m a r k a n d e y a

What We’ve Lost

Posted by Brian on September 13, 2006

An editorial from today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The headline in the French newspaper Le Monde said it for the world in those dark hours following Sept. 11, 2001: “We are all Americans.”

The Russians flew their flags at half-mast. China offered help with rescue efforts. The European Union called for a “day of mourning.” Condemnation of the attacks came from Libya, Sudan, North Korea and Iran. NATO approved invoking its charter, declaring an attack on any of its members is an attack on all of them. Sympathy and prayer poured in from Cubans, Lebanese, as well as Palestinians. Pope John Paul II was “heartbroken.”

In a Sept. 24, 2001, column in the P-I, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that “essential to the global response to terrorism is that it not fracture the unity of Sept. 11.”

That unity was intact for the U.N.-supported, U.S.-led toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but has been shattered by our invasion of Iraq on grounds that proved to be utterly unjustified.

The world stood with us after Sept. 11, 2001. We stand virtually alone after Sept. 11, 2006. Our real loss in the world’s eyes is not our victim status but our credibility and our respect. From the moral high ground of our suffering and resolve in the rubble and grief of 9/11, America has tumbled into a swamp of hubris, prisoner abuse, secret courts, secret prisons, “renditions,” warrantless wiretaps and flouting of international law. A “rogue state” reputation offers little security.

The number of American soldiers killed in Bush’s military adventure in Iraq approaches the number of Americans killed on 9/11, with the man most responsible for their deaths still at large.

As if the loss of nearly 3,000 Americans that day were not tragedy enough, five years later we recognize how much more we’ve lost since then.

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