On September 20, 2001, President Bush delivered his popular speech to a joint session of Congress. The speech was primarily delivered in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The President assured the audience that justice had to be done, whether it was to be brought to the enemies or the latter brought to justice. Towards the end of the speech, the President thanked the political leaders for the leadership they spearheaded after the occasion regardless of their party affiliations. He also thanked the American people for their generous contribution towards helping the affected people as well as the international community for their support. After this speech was delivered, a lot of criticism followed. Basically, the criticism was based on the issues that the president brought out and the philosophy of his leadership. Some of the most outspoken analysts of the president’s speech were Jacob Levich and George Orwell. This essay seeks to explain and provide evidence as to why Levich was right in his accusations of the president’s speech and philosophy.
Jacob Levich was right is his observations about the presidents speech because it presented a wrong approach to war. Levich’s article was written and published two days after the president’s address. The September 22, 2002 article responded to several issues which could be summarized as relating to war and freedom concepts. Levich writes that ‘…George Bush effectively declared permanent war - war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy…Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred’. In this statement, Levich sees a lot of unfairness, totalitarianism, trickery and coercion. The writer does not approve the president’s stance on war and freedom. This is because, especially, of the approach that the U.S. government was to use which included secret police, secret war, censorship, perpetuating fear and through privation. In describing this approach, Levich describes it as ‘terribly convenient’. By these descriptions, Levich appears to be right because if the president’s approach to war is to be applied always, the nation would always be in war. In this view, this will not only be unnecessarily expensive but also a gross violation of human rights. Levich is also uncomfortable with the president’s stance on achieving peace through war, not negotiations, tapping phones and credit card information and a ‘Big Brother’ who punishes.
Levich is also right because his views on war, freedom and democracy are in tandem with what George Orwell points out in his novel 1984 set in Oceania. In this book, Orwell dramatizes the ideas of a bush in a story-like prose. According to Orwell (10), ‘the three slogans of the party: war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength’. Orwell also observes that ‘Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious’. This is perhaps why Bush was for the idea that media had to be controlled in what it disseminated to the people. In describing Bush’s concept, Orwell does not conform to Bush’s philosophy because the president, in his speech, said that “Our war on terror begins with Al Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated” In his response, Levich writes explains that the danger of this kind of mentality is that many innocent people would be killed; thus Levich was right because it would lead to a deadly cycle of retaliation. In addition, Bush’s speech points out that media will be kept off from illuminating dictatorial leaders, corrupt governments, U.S. involvement in fanning civil wars abroad, collaboration with terrorists and creation of a tough environment for civilians. Orwell is a bit pessimistic in writing that “The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives’
President Bush’s speech was made shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. It sought to exert and reassure the American stance under President Bush’s rule. In a nutshell, Bush was for a situation of permanent war. However, Orwell and Levich were opposed to this view. Jacob Levich was fair and right by writing ‘we do not love Big Brother’ because the brother would put the country in a state of constant war and retaliation efforts thus compromising human rights.
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