Outside events can change a presidential campaign, a president, and the history of the nation: the Iranian hostage crisis, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the downing of the helicopter in Mogadishu, Somalia, the suicide attack on the USS Cole, and, of course, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
When I voted against the cap-and-trade bill, the phone rang and it was the chief of staff of the president of the United States of America, Rahm Emanuel, and he started swearing at me in terms and words that I hadn't heard since that crossing the line ceremony on the USS New Jersey in 1983.
Today at Pearl Harbor, veterans are gathering to pay tribute to the young men they remember who never escaped the sunken ships. And over the years, some Pearl Harbor veterans have made a last request. They ask that their ashes be brought down and placed inside the USS Arizona. After the long lives given them, they wanted to rest besides the best men they ever knew. Such loyalty and love remain the greatest strength of the United States Navy.
George W. Bush
Suppose a top politician, entertainment figure, or sports star said it didn't really matter who shot Lincoln or why, who attacked Pearl Harbor, the Alamo or the USS Liberty. Imagine the derision. Imagine the ridicule. Imagine the loss in credibility and marketing revenue. Now imagine if a well-respected academic 'who should know better' said exactly the same thing. It doesn't really matter who committed a great crime; history had nothing to teach us; we should never waste precious time trying to apprehend the perpetrators, nor understand their motives but focus only on the outcome of their foul deeds. Well, that is exactly what Noam Chomsky appears to believe. Do not focus on the plot or the plotters or the clever planning of any crime but only the aftermath. Strangely, I had always thought linguistics was the scientific study of language rather than a lame attempt at disinformation.