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Monday, September 20, 2004

An exert from the Comments section of the Guardian:

September 11 remains the central plank of the Republicans' strategy for re-election. The fact that their campaign begins with the terror attacks is not only understandable but also, arguably, right - this is the most significant thing to happen in the US since Bush assumed office.

The trouble is that the campaign's message ends with that day also. September 11 has served not as a starting point from which to better understand the world but as an excuse not to understand it at all.

It is a reference point that brooks no argument and needs no logic.

No weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
"The next time, the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud?"

No United Nations authority?
"We will never again wait for permission to defend our country."

No link between Saddam and al-Qaida?
"They only have to be right once. We have to be right every time."

This is the real link between Iraq and 9/11 - the rhetorical dissembling that renders victimhood not a point from which they might identify with and connect to the rest of humanity but a means to turn our back on humanity. They portray America's pain as a result of 9/11 not only as unique in its expression but also superior in its intensity.

When 3,000 people died on September 11, Le Monde declared: "We are all Americans now." Around 12,000 civilians have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war, yet one waits in vain for anyone to declare that we have all become Iraqis, or Afghans, let alone Palestinians. This is not a competition. Sadly, there are enough victims to go around. Sadder still, if the US continues on its present path, there will be many more. Demanding a monopoly on the right to feel and to inflict pain simply inverts victimhood's regular contradiction - the Bush administration displays material strength and moral weakness.



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