Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Lack of Respect

Thanks, but no thanks.

If the nations of the world wanted to remember the victims of 9/11, then they should not have dragged politics into it.

People working or doing business at the World Trade Center, or going about their jobs at the Pentagon, or merely boarding a civilian airliner on September 11, 2001, were not making political statements when they were killed.

Politics didn't prompt the hundreds of firefighters, and police officers, and other emergency personnel who were killed to bravely try to save others that day.

The observance of the anniversary wasn't an endorsement for Bush or any political party.

PARIS -- The nations of the world joined Monday in solemn remembrance of Sept. 11 — but for many, resentment of the United States flowed as readily as tears.

Critics say Americans have squandered the goodwill that prompted France's Le Monde newspaper to proclaim "We are all Americans" that somber day after the attacks, and that the Iraq war and other U.S. policies have made the world less safe in the five years since.

Heads bowed in moments of silence for the 3,000 killed in the attacks on New York and Washington — while the No. 2 al-Qaida leader issued new warnings in a videotape. And dissident voices said the world has traded in civil liberties and other democratic rights in its war on terror.

In Europe, where Islamic terror has struck twice since 9/11, in the Madrid train bombings and the London transit attacks, the silent tributes were tinged with doubts and recriminations.

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel — an advocate of repairing ties with Washington that were frayed under her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder — had veiled criticism of the United States, saying: "The ends cannot justify the means."

"In the fight against international terror ... respect for human rights, tolerance and respect for other cultures must be the maxim of our actions, along with decisiveness and international cooperation," she said.

The international landscape has changed irreversibly since terrorists hijacked four airliners in 2001, crashing two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and another into a Pennsylvania field.

...Allies in the U.S.-led war on terrorism renewed their resolve Monday to fight fanaticism, while skeptics countered that they can no longer follow a superpower they say has relinquished its right to lead.

"Right after Sept. 11 the world was united with Americans. Their moral leadership was unquestioned," Pawel Zalewski, head of the Polish parliament's foreign relations committee, wrote in the Gazeta Wyborcza. "However, this strong moral authority was abused as a result of the Iraq war."

Exactly five years after its message of solidarity, Le Monde titled its lead editorial "The Mistakes of Bush."

In Caracas, Venezuela, about 200 marchers protested what they called "imperialist terrorism" carried out by the United States since the 9/11 attacks. Demonstrators — many of them supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and some of Arab descent — carried Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian flags. Many criticized the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

...New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark joined many when she said: "No, we're not more secure since 9/11."

...Israel's Haaretz daily expressed disappointment and cynicism in an op-ed piece that said: "This is Sept. 11 five years later: a political tool in the hands of the Bush administration."

This really makes me ill.

One question:

What do the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and remembering the victims lost in the worst terrorist attacks in world history have to do with President Bush?


Why use the anniversary of the deaths of nearly three thousand innocents to take political swipes? Why exploit them that way?

I'm sick of the anti-Americanism. Can't they give it a rest for just a day?

The nations that used the fifth anniversary of 9/11 to play politics showed a disturbing lack of respect for those killed and their surviving family members and friends.

Are we safer today than five years ago?

Who knows?

I do know that we would all be significantly safer if other nations were as committed as we are to making the world safer.

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