Here are my own reflections on 9/11:
Even those in the current administration who seem to desire a never-ending war against terror are forced at times to speak of their hopes for peace. Even if one doubts that peace is what motivates war-hawks, it is their lip-service to the quest for peace that gives legitimation to their cluster-bombs.
On the other hand, pacifism has come to be seen as legitimating acts of terror. Even those who agree with Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali that there are real historical causes for terror and that real lasting peace cannot be achieved without addressing these underlying causes still seem to feel that immediate action is necessary. Although too often these arguments seem to have equated justice with revenge, a consensus has emerged that something had to be done.
By these accounts, then, the war in Afghanistan was a success. Even if there were civilian casualties, even if many of the al-Qaida leadership managed to flee, even if Afghanistan is still far from stable, even if the war has contributed to an escalation of tensions in China, the Philippines, Israel, and between India and Pakistan, even if there has been an unprecedented scaling back of civil liberties in the U.S., even if all these things are true — a consensus has emerged that the war in Afghanistan was a contribution to the cause of world peace.
It is true that many Afghans feel hope about their future for the first time in over twenty years. The sheer number of returning refugees is a sign of that hope. After all, the world wouldn