Sep 11, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – There will be prayers and reassurances amid the sparkling new surroundings. Some forced cheer, too, against the backdrop of sobering developments elsewhere, even some jingoistic speeches about resolve and commitment to a cause now looking to be lacking both the necessary muscular energy and strategic direction. The somber is most likely to prevail 20 years after that fateful second Tuesday in September 2001 on this Saturday in 2021 at the lower end of Manhattan. It was once the scene of incredible destruction and carnage, with an icon of American power, a twin representation of it, caving in on itself in a high pile of smoke, rubble and death.
What was gained after wars and battles and more death and destruction, across a wide swatch of territory mainly in Asia and Africa? Did the fall of the World Trade Center, the destruction of a part of the Pentagon, America’s military nerve and command center, and a downed planeload of passengers and crew in a Pennsylvanian field prove anything? And in the postmortems and handwringing following Iraq, and now Afghanistan, was there any visceral satisfaction for strategic gains, of victory in the war on terror? How did what began with so much gusto and hearts powered with strong compulsions for some degree of psychic healing from mostly technologically inflicted violence peter out so divisively, so pathetically?
From the shock and awe of grand designs and grander beginnings, the world has not been remade, as envisioned by either Vulcans, this foundation, that heritage, or some other society, some secret. There is no new world order, compliments of American economic might, military power, and advanced technological prowess. If there is some semblance of one, indeed, it is one carved out by the sheer resilience of overwhelmed foes. Adversaries, who battened down the hatches, bided their time, as they have always done, and wore down and wore out all comers. They have arrived since time immemorial, with their great dreams of conquest and the great games they play. But always they are forced to return from where they came.
China is poised to strike while the iron is hot, and unless it tries the revolutionary, a combination of the never seen and never experienced before, it is sure to turn tail and head back in sad retreat, just like all the others that came before, and were forced to do the same. India is wondering where it goes from here, with its options extremely limited, and most points of the compass occupied by vigilant and determined enemies. Pakistan is best positioned because of its still mysterious relationships, the invisible hands that it employs to keep as many chestnuts as it can get away with in the fire. It did so successfully, and all at the same time, without getting fingers burnt, or losing any of those precious nuts in the process. Still, Iran appears best equipped to seize the moment to fill the vacuum, and for both fraternal and spiritual reasons. That is still a work in progress, and in keeping with traditions in that part of the world, it is neither for CNN nor Al-Jazeera.
Like the old USSR, now Russia, America limps away without much to show for its longest war, one of the more costly expenditure of its treasure. But what remains in those foreboding mountain peaks and craggy valleys is there to show the rest of the world one simple little thing: don’t come here. Go somewhere else where bombers and helicopter gunships and predator drones can be more effective, yield more staying power. Just don’t try that here.
Well over 100,000 Afghans died in their contribution to the global war on terror. In the grand scheme of things that amounts to a footnote called collateral damage; a cool and clinical, but chilling, expression if ever there was one. As Kabul Airport is clogged, some familiar names and faces come closer. There is the Taliban in the driver’s seat. There is a, once lurking, now resurging ISIS returning to stake a claim in the spoils and record its name in the pantheon of heroes that weathered a long, brutal storm.
Twenty years after September 11, 2001, what was it all about?
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