I was in secondary school (year 7) when 9/11 happened. (Read my memories of the day here.)
I’m conscious that we are now entering an era where people will grow up with little background knowledge of what caused 9/11 and what its effects have been. What were ‘current events’ are now past events. Journalism is turning into history.
The next generation’s understanding of what happened on September 11th 2001 will be similar to my understanding of what happened on December 7, 1941. And if you don’t know what happened on that date, that just proves my point!
Even though ten years is a very short time in historical terms, 9/11 will now be taught as history. But what happened on that day in New York still has very real and very significant ramifications for not just Western society today but our perceptions of the Middle East, Islam and Terrorism.
Radical Islam is still violent, messy and filled with dictators like this nutter who would like to nuke Israel and create a second Holocaust. That’s not hyperbole…just so you know. Apparently it’s not politically correct to link radical Islam with violence or terrorism…which just proves people have forgotten what happened on 9/11 already. (Also see here)
I believe George Bush was right to launch a ‘War on Terror’. What president would stand back after the dust had settled on 9/11 and say: “Well maybe if we talk to the people behind these attacks, we can have world peace”? In a perfect world, great. But in case you hadn’t noticed, this world isn’t perfect and some people will never back down on their views. Followers of radical branches of Islam have been so indoctrinated, nothing will stand in the way of them and suicide attacks.
While Bush was right to go about doing something to protect America against future attacks, his methods were widely criticised. He will be remembered as a heavy handed president who invaded countries and turned a blind eye to interrogations (or its less popular name “torture”). Obama on the other hand, will be remembered as a “wishy-washy” character who gave in to pressure from Muslim nations, never really spoke out and won a Nobel Peace Prize for nothing but good intentions.
How do you deal with a radical? Obama has been talking to them, with limited (if any) success. Bush shot them, which although successful, still (rightly) makes us a little uncomfortable. Having said this, Bin Laden was caught and killed under Obama’s watch, not Bush’s. But generally speaking, Bush was more “gun(g) ho” than Obama is being. The point is, our view of Islam is massively important. It effects politics.
Much is made of 9/11 changing the world. But we should remember it has been the ensuing decade which has really changed the world.
The United States is built on Judeo/Christian principles. These beliefs include the idea that life is precious. Suicide bombers laugh in the face of this idea. This week we must remember America as it mourns and commemorates. We must also remember what caused 9/11. Radical Islam continues to be a threat, even today.
Terrorist attacks are becoming increasingly likely and dangerous as Radical Islam spreads. The fact that America has not been attacked since 9/11 is in many ways remarkable. It’s easy to criticise governments, but we should all acknowledge that the Americans have stepped up their defenses, and should be applauded for it. I often wonder how many attacks have been prevented in both the US and UK that we never hear about. Although the teachings of radical Islam will never fade, Al Qaeda may soon be history. If we do finally see the end of the hateful organisation that started this war, it will be for the good of the world, not just America.
September 11th 2001 changed the world. But the last 10 years and the wars we have seen in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya prove 9/11 was about more than just one day. It’s defining the politics of a generation. The question we must all ask ourselves now is: “How will we respond to radical Islam?” It’s a question Israel has been asking itself for decades and there are no easy answers.