Making room for the Taliban
By Robert Grenier, Aljazeera, January 28, 2010
On September 20, 2001, just nine days after the devastating attacks by al-Qaeda, George Bush, then US president, stood before both houses of the US congress, with Tony Blair, then British prime minister, to deliver an address to the American people and to the world.
That America would react in some way to the attacks was already clear. It was Bush's task to explain the principles which would guide those actions, and to rally international support for them.
With all that has happened since, it may be difficult to remember the emotional tenor of that moment. In the wake of the attacks, there had been a great international outpouring of support for the US.
It appeared that this was a moment of great international solidarity, and that out of this shock great and new things might be possible.
We remember the essence of what Bush said on that occasion, even if we no longer recall the words he used: that henceforth, there could be no middle ground between the terrorists and those who opposed them; that the US would no longer make any distinction between terrorists and those who sheltered them; and that the latter, if they refused to join with the "civilised" world, would share the fate of the former.
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