Today is the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attack on 9/11. And the United States is still bogged down in a tragic war against a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the attack. Still, yesterday, before a blue-ribbon congressional committee, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, said they need more time in Iraq. Is this much different than the old Bush mantra « stay the course »?

But did you notice how many times in their testimony the two witnesses emphasized the threat from Iran both in Iraq and in the wider region? They fear if the U.S. pulls out too quickly Iran will move in to fill a « power vacuum » in Iraq. Coincidentally, in the last few days the blogosphere has been buzzing with rumours about an imminent American attack on Iran.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Centre, says the Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive air strikes against 1.200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days. Last week President Bush himself intensified the rhetoric by accusing Teheran of putting the Middle East « under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust. » (Isn’t that eerily reminiscent of the bluster just before « the shock and awe » attack on Iraq). Bush also warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran « before it is too late. » Washington already believes Iran is fighting a proxy war with the Americans in Iraq.

It is said the State Department wants to intensify diplomatic talks with Iran. But the hard liners around Cheney favour a massive military strike.

Can you believe that the Bush administration, still bogged down in a protracted war against Iraq, would unilaterally begin another war against Iran?

And on the sixth anniversary of 9/11 do you agree with 81 per cent of Americans that it was the most significant historical event in our life time? That this terrorist attack, spectacular though it was, takes precedence over the Second World War, the Vietnam War and even the first Gulf War, boggles the old mind.

What do you think?



  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    All politics is local, people say. I don’t think you understand how profoundly 9/11 changed the USA. It is more than the thousands who perished and the massive destruction to New York City. It is the re-election of Bush, it is the terrible cost of a futile war and the money not spent on issues like health care and education, it is the loss of life (on all sides) in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is the loss of basic civil rights and freedoms on the part of US citizens, it is the wretched band of Bushies that is dragging their country down, it is the shame of being a pariah nation… don’t get me started! If you are surrounded by all this catastrophe and bombarded by news of it in the media, it is not difficult to lack perspective and consider it the significant historical event of their time. Many people weren’t alive in WWII and have no connection to Europe. Ditto for Vietnam.

  2. 2

    Barbara: –

    I agree with all you say. But what about the health of a nation that lacks all historical perspective? I was four years old when Al Smith, the first Catholic, ran for president. Still, I have some empathy with his challenge. FDR and the Second World War, Harry Truman and the atom bomb, Ike and the military industrial context. How can modern Americans make any sense of 9/11 if they have no context into which to insert it. Perhaps that is the reason the 9/11 attack has had such dire consequences.

  3. 3
    Barbara Says:

    You make a very good point, Neil. Still, it is difficult for the average citizen to detect the forest when they keep bumping into trees. I yearn for the days of Camelot when Arthur Schlesinger was in the Cabinet!

  4. 4
    jeremy Says:

    I think Bush would be stupid to start a row over Iran, that would be insane. You know, having studied the Holocaust at great length, I don’t subscribe to any war or conflict that could as you write « would take precedence over WWII! » No one has the right to invoke WWII in such simple terms, when millions of people died during conflict worldwide and in the camps.

    There is no comparison to any present conflict with WWII, although I have more than once equated Bush in the same sentence as Hitler. We must be very careful equating the destruction of WWII to any present conflict or war.

    Because to lessen WWII or compare it to present conflict would disrespect all those who died in the WAR, especially in the camps.
    There is no war that would « take precedence » over the Holocaust.


  5. 5

    Jeremy: –

    What I tried to say was that no conflict could possibly take precedence over World War 11 and the Holocaust. Thanks for commenting.

  6. 6
    bernie12 Says:

    Unfortunately , the Us has no concept of the ancient culture of that region and as a result is just destroying all that history in Irag … even though Saddam was a despot there . Now it seems that they are on the verge of doing the same in Iran They talk of the threat of nucular arms in Iran but it is Ok in the US and in Isreal !!There should be a universal ban not a selective one !!
    Jeremy is on the mark with his comment on WWII and the Holocaust vs the present conflict in Iraq .

  7. 8


    No one has the right to invoke WWII in such simple terms, when millions of people died during conflict worldwide and in the camps.

    Certainly the comparison is valid – what Iran [and islamists in general] plans to induce on Israel makes the comparison valid.

    The anti-semitic trash spread by the nazis 60-70 years ago is now being spread by the islamists. Iran and it’s present power structure is a terrible menace – a threat for Israel and for the world in general.

    I was one of the foolish persons to decry the U.S. for the Iraq invasion – I even wrote letters to world leaders to tell them to NOT support Bush – I won’t be so dense when it comes to Iran.

  8. 9

    Don Muntean: –
    But would you support a pre-emptive strike against Iran without the support of the United Nations and against the policy of the international community?

  9. 10


    But would you support a pre-emptive strike against Iran without the support of the United Nations and against the policy of the international community?


    Certainly I do where the U.N. and the ‘international community’ fail to act decisively and where they fail to see that Russia and China are fielding some of the heat for Iran.

    It’s obvious that there are significant manipulations going on and we do know that Iran is enriching uranium and we cannot be fooled by their claims that it’s for domestic power production.

    The many comments from the iranian president about Israel is the clue that they are lying about their activities as noted.

    If iran obtains nukes then the ‘international community’ shall not be able to take them away without a potential nuclear nightmare.

    To be realistic and modest – we are only 2 percent completed on this global war on Islamist terror [and we haven’t even touched their ‘real covert’ support networks – Russia and China] – the ‘free world’ better find some collective and cohesive resolve and soon – because our enemies have resolve in action – already ahead of ours…

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