US Politics and Policy Updates
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U.S. President Joe Biden will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks on Saturday, September 11, by visiting all three U.S. sites targeted by al-Qaeda.
Biden called on Americans to begin a moment of silence from 8:46 a.m., the time when the first of four hijacked planes plowed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York.
The attacks were “one of the most unscrupulous tragedies in our country’s history”, he said on Friday, “which tore a hole in the heart of our country”.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia and a fourth flight in Pennsylvania after passengers overwhelmed the hijackers.
Former President George W. Bush, leader at the time of the attacks, Barack Obama and Donald Trump would also celebrate the anniversary.
Families of the victims at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum next to the site where the Twin Towers fell had to put the names of their deceased loved ones in a ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m., marked by six moments of silence.
Events planned across the country include an annual “Waves of Flags” anniversary on a hill in Malibu, in which 2,977 American flags will be flown to commemorate every life lost in the attacks. Relatives of the victims were expected to gather at all three locations.
More than 2,400 U.S. personnel were killed in the wars that followed the attacks, carried out by al-Qaeda jihadists and planned out of Afghanistan, and 20,000 wounded. The deaths includes 13 of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last month. Eighteen U.S. veterans die daily from suicide, Biden said last month.
Karestan Koenen, a Harvard professor of psychiatric epidemiology who saw the planes fly to the World Trade Center and then accompany visits to remorse at Ground Zero Guides, said the trauma left an indelible mark on the country. .
“It was never closed,” she said. Koenen calls a ‘collective need’ to remember the attacks, which led to the emerging study of post-traumatic stress disorder affecting veterans as well as civilians.
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken on Friday described this year’s anniversary as a ‘particularly emotional’ anniversary for war veterans, a skewed reference to Kabul’s fall into the Taliban last month in the wake of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Washington ousted the Taliban after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. On Saturday, the same ultra-conservative Islamic militant group that has ties to al-Qaeda inaugurated a new government.
Biden sought to place this year’s commemoration in the context of the US, which draws a line under his response to the attacks – one that has shaped America’s role in the world for the past 20 years.
“While we are flipping through the foreign policies that have guided our country over the past two decades, we need to learn from our mistakes,” Biden said last month after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was completed, ending America’s longest period. war.
Biden argued that withdrawal is the end of an era of major military operations aimed at reforming other countries, and the beginning of a new one focusing on competition with China and more pressing issues at home.
Richard Fontaine, chief executive of the bipartisan think tank for New American Security, said the U.S. had achieved “great success” in its response to 9/11, including preventing another mass casualty attack on the fatherland. But he also highlights cases of ‘terrible overreactions’, including the harsh treatment of detainees and the war in Iraq.
‘The whole thing was over 102 minutes later, though. . . what we remember is the fear, the chaos, the confusion and the trauma of that day, ”said Garrett Graff, author of an oral history of the 9/11 attacks.
“The fact that we reacted so emotionally on that day, and chose to let ourselves be driven by fear, is the key to understanding everything the US has done wrong,” he said, referring to the global war. counter-terrorism in Washington that followed, which included military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the CIA’s resort to black sites and torture, and the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, all of which harmed the U.S. global position and polarized opinion at home.
Biden has vowed to classify parts of the FBI investigation into the attacks over the next six months, in line with the demands of relatives of victims who want to reveal the alleged role of Saudi Arabia.
In a commemorative video speech, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, paid tribute to the lives lost, using American democracy and the Constitution as guiding principles.
“America will always lead,” he said.