Have the Past 10 Years Been the Worst in U.S. History?

News 2011/07/18 15:00:00
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Sure, the past decade has brought us two intractable wars that have killed thousands of Americans and tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis, the deadly 9/11 attacks and the worst economic meltdown in modern history.

But don't tell that to Fox News columnist Martin Sieff, the former Managing Editor of International Affairs, who took issue with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's recent speech to a "worshipful audience" on that subject at the annual Aspen Festival of Ideas in June.

Yes, the past decade was not, according to Sieff, "no great shakes," what with the wars, 9/11, and a "very bad but least not terminal Wall Street meltdown in September 2008," but the WORST decade in American history.

C'mon, wrote Sieff. Worse than the 1860s, when 650,000 Americans were killed on both sides in the Civil War – "the proportional equivalent of 6.5 million dying in war in five years?"

Worse than the 1950s, when "millions of terrified American children were drilled in hiding under their school desks as a supposed protection against thermonuclear war?"

Keep in mind, as terrible as the death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan are, they're 10 times under the number of Americans killed in Vietnam. And we haven't had race riots like we did under liberal Democrats Woodrow Wilson in 1919 and Lyndon Johnson in 1968, have we? No one tried to turn back the "admirable" civil rights achievements of the 1960s and there haven't been mass graves dug in New York's Central Park to house the corpses of cholera victims like there were in the 1850s.

Do you think the past 10 years have been the worst in U.S. history?
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Top Opinion

  • mark 2011/07/18 15:32:36
    Hello. Let's see, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the smallpox epidemic, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, WW1, Pearl Harbor and WW2, the Vietnam War, etc. etc. I don't think so. We've just become spoiled and used to a very high standard of living.

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  • Superman Brian P 2011/07/18 20:28:54
    Two things.

    First, saying that things aren't as bad as they used to be answers the damn question - was this the worst decade. No.

    Second, if your arrgument is "Humans just can't play nice" then everything will always suck. Its defeatist.

    I'm not that cynical. Not that cynical at all. I recognize the bad of the past, while still understanding that we've done a lot to improve. In America today, no I don't see a lot of slavery. I see some economic inconsistencies that don't begin to rise to the level of slavery. Worldwide? Maybe, but thats a fault of the westernized world failing to act. Depression? What are we at, 9 percent unemployment? The real depression was at what, 20%? No, we're not close to that either. The US Govt as a modern Nazi party? You must be joking at this point right? And again, we may still be working on salary equality but thats a whole hell of a lot different than having the right to vote and being treated as property. There are plenty of rich and powerful women in the world today.

    So don't give me your hyperbole and cynicism. That sort of whining doesn't fix anything.
  • getu Superman 2011/07/19 07:01:26 (edited)
    You would be surprised if you did some real digging on slavery. It's alive and well, just buried by the media and the government. It's right in there beside the "drug war" only very few arrests are ever made. Child pornography - children who are "under the wire" and no one notices when they go missing. It's as shameful as anything on the ugly page in our history.
  • Superman getu 2011/07/19 14:06:52
    And its all illegal. Its all a trade hidden from the light and perfectly prosecutable if caught. And something tells me the numbers aren't nearly as high percentagewise as they were before the Civil War, you know when it was perfectly legal to own slaves. They worked out in the open under their masters.

    I'm not arguing that there isn't a problem still to be sought out and fixed. I'm only pointing out that its not nearly on the scale that it once was and its not legal in the US.
  • Jeh 2011/07/18 19:41:37
    I think the past 10 years have been...
    Generation Zzzz...
  • ♣♦Fuckface♥♠ 2011/07/18 19:41:00
    According to my History class, a few wars isn't the worse scenario...
  • ♣♦Fuckf... ♣♦Fuckf... 2011/07/18 19:41:43
    I meant to say 'no'....
  • ernest debrew 2011/07/18 19:35:34
    I think the past 10 years have been...
    ernest debrew

    Not too bad and not too good either thanks to Bush, 9/11, and other crap that happened.
  • david jordan 2011/07/18 19:26:11
    david jordan
    we are no longer a democracy but a pluutocracy, of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. Huge increases in productivity with huge suppression of income and political power for the working class. We have seen a huge shift of wealth to the plutocrats and severe depression of wages and benefits to those who work for a living.
    no longer are we the healthiest country in the world ( falling behind in life expectancy and child welfare), the smartest with the most new patents, the best public education
    ( crushed by caps on revenue and destroying teacher morale), huge deficits produced by unpaid for wars and the lowest tax rates for the wealthy and the wealthy corporations in the world
    We need to total reverse the IBG-YBG( I Be Gone- You Be Gone therefore maximize short term profits and on and on0 mentality of our leaders
  • ernest ... david j... 2011/07/18 19:37:04
    ernest debrew
    rich gets richer poor gets poorer

    It is not right.
  • Nobamma ernest ... 2011/07/18 19:59:38
  • Brian P Nobamma 2011/07/18 20:04:37
    Brian P
    Does "BS" stand for "Back stabbed"? As in back stabbed by our very own government?
  • Nobamma Brian P 2011/07/18 21:36:39
    Yes, Back stabbed by the big spenders and welfare panderers in congress. And the Lib drone of class warfare is the BS I was referring to. We do not have real POOR in this country. Most are fat, have a car, house phone, multiple tvs and an xbox.
  • Hawkeye 2011/07/18 19:24:06
    Every generation thinks that they’re going through the worst of times while they’re living it and as they hit their Golden Years and listen to the Music of their kids,, they think fondly of their youth and the “Good Ole Days”..

    We ALL have heard of the rough times during the depression and the dustbowl 30s.. I would say that they still qualify as the worst times ever..

    TODAY you’re poverty stricken if you ONLY own ONE 53” LCD TV.. The Spas and the Gyms are operating at full capacity and the Gambling Casinoes are FILLED with lever pulling Grandmas and Grandads ALL bitching about how they can’t afford their Presciption Drugs..

    My parents talked about people starving in the streets and it wasn’t FEARMONGERING like it is today..

    It’s NOT hard to understand why some people might get the impression that we’re going through such tough times though.. You HEAR about every day on TV.. If I had a dime for every time some Politician claimed that the world was going to end if he or she didn’t get his/her way,, if they didn’t get to spend THIS Trillion Dollars here and there or pass THAT Trillion Dollar package I’d NEVER have to worry about hard times..
  • Brian P Hawkeye 2011/07/18 20:08:25
    Brian P
    I do agree with you, but the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression did not have easily available solutions. Many of our current problems have easy solutions, however the politicians are too corrupt and tied into big corps to make the right choice. In my opinion, this is much more disgusting, as it's INTENDED, whereas the past disasters you listed were not.
  • Hawkeye Brian P 2011/07/18 20:20:45
    We had our share of disasters too.. 9/11 ( though manmade it was not self inflicted ) Katrina,, the Tsunami and the Haitian Earthquake,,, for example..

    During those years we had FDR pushing HIS agenda.. TODAY we have Obama.. In BOTH cases te economic crises was considered disastrous..

    THEY had WWII.. WE have Iraq/Afghanistan..

    ONE of the major differences between THEN and NOW is that THEN,, even in GOOD times,, they weren't far from being on the street living in rags and THEY didn't have the support institutions
    ( welfare,, housing support,, food stamps etc.. ) available to them that we have today....

    I would SAY that comparing the Lifestyles of the Average American THEN as opposed to NOW would lead to only ONE conclusion..

    THEY had a much harder time odf it THEN then WE do now..
  • Brian P Hawkeye 2011/07/18 20:26:37 (edited)
    Brian P
    Yea, you're right. I guess I'm just comparing it with how close we are to actually wiping out our entire race - and I'm pretty sure we're a lot closer to that now than we were back then. I blame the rapid increase in technology and rapid decrease in ethical thinkers, but that's just my opinion.
  • Hawkeye Brian P 2011/07/18 21:35:10
    Aww hell.. I'm 60+ years old and we've been " close to wiping out our entire race" since BEFORE I was born..

    YOU name it and we're "close to wiping out our entire race" these days..

    Doesn't matter WHAT you're talking about..Eat a damn hamburger and you're destroying the planet..

    I agree that we have a technological revolution to get under control ( it USED to be the Industrial revolution ) and our ethics aren't what they used to be but hey.. THAT goes in cycles too..

    It's like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to the other.. WE happen to be at the one extreme to the left.... The GOOD news is that the Pendulum spends more time IN between then it does at either extreme..

    I get the sense that it's NOW beginning to head towards the center
  • Abort A Liberal, Save A Life. 2011/07/18 19:16:58
    Abort A Liberal, Save A Life.
    I say yes, but I am young and don't know how life really would've been before my time. Sure, we read about the wars and hardships of the past, but if I haven't personally experienced them, so they are just words in textbooks to me. I have to experience something for myself, to really FEEL it. I'm sure those who were there, would have a different answer than I do.

    I think the worst, however, is yet to come.
  • Hawkeye Abort A... 2011/07/18 19:26:14
    It's okay.. In order to get where WE are we ALL had to get through where YOU are now..

    Your answer is as good as the next...
  • Sheled Umlal 2011/07/18 19:15:02
    Sheled Umlal
    The years when the US became less of a threat to the welfare of the world than China.
  • Jackie 2011/07/18 19:14:07
    I think the past 10 years have been...
    full of all kinds of manner of diseases and deaths and natural disasters...funny that none of those were mentioned in the article.
  • smith86 2011/07/18 19:12:09
  • Markie 2011/07/18 19:11:13
    I think the past 10 years have been...
    8 of the last 10 years were hell, GW is gone and we are recovering. Thank god he is gone!!
  • Michael Mcconnell 2011/07/18 19:09:55
    Michael Mcconnell
    The worst is yet to come. There is little chance that we will better soon. Maybe our politicans made a horrible mistake by allowing the exporting of our jobs. We are a nation of waiters waiting on cashiers.
  • Monster Claws 2011/07/18 19:07:02
    Monster Claws
    dont get me wrong its been bad... but NO.
  • smith86 Monster... 2011/07/18 19:13:21
  • Monster... smith86 2011/07/18 20:59:45
    Monster Claws
  • the fuze 2011/07/18 19:05:54
    the fuze
    No way! Things could be a lot worse. Do I think they could be better? Sure, but our country has gone through a lot harder times, and compared to the rest of the world we're doing all right. Times are tough but they could be tougher.
  • smith86 the fuze 2011/07/18 19:13:27
  • Michael McFascist 2011/07/18 18:55:39
    Michael McFascist
  • smith86 Michael... 2011/07/18 19:13:34
  • danjac1263 2011/07/18 18:52:22
    I think the past 10 years have been...
    Since Obama took office things have went straight down at a break neck pace.
  • Tannenberg1993 2011/07/18 18:51:57
    I'm a lower-class kid (well, sort of man as of a few days ago) who had some fun in the past years playing in the snow, reading unaltered history books, listening to the music I love, and happily watching the likes of Sean White and Lindsey Vonn compete in the Winter Olympics. I've been able to choose my heroes and role models without the help of propaganda. I have had the ability to oppose popular opinion without my school turning me over to the government. Adults and children alike think and worship as the please. If the past ten years had been the worst in U.S. history, I would not have been able to do or enjoy any of those things.
  • volley15 2011/07/18 18:51:24
    I think the past 10 years have been...
    Tough. There's no denying that. While the last decade may have not been as bad as some others this last decade has hardly been all sunshine and roses.
  • Bob, the reasonable one 2011/07/18 18:50:58
    Bob, the reasonable one
    Not even close to the worst decade.....Thomas Friedman obviously was being a bit hyperbolic in his estimation...but there was a reason why he chose to say so....Friedman is liberal and he wants to demonize the Bush administration...this is all a process of chipping away at the Bush legacy....the good news is that years from now nobody will remember the hysteria and the outlandish behavior and will admire the brave decisions that were made by his administration...
  • cjet 2011/07/18 18:50:42
    Bad but far from the worst. But it's Fox, what do you expect?
  • danjac1263 cjet 2011/07/18 18:53:19
    Ya, the commie channels never have polls like that. LOL
  • cjet danjac1263 2011/07/18 20:25:29
    It was an opinion about someone else's opinion. Polls?
  • the_old_coach 2011/07/18 18:45:58 (edited)
    Everything is relative to the people of the times they live in. But these have NOT been the worse ten years in U.S. History.
  • Elvis in Toledo 2011/07/18 18:44:51
    I think the past 10 years have been...
    Elvis in Toledo
    I think in our recent memory is where we see the last 10 years as so horrible. We didn't live in the 1800's or Early 1900's, so we didn't live through all the crap that went on then...

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