The Ministry of False Alarms

By Rushdie, Salman | The Virginia Quarterly Review, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

The Ministry of False Alarms


Rushdie, Salman, The Virginia Quarterly Review


In post-9/11 America there has come to be what I think of as the Ministry of False Alarms. The Ministry of False Alarms constantly raises the level of fear inside the United States. I'm not sure what these various rainbowcolored alerts are supposed to do: How does one react when the alert goes from yellow to orange? What does one do to deal with orange danger that one would not do in dealing with yellow danger? How do you relax when the level drops? The only purpose of these alerts is to scare people. When you have a scared population, it becomes easier to do things on its behalf that it would not otherwise tolerate. That climate of fear, which is being deliberately maintained inside the United States, is something that needs to be fought.

One well-publicized manifestation of this is the USA PATRIOT Act, which enormously increases the power of the American government to enter into what should be private areas, such as what books people read, what thoughts people think. The idea that the libraries should become areas the American state feels it needs to control and that librarians could be dangerous outlaws is a disturbing one.

It is clear that terror does exist and must be fought, but state crime also exists, and it, too, must be fought. David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, reminded us in a recent article that from the beginning of the war in Iraq, the Bush administration's rhetoric placed moral progress at the heart of its mission. He quotes President Bush in June 2003, emphasizing the ethical underpinnings of Operation Iraqi Freedom: "I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, or prosecuting all acts of torture... .We are leading this fight by example." It seems impossible not to view the activities at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as the end of the American right to claim moral example. We now know what that example is. It's tragic that these acts have damaged the ability of the United States to present itself as a representative of higher moral standards for perhaps a generation. Not just in the Arab world, not just in the Muslim world. Everywhere. It is an amazing systemic problem.

To begin to repair this damage-and to better understand the struggles we all are facing-the United States needs an open dialogue with the rest of the world. It needs to know, listen to, and understand what the rest of the world is saying. Paradoxically, at precisely this moment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get those voices into the United States. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Ministry of False Alarms
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.