Lies My Teacher Told Me “Down the Memory Hole: The Disappearance of the Recent Past”

Lies My Teacher Told Me “Down the Memory Hole: The Disappearance of the Recent Past”

History textbooks misrepresent the events of September 11. They do not give an account of the past, for instance the relationship of the US and the Middle East. The US is presented as the ‘good guy’ helping the affected states in the attacks whereas they had other motives, to take power of vulnerable states like Iraq.

Lies My Teacher Told Me “Down the Memory Hole: The Disappearance of the Recent Past”

According to Loewen, history textbooks in the US portray the US positively. This is misleading to the students because they will believe that the US is the best when it is not entirely the best (Lowen 2007).  Lowen stated that the United States attacked Iraq twice. It was also part of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The US helped Saddam Hussein rise to power by helping him fight against the attacks in Iraq. It provided weaponry and also involved the CIA, thus influencing Saddam’s rise to power.

George Bush was justified in invading Iraq because Saddam could produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD) over a given time frame. Besides, Saddam’s WMD could have been hidden or ferried to another country (Lowen 2007).

There are many reasons history textbooks will present about the reason why US attacked Iraq. For instance, the US wanted to help the people of Iraq and lead them to democracy. However, according to Loewen, the US attacked Iraq to eliminate the threats posed by Saddam. Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and this could be accessed by Al-Qaeda. The US also wanted to take charge of the oil in Iraq which would be a great source of economic benefit for it.

After the 9/11 attacks, the US launched attack on Iraq mainly to avenge the 9/11 attacks that had affected it.

Israel helped the US deal with external threats and boost each other in terms of technological advancement. The countries in the Middle East view this relationship as a mutual relationship with both countries benefiting from each other.

This chapter is a critique of what most history textbooks in the US present. As such, I have developed reservations for some of the arguments. For example, I do not anymore entirely believe that the US is a perfect continent. Some of the reasons it went into war, for example in Iraq, was not to help the suffering citizens but to benefit indirectly. This is rather selfish and many books do not argue this possibility. Many authors only discuss the positive side of the US’ intervention.

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Loewen, J. W. (2007). Lies my teacher told me: Everything your American history textbook got wrong. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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