Oxymoron? Burgeoning Flare-up of the Universal Patriotism.
This editorial cartoon published in The World Journal Sunday Forum is just in time for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The image rendition does not attempt to provoke or record the sensation of terror and sorrow of that tragic morning, neither does it make an appeal to group loyalty of honoring or, very often, over-glorifying the heroism.
Its a task for me to handle such a heavy theme involved with thousands of civilians killed, I had to be very cautious to keep my opinions within the bounds of what society as a whole will accept while at the same time delivering a humorous slant. I think I did a good job.
Ive been reviewing "a flood of anniversary commentary" from both the mainstream English and Chinese media these days and found a well-reflective article written by Mr. E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post, which, in my opinion, can narrate for my pictorial work best.
As one can see from the straight-forward title "Time to leave 9/11 behind", the assertion of Mr. Dionnes commentary presents no doublespeak as well , neither the writing consists of euphemism and the like. This article is rational, convincing and, above all, sincere.
Time to leave 9/11 behind
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
（Translated by Chinghuey Tiao 刁卿蕙 譯 )
After we honor the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we need to leave the day behind. As a nation we have looked back for too long. We learned lessons from the attacks, but so many of them were wrong. The last decade was a detour that left our nation weaker, more divided and less certain of itself.
Reflections on the meaning of the horror and the years that followed are inevitably inflected by our own political or philosophical leanings. It’s a critique that no doubt applies to my thoughts as well. We see what we choose to see and use the event as we want to use it.
This does nothing to honor those who died and those who sacrificed to prevent even more suffering. In the future, the anniversary will best be reserved as a simple day of remembrance in which all of us humbly offer our respect for the anguish and the heroism of those individuals and their families.
But if we continue to place 9/11 at the center of our national consciousness, we will keep making the same mistakes. Our nation’s future depended on far more than the outcome of a vaguely defined “war on terrorism,” and it still does. Al-Qaeda is a dangerous enemy. But our country and the world were never threatened by the caliphate of its mad fantasies.
We asked for great sacrifice over the past decade from the very small portion of our population who wear the country’s uniform, particularly the men and women of the Army and the Marine Corps. We should honor them, too. And, yes, we should pay tribute to those in the intelligence services, the FBI and our police forces who have done such painstaking work to thwart another attack.
It was often said that terrorism could not be dealt with through “police work,” as if the difficult and unheralded labor involved was not grand or bold enough to satisfy our longing for clarity in what was largely a struggle in the shadows.
Forgive me, but I find it hard to forget former president George W. Bush’s 2004 response to Sen. John Kerry’s comment that “the war on terror is less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement operation.”
Bush retorted: “I disagree — strongly disagree. .. After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States of America, and war is what they got.” What The Washington Post called “an era of endless war” is what we got, too.
原諒我，但我實在難忘前總統喬治．布希於2004年回應參議員約翰．凱瑞的評論，凱瑞說「反恐之戰較非軍事上之行動，而多關情報蒐集與執法操作。」 布希反駁道:「我不同意 --強烈不同意…在9月11日的混亂和大屠殺之後，以法律文件來伺侯咱們的敵人是不夠的。恐怖份子和他們的支持者發動了攻擊，這就是向美國宣戰，戰爭就是他們應得的。」當時華盛頓郵報名之為「一個沒完沒了的戰爭時代」，我們也得著了。
Bush, of course, understood the importance of “intelligence gathering” and “law enforcement.” His administration presided over a great deal of both, and his supporters spoke, with justice, of his success in staving off further acts of terror. Yet he could not resist the temptation to turn on Kerry’s statement of the obvious. Thus was an event that initially united the nation used, over and over, to aggravate our political disharmony. This is also why we must put it behind us.
In the flood of anniversary commentary, notice how often the term “the lost decade” has been invoked. We know now, as we should have known all along, that American strength always depends first on our strength at home — on a vibrant, innovative and sensibly regulated economy, on levelheaded fiscal policies, on the ability of our citizens to find useful work, on the justice of our social arrangements.
This is not “isolationism.” It is a common sense that was pushed aside by the talk of “glory” and “honor,” by utopian schemes to transform the world by abruptly reordering the Middle East — and by our fears. While we worried that we would be destroyed by terrorists, we ignored the larger danger of weakening ourselves by forgetting what made us great.
We have no alternative from now on but to look forward and not back. This does not dishonor the fallen heroes, and Lincoln explained why at Gettysburg. “We can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow this ground,” he said. “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” The best we could do, Lincoln declared, was to commit ourselves to “a new birth of freedom.” This is still our calling.