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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Op-ed: National Unity after 9/11

The [Iraq Study Group], a bipartisan group of former public servants led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, was charged with conducting "a forward-looking, independent assessment of the current and prospective situation on the ground in Iraq, its impact on the surrounding region and consequences for U.S. interests...."

In reaction [to the report], here's what White House spokesman Tony Snow said: "The one thing they thought was absolutely important was to rebuild a sense of national unity on this, and that was their overwhelming objective...."

Maybe I'm skeptical of the usefulness of national unity because I saw it up close in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. I saw the crowds of people lining Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview, waving flags and singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." And I saw some parts of those crowds turn into ugly mobs that marched on places of worship and beat up Sikh cab drivers, that hurled ugly racial slurs and broke windows and threatened women and children. The nostalgic picture of America in those days is of a country united. It was reductive then. It's a sick joke now. [Link]

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