Le Monde, from September 13, 2001: 'We Are All Americans'



Corriere Del Ticino, Switzerland

Iraq Shouldn't Make Us

Forget September 11th


"The errors that the Bush Administration have committed in the Iraq War are one thing, but using these mistakes as a pretext to cast America adrift is quite another … If America has been mistaken, that doesn't mean it should be banished."


By Gerardo Morina


Translated By Adrian Trevisan


September 11, 2007


Switzerland - Corriere Del Ticino - Original Article (Italian)

By forcing us to focus only on the wrong road (the war in Iraq and its consequences) we run the risk of forgetting the point at which it all began. Even if the following sentences make us lose sight of the initial spark; even if the partially-smoothed over crater of Ground Zero in Manhattan has become a tourist attraction like all the others; and even if the voices of those who are no longer with us grow dim in the memory of relatives and friends; none of these are sound reasons not to continue to remember.


With perfect timing, the video broadcast in recent days by Osama bin Laden WATCH  has served to remind us. His return to the scene on the eve of the sixth anniversary of September 11, 2001, represents - according to the CIA - confirmation that the founding leaders of al-Qaeda have survived and have constituted a new leadership group.


Perhaps it's no longer only Osama who supervises the group: American intelligence talks of an “al-Qaeda Central,” that acts as a kind of board of directors for the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world. The video is still-more timely, because it appears at a crucial phase in the domestic U.S. debate over Iraq (in fact today, General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, begins his testimony before Congress WATCH ).


At the end of bin Laden's video-invitation for people to join Islam, he lumps together all Westerners in a single condemnation (and therefore, not only Americans) to force them to meditate on the prospect of new terrorist attacks, and to present the Iraq conflict in terms of a clash of civilizations . “Al-Qaeda Central” knows perfectly well the divisions that the war has caused on both sides of the Atlantic, and it's throwing gasoline on the already raging fires of anti-Americanism.


But this is a trap that we must recognize quickly. Because the errors that the Bush Administration have committed in the Iraq War are one thing, but using them as a pretext to cast America adrift is quite another. However it ends, the solution to the Iraq conflict will require a long time - so long in fact, that it will in all probability last into the administration that succeeds Bush. If America has been mistaken, that doesn't mean it should be banished.


Leaders such as Sarkozy, Brown and Merkel have shown that they understand this and in the medium and long term - are trying to reweave the bonds of transatlantic solidarity. They do so in the name of the shared values of all democratic countries, including America - all of America, not just Republicans or Democrats. Because America is a custodian and implementer of Western values and because at this crucial, historic moment, an unraveling of America - beginning with a renunciation of the fight against terrorism - would have catastrophic consequences on both sides of the Atlantic. And because the alternative would be the predominance of “autocracies” like China and Russia, "liberal" in terms of economics but essentially authoritarian politically. This is a model with little allure to the West. These are the innate political and strategic reasons for continuing to remember the anniversary of September 11.


But there's another reason for us never to forget the events of 9-11. The reason is that six years have been insufficient for America individually and all of us collectively - to mourn. Because to finish mourning means to accept the truth. That such a moment has yet to arrive is demonstrated not only by the proliferation of conspiracy theories - a way like any other of triggering a liberating fantasy to confront one's anguish; but also by the fact that the vision of September 11, 2001 is still an “indescribable” event beyond our capacity to comprehend - so much so that we still struggle to decipher and metabolize even as we continue to watch their visual representations.


Do we want to risk a philosophical interpretation? From a distance in time, September 11, 2001 torments us, because it has unhinged half of the fundamental thesis contained in the book, “The World as Will and Representation” by eighteenth-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer . According to this theory, one side of the world is dominated by the principal of causality, which is will - precisely the will to live, blind will, which is irrational and without justification or a goal. The other side of the world is “representation,” that is conscience, in as much as the representation always implies a subject that knows and an object that is known. But it's in this last aspect that we find ourselves stripped and defenseless. Because we roam in the unfamiliar consciousness of a dynamic so inhuman, as to render us incapable of assimilating it.