"As President George Bush once asked of Hu Jintao, his Chinese equivalent, what was keeping him awake at night. "How to create 25 million new jobs a year," he said. The answer must have surprised Bush, whose insomnia had to do with fear of another terrorist attack and the obsession with the war against the Axis of Evil.
Ten years after the tragedy of the towers United States is less a country than before, and China is an emerging power. It may be simplistic to reduce the poor performance of a country and the growth of others to the obsessions of their respective presidents, but not a bad place to start the explanation.
The brutal economic cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, America's worldwide moral disrepute and especially the way the American people's pain was channeled into a vengeful, angry and intolerant crusade, will be seen by historians as a turning point in the decline of the empire.
The damage is both moral and material.
From the hoax of a war in the name of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, with Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib included, to the more than 4 trillion dollars spent, and equally the accumulated budget deficits of 2005 and 2010 today have the US government on its knees (figures, like the story of insomnia presidents are from The Economist).
An estimated 140,000 people died in these wars, including the 6,000 soldiers of the alliance. Worse, these conflicts led to almost 8 million refugees. Today the Arab world is more destabilized than 10 years ago, and number of people of Islamic origin in European countries has grown and generated an even greater risk of destabilization.
To go further, the killing of young liberals in Norway at the hands of a fanatical rightist, and more recently the irrational hatred generated by the arrival of migrants from the south and east.
Bin Laden largely achieved his goal. Destroying the towers was not the goal but a means to provoke exactly the response they got from the Bush administration. Fifty individuals, including the immolated bombers , managed to unleash a global war between the west and east.
A fan of the vision of a world Al Qaeda divided between believers and infidels, the White House responded with the notion no less simplistic and Manichean universe of party between freedom fighters and her enemies. Those who are not with us are against us. In the clash of civilizations, both responded with the worst version of themselves.
The impact of a disaster becomes less than the magnitude of the misfortune in question and the way we react to it. The real tragedy was not the destruction of the Twin Towers, despite the pain it inflicted in so many ways. The real tragedy was the abysmal destruction unleashed by furious, visceral response. For each of those killed on September 11, within the few years after the tragedy, many thousands more lives would be destroyed.
The gang of extremists who got eight years of Bush would be crossed by an obsession with the war on terrorism. For it was the shocking attack in Manhattan, the answer had more to do with a work of military intelligence and diplomatic strategy to reduce Al Qaeda, with a conflagration of Arab states against "unpleasant." It's never been an obvious contrast between the idea of a war (the need for war) and war actually available, said George Packer.
But the main victim of that war, however fictional it was, is America itself. The Tea Party today, the right wing fundamentalists, and the radically opportunistic Fox News could not be explained without the rise of the narrative of hatred and fear generated by the need for a war and enemy they had to invent.
Ten years after the attack on the towers, the United States is a country more divided, with more unemployment, growing social inequality, with a government in crisis, and global leadership in decline. Something has broken into the American soul on a deeper and more violent level than those beloved and admired towers" .- Mexico City