Thursday, 13 September 2007

9/11 Undiminished

I have read, with increasing frequency, many blogs comparing dictatorial mass murderers: debating who was worse in terms of how many they murdered. These comparisons are completely fatuous. Evaluating leaders and regimes that used death, as a political instrument into some sort of murderous league table is quite incomprehensible. Planned, indiscriminate mass murder is the same whether it is in the industrialised death camps of Nazi occupied Poland; as part of Mao’s cultural revolution; during the deliberate starvation reaped on his people by Stalin or during the communal slaughter in Rwanda. This list is by no means exhaustive but such atrocities, like all acts of mass murder, have many common threads running through them. Perhaps the principal ‘driver’ of all these maniacal acts is that the perpetrators considered their victims to be almost sub-human and not worthy of life.

The grotesque Islamist barbarism of 9/11, demonstrated this complete disregard for human life. The nineteen terrorists, who carried out the attacks on that fateful day, and their considerable support network, cared not about the horror and torment they were to inflict on the victims and their families. Six years on, the shock and horror of the attacks has now faded slowly into memory and familiarity. Seeing those planes hit the twin towers over and over has dulled the senses to what was an unbelievably senseless and vile act; to such a point where many now ‘down-play’ the importance of that day. This is quite wrong. The significance of 9/11 should remain undiminished. The day was a disaster in every sense. Like 4 August 1914 or 6 August 1945 it was a day the world changed, for the world has not been the same since. It signalled the contempt the Islamic world has for Western values and freedoms and alerted the world to the danger and intolerance of radical Islam, the threat of which should be compared to the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. 9/11 was the spark, which began home grown Muslim radicalism and became a siren-call for worldwide Islamic militancy. It forced the realisation that the west has an enemy within who despise their fellow citizens and their beliefs. It made the US lash out, at great cost in life and treasure, like a blindfolded man swinging wildly at an unseen opponent. The subsequent invasion of Iraq certainly fuelled radicalism but Muslim agitation and near excitement to fight the West emerged from 9/11. Its lingering effect would ultimately cause cracks to appear in the western alliance and further deepen the animosity between the West and Islam. 9/11 brought Islamic terror to the West in a way never seen before and has become a portent of the possibility of even worse to come. It made Islamists think that any and all means are feasible, as long as the casualties are maximised. It brought the concept of God, which was beginning to slip from public consciousness; back to the forefront of popular perception. Finally it highlighted the vulnerability of western energy supplies, diversification to which would finance a re-emergent Russian militarism.

This aftermath of 9/11 is not definitive and further more devastating events will no doubt unfurl. The legacy of 9/11 should not be under estimated. It was a pivotal day in modern history. But possibly the greatest consequence of 9/11, Islamic terror and the chaos it ignited is that it has needlessly diverted the world’s attention and resources from immediate and potentially catastrophic problems that threaten the future of the planet.