View Thread

Atheists Today » Easy Reading » The Rant Room
Who is here? 1 guest(s)
 Print Thread
"Ground Zero"
I almost bumped an earlier thread on the so called ground zero mosque. My thoughts are not directly related to that non controversy so I decided to start a new thread.

This is one of my morning rants caused by listening to news first thing when waking up.

In the post 9/11 world the term "ground zero" has taken on a mythic form. It is/was code words used to morph a political act into an act that demonstrates the need for global military action. The term ground zero was originally used to describe the locus of the detonation of a nuclear device. Hiroshima and Nagasaki probably brought the term into common usage. The use of this term for the world trade center attack paves the way to consider that attack as an act of war.

If you think the use of terms is without import consider the difference in describing something as a "muslim community center near the world trade center site" opposed to "ground zero mosque". The term ground zero has been used with regularity to push various agendas. It has crept into the public consciousness and is used by many without consideration for the meaning and how that meaning has been manipulated.

Further the term has been used to assign some sort of religious connotation to the site. It elevates the site to a place that has the same sort of significance as the battleship Arizona site. Ground zero is to be protected because of how important it is to the whole of the american people.

One of the most important political insights that I have ever read was from Noam Chomsky. It dealt with how terms are used in the press often inform the debate. The specific circumstances are not important, the fact that words can change how the public looks at events is important.

I personally will not use the term "ground zero" to describe the world trade center site. The use of the term ground zero elevates the events there from what they should be. I do not mean to reduce the magnitude of the attack there, I accept that it was a dramatic event. It should not be minimized it should also not be elevated to what it is not. Ground zero does this.
I feel it necessary to mention that (since you brought it up) more people died in the Twin Towers than in the Pearl Harbor attack. I'm not justifying all the brouhaha about the mosque, just pointing out a fact.

As I recall, the term came about in one of the previous Administration's propaganda statements: "Ground Zero in the War on Terror".
Certainly a powerfully manipulative term. When I think about how that event was manipulated to involve us in a war with Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the events on 911 I am ashamed that this country and its people were so easy to mislead.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Catman, raises an issue. In terms of raw numbers the terrorist attack on the world trade center killed more than even the act of war at Pearl Harbor. That in itself does not elevate a criminal attack to an act of war.

The use of the ground zero terminology was a conscious attempt to raise it to an act of war.

The original post was motivated when I heard ground zero used by someone known to be against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It struck that me people who oppose the wars use it without thinking about the symbolism behind it.

I understand that ground zero is convenient short hand for the world trade center site. I only point out that it blurs the facts of the event.
Perhaps when said person used the term 'ground zero' they were referring only to the site of the WTC attack, not necessarily all the "symbolism behind it". The term as used for the site of the attack has passed into the vernacular. I don't think most people make a coneection between it and Hiroshima/Nagasaki.
Doubting Thomas
It seems to me that "ground zero" isn't even accurate, since the other attacks that day occurred at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania.

But it's funny how most knuckle-dragging right-wing Christian Fox News viewers normally tend to write off New York City as a den of evil, sinful liberalism, but let some Muslims try to build a cultural center a couple blocks from the WTC site and they proclaim it as holy ground.
Edited by Doubting Thomas on 09/28/2010 15:55
DT: Good point! They may hate it, but it's theirs. I actually started out thinking that it was a really bad idea to put it there, but it's already there. I think it'll continue to cause an uproar. Maybe it's a litmus test of this society, measuring how tolerant it can be. The story about it on 60 Minutes was very enlightening.
Great point DT, I'm guilty of tending to forget the Pentagon and the other plane as being part of the whole affair as well.

Sadly I do think that even if the 'ground zero' mosque weren't there the rabid right would have simply found some other symbol to go on about.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Frequently I've wondered why so many people tend to leave out the other sites that were attacked with the planes when talking about the WTC site, in ways in which it would seem natural to include all the sites.

DTs point is well made. Perhaps it would take the building of mosques at every site for people to include them all when they think or speak of the 9/11 attacks.
The Pentagon was attacked with a plane on 9/11, and there is an Islamic prayer room inside the Pentagon.
Adam Ajaja
Dare to suggest demolishing any of the catholic churches near Beslen or Auschwitz and I bet the xtians would claim persecution lol!
Lol, good point Adam
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Jump to Forum:

Similar Threads

Thread Forum Replies Last Post
What exactly is "Obamacare" and what did it change? U.S. Politics 5 07/21/2013 11:50
Catman's thread. (was "Is it true?") The Lounge 64 04/03/2013 13:25
Donald "Duck" Dunn Music Discussions 1 05/14/2012 18:32
Getting it wrong. "War on Christmas" needs better PR. Christianity 3 11/30/2011 13:26
Has "Homeland Security" gone to far U.S. Politics 2 09/06/2011 11:07