September 13, 2005
'THE WORLD OF 9/11': FOUR YEARS LATER
** September 11, 2001 re-enforced "feelings of unity" giving "new strength" to Americans.
** Arab/Muslim writers say 9/11 "added fuel to the fire of violence and war in the region."
** Media linked 9/11 with Katrina, saying the natural disaster "damaged the American dream."
** Katrina"s "harsh light" showed the U.S. is "ill prepared" for "crisis management."
'The 9/11 Revolution gave people a sense of community'-- Media determined that after 9/11's "barbaric act" the U.S. "discovered vulnerability and solidarity." France's right-of-center Le Figaro declared 9/11 "served to unite" the U.S., and a Czech writer added the Twin Towers and Pentagon attacks united the U.S. and "made it stronger." Russian observers said 9/11's events served to identify a "common threat" through which "confused mankind gained a new sense of cohesion," and 9/11 exploded the "myth of terrorism as a local phenomenon." Italy's influential La Stampa asserted that "in those days" all felt as one with the Americans.
Arab/Muslim writers urge the U.S. to 'change tactics'-- Arab and Muslim outlets said 9/11 provided "the excuse of terrorism" as a justification to "fight ghosts, ignoring the basic source of misfortune in the Middle East." Morocco's Islamic Attajdid held that on this fourth anniversary, the U.S. "should review its policy towards the Arab/Islamic world." Saudi writers faulted the U.S. for not publically crediting "the role that Saudi Arabia has played to uproot al-Qaida" from Saudi society. They called upon the U.S. to "start a new and just" anti-terror strategy. Iranian writers saw the U.S. adding "fuel to the fire of violence" through military actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere that "intensified anti-American hostility in the Arab/Muslim countries."
Katrina's 'shockwave' similar to Twin Towers attack-- Speaking for many writers, an Italian analyst stated, "The past tragedy [9/11] got mingled with current tragedy"; Slovenia's independent Dnevnik declared Hurricane Katrina "has more in common with 9/11 than it seems at first sight." China's official Global Times added the "scale of the damage was similar to that of a terrorist attack" with its many wounded, deceased and large economic losses. Some said the U.S. is "weak at home." Japan's liberal Asahi opined that 9/11 and Katrina, "two incidents with different causes," brought American "prosperity and poverty" into full view of a world challenged with "sacrificing too much freedom in the name of security" since 9/11.
Katrina's handling shows 'no lessons learned from 9/11'-- Analysts pondered the lessons learned in "handling" crises based on 9/11 and commented on 9/11's legacy. They proclaimed that "fanatical ideologists" will continue to wage their "tribal war" following their "global strike" on the "notion of the 'state'." Nicaragua's center-right La Prensa joined Romania's independent Ziua in saying "the war must go on" and the "GWOT, terrible and difficult, is far from over." Outlets asserted Katrina brought to the fore "blatant" images of unexpected U.S. "impotence" to effectively respond to disaster "four years after the Twin Towers"; Austria's independent Salzburger Nachrichten appended, "Four years after September 11, the Administration and the authorities are incapable of reacting quickly and professionally to a long-expected crisis."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Rupert D. Vaughan
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 51 reports from 25 countries over September 8 - 13, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The War Of Unintended Consequences"
An editorial in the left-of-center Guardian commented (9/12): "The most damning charge against the war on terror is that it has been a recruiting sergeant for the very forces it sought to destroy. As Mark Danner put it in the New York Times yesterday, Mr. Bush's failure to focus on al-Qaida has created a global 'al-Qaidaism' of the kind that struck this country on July 7. Such al-Qaidaism is not going to go away. If the earlier generation could produce a 9/11 in the face of American power, what will the next generation produce in the wake of the American weakness inseparable from an Iraq withdrawal? Bin Laden's organisation may have been damaged and disrupted since 2001, and his dreadful cause may in many places be in the hands of amateurs, but he could never have dreamed that the world four years after the twin towers would look so favourable to his objectives."
FRANCE: "Simple-Minded Anti-Americanism"
Yves Threard in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/12): “September 2001, September 2005. In between these two tragedies America found itself at the center of numerous controversies and the target of every type of accusation and criticism from Europe, and mostly from France… In 2001, the world’s most powerful nation appeared vulnerable and decided to take its revenge, first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq. The world discovered a new Bush, arrogant and shortsighted.... In 2005, word was out that the American model was faulty: poverty and racial hate were singled out. The opportunity was too good to pass to underscore President Bush’s negligence and the effects of ‘Yankee liberalism.’ The accusations against the U.S. serve to hide our incoherence and our own faults.... To gloat over the decline of the American empire is easy. Some see even the hand of God in Katrina, as if the U.S. had to pay for not signing the Kyoto protocol. Others, more credible, point that the U.S. lives on credit.... While it is true that America is not in a position to give anyone lessons, it is also absurd to claim to discover today that America is not perfect. With or without Bush… Katrina, no more than Bin Ladin, has brought America to its knees.... Derision and demonizing are definitely out of order.”
"Katrina, The Shockwave"
Right-of-center Les Echos’s editorial board under the group name Favilla commented (9/8): “The shock the Americans have received with Katrina is similar in magnitude to the shock of the attack against the Twin Towers.... Then, the deliberate attack did not discriminate between rich and poor, Black and White, thus revealing and re-enforcing feelings of unity and widely shared national pride. Conversely, Hurricane Katrina has triggered political reactions that are in contrast with those of 9/11. The tragedy is undermining the myth of national unity and equal chances for all, casting a harsh light on the true impact of this imbalance… President Bush is criticized both for poor crisis management and for his personal attitude.... A more hypothetical consequence of the tragedy could be the progress in public opinion of the possible link between climate change and gas emissions.... President Bush is not doing much to mobilize Americans over this issue but the hurricane has re-launched the debate.”
"The Witch Hunt"
Philippe Gelie in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/8): “President Bush is sending his Vice President to the devastated regions of Louisiana. It is a sign that he recognizes the huge problems triggered by the administration’s response to the disaster. This time he cannot deny the magnitude of the failure.... Admitting a mistake is a rare feat for the White House, but it allows Bush an out, as he stands above the crowd of suspects in judgment… Will the President be able to come out unscathed from this latest failure? Contrary to 9/11, the hurricane has not served to unite the country, but also contrary to Iraq, the problem he faces is one that he has the ability to resolve.”
Jacques Amalric in left-of-center Liberation (9/8): “Almost everything has been said about the causes of the disaster in the Gulf: the incompetence of the federal authorities, President Bush’s lack of sensitivity, the impact of racial inequalities.... Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, vice-chancellor, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang The same lame excuse used after 9/11, ‘we could not have predicted this,’ is even more of a lie than it was then: experts had warned about the much-needed repair for the levies … Days after the hurricane, President Bush finally went to visit the scene, and to everyone’s surprise paid tribute to Michael Brown, who is among those who refused to look at the vulnerability of New Orleans and approved drastic cuts of federal aid that could have helped protect the city. Rumor has it that he knows nothing about crisis management and owes his nomination to his contacts… The fact is that ever since terrorism has become the nation’s highest priority, FEMA is nothing more than an appendix to the Homeland Security Agency…”
"Bush In The Eye Of The Cyclone"
Sacha Vanderbrouck in right-of-center France Soir (9/12): “The House of Bush is leaking.... From the heights of greatness to decadence.... After the popularity that followed the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush’s popularity has dropped to its lowest.... America does not look ready to forgive, in spite of the President having recalled Michael Brown to Washington.... This loss of support is fueled by a series of controversies, from the intervention in Iraq to the misappropriated funds earmarked for repair work of the levees in New Orleans.... Now President Bush must face the new scandal of contracts assigned for the rebuilding of America’s South to friends of the Republicans, including Halliburton.... The President’s decision to overnight in Louisiana is a strong gesture counterbalancing his two previous visits. It shows that the President wants to once again be in control although he is being accused from all sides. This determination was also apparent on Friday with the nomination of Karen Hughes to lead America's Public Diplomacy and try to improve America’s image in the world. What looks very much like mission impossible.”
GERMANY: "Taking Stock Of 9/11/2001"
Center-right Märkische Oderzeitung of Frankfurt on the Oder noted (9/12): "It is still too early to take stock of 9/11/01. It is certainly positive that unpredictable terror dangers from the failed state in Afghanistan were eliminated, even though the situation continues to be uncertain despite the occupation though NATO states. But what is threatening is the newly stirred up hatred in the Arab and Islamic world against the western 'crusaders.' The situation in Iraq is clearly developing in a negative way where terror dangers outshine everything else. The U.S. tunnel vision on terror, which, from a U.S. point of view, is probably understandable and the subsequent security hysteria that resulted in the establishment of a mammoth department has resulted in an insufficient look at the rest of the world, like China's rise to a global power, Russia's authoritarian course, or India's constant development. All this should again become the focus in Washington."
"U.S. Badly Organized...Still"
Right-of-center Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten opined (9/12): "In this confusion of competences between New Orleans, the state and the government in Washington the core problems fell by the wayside. In the fourth year after the terrorist attacks, the United States continues to be badly organized. When it comes to mastering the consequences of terrorist or natural disasters. A freedom tower will be built at Ground Zero and life will return to New Orleans. They will stay in our mind as a warning. But the lessons must still be learned."
"Blocked Assistance For New Orleans"
Frank Herold argued in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (9/8): "International assistance for the United States does not work. Aid from other countries cannot really be set in motion, let alone be used. Shipments have gotten stuck at U.S. airports, specialist are waiting for orders to help, and German high performance pumps are not compatible with U.S. devices. After the 9/11 attacks in New York, hundreds of concepts were written to improve the protection for Americans. Some changes may have taken place, but obviously nothing that could be used after a disaster. The discrepancy between the great willingness to help and the impotence to effectively use it in a case of an emergency has not come to the fore in New Orleans only. But in the case of the United States, we could have assumed that the problems would not be so blatant. One should at least learn the lesson from this. The UN has sub-organizations for all possible cases. The establishment of a UN organization for disaster prevention would probably not be the worst approach to improve international cooperation."
ITALY: "Debris, Mud And Bush’s Debacle"
Front-page editorial by Vittorio Zucconi from Washington in left-leaning, influential daily La Repubblica (9/12): “On the fourth anniversary of that morning, which must never be forgotten, George Bush’s popularity has dropped to 39%, quite the reverse of [the former] plebiscite. If in those days of 2001, we felt ‘all Americans,’ four years later not even Americans appear to feel ‘all Americans.’.... This president has still three years of government in front of him. And nobody, neither in America nor Europe, could afford a U.S. leader who lives by rhetoric, old slogans, Manicheism and vacations that are always too long, much too long, in a world confronted by growing vulnerability as technology becomes more sophisticated, amidst uncertainties related to future climate or this current inexorable human globalization.”
"Threats Over September 11"
Paolo Mastrolilli from New York on centrist, influential daily La Stampa (9/12): “As al-Qaida was launching its latest threat, that past tragedy [9/11] got mingled with current tragedy, during ceremonies held throughout the United States to remember September 11, by evoking the pains of the people hit by hurricane. Katrina... In his Saturday radio address, President Bush tried to correlate September 11 and Katrina, in order to rebut detractors and then re-launch his leadership, by recalling he had unified the country following al-Qaida’s attacks. However, something has broken in his relationship with people, which can only be mended by good reconstruction results.”
RUSSIA: "The 9/11 Revolution"
Semen Novoprudskiy held in reformist Vremya Novostey (9/12): 'Yesterday mankind entered the fifth year of a super-new era. September 11 is a sign of the new era. It is new primarily because, for the first time in history--at least in the period of history that we are familiar with-a single, almost momentary, barbaric act destroyed all the basic coordinates of man’s social existence. It was a global strike to the notion of ‘state.’ The world’s most powerful state proved totally helpless in the face of a threat that was too much for any special service. It is more evidence of the end of the Christian civilization or of any religious civilization for that matter. It has changed the basic perceptions of war and peace by erasing distinctions between them. Metaphysically, the world is at a loss: we don’t want to die, while terrorists do; we want to move freely in this world, while terrorists want to put us under house arrest. We must to stop that, but we don’t really know how…. Evidently, we need to go on living the way we always did. The good thing about the 9/11 Revolution is that, in the face of a common threat, it gave people the sense of community with the rest of mankind. Confused mankind gained a new sense of cohesion.”
"Black September: Farewell To Illusions"
Artur Blinov said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (9/12): "Solidarity was all that mattered in human relationships in the wake of September 11, 2001. It gave a new strength to Americans as a nation and even helped some get away with the mistakes they made. As America heals its wounds and builds a ‘security wall,’ it is unsure that it can fully exclude the possibility of new terrorist attacks. These years have exploded the myth of terrorism as a local phenomenon, something linked to local conflicts, such as the Middle East problem. Nothing is left of the illusion about tolerance as a way to pay off extremists. Like other countries familiar with terrorist attacks, Russia deserves solidarity and sympathy. Russians have had to part with their illusions too, primarily with the opinion that they can go it alone in the fight against terrorism. The war on terror needs to be waged internationally, on a global scale."
AUSTRIA: "Bush’s Party Is Over"
Foreign affairs writer for mass circulation daily Kurier Konrad Kramar wrote (9/12): "The war against terror à la Bush, cannot be continued in the same way as before. Its results four years after September 11 are too meager. While anti-terror laws and police authority are undermining civil liberties in the western world, the al-Qaida terror network is functioning smoothly, as was cruelly demonstrated by the London attacks. Islamic terror remains a threat, and therefore the fight against it remains a global necessity. However, the strategies and methods employed in this fight, especially those used by the U.S., will have to change. And they will change, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has made clear: 'Bush’s Party is over.’"
"George W. Bush’s Dream Is Over"
Foreign affairs writer for independent daily Salzburger Nachrichten Martin Stricker editorialized (9/12): "’Katrina caused a shock which calls for answers to a single fundamental question being posed by journalists, Democrats, and Bush’s own Republicans alike. If, four years after September 11, the administration and the authorities are incapable of reacting quickly and professionally to a long-expected crisis, what would America’s situation be after a surprise terrorist attack with biological weapons or dirty bombs? And: How is it possible that the country is so ill prepared? America is demanding answers. Criticism of the White House is no longer considered unpatriotic. The political landscape has changed. The consequences of this collateral damage can hardly be foreseen. The nation will look inward for some time to come. Too much homework has remained undone or was done wrongly. The time of grand words, deeds and missions of this President seem to be over."
"No Lessons Learned From 9/11"
Washington correspondent Karin Reber-Ammann commented in independent provincial daily Salzburger Nachrichten (9/8): “No government likes having to admit it has made a mistake, but for the Bush administration it seems to be particularly difficult.... However, what’s really alarming about the natural disaster brought about by Katrina is how poorly the U.S. government reacted to the catastrophe four years after 9/11. For four years, as the White House is always happy to point out, the nation has been at war, and during that time, the Homeland Security Department should have prepared for a quick and effective response to such events. In reality, it has taken a week for relief measures to actually start up. This grave error is made worse by the fact that unlike a terrorist attack, Katrina did not hit the country out of the blue. But FEMA worst-case scenarios...have apparently failed to impress the government. The days before Katrina were not used for genuine preparation. The dwindling confidence of a majority of U.S. citizens will continue to plummet, unless Washington launches a serious investigation, which must not be limited to the all-too slow relief efforts. It will also have to ask the question of what happened to those billions of dollars that have been spent since 2001 in order to be prepared for disaster.”
BELGIUM: ."From New York To New Orleans"
Foreign editor Jean Vanempten commented in financial daily De Tijd (9/12): "The images from New Orleans caused a turnabout in the U.S. media. After 9/11 patriotism became the highest good. Criticism on the actions against terror or even the war in Iraq became unpatriotic behavior. So, there was barely any criticism--and certainly not from the major media. That changed after Katrina: reporters compared the situation in the ravaged areas with infernal situations in developing countries. The corpses in the streets of New Orleans are evidence of that. The horrible accommodation of the victims reminds one more of an African refugee camp than of a rescue operation by the world’s most powerful nation. The criticism is immense, also from the supporters of the President. After Katrina it became clear that the United States is weak at home and that the fight against disasters is a failure. That blame--in front of the rest of the world--weighs heavily on the 9/11 commemorations this year. Four years ago it became clear that the United States was vulnerable to foreign aggression. Today it is clear that the nation is also vulnerable internally.... New York rapidly recovered from the 9/11 shock. New Orleans’s fate is uncertain. It is not sure that the Big Easy will become a swinging city again. The question is whether Bush will survive Katrina or that he will always be the president who left his own people to their fate at a crucial moment.”
"Bush’s Powerless And Unfair America"
U.S. correspondent Nathalie Mattheiem editorialized in left-of-center Le Soir (9/12): “On September 11, 2001, the American hyper power discovered vulnerability and solidarity. Today, it discovered powerlessness and injustice. After the shock of the 9/11 attacks, all American people felt equally American--a brief illusion but which lasted long enough to secure a second mandate for George Bush. Less than one year after his reelection, the failure of the ‘war on terror’ is becoming obvious to everybody. Scared, Americans in 2001 turned a blind eye to restrictions on freedoms and to measures affecting immigrants and naturalized Americans coming from ‘risky’ countries. They supported the war in Afghanistan and were led into the war in Iraq. Today, they no longer believe that ousting Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the war on Al Qaida, they are desperate to see the completion of the democratic reconstruction of Iraq, and its cost in human lives--or, more precisely, in American lives - is becoming increasingly unbearable. After Katrina, Americans can no longer turn a blind eye to social and racial inequalities, which have been regularly denied and even more overshadowed by a propaganda on security that is operating at full steam. Before Katrina, it was very easy for George Bush: indeed, two thirds of the Americans admitted that they at least once a week thought about 9/11, which they consider the century’s most important event. Hurricane Katrina has just shed some light on the price that Americans, the poor in particular, are paying for this ‘war on terror…’ One of the lessons of 9/11 was the urgent need to coordinate the various national services among themselves and with local partners. Katrina, the first test of the system, has demonstrated that it is a complete failure.”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "America Will Always Pull Itself Together After A Shock"
Milos Calda, American studies professor, opines in the leading, centrist daily MF Dnes (9/12): "The terrorist attacks from September 11, 2001 did neither disrupt the American nation nor did it weaken it, but on contrary the attacks united it and made it stronger. President Bush enjoyed 90-percent support at that time. What divided the nation and still divides it came later on in 2003, when George W. Bush – from the reasons that didn't stand the test of a critical probing – decided to take down the Iraqi regime."
ROMANIA: "The War Must Go On”
Miruna Munteanu wrote in the independent daily Ziua (9/13): "What is certain is that, for the American military industrial complex, 9/11 was a real godsend. The democratic world has, again, a new enemy, an ideal one, invisible and omnipresent, odious and indestructible, to which you can win every battle without him losing the war. Because God forbid the war ends! The dangerous perspective of a long-lasting peace was destroyed. Money started pouring again, at an unprecedented level. Because let’s not forget that war is a huge business."
"9/11 Attacks – Commemorated On The Background Of The Disaster"
Livia Cimpoeru commented in the independent Evenimentul Zilei (9/10): “The terrorist attacks...led to the creation of a ‘who’s not with us is against us’--mentality, which has reconfigured the diplomatic world and put tension into Washington’s relations with its allies.... But the country that is commemorating the attacks is not the same this year. Its war against terrorism has officially become a fight against Islamist extremism; its concern for security is part of its world campaign for democracy.... The American government seems to be ready to redo its relations with its traditional allies.”
"The World after 9/11"
Alex Ulmanu commented In the independent Evenimentul Zilei under the headline (9/11): “The 9/11 attacks have deeply changed and continue to change the life of each and every citizen of the so-called free world. Even for those who were not direct victims of terror, the notions of individual freedom, dignity and security have fundamentally changed their meaning.... In the name of the fight against terrorism, the democratic world slides through a tightly controlled society, where citizens are victims of the measures taken for their own protection.... The U.S. attacks and those that followed afterwards gave authorities the opportunity to justify decisions taken a long time before and which were welcomed by strong protests from human rights organizations.... Terrorist organizations seem to want the return to segregation. Globalization kills traditions and ancient beliefs and the only solution for their survival is, for fundamental Islamists, the complete isolation of the Muslim civilization from the West. Fanatical ideologists will continue to fight their tribal war, indifferent to the reality of a world where access to information and quick transportation makes ‘borders’ obsolete. The West will continue to protect its economic interests, its way of life, its security and its own vision of freedom. But let’s not end up sacrificing too much freedom in the name of security.”
"9/11 2001--From The Official Version To The Conspiracy Theory"
Vladimir Alexe commented In the independent daily Ziua (9/10): "Even if opinions are divided regarding the nobility of the goals of the new American hegemony, most commentators agree that current White House policy aims to impose U.S. domination of the world. The 9/11 tragedy propelled the U.S. from its ‘republican’ phase to its ‘imperial’ one.”
SLOVENIA: "Four Years Of War"
Ervin Hladnik Milharcic opined in Delo (9/12): "America's war against terrorism has lasted for four years. ... Who won? ... [Both World Wars lasted four years]. In both cases, the United States entry into war triggered a mechanism that thoroughly changed the balance of powers in the world. The end of [WW II] in Japan also exposed America's new military doctrine, which derived from the Pearl Harbor experience: absolute destruction is a response to an enemy who attacks U.S. territory. President Bush left no space for doubt as he evoked memories of Pearl Harbor when he declared war on the axis of evil. Perpetrators of the attacks and those who ordered them will be destroyed.... The same is in store for countries, which support them.... On the other side, there was Usama Bin Ladin with an opposite strategy. Ousting of the U.S. military from Saudi Arabia and deposition of the Saudi royal family was his goal. He had El Zawahiri on his side, whose goal was also very narrow: ... instituting religious government in Egypt. ... They lost their local wars. ... They established Al-Qaida and globalized the conflict [hoping that] disorder on an international scale would destabilize control to such a degree that they could revive their local strategies again. After four years, the sum of those goals achieved is tipping the scales in favor of the organizers of the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaida is far from being dead, ...the number of its successful attacks ... has tripled.... American forces are so deeply involved in Iraq that they lack power for intervention in domestic natural accidents. Perhaps Bin Laden has not won, but he has certainly not lost. Every year, there is more war."
"Victims From Second Row"
Andrej Brstovsek commented in left-of-center independent Dnevnik (9/12): "It is not possible to answer with certainty the question whether Americans are more secure today than four years ago.... However the citizens should legitimately expect that mechanisms, which failed four years ago, have been improved since then. Crisis management, for example.... In place of effective operations, the political capital of the American President was drowning in the poisoned waters of New Orleans in the last two weeks. Hurricane Katrina has more in common with 9/11 than it seems at first sight. It reveals that big holes in responding to catastrophes are still present after four years,... that more attention has been paid to prevention of attacks...than to the response in case an attack happens. However, an answer to the question of how to feed several hundreds of thousands of evacuated people saves lives as effectively as a new model of metal detector or transistor radio."
TURKEY: "U.S. Is A Global Plague"
Osman Toprak commented in the ultra-Islamist Milli Gazete (9/13): "On the fourth anniversary of September 11, the U.S. is still taking revenge for the attacks against all Islamic countries. The U.S. is a global plague which has only two concerns--fighting and winning. The U.S. has great experience in creating excuses to occupy the countries it has eyes on. The names behind the 9/11 attacks remain a secret for everyone except the organizer of the attacks. But the American desire to fight and occupy is no secret. This desire spreads all over the world like a fire. No one knows any longer what is going to happen the next day, or where this fire is going to start next."
"The U.S. Experience On Anti-Terror"
Washington-based reporter Ali Aslan wrote in the Islamist-intellectual Zaman (9/12): “The 4th anniversary of 9/11 coincided with debates in Turkey about the need for a new anti-terror law in order to deal with recent, growing terrorist incidents. It is always the case that countries, including the U.S., think about new measures and limiting freedoms in the aftermath of shocking terrorist acts. The U.S. today has a new terrorism law and has started implementation. However, the American example looks very innocent when it is compared to the Turkish draft.... Despite some mistakes along the way, the U.S. is still the primary example for the successful implementation of the supremacy of law in the world. Therefore, even a minor limitation in the rights and freedoms receives enormous public attention. The U.S. also bears a responsibility, as being a champion of freedom, to the entire world. This is especially needed when authoritarian approaches in the world try to take the U.S. as a reference for their pressure tactics on rights and freedoms in the context of the fight against terror.”
"The American Dream"
Ali Sirmen commented in the leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet (9/8): “Certain wars or disasters in the past have created strong bonds among the American people and enhanced solidarity in the U.S.. WW II and the events of 9/11 are good examples of this. But there have been polarizing events as well, such as the Vietnam war, which damaged American solidarity and forced many people to question the political values of the country. Hurricane Katrina is another example of this kind of reaction. The hurricane damaged the ‘American Dream’ and has left an ugly picture marred by racism. The U.S. witnessed the biggest shock in its history on September 11. But the Bush Administration managed to manipulate that disaster to strengthen solidarity in the country. Unfortunately, this time the solidarity of the American people has taken a big hit. Just like Vietnam, which affected the whole country--not only those who were involved in the war--the facts that have surfaced with hurricane Katrina will affect all Americans. There is no doubt that President Bush will take the biggest share of the damage.”
WEST BANK: "The ‘Darfurian’ States"
Hafez Barghuthi commented in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (9/12): “September 11 is the date of the beginning of the American collapse. When the terrorist attacks against the WTC in New York took place, we then said that the way in which the American administration would deal with such attacks would determine the U.S.’s future.... The American administration still acts obstinately and tries each year to come up with new justifications to fight ghosts, ignoring the basic source of misfortune in the Middle East, which is the lack of a solution to the Palestinian issue.... The natural disaster in the southern U.S. states is equal to the American involvement in Iraq. If only American politicians would have more political awareness, they would be able to end the war in Iraq within few months for the sake of stability in the region.... Yet, the U.S. still has the chance to reconsider its lust for massive war and the destruction of itself and others, bearing in mind that signs of its collapse have begun to appear, since it [the U.S.] looked like Darfur following the hurricane.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "In Memory Of The Tragedy And Its Consequences"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina editorialized (9/11): "Tragically, it has been four years since the 9/11 attacks. The world is not in better shape. Oil prices are higher. Terror attacks have spread all over the world. The U.S. is killing democracy instead of spreading peace and prosperity in Iraq. Palestinian people have not gained their independence. Natural disasters in New Orleans have killed more people than those who died in the 9/11 attacks in New York. The U.S. insistence that some countries implement international resolutions, while other countries do not have to implement them has weakened the U.N. stance. Many countries are calling for the reform of the U.N. It is time for the U.S. to change tactics and start a new and just strategy.
"The 9/11 Attacks And The Excuse Of Terrorism"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (9/11): "The American and western war on terrorism was not limited to those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, but was expanded to include a more dangerous concept, when the west associated Arabs in particular and Muslims in general with terrorism. Members of Al-Qaida include Americans, Europeans and Asians as well as Arabs and Saudis. Washington justifies its expansion on the grounds that most of the 9/11 culprits were Saudis, however, it has not taken into consideration the role that Saudi Arabia has played to uproot Al-Qaida from the Saudi society.
LEBANON: "The Last Stop"
Rafiq Khoury commented in centrist Al-Anwar (9/11): “Political division in Lebanon can only be considered a detail in front of the political hurricane attacking President Bush following years of war against terrorism.... The debate in the U.S. over September 11 is taking place in the shadow of Hurricane Katrina. September 11 revealed three things: a big gap in U.S. internal security; a defect in the U.S. strategic direction, and the extent of Bush’s leadership ability to take the situation in hand. Hurricane Katrina revealed the following: A big gap in the U.S. social situation; poverty and racism; and President’s Bush’s leadership crippled capabilities and inability to deal with the crisis.... In light of the above, the following questions are being asked around the Arab world: Will a U.S. failure or loss become a victory for Arabs and Muslims?”
MOROCCO: "On The Fourth Anniversary Of 9/11 Will The U.S. Review Its Policy Towards The Arab/Islamic World?"
Driss Guenburi expressed the view in Islamic Arabic daily Attajdid (9/12): “Following the Katrina hurricane catastrophe, Arabs have immediately responded in an unprecedented way to offer assistance to the U.S. people; which means that there are big opportunities to explore positive relationships based on mutual understanding and respect and on exchange of interests and gains. At the same time, U.S. foreign policy should stop seeing the Arab world with only one eye while closing the other, focusing on governments and regimes while forgetting about 200 million Arabs and more than one billion Muslims around the world who are dissatisfied by U.S. foreign policy. The correction of the (U.S.) image in the eyes of a broad range of Arab public opinion should start primarily from correcting practical policies on the ground”.
AUSTRALIA: "Four Years After 9/11"
The national conservative Australian editorialized (9/12): “It is in this context, of all that has occurred during the past four years, that the Howard Government’s new security proposals...must be considered.... Make no mistake: these are tough measures and involve a curtailment of civil liberties...claims such measures will turn us into a “police state” are alarmist and unjustified.... Muslim leaders are wrong to say these laws are an attack on their community, and would be better advised to use their energy to win back the hearts and minds of all young Muslims from the fanatics in their midst...we must take whatever measures are necessary to minimize the chances of waking to an even greater horror than on that morning four years ago.”
CHINA: "Perfecting Emergency Response"
Wen Che and Niu Beiming commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (9/12): "The hurricane disaster brought more dreariness and coldness to the U.S. commemoration of 9/11. The U.S. media compared the two disasters. The Americans can come together in face of brutal terrorists. The scale of the hurricane damage was similar to that of a terrorist attack. The two have a similar number of wounded and deceased, and similar results in economic losses. The U.S. public found a common enemy in 9/11, but they can't find such an enemy in the face of a natural disaster. As the most powerful country of the world, the U.S. showed obviously its weak points in these two emergencies. First, it has limited ability in crisis prediction. Even a country with powerful intelligence collecting ability and a developed scientific and technological level can't predict every accident's timing, place and format. Second, the preparations were very insufficient. In New Orleans, a city frequently attacked by hurricanes, the U.S. government should have prior cases of dealing with hurricanes.... Third, in dealing with crisis, the government's power is unfocused. The efficiency is not high. A blame game among various departments has arisen. If the U.S. and other countries all can learn lessons from these disasters and perfect their emergency dealing ability, it will be the cloud's silver lining."
"The Hurricane Of The Century Brings Introspection"
Li Wenyun commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (9/7): "Faced with disaster, Americans realize that this is the result of not dealing well with the relationship between economic development and environmental security. In addition, it shows that the U.S. should make adjust its emphasis on homeland security policy and investments into national resources. Due to 9/11, the U.S. government's procedures for handling emergencies have been marginalized. After the hurricane, the U.S. is expected to invest more in domestic natural disaster prevention. However, the strategic position of homeland security over natural disaster will not change. Besides economic and political problems, the hurricane also exposes social problems. The hurricane made people see the horrible side of poverty again. New Orleans is one of the U.S. cities with the highest percentage of its population living in poverty. Indian media said it is far more difficult to reconstruct New Orleans from the debris of the hurricane than from 9/11.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Stem Wave Of Terrorism By Giving UN A Chance"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post said in an editorial (9/11): "The way in which President George W. Bush has pursued his so-called 'war on terror' overseas has magnified the global risks. The invasion and occupation of Iraq have undermined efforts to combat the al-Qaida network, responsible for the September 11 attacks. They have bred resentment among Muslims worldwide and helped swell the ranks of terrorist groups. On the face of it, al-Qaida has suffered serious blows to its operational capacity, from destruction of training camps in Afghanistan to hundreds of arrests around the world. But this has had the effect of fragmenting it into a worldwide movement of decentralized cells, often homegrown and not strictly speaking al-Qaida, that is difficult to rein in. An example is the suicide-bomb group that attacked the London Underground and a London bus on July 7.... Just three days after it commemorates its victims of the 9/11 attacks, New York will be the focus of attempts to make the world a safer place where our liberties will be assured. The city will host the biggest summit of world leaders, designed to overhaul the United Nations for the challenges of the 21st century and tackle poverty--one of the root conditions for terrorism.... For the sake of a multilateral approach ideal to the resolution of conflict, Americans should put aside their disillusionment with the UN, which they see as ineffective and increasingly irrelevant, and give it another chance. The 9/11 anniversary in New York would be a symbolic time and place for them to do it."
JAPAN: "Social And Racial Problems In The U.S.A."
The liberal Asahi editorialized (9/9): "At this point, it is impossible to estimate the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.... It is said that most of the hurricane's victims were black Americans, many of whom reportedly had no means of fleeing to safety and no place to seek shelter. The reality is that poverty and racial inequality may exist. The hurricane disaster again showed the world the seriousness and the sorrow of this social problem facing the U.S. Amid the post-Katrina chaos, the U.S. will soon observe the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of about 3,000 people. Terrorism and a natural disaster--two incidents with different causes--brought American prosperity and poverty into relief.... The U.S., who started the war on Iraq, defying international opinion, lost much of the sympathy it received from the international community after 9/11.... It is necessary for the U.S. to positively resolve 'south-north' problems in order to regain respect as a free nation and as an international leader."
MALAYSIA: "Making Peace With September 11"
Government-influenced, English daily New Straits Times editorialized (9/11): "Four years ago, after the most breathtaking act of terrorism in history demolished the twin symbols at the heart of global capitalism in New York, there was a feeling that things would never be the same. Sympathy and fraternity for the nation was mixed with fear and loathing of the world’s greatest power on a rampage to war. Soon enough, Afghanistan was bombed and the Taliban hounded to the hills. Not content, Washington’s neo-conservatives packaged everything America stood for into an unbounded license to 'shock and awe' its enemies to oblivion. Four years on, it is Iraq more than the war on terror that can cause diplomats to impertinently stalk out of discussions on human rights. Four years on, the image of the United States has sunk, perhaps to its lowest level in memory; to the point where it can swing elections far and wide, to the point where a high-flying U.S. under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs has been appointed to win hearts and minds. Osama bin Ladin is still on the loose. In spite of thousands of incarcerations at Guantanamo and scores of other torture chambers, terrorism can still strike at will, in London, south Thailand, Israel--anywhere that disgruntled Muslims can point a finger, no matter how remotely, at the Great Satan. Four years on and the war on terror is far from being won. Its antagonists have used Iraq as a saving grace precisely at a time when their cause seemed as doomed as the towers they so spectacularly destroyed. In Iraq today, they are more likely to kill Muslims than the infidel occupiers."
"Four Years Later, Two Americas"
Su Jun Hui stated om Petaling Jaya's Sin Chew Jit Poh (Sin Chew Daily) in Chinese (Internet version 9/11): "In just four years, a striking contrast has formed between two Americas. The idealistic America is a free and equal, democratic and fair state. But, the policies of [US President] Bush and his hawkish staff have already turned America's once smooth future path into a rugged and difficult path strewn with thorns. For Americans, the 911 anniversary commemoration symbolizes future years full of unstable factors that are hard to foresee."
Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, vice-chancellor, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang wrote in New Sunday Times (9/11): "Following the tragedy of 911, instead of pausing to consider what had gone wrong, this opportunity was seized by some quarters to unleash their perceived God-like power regardless of world opinion. Perhaps, this time, the carnage caused by Katrina is another opportunity to make amends without attempting to play God again."
"Bush Administration's Lame Excuses"
Government-influenced, Malay language Berita Harian had the following editorial (9/9): "Since the New York 9/11 terrorists attacks four years ago, the U.S. media have generally been inclined to speak for the Bush Administration. However, just after the onslaught of hurricane Katrina, U.S. media have lost their respect for their country's leader. The media have been pressing for straightforward answers and not lame excuses. The Bush Administration was harshly criticized for procrastinating on sending help to the thousands of hurricane-stricken victims, especially in New Orleans. To the U.S. media, the delayed reaction by the Bush Administration was worse than those of under-developed countries--there should be a standard government response to an emergency--sending supplies of food and water, deploying medical teams and providing transportation for evacuation. The troops who were eventually sent to New Orleans, seemed prepared for some kind of warfare. Instead of covering the heroism of the rescue workers, the media had to cover news of rapes, murders and looting. The people of America were shocked and angry. Columnist Paul Krugman wrote that the America of old was known for its can-do attitude but now the government was incapable of providing anything but excuses."
"Making Peace With 11 September"
Kuala Lumpur's New Sunday Times opined in English (9/11): "No new dawn has arisen from the ashes of Ground Zero, only the merest of a silver lining. Some things have changed for the better. The Middle East is baby-stepping its way towards democratization; the Islamic world is finally turning away from the insanity of the mullahs and mujahids. Perhaps the most optimistic change has come from the U.S. itself, where dwindling support for the morass in Iraq has focused minds to the limits of brute power. Hurricane Katrina has shown how badly American unilateralism can fail even in its own back yard."
INDIA: "Katrina Defames America"
The Chennai-based independent Tamil-language Dinamalar remarked (9/9): "Though America faced the challenge of 9/11 attack with courage and unity, Katrina exposed its inability to handle the situation after the disaster. Rape and looting in the New Orleans damaged America's reputation as the country of law abiding citizens. The comment by the 'TIME' magazine tells the whole story: 'though the American government is helping the tsunami victims in other countries, it failed to safeguard the people in New Orleans. This is National Shame'."
PAKISTAN: "The World Of 9/11"
An editorial in the center-right Urdu daily Pakistan (9/12): "Four years after 9/11 tragedy it is not difficult to fathom the result of President Bush's aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq on the pretext of the tragedy. The world is taking into account the number of people killed in the acts of terrorism and those killed by the U.S. and its allies. Whether this aggression eliminated terrorism or promoted it is another question that the world is looking at.... The scope of destruction is not limited to Iraq and Afghanistan; acts of terrorism have taken place from Indonesia to Britain, from Spain to Russia and from Pakistan to Turkey.... Turning Afghanistan and Iraq into heaps of rubble did not content America and now there is a danger of America targeting Iran, Syria and Pakistan, one after the other. This shows that the crusade has begun, which President Bush referred to right after 9/11 attacks.... America has fulfilled its desire to use its military against terrorism, but peace hasn’t come about. If America has any interest with the peace in the world then it should play its role in getting just solutions to the problems of Palestine and Kashmir."
IRAN: "Adding Fuel To The Fire"
Hard-line Siyasat-e-Ruz commented (9/11): "It seems that Americans were not so reluctant in the 9/11 incidents in which 5,000 people were killed. Now it must be asked that taking revenge on Afghanistan and Iraq pretending to combat terrorism was a real combat or it was an attack on oil resources of the region and implementing the new world order. The 9/11 incidents was the beginning of the development of terrorism in the world and what have been done so far to combat terrorism has added fuel to the fire of violence and war in the region."
"Intensifying Anti-U.S. Hostility"
Moderate Iran News remarked (9/11): "Today is the fourth anniversary of September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Many believed that the United States used and abused 9/11 by invading our two neighbouring countries without having a real clue about the 'why'. The Bush administration doesn't realize that their military actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere have only intensified anti-American hostility in the Arab Muslim countries."
COSTA RICA: "Time To Review"
Costa Rica’s most influential daily La Nacion editorialized (9/12): “Four years after the struggle against terrorism requires military and police force and law. September 11, 2001 opened a new and uncertain stage in international security and power relations on the planet: the threat of terrorism as a real danger without borders. There exists a powerful base of religious and idelological anti-western fanaticism implicit in many of the principal terrorist groups of the world. With 9/11 wars are no longer between states and formal governments but between states and powerful supranational factions. The nature of this conflict is much more complex and difficult to control. The great question is if the actions taken in the last four years have been effective in the fight against terrorism or not. The balance is worrying, because all the indications are that they have exacerbated terrorism. The war in Iraq has cost $204 billion, enough to have paid world poverty funds for seven years and AIDS work for 17 years.... Terrorism is a dangerous enemy of contemporary civilization, against which we must struggle with all our economic and security resources, but also with the rule of law and multilateral organizations created by the society of nations. If, instead if direct unilateral participation in Iraq, we had acted multilaterally in the protection of law, the atmosphere in the Islamic world today would be different today, less polarized and extreme. The fight against terrorism requires police and military force, international law, multilateral institutions and a dialogue of civilizations, like the European leaders have conducted in the last months. Now it’s time to do a careful review of this strategy.”
HONDURAS: "One More Year"
Billy Pena opined in the San Pedro Sula-based liberal daily Tiempo (9/12): "Yesterday we commemorated one more year of the terrorist attack committed by the Islamic fundamentalists against the majestic twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the gigantic Pentagon building in Washington. The airplanes piloted by the terrorists hit the target and since that horrible day –9/11/2001- nothing would be the same. The world would divide in two... the Cold War would be child’s play compared it to the situation today. After what happened four years ago the world has changed radically. Those who think that only the lives of Americans have changed are mistaken. No, we are all suffering the consequences of irrational religious fanaticism. The twin towers attack had serious consequences."
NICARAGUA: "GWOT, Far From Over"
Center-right national daily La Prensa editorialized (9/12): "The global war against terrorism is terrible and difficult and, it seems, far from being over. But we have to recognize the success represented by the fact that four years after the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York and the killing of innocent victims as a product of the attack, the Islamic terrorists have not been able to perform another attack of such a magnitude inside the U.S.... Truly, despite of the strong criticism that the U.S. receives even from Western countries--particularly from Europe who again, like in the times of nazi-fascism has showed a tendency towards appeasing and preferring to sleep with the enemy--the U.S. has counterattacked terrorism strongly, in its centers of origin and power. And it must continue hitting them. Osama Bin Ladin--if he still lives--has been pushed into hiding in the deepest caves in Afghanistan or Pakistan. The pro-terrorist tyrannies of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein have been ousted and a number of countries have started processes of democratization, slow and difficult, but surely irreversible."
PANAMA: "The Count Of The Damages"
Rosa Maria Tapia remarked in Panama’s oldest journal La Estrella (9/11): “On September 11, 2001 terrorism attacked, not only to the United States, but the rest of the world.... Four years have passed and the scars are still visible.... In such tragic circumstances, like those of 9/11, the spirit of humanity woke up worldwide...and was witness to the powerful capacity of American recuperation.”
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