Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Irreparable damage?

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Irreparable damage?

A thought-provoking New York Times column by Thomas Friedman (registration required) today about how the US is turning its back towards the world -- and changing what makes the US so great -- in a post-9/11 reaction. A similar theme came up a few days ago when I went for lunch with National Semiconductor CEO, Brian Halla:

Bottom line: We urgently need a national commission to look at all the little changes we have made in response to 9/11 - from visa policies to research funding, to the way we've sealed off our federal buildings, to legal rulings around prisoners of war - and ask this question: While no single change is decisive, could it all add up in a way so that 20 years from now we will discover that some of America's cultural and legal essence - our DNA as a nation - has become badly deformed or mutated?

This would be a tragedy for us and for the world. Because, as I've argued, where birds don't fly, people don't mix, ideas don't get sparked, friendships don't get forged, stereotypes don't get broken, and freedom doesn't ring.

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