bush Administration, when in reality the system of checks and balances can’t work if the people aren’t doing their own duty in critically analyzing a decisions as consequential as going to war. While Bush’s administration should be held responsible for their careless actions in the lead up to the Iraq War, the American people should also question their own culpability in allowing their leader to manipulate their uncertainty and fear into a universal acceptance of his position.

Guantanamo Bay & Combating Terrorism

I am researching how the use of torture at Guantanamo Bay has impacted America’s ability to combat terrorism. My topic reveals how containment of individuals in an effort to lessen violence can actually exacerbate it, displayed by the idea that detention at Guantanamo fueled terrorist organizations.

Many scholars have debated the tactics used at Guantanamo Bay and the resulting impacts on the war on terror. Some historians, such as Gerard P. Fogarty, have explored the benefits of Guantanamo Bay, including how it has improved the security of the United States by allowing the government to better understand al Qaeda and its affiliates, which is critical to disrupting their attack plans. However, the majority of scholars have argued that unlawful detention has hurt America’s ability to combat terrorism. The use of torture has encouraged foreign extremists to join terrorist organizations because leaders of terrorist groups use Guantanamo Bay as a recruiting tool to justify hatred toward Americans. Additionally, many historians have suggested that Guantanamo Bay and other forms of detention has lead to increased domestic and international criticism of the United States. This makes it challenging for America to recruit Iraqi allies, weakening America’s ability to combat terrorism. Historians also discuss how unlawful responses to terrorism can worsen our military’s professionalism, integrity, and recruitment and can even reduce the government’s influence, authority, and power. In my RBA, I want to argue that Guantanamo Bay has fueled terrorist organizations. I would like to use Guantanamo Bay to show that when countries contain individuals in an effort to control violence, the effects of the containment can exacerbate the issue. In particular, when they are contained based on race, those individuals are more likely to resent those who capture them because of the discrimination.

Islamophobia as a new type of McCarthyism

          After 9/11, the rising intolerance towards Muslim communities and the clash between different types of faith are examples of scapegoating that illustrate the reminiscence of Cold War ideologies and McCarthyism. This topic is relevant since Islamophobia has become a bigger issue today, after the terrorist attacks around the world.

          Authors I have read so far explain the scapegoating of Muslims, and the discrimination that the government makes in anti-terrorists programs. Most of the sources explore the exclusion of Muslim communities and the denial of their civil and religious rights. Scholars show this denial of rights through discriminatory arrest programs FBI-led. For instance, the PENTTBOM (Pentagon Twin Towers Bombings) or the PATRIOT Act allowed the FBI to conduct arrests based on the origin and appearance of a given “suspect.” Moreover, these sources show the “us” versus “them” mentality of the post 9/11 American public, and more importantly the rise in paranoia and fear of Muslims as potential terrorists. Indeed, after 9/11, public issues regarding religious freedom arose, such as the controversy about the Burqa or the Burkini this summer in France. The population, seeing in these sign of Islam a terrorist threat, fears an aggression by “infiltrated enemy combatants.”

          Throughout my research, I intend to talk about what these trends have become today, after the different terrorists attacks around the world and the War in Syria. More importantly, I intend to compare Islamophobia and McCarthyism, as both movement have similar traits, and it seems like some officials and personalities are trying to gain influence and audience inducing a fear of Muslims.

 

Sources:

Thomas, Jeffrey L. Scapegoating Islam: Intolerance, Security, and the American Muslim. , 2015. Print. Chapter 2: “9/11 and the New Homeland Security paradigm”

Cesari, Jocelyne. Muslims in the West After 9/11: Religion, Politics, and Law. London: Routledge, 2010. Print. (Chapter 8 and 9)

Tamney, Joseph B. American Views of Islam, Post 9/11. Islamabad, Pakistan: Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, 2004. Print. (pages 1-19)

Cities Under Attack: The Cold War Fear of Urbanization

When people think of the Cold War, the image at the forefront of their minds is often the nuclear bomb. That is because this time period was defined by the possession of nuclear power, along with the fear that America might be attacked. People were deeply worried that America’s large and bustling cities would be the first victims, as Farish notes in “Disaster and decentralization: American cities and the Cold War.”  He states that “a city was, as Bernard Brodie put it, ‘a made-to- order target, and the degree of urbanization of a country furnishes a rough index of its relative vulnerability to the atomic bomb.’” This quote speaks to the rest of Farish’s study, in which he observes cities, with their concentrated populations and hubs of activity, were particularly susceptible to nuclear attack because hitting a city would cause maximum damage. This, then, is part of the reason so many people sought refuge in the suburbs; the quiet inconspicuousness of suburban life made one far less likely to be attacked.

Farish also describes the sensationalization of the bombing of Hiroshima and how that might take place in the United States in the media: the city is booming in one moment, completely demolished in the next. The ruin described in these accounts came to fruition in a sense when the attacks of 9/11 sent New York City, a symbol of capitalism and economic success in America, into a state of devastation and disarray. Though New York was not destroyed by nuclear power, its situation as a highly populated city meant that thousands of lives were either lost or grievously affected, and severe damage occurred due to the assault.

After 9/11 and into today, the media often focuses on the imagery of the Twin Towers falling in discussion of the disaster. Having visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum this summer, I can confirm that these images stir up deep fear and distress, even for those who did not personally witness the event. These disturbing images reignite the Cold War fear of the urban lifestyle; I even found myself thinking that living in my small, suburban hometown of Bakersfield, California, makes me less of a target than someone in an immense, well-known urban city like New York. The recurrence of these images lends itself to the kind of dramatization of further demolition of other large, urban areas that was seen during the Cold War. People are once again imagining the suburbs as an escape from the vulnerability of the city.

Farish and the Fear of the American City

 

 

Quotes: “Using a curious mixture of graphic and sanitized language, magazines and the experts they consulted produced nuclear fear while simultaneously rationalizing and containing it – a strategy that was central to Cold War civil defense efforts.”

 

In the quote above, Farish explains how the government was able to manipulate the way the public perceived nuclear threats. He argues that the way in which scientists or governmental officials presented the threat of nuclear war was not to quell the public’s anxiety, but instead to centralize their fears. Farish continually discusses how the government would use visual aids written by credible scientists that would demonstrate the destruction a nuclear bomb would cause to specific cities. Connecting the threat of nuclear warfare to something as familiar as New York City charged peoples fear of Soviet threats even more. Farish connects this heightened idea of fear to the influx of white families into suburbia because they felt as though cities were easy targets for the enemy. Farish asserts that these disaster scenarios had incredibly power in altering the way the public viewed the “American city.”

 

Additionally, Farish argues that scenes of Hiroshima fostered an obsession with images of disaster scenarios in American cities. After 9/11 the images of smoke billowing from the Twin Towers became commonplace, but not because of a fascination with destruction. The images of the Twin Towers were and still to this day are used to foster support for the War or Terror. Calling up this graphic image of a iconic American skyline burning has the power to evoke the same emotions that person felt when the first saw the attacks (fear, rage, sadness) and reinvigorate their desire to support government anti-terror efforts. In both cases (Hiroshima and 9/11) the images of each city are so unique and shocking that they can be used as powerful rhetorical devices and as Farish frequently discusses images can be incredibly influential in shaping public opinion.