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|North America's First|
Vol. I Number 5
Asian Outlook e-Monthly would like to express our
deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those
lost in the tragic events of September 11.
September 11, 2001 will mark the day that shook the confidence of many Americans.
day that changed the world! A day that will divide our times in two
parts – pre-September 11 and post-September 11.
is the first time in history that four American planes full of
innocent civilians were hijacked on American soil by persons who had
been living in the US and took flying lessons from its schools. Two of
the planes slammed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center,
filled with more innocent civilians, one hit Pentagon and the last one
crashed in Pennsylvania.
objective of the attack appears to have been a psychological
humiliation of the United States, an objective achieved by the
evacuation of the White House and the shutting down of all government
buildings, national monuments and airports in the country”, wrote a
attacks hit not only these buildings but also were symbolic -
having targeted the American Economy, the American Defence and
above all the American psyche. Once for all America’s feeling of
being invulnerable was shattered.
then, terrorist attacks were mostly happening in other parts of the
than a dozen of these had hit America in the last 30 years but
none of these was as brutal as the one on September 11. Thousands of
innocent lives were lost for no fault of theirs but that they lived,
worked or were visiting America.
such a catastrophe strikes a nation, it is right to think of how
and why it happened.
for the how: Wesley Wark, a professor of international relations
specializing in intelligence services at the University of Toronto,
called the attacks the worst intelligence failure in history. He
immediately compared them to the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl
Harbor in 1941, but he said there was one important difference.
1941 [the United States] had a handful of agencies and a small budget.
Nowadays they have the largest intelligence community in the world
with a budget of about $30-billion (U.S.)."
Rohrabacher, a Californian Republican, said, “It’s probably the
biggest intelligence blunder in any of our lifetimes”.
for why: President Bush’s famous words -
either you are with us or against us – have all but labelled
anybody and everybody (who wishes to discuss why this happened... what
makes these group of people ‘terrorists’
in addition to their hatred of America and the American way of life) a
traitor or a dissenter. Dissent is not to be tolerated.
main criticism offered is that these dissenters express a view of
"moral equivalence", which is allegedly a belief that, as a
result of America's previous foreign policy, we "had it
coming". Critics also call this "the cycle of violence"
argument or "blame America first" traitorous to say the
example of the type of argument that is being criticised is an article
by John Pilger in Britain's New Statesman: “Far from being the
terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims -
that is, the victims of American fundamentalism, whose power, in all
its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of
terrorism on earth...”
is legitimate to argue that US policy was a possible cause of this
attack, but it is morally abhorrent to most people to argue that we
therefore deserved this, or that such a murderous response was
somehow inevitable”, writes Brendan Nyhan in an article titled
Suppressing Dissent At Home, Fighting for Freedom Abroad?
is crucially important that we do not let democratic debate be
silenced, as some commentary has implicitly encouraged and even
Some words from another time are worth considering: "We have certain standards of life that we believe are best for us. We do not ask other nations to discard theirs but we do wish to preserve ours...We reflect on no one in wanting immigrants who will be assimilated into our ways of thinking and living." -- Calvin Coolidge, newspaper column, Dec. 13, 1930