Lecture: ‘Why DID America invade Iraq?’ and 9/11 thoughts
So as you all (probably) know if you’ve been reading my posts, I’m in three courses here at NTNU. Two are the normal credit classes, a sociology/anthropology course called “Globalization, Modernization and Development” and my course in Norwegian called “Scandanavian Literature History.” My third class called “America in the World” is double credit and deemed “Project work” which is why I’m only in three because it counts for two classes because I have to write a 25 page paper along with the final exam. The paper is supposed to be a proposed policy amendment to the President, and it has to do with foreign policy. I’ll probably be writing about immigration laws, because those I believe there is a lot of information out there on it and I’m pretty interested in it (concerning FOREIGN policy, not domestic). Anyways. So for that class this paper is worth 2/3 of our grade and the final 1/3.
So about a month ago my professor was gone for some conference or something and we had a guest lecturer. His name was Torbjørn Knutsen and I think he’s just a professor at the univerisity. Anyways, we’ve been working with a bit of political theory as well as foreign relations in the class, and his lecture was on “Why did America invade Iraq” interpreted through the three separate levels of analysis (the individual, state, and international/systemic levels). It was actually quite interesting. I originally signed up for the course because I wanted get a European view on American politics….and then I found out my prof grew up in Alabama and graduated from Penn State. haha. Oh well, right? It’s actually a nice class, not too much new information for me theory/history wise (mostly things I learned in my intro PoliSci courses, or history…in like 6th grade…) which is nice so I can just focus on writing the paper/proposal and not stress about learning all new information for the exam. So I was excited to finally hear a bit of outside opinion on the matter, even if it was just one professor in a 2 hour lecture.
Sidenote: in Norway, the general norm is to call your teachers and professors always by their first names…but I just can’t bring myself to do it-it just feels so disrespectful to me! Unless I am very close with a professor, like my Norwegian profs (also because that’s the norm for norsk) and a couple PoliSci ones, I just can’t do it. There’s another cultural difference for ya haha. Usually I really really try hard to abide by the Norwegian norms, for example eating my hamburger with a fork and a knife instead of just picking it up which is so much easier, but in this case it just feels too wrong coming out of my mouth-’I just can’t DO IT captain! I don’t have the power!’ Anyways, my point is that I’m going to call him Professor Knutsen, which I was going to start this paragraph out with, but ended up going off on yet another tangent my life seems to be built on these days.
Professor Knutsen’s lecture was very (……..insert long pause because my fingers stopped typing and I looked up at the ceiling before I could come up with the right word……..) thought-provoking. Interesting. Enlightening? No not quite. Well anyways, I enjoyed hearing his viewpoint. I won’t go into the “boring” (for you maybe, not for me the theorist woo!) PoliSci levels of analysis mumbo-jumbo, but in my opinion he did a pretty good job of explaining the different factors and potential “why’s/causes of invation” within these levels. I didn’t come across too much new information, just a few lesser-known names and specific dates, but mostly a lot of widely known conspiracy theory stuff. It was pretty much a Bush-bashing session, which is fine, whatever, and Professor Knutsen stated very specifically that he was not saying GB Jr. is an idiot himself, just that because of the poor judgement and rash decisions he made, he acted inconceivably and beyond all intelligent reason.
Somewhere in the middle of the lecture he got to 9/11 (obviously). This is actually why I’m writing this post. I was so surprised at my own reaction; I just didn’t even know I had any of these feelings. When he began talking about 9/11 (which, sidenote, in Norwegian is actually 11/9 because they put the month first-very confusing-so some people thing it was on November 9th, not September 11th…yeah.)–anyways–the first slide he showed just had the words “September 11, 2001″ on the header and there were two or three pictures of the WTC, Pentagon, etc. He just began talking about what happened that day and how people, especially people on the east coast, in New York, D.C., etc., were just devestated, and rightfully so, and how everyone just kind of pulled together. Of course, he talked about how the Bush administration used that blind patriotism as an excuse for the “War on Terror” to finally get Sadam etc.etc.etc….but before he talked about that there was just a few minutes where he was just explaining that day and the days immidiately following to us and how the country reacted. When I saw the pictures, and heard him talking, I just had this GIGANTIC wave of emotions. I found myself tearing up, thinking about that day, and where I was, and where everyone else was, and how fortunate I was to not have known anyone personally and to have been safe…and I just got very emotional. 9/111 is the Kennedy assasination of our time. I think, after 9/11, we all thought about it daily. Newspapers, etc., with constant reminders of what happened. But now, 8 1/2 years later, we hardly think of that day. Not on a daily basis at least, I mean those of us who weren’t directly affected, didn’t lose a loved one. So when I DID begin to think about it, everything just came crashing over me and I had to mentally tell myself to physically CALM DOWN and breathe normal and get it together-I was in the middle of a lecture hall for gosh sake. So I did, but I was so surprised at how deeply seeing those images and hearing him talk about that day affected me; since I wasn’t affect PERSONALLY (didn’t know anyone, don’t live on the east coast, etc.) but I was affected-like everyone else. Some people live in places where every single day they have a fear when they walk out of their home in the morning of whether they’ll make it home alive that day or not.
Part of my point is, we’re so quick to forget. Obviously no one has forgotten that day or that moment, but it certainly isn’t on the forefront anymore. It’s insane how quickly we adapt to such intense changes in our perception of reality. The first two weeks, two months, that I was in Norway, EVERY DAY I would wake up and think, “Oh my gosh. I’m in freakin Norway.” But now I wake up and think, “I have to pee.” I still have moments almost every day where I really cherish something or try to really remember where I’m at and what I’m doing, but it’s become almost routine at this point.
So cherish the moments people. Forgive but don’t forget. Learn from your mistakes. Yada yada all those phrases.
We are truly blessed. xoxo Emma Kristin