Five years on

Five years after 9/11, most people were right about the future: The world is not the same anymore. In fact, it has turned worse. It is more insecure and fearful, even in states that style themselves as model democracies. It is a world with fewer freedoms and fewer rights. Under the ruse of the endless war on terror, private data are no longer considered inviolable, tapping is a legitimate procedure and allied countries are dotted with small Guantanamo-like prisons that operate under obscure legal status. Claiming to be fighting a war on terrorism and under the guise of exporting democracy, even states that fail to respect democracy at home have launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But none of the declared goals has been achieved: Osama bin Laden remains at large. Saddam Hussein’s purported weapons of mass destruction remain elusive, as does democracy and freedom in those pariah states that we set out to transform. In this clash of civilizations, Western civilization – a superior type of civilization, according to its champions – manifests itself in the torture of prisoners and the killing of innocent civilians. But such acts only pour more oil on the flames of what we call terror. Thanks to the actions of US soldiers in Iraq, 43 percent of Americans recently said that they are embarrassed at the US image. According to other surveys, one in two New Yorkers thinks the Bush administration was warned about the 9/11 attacks but still failed to take action. Others still hold that the assault was the product of an internal conspiracy. The numerous and blatant lies of Washington legitimize even the craziest assumptions, particularly among those who yesterday, a day of remembrance, took to the streets to cry out that war is not the answer.