“At times of crisis, the most patriotic act of all is the unyielding defense of civil liberties and the right to dissent,” wrote celebrated historian Eric Foner days after the 9/11 attacks. As national security became an obsession in Washington and the mainstream media enlisted in the Bush administration’s war, the need for an independent, critical press seemed more urgent than ever. The enduring concerns of The Nation took on a new relevance. Ten years later, the events of 9/11 continue to reverberate, with the killing of Osama bin Laden and the Obama administration’s ongoing pursuit of the Bush-era national security agenda. In this context, leading Nation writers and thinkers engage in a conversation about what has changed in the United States since September 11, 2001.
Key questions to be discussed include: Are we more secure? How can we as a country strike the right balance between security and liberty? How has the marketing of fear reshaped our politics, society, and culture? How should we rethink the concept of the War on Terror? How can we end the war in Afghanistan and devise a diplomatic and political solution to the conflict? How can we dismantle a security apparatus that too often invokes state secrecy? Do U.S. history—and other countries’ histories—offer useful guideposts? If we accept, as The Nation has argued, that the most effective way to halt global terrorism involves cooperation with the global community, what frameworks do we envision and how can they be developed? What can we, as a nation, do to prevent another 9/11?
Featuring Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation; Melissa Harris-Perry, Professor of Political Science at Tulane University; Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University; and Christopher Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation. Moderated by John Nichols, Washington correspondent, The Nation. Co-sponsored by the Leonard and Louise Riggio Writing and Democracy Initiative at The New School.
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