George W. Bush's Speech on September 20, 2001

From: Greg Burch (
Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 06:37:29 MDT

[The following is a note I sent to some friends this morning defending a
short note I sent to them last night immediately after Bush's speeh last
night, in which i stated that we might have witnessed a "pivotal moment in


Let me defend briefly -- and before I've finished my first cup of coffee
(never a good idea, admittedly) -- my hyperbole of last night about Bush's
*speech* being a "pivotal moment in history." These are the things that led
me to write those words:

 <> Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a distinct lack of
morality in the conception of the foreign policy of the United States.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and
with China slowly but surely abandoning its communist ideological position
toward its own people and the world, there has not been a basis for a clear
moral contrast between the values of liberty, opnness and tolerance upon
which the civilization of the West is premised, and the civilizations with
which it competes for influence in the world. Last night, an unmistakable
line was drawn between things that are good and right and things that are
evil. Although it was done in a distinctly American way in a distinctly
American voice, the call went out to the world to make a clear-cut choice.

 <> Bush made an unmistakable and succesful attempt to define this moment
not only in terms of US policy, but also as a moment of global decision. By
citing the nationalities of non-Americans who died in the WTC, he showed
that the line between liberty and tyranny, between right and wrong is *not*
culturally bound, but is one that transcends culture, although it is
grounded in culture. Bush's speech defined a fine but crucial line between
Islam in general on the one hand, and totalitarian fundamentalism on the
other. If his speech now marks a central pillar of US foreign policy, then
we have seen a decisive retreat from the mailaise of cultural relativism
that has been eating our society from the inside out. George W. Bush stood
up in front of the world last night and condemned a way of thinking -- a
coherent and for many people appealing world-view -- as fundamentally
*wrong*. Let this be a return to the core values of the Enlghtenment upon
which the American Republic was founded -- and let those values now be seen
as universally applicable, and we will indeed have seen a "pivotal moment in

 <> Whether President Bush's speech will have in fact been a "pivotal moment
in history" only time will tell. Here is my hope and why I think it could
be such a moment. Having defined the issues in moral terms premised on the
foundation of liberty, this administration -- and ones to follow -- can now
have the strength to avoid the kinds of short-term thinking that caused us
to arm and train bin Laden in the first place and has led us to alliances
with the absolute worst scum of humanity in the past. We have said we will
be patient and that we will maintain our resolve. Let us do so. Success
will be measured in both the ends and the means and they will be measured
against a yardstick of how true our actions are to the values for which we
are fighting. Our alliances can now be legitimately guaged in terms not
just of whether this or that tin-pot dictator or wild-eyed ideologue will
provide us with a place to launch an air strike, but in terms of whether a
nation tolerates diversity, allows free expression and promotes the general
freedom and welfare of its citizens.

 <> On a finer scale, Tony Blair's presence in the House last night, and
Bush's simple, heartfelt "thank you for coming, friend," provides a hard
blow against the anti-American Europhiles in England. The swarm of
collectivist cockroaches in Brussels will have a much harder time whispering
their poison into the ears of Britain now. This could bring a sea-change in
the Mother Country, and give a real boost to the proponents of the
Anglospheric conception of world leadership that offers a real alternative
to a Europe slipping into slumber.

<> Consider the confused but dangerous yammering of the "anti-globalists."
Where do they stand? Their program of cultural balkanaziation provides the
perfect breeding ground for bin Laden's vermin. They are without doubt an
unwitting fifth column for his brand of international "cultural terrorists,"
because in the deeply divided world they seek to create, Islamic
fundamentalism will thrive as a powerful and motivated universalist
ideology. Bush defined at least the beginnings of an internationalist
mentality that can be premised on values strong enough to withstand both the
calls of the critics to step back from progress and the jihad of the armed
mullahs. Again, if Bush has begun the process of recasting the West's
identity in terms of vigorous self-confidence, then we have indeed seen a
"pivotal moment in history".

Now, for some coffee.

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