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Huanqiu, People’s Republic of China

Anniversary of 9-11 Shows Lack of American Solidarity


Do efforts by the White House to set the tone for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks reflect an incapacity on the part of Americans to stand together? According to reporter Wen Xian of China's state-controlled Huanqiu, strenuous U.S. efforts to show solidarity illustrate just the opposite.


By Wen Xian [温宪]*


Translated by Sarah Chan


September 8, 2011


People's Republic of China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)

Buddhist monks pray at a ceremony marking the death of Orasri Liangtanasarn, a Thai victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, in Bangkok, September 10.


AL-JAZEERA NEWS: 9/11 - When the truth became a casualty of war, Sept. 10, 00:25:57RealVideo

On August 30, The New York Times revealed that the White House has set the tone for the 10th anniversary of September 11. In guidelines issued mainly to U.S. diplomatic missions around the world, the White House stressed that while people from over 90 countries were killed in the 9-11 attacks, terrorism has taken the lives of people in countries around the world, and that tribute should be paid to victims regardless of where they live. Another document entitled 9-11 Anniversary Planning was issued to various federal agencies, stressing the importance of national institutions and the U.S. government in preventing another major terrorist attack. While it is fitting that the 9/11 victims be commemorated, this is also a reminder that since that time, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups have attacked many places around the world.


Ten years ago, "9-11" not only changed the United States, but the world. It has had a profound effect on global military affairs, economics, politics, culture, society and many other aspects of international relations. The 10th anniversary of 9-11 is a notable moment that will attract global attention as people everywhere consider the event's proper meaning. And as America is the country in which the incident occurred, the attitude of U.S. officials is drawing particular attention.


As far as how to mark this tenth anniversary, the U.S. government has had a series of discussions and exchanges. This event differs from other "high profile" commemorations, in that the final decision of the White House was somewhat hesitant and reserved. Although the guidelines emphasize that the chief goal of U.S. communications are to "present a positive, forward-looking narrative," behind the low-key tone is a lot of frustration and pain.


If one listens carefully, the assertion of U.S. officials of the need to create a "positive, forward-looking narrative," contrasts sharply with the not-so-positive reality. After the 9-11 incident, the U.S. launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And to this day, they remain caught in a dilemma. President Obama, feeling stretched to the limit and while endeavoring to end these wars, must now consider leaving U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the two wars are accompanied by a drop in national strength and a downgrading of U.S. credit, America's "counter-terror" strategy has opened up a Pandora's Box. More and more of U.S. consumption can be attributed to fighting terror, and domestic terrorists have become a new and growing concern. Even killing bin Laden was difficult to celebrate. With the burden of two wars, the U.S. economy has weakened. Issues arising out of the two wars like the Guantanamo Bay detention camp remain unresolved.  



The 10th anniversary of 9-11 is a sensitive moment. And combined with the approach of the 2012 presidential election, the less the Obama Administration says the better. On the day of the 9-11 anniversary, Obama has decided to travel to Ground Zero in New York, the Pennsylvania crash site of Flight 93 and the Pentagon to participate in related commemorative activities, but he has not prepares any long-winded speeches.




RTBF, Belgium: September 11 and the Value of Having Defined Enemies    

Folha, Brazil: 'Two Septembers' that Changed the World  

Global Times, China: In Post-9/11 America, Anger Overwhelmed Self-Reflection    

Iraq of Tomorrow: After 9-11, Iraq was Punished for America's Mistakes    

Iraq of Tomorrow: 'Iraqis are Not a Herd of Beasts!'  

El Heraldo, Honduras: September 11 Response Brought 'Loss of U.S. Prestige'    

Haaretz, Israel: Why a Lethal Surprise Like Sept. 11 May Happen Again

Dar Al-Hayat, Saudi Arabia: Arabs Have Paid the Highest Price for 9-11 Attack

Internet Broadcast: Bin Laden Urges 9-11 Families to Demand New Probe Into Attacks

Der Spiegel, Germany: Eight Years after 9-11: The Bloody Legacy of Cheney's Failures

Wen Wei Po, Hong Kong: How America Ended its Own Dominance


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While the White House has set the tone, one also senses an unpredictability and caution. After 9-11, the U.S. government implemented a naked policy of unilateralism, deliberately misrepresenting the facts and blindly believing in force: "those who submit will prosper, those who resist shall perish." After years of pondering, the Obama Administration has adjusted U.S. policy, swinging back to multilateralism. In considering 9-11, the Obama Administration realizes that the United States is not the only victim of terrorism, which is a foreshadowing of America's future actions. Confronting this new reality, the Obama Administration has warned that Americans must be prepared for another attack.


For Washington's various political forces, the 10th anniversary of 9-11, so full of vivid emotion, has quietly become a new political arena. One careless mistake and one could lose his footing. To this end, the White House has called on Americans to revive the solidarity that took hold after the 9-11 attacks. This is based on a search for greater balance with political opponents, or seeking "common ground," while expressing their differences. This demonstrates the negative of this: "Solidarity" is precisely the spirit that Washington most lacks.


*Wen Xian [温宪] is senior Huanqui reporter for North America



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