Seven years have passed since the 11 September 2001 terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon building in Washington, monstrous crimes that were a shock not only to Americans, but, to all of mankind. Has the world changed since then and what lessons have been drawn from that tragedy? The two mega-high-rise twin-towers of the World Trade Center in New York’s Wall Street business district and the Statue of Liberty nearby were the main symbols of America’s largest city 7 years ago. Nearly all Hollywood films set in New York began or ended with a panoramic view of Manhattan and the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Now, watching some film or another, one can easily guess when it was released, before or after the 11 September tragedy, judging by the presence or absence of the twin towers in the panorama of New York. The giant megapolis looks like it has been orphaned.
The daunting picture of the giant twin towers tumbling down, burying hundreds of lives, is a sight one can never forget. The tears and sorrow of tens of thousands of people who lost their loved ones in that terrible disaster are still breaking our hearts. Who perpetrated that inhumane crime and why? The official version is al Qaeda terrorists and suicide hijackers. There are other versions that have yet to be proven. Besides, we know how the 11 September events influenced the foreign policy of the United States. It marked the beginning of a crusade against international terrorism. Washington began forging a global coalition for the noble goal of ridding the world of the terrorists threatening to put it on the brink of chaos.
But, the methods it chose to achieve it were far from noble. For one, it usurped the right to determine who was a terrorist and who wasn’t, who should be executed and who should be pardoned. Examples come to mind readily, the most illustrative of them being the US military intervention in Iraq, a war that has dragged on for years and has already taken a much heavier toll on America than the 11 September strikes, whilst casualties among the Iraqi population number in the thousands. Washington’s arch-foe and a man it called the world’s number-one terrorist, the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, was hung, yet, up to now, no traces of the nuclear weapons that he allegedly possessed have been found. Recall that this was the official pretext for invading Iraq.
Later, Washington came up with similar allegations against North Korea and Iran. Another example is Afghanistan, where more than 500 civilians have been killed in US-led security operations since the beginning of the year. Finally, there is Georgia and its brazen military invasion of South Ossetia, carried out with blessings from the White House. Apparently trying to save its reputation, Washington stubbornly refuses to admit what is obvious to everyone else, namely, that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili sent tanks to storm Tskhinvali, tanks he had received from the United States.
Now, the only remaining symbol of New York and all of America is the Statue of Liberty. A mute witness of the 11 September attacks, it would have cried had it been able to cry, and it’s probably ashamed to see what’s happening in America now.
10 September 2008
Voice of Russia World Service