Grieving for the Innocent Lives

[1] I cried for a time, thinking about the horrible deaths of all of the innocent people trapped in the World Trade Center, and of the rescuers who gave their own lives to save others. But as I cried I became increasingly angry, not only at the terrorists, but also at the root cause of their actions. How would it come to pass that the US could become so hated, not only among mass murderers, but among thoughtful cosmopolitan academic and newspaper editors in the Middle East, that many in post disaster interviews would see this attack as a comeuppance, even while condemning the methods and consequence?

[2] Thank God (or Gorbachev) that the cold war is over. But what has the US done in its decade-plus unrivalled supremacy? Has it tried to create a more just world order, or even thought strategically about collective hegemony, or building new global institutions that make people more secure? Much of the rest of the world, not just the Middle East, sees unilateral arrogance, the legacy of cold war interventions in nearly every major conflict since 1945, continued one-sided support for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and the abandonment by the US of six major treaties (including one to control chemical weapons) since last January. Just as most historians saw an unjust Versailles treaty as contributing to the rise of Hitler, no one therefore blames France, the US and Britain for the Holocaust or excuses Hitler and his accomplices for their crimes. Nevertheless, that history presents us with the counterfactual suggestion that a more just settlement, less myopic policies, and a less selfish approach on the part of the victors of the First World War could have made a difference.