Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The "Squandered Goodwill" Argument

Stop blaming America for terrorism: "Nevertheless, I think it's worth looking back at what people really felt on September 11, 2001, because not everyone felt the same, then or later. Certainly it's true that, five years ago, Tony Blair spoke of standing 'shoulder to shoulder' with America, that Iain Duncan Smith (remember him?) echoed him, and that Jacques Chirac was on his way to Washington to say the same. But it's also true that this initial wave of goodwill hardly outlasted the news cycle. Within a couple of days a Guardian columnist wrote of the 'unabashed national egotism and arrogance that drives anti-Americanism among swaths of the world's population'. A Daily Mail columnist denounced the 'self-sought imperial role' of the United States, which he said had 'made it enemies of every sort across the globe'. That week's edition of Question Time featured a sustained attack on Phil Lader, the former US ambassador to Britain and a man who had lost colleagues in the World Trade Centre who seemed near to tears as he was asked questions about the 'millions and millions of people around the world despising the American nation'. At least some Britons, like many other Europeans, were already secretly or openly pleased by the 9/11 attacks. And all of this was before Afghanistan, before Tony Blair was tainted by his friendship with George Bush, and before anyone knew the word 'neo-con', let alone felt the need to claim not to be one. The dislike of America, the hatred for what it was believed to stand for capitalism, globalisation, militarism, Zionism, Hollywood or McDonald's, depending on your point of view was well entrenched. To put it differently, the scorn now widely felt in Britain and across Europe for America's 'war on terrorism' actually preceded the 'war on terrorism' itself. It was already there on September 12 and 13, right out in the open for everyone to see."

Hat tip: Opinion Journal

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