The essence of this report is to highlight the crucial steps that the U.S President outlined in the continuation of the war against terrorism during the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The President announced that the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May this year is a great milestone in the war against terrorism, currently referred to as ‘Overseas Contingency Operation’. However, he emphasized on the need of changing the U.S foreign policy and the war on terror to involve as many nations of the world as possible so as to pit the world against the terrorists but not the U.S against the terrorists. He announced that his administration will focus on stabilization of Iraq, the acceleration of the fight to defeat Islamic insurgents, the containment of Iran in regard to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the stabilization of Afghanistan and being tough with Pakistan and its strategic resources in Afghanistan and India. He also announced the revision of the infamous Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to make it applicable only where necessary. He called for the support of our country(U.K), the NATO and AU forces as well as the UN security council in the reconstruction of the fight against terrorism, to shift from overreliance on military force to the use of diplomatic means and economic support for the countries in Middle East so that they may stabilize politically in order for them to be less prone to the influence of militia groups which recruit poor youths to join them and perpetuate terrorist acts against the U.S and the rest of the world.
Events during the commemoration
On that day, a couple of events took place in three major sites namely the New York City, Washington D.C and Shanksville, Pa. These are the areas in which the hijacked planes were directed at, crashing and killing innocent people at the fateful day of September 11 2001. A mood of grief was written in the faces of many people who attended the commemorations as the memories of that day resurfaced in their thoughts.
Many could not resist shading tears as they saw some of the clips being played showing how one of the hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center. Some narrated to their friends where they were at that time; with some saying they were miles away from the spots where the planes crashed. Others narrated to each other how they panicked as they rushed to hospitals to look for their loved ones who were missing.
In the New York City, the 9/11 memorial hosted families and friends of those who died on the crash. Some songs were sung and the family members and friends placed flowers on the memorial at ground zero. The families and friends then held hands across the Manhattan, which is on the western part of the waterfront.
In Washington D.C, the memorial took place at the Pentagon and was attended by approximately 7000 people, key among them family members of the victims and members of the military personnel. They also sang hymns as the military did their drama and performed their matches in honor of the military personnel who perished in the attacks.
In Shanksville, Pa, a commemoration service was held at the Memorial Plaza in remembrance of the victims who died in Flight 93 on the fateful day. During the service, songs were sung in the remembrance of the victims and those in attendance placed flowers on the memorial. Those present also petitioned the government to move with speed to bring the culprits into book and strengthen the American security to prevent similar attacks.
Statements by the U.S President
The key speaker during the commemoration was the U.S president Barack Obama, who was speaking at the 9/11 memorial shortly after the laying of flowers on the memorial. During his statement which was an address to the nation and the world at large, he was upbeat on the war on terror, which was started by his predecessor George W. Bush. In his address, he said that the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011 was a major step in curbing what he termed as irrational hatred of America by Islamic terrorists. His argument was that the killing of Osama bin Laden showed that the United States, under his administration was committed to end this unfortunate and misplaced thinking by the Islamic insurgents that they may pose a threat to the United States and the world in general. He pleaded with Osama followers to rethink their motivation to kill innocent civilians, just because they happen to be in United States. He said that the United States is a fried of every nation in the world and for that matter, it is a home of virtually all races, religions, cultures and faiths and therefore the idea of attacking the United States as a way of punishing people from the West was misplaced because the terrorists end up killing their own people, which is not only inhuman and barbaric, but also illogical.
He announced some steps which the United States was planning to take so as to move closer to a ‘world without the threat of terrorism’. One of the steps was to change the U.S foreign policy by reducing the use of military actions against nations believed to be in supportive of terrorists and use diplomacy to bring everyone on board so that the situation would change from the U.S against the terrorists, to the world against the terrorists.
He said that his administration was prioritizing the stabilization of Iraq by withdrawing all the U.S troops and promoting democratic governance in the country so that it may recover from the 2003 debacle with the U.S. He also acknowledged the need of the United States to stabilize Afghanistan through ensuring that there is national reconciliation between the Karzai led government and the Taliban’s, promoting political reforms and rooting for regional diplomacy between Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.
He also said that his administration was to consider the idea of closing the Guantanamo bay prison as a sign of commitment to the respect of civil liberties and freedoms. In the same line, he was optimistic that the U.S Patriotic Act was to be revised so as to ensure that the U.S government does not continue to infringe into peoples’ civil liberties like the freedom of privacy, all in an attempt to reduce the prejudice and stereotyping of innocent civilians, especially of the Muslim community by associating them with acts of terrorism arguing that this would make the war against terrorism to be owned by every peace loving citizen of the U.S regardless of his or her religion, race, culture and faith.
He also announced that his administration was on the track in trying to reach an agreement with Iran in regard to its nuclear program, arguing that important steps had been made towards the same and that the Iran government, though adamant to rethink its stance on nuclear program, was showing signs of cooperating with the United States on the same.
On Pakistan, he said that the government of Pakistan was not really committed in assisting the United States to eliminate Islamic insurgents and that was the reason why Osama had to stay just a few miles away from the military headquarters without their information or action. However, he announced that his administration was keen on supporting the Pakistan government economically, especially in dealing with the problem of flooding in some parts of Pakistan (Masters).
One of the challenges in the war against terrorism which he acknowledged was that there is an emerging threat of nuclear proliferation in Pakistan as well as the emergence of a regional unrest between India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially due to the United States’ efforts to minimize the presence of Pakistan’s strategic resources in Afghanistan and India.
However, he reiterated that the U.S government was prepared to deal head on with Pakistan and said categorically that the U.S economic support to Islamabad was to be based on the withdrawal of militia groups in India and Afghanistan, which were working in collaboration with Afghanistan’s Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Haqqani among other terror groups in the region and world wide
He said that the Pakistan government was to be given a chance by the U.S government to rethink its approach and commitment to the war against terrorism and that the U.S government would be kind enough not to use military force on Pakistan, but would rather work with the Pakistan government in a diplomatic manner in the elimination of all terror groups, saying that it would be a win win situation both for U.S and Pakistan in that the U.S would make itself more safer while the Pakistan government would be cushioned from any form of sanctions by the United States and the United Nations agencies.
He reiterated that the Overseas Contingency Operation was not an issue to be pursued single handedly by the U.S, but rather, an effort of many countries, especially the major powers, including but not limited to Canada, U.K, Germany, Japan and France.
Based on the announcements made by the U.S president during the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, our country should heed his call for enhanced cooperation in the fight against terrorism. As a crucial U.S ally in the fight against terrorism, our government should intervene especially in Pakistan, by offering economic support to the Pakistan government so that it would lessen its interference in Afghanistan and India and consequently withdraw its strategic resources from these countries. This will complement the United States’ Department of Homeland Security efforts to make the world free from any threat of terrorism. Our government should also partner with the U.S government by deploying intelligence resources in various parts of the world, and especially in Middle East. This will ensure that the al-Qaeda hierarchy is gradually demolished without having to use military forces, which leads to the death of innocent civilians.
Masters, Jonathan. Issue Guide: Tenth Anniversary of 9/1 Attacks. Web.