European Reflections on 9/11

In its "bitter legacy of 9/11," The Independent attempts to quantify the carnage related to the international war on terrorism in the last five years. The numbers, for which sources aren't provided, are ferocious:

2,973 Total number of people killed (excluding the 19 hijackers) in the September 11, 2001 attacks
72,000 Estimated number of civilians killed worldwide since September 11, 2001 as a result of the war on terror

In other words, suggests the liberal London daily, as horrific as 9/11 was, 24 times as many civilians have died since.

Seeking Their Inner American

Meanwhile, editors of the Italian La Stampa pose the question, "Are we still Americans?" The write-up queasily echoed Le Monde's stirring editorial from Sept. 2001, "We are all Americans now."

La Stampa's answer to that question? Yes. While sparing no criticism of Bush foreign policy, the Italian daily said, "We must not permit ourselves to forget that we're all in the same boat. We must absolutely not ignore who the attacker is (al-Qaeda), by which means (mass terrorism) and with what objective: to block the democratic development of every Muslim country, and drag them into the Holy War." (English translation from

By Jefferson Morley |  September 12, 2006; 11:17 AM ET  | Category:  Europe
Previous: Sept. 11 Anniversary: Sorrow and Anger Around the World | Next: Partition Debate Splits Iraq


Please email us to report offensive comments.

" 2,973 Total number of people killed (excluding the 19 hijackers) in the September 11, 2001 attacks

72,000 Estimated number of civilians killed worldwide since September 11, 2001 as a result of the war on terror."

This is supposed to make us safer? Now instead of the 500,000 dead Iraqi children for which Madeline Albright accepted responsibility as the "worth it" price of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Passively, mind you (it was the sanctions that did it). We can now add 72,000 dead civilians to our tab.

Those who hated us for what we are doing in the ME hate us more. Those who were indifferent, hate us now. And those who were Pro-American, have to keep their heads down.

Winning hearts and minds? Only as prizes in a shooting gallery. Kill a muslim, win a heart or mind!

When will we learn that the way to get people to like us is to show that we like, or are at least willing to help them make a better life, as opposed to killing their family and neighbors?

Posted by: Thom | September 12, 2006 02:17 PM

Thom, since the Independent offers no sourcing or explanation for the 72,000 number, we're left to wonder. But I think it is reasonable to assume that the number includes the 202 people killed by Islamic extremists in Bali in 2002; the 35 killed in a bombing at a housing complex in Saudi Arabia in 2003; the 192 innocent civilians killed in Madrid in March 2004; and the now thousands killed by extremists in Iraq. They are the casualties of the war on terror. The terrorists don't share our compunction for civilian casualties, I'm afraid.

Also, I think you miss the point of our national security policy: it is not for the U.S. to be liked around the world. It is for the U.S. and its citizens and citizens all around the world to be safe. For Americans, Iraqis, Christians, Muslims, Jews ... Islamic extremists have proven to be far more hostile and more of a threat to innocnet people everywhere than any other actor in this poorly named global war on terrorism.

The question is: has Bush's policy made us all more or less safe? I tend to think "less safe." But it is a legitimate debate that should be carried out responsibly, as free from demagoguery as possible.

Posted by: Croaker Norge | September 12, 2006 02:42 PM

At least, La Stampa bought into part of Bush's misleading rhetoric. One of Bin Laden's stated objectives is to overthrow the Saudis. Not a striving democracy as far as I know.

Of course it makes everyone feel better to suggest that democracy is the solution to terrorism. Unfortunately, things aren't that simple. Hamas or Hezbollah are part of democratically elected governments. In Algeria a while back, the secular government cancelled elections because the Islamic party won.

It is very naive to believe that holding elections will necessarily result in pro-American governments. Especially considering the resentment seething in the Muslim world.

Posted by: TinMan | September 12, 2006 02:46 PM

So ... Don't fight back! Listen to the worldwide left, Old Europe, and the faculty of Harvard! They know best. Never, ever fight back. Because remember: Who LIKES you is always most important. It's all a great big junior high out there anyway, and nothing is more important than being popular. And I love the lazy, passive construction of the number "killed" in the worldwide war on terror. How many did the jihadists kill? How many of their own countrymen? Ideology trumps fairness here, as usual.

Posted by: MorleyWatch | September 12, 2006 02:46 PM

MorleyWatch, it seems your issue is with The Independent (and rightfully so), not with Mr. Morley, who is doing a fine job of pointing out these items and letting readers like you judge for themselves. He certainly doesn't endorse the Independent's unsourced and un explained numbers.

Posted by: Croaker Norge | September 12, 2006 02:49 PM

Would you be happier if the number killed was only 23 times 9/11? how about 15 x? Any number is too high.

Also it doesn't matter how many of their own people they killed. We are talking about AMERICA and AMERICANS!!! not some backward hole in the ground. How many of us have they killed? How many of them have we killed?

At this rate, the only path to safety is to stop now!, or kill every person over there.

Posted by: Unsourced Numbers???? | September 12, 2006 02:55 PM

Yes but being liked implies safety. If someone likes me, I'd have no problem turning my back on them. If someone doesn't like me, not only am I not going to like him, but I'm not going to trust him.

OK, maybe liked isn't the best word. Let's try admired, which we were, or respected which we still are (whatever small degree remains).

My point is that here is a cross-roads. We can go on killing, and then you are right, security is the only option. Or we can stop killing, stop oppressing (directly or indirectly) and try to salvage what is left of our international reputation.

Posted by: Thom | September 12, 2006 02:57 PM

I believe that if we did not wage the war on terror, we would see 720,000 civilians killed since 9/11.

Remember that the goal of the jihadists is to murder every non-Muslim.

If you do not hunt them down and stop them, they will fulfill their goal of total eradication.

Posted by: Marine1 | September 12, 2006 03:34 PM

Marine1; 3 things

Read a book, learn the language, get a clue

make it 4;

form your own conclusions, don't give me the party line

Posted by: | September 12, 2006 03:38 PM


Jose, can you see
by the really dim light,
what you so proudly hailed
was not exactly gleaming.

How on earth could you have heard it, unless you were sitting next to him while he typed it. . . you might have READ it.

Posted by: | September 12, 2006 03:57 PM

Message to Islam,

You can love us in the First World, or you can hate us in the Fourth World.

RSVP, the bomber crews are standing by.


The Great Satan

Posted by: James Buchanan | September 12, 2006 05:23 PM

It is very difficult to tell how many people have been killed since 9/11. Suffice to say, one is too many. Afghanistan was a response to 9/11, and I think justified under the circumstances. I regard Afghanistan as a result of 9/11. The majority of these deaths can be traced to invading Iraq. Wisely, Most of Europe stayed out of that conflict. Britain, unwisely, joined us in Iraq. The result was the London bombings. Madrid was in part due to Iraq, but Spain also has immigration problems and possessions in North Africa. Also Bin Laden sees it as part of his Caliphiate. They have problems!
But,if there hadn't been a 9/11, there would have been Iraq, because the Neoconservatives in the administration were targeting Iraq ,Iran, and Syria. (Check "Clean Break" as a web search.) For them, Afghanistan, al-Qaida, and the War on Terror were a distractions from Iraq. Hence,The troops in Afghanistan, like Iraq, were too few and underfunded. War is very expensive, and Neoconservatives must have their tax breaks. They treat the military like they treat the Middle and working classes. Productivity is always the watch word, which translates as making the few do the work of many, and work them until they break. However, since Iraq hampered the war in Afghanistan, one could say Iraq contributed to the deaths in Afghanistan since the invasion of Iraq. I'll let someone else do the math, it is too depressing.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | September 12, 2006 05:50 PM

Countries do not have friends, they have interests, and that was hardly an original thought even when DeGaulle uttered those words. There is no negotiation possible with the Salafists, only a war of extermination. It is not really a novel concept to kill your enemies and their bases of support except to the idiots who believe in conducting "hearts and minds" campaigns.

Posted by: William Howard | September 12, 2006 06:15 PM

Jefferson Morley is an anti-semitic piece of crap!Posted by: Jose | September 12

Jose that is the most inteligent comment have I heard in a long time.Posted by: Gerry

Jose + Gerry: A few days back I was annoyed by lenghty debates, arguments, reasoning, etc. Obviously I was wrong.

Posted by: Anagadir | September 13, 2006 08:43 AM

In this very short contribution to victims accounting, I just wish to remind the chartered accountants of slaughters, carnages, genocides, etc. not to forget to include, in their calculations, the number of innocent victims (old people, women and mostly children) in the aftermath of the operations, those who either walk on unexploded bombs, or linger and die long after the operations have ceased ("mission accomplished!"), more particularly because "illegal" weapons were used, amongst them depleted uranium. I leave it to those pundits of death to tell us whether they care to include the large number of unborns and of babies with terrible malformations or not, as well as their parents, with their genetic material altered. Curious humane observers, the taboo is easy to Google search , for starter.

Posted by: Robert Rose | September 13, 2006 08:59 AM

The Independent and the liberals on the site buy into the theories of Muslim victimization that allow Jihadis worldwide to perpetrate on an almost daily basis the most horrendous atrocities against non-Muslims.

Somehow, no matter where or how a Muslim dies, it is the fault of the great Satan the US, or of the perfidious Jew.

I wonder if suicide bombers are included in that mysterious 72,000 figure.

Posted by: | September 14, 2006 10:17 AM

According to "the Independent" newspaper some 72,000 civilians were killed worldwide since September 11, 2001. I assume the reference was made to people killed by war only like in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Quite frankly, doesn't seem that bad ("relatively speaking" - Einstein). I just returned from Bande Aceh were I spent some 3 months helping out in rebuilding highways, etc. which were destroyed by the Decenber 26, 2004 Tsunami. There no-one knows exactly how many people died that day. Was it 150,000 or 200,000, or 250,000? Noone knows but life goes on, including for the 5 million survivors that all lost relatives and whom themselves are permanently frightened just looking at water. So perhaps in Manhattan it is also time to move on.

Posted by: Anagadir | September 17, 2006 02:44 PM

U.S. needs to stop "nosing" other countries' business. Stop trying to democratize every country in the world. No country owns the world, so stop acting as id you do. The world is huge and has many variations, (not just the freckled boy from Wisconsin exists) just be happy, live and let live!

Posted by: Hector | September 17, 2006 07:13 PM

Except there are a few folks out there who aren't interested in letting us "live and let live".

Posted by: | September 20, 2006 12:54 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company