Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

Questions Surrounding the Simultaneous Terrorist Attack on the United States
SAISHU Koji  / Advisor on energy issues

October 7, 2001
The simultaneous terrorist attack on the United States was truly heartrending and unforgivable. However, several questions come to mind concerning media coverage and government response with regard to the incident. The first is news reporting out of the United States which portrayed the incident as "the worst tragedy since Pearl Harbor." To set the record straight, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack launched against a military base, and thus differs in nature from the latest terrorist attack. Perhaps the latter has more in common with the dropping of the atomic bomb on non-military targets in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that resulted in the massacre of an unspecified number of civilians.

The second is the U.S. government's interpretation that this was "a challenge against civilization." Until now, Osama bin Laden's alleged targets have been U.S. installations, and - taking the logic further - the double standards exercised by the U.S. government. bin Laden's was reportedly born to a Palestinian mother. To this day, U.S.-backed Israel has not observed the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 - which called for its withdrawal from occupied territory, and has reneged on the provisional agreement son Palestinian self-government - which requires recognition of and withdrawal from Palestinian territory. And when Palestinians protested by throwing stones, the Israeli army has been ruthless in firing their guns to disperse them. On the other hand, during the Gulf War the United States used its military might to eliminate occupying Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and bombed Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. At the "grass root" level in Arab and Islamic countries, the people may be troubled by the obstinacy of the Taliban, but at the same time they feel that their anger at U.S. double standards is given expression through the words and deeds of bin Laden and his group - though they may not say so outright. The U.S. government is avoiding the real issue by describing the terrorist attack as a "a challenge against civilization," when in reality there is a danger that this could escalate into a "clash of cultures" or a "racial war" between Europe and the United States against Islam, industrialized nations against developing nations, or white against colored.

At the time of the Gulf War ten years' ago, the Arab nations believed the U.S. government's intention of "resolving the Palestinian issue once this war is over." Thus they participated in the U.S.-led multi-national forces and lent a hand in attacking Iraq. But not only did this fail to bring about a resolution, it only worsened matters. By introducing the idea of a "civilized world," the U.S. government is feigning ignorance of its past mistake.

The third is the silence of so-called "environmentalist" citizens. Nothing denies the right to life of all living things and causes more widespread pollution to the earth's environment than war. Emissions of greenhouse gases are incomparably larger in quantity than exhaust gases emitted by thermal power stations or automobiles. What could environmentalists in the United States be thinking, after their government announced its departure from the COP3 Kyoto Protocol on the grounds of defending its global competitiveness, and has now decided to spend $3 billion on military expenditure.

The fourth is the content of U.S.-made standards which lie underneath the heavy makeup of "global standards." The meeting of European Union leaders in Stockholm, the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle and the Summit meeting of industrialized nations in Genoa, Italy, all encountered violent citizen protests. What demonstrators saw behind these meetings was the dubious and brazen nature of standards imposed by a super-super-power that has achieved single-country rule of the world for the first time in human history. Shouldn't there be concern that the undercurrent of "anti-U.S. standards" could unite demonstrations with terrorism, to one day emerge as a surface current?

The fifth is the question of why Japan must continue to cling to the tail of the United States. Japan will never become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council as long as it pursues a variation of U.S. "double standards" - professing "U.N.-centered diplomacy" while remaining servile to the United States. If Japan is a true partner of the United States, it must demonstrate its friendship by cautioning the U.S. on matters it is unaware of, and by playing a supplementary role in what it cannot do. A follower can never be a friend. It takes courage to nurture friendship.

The author is an advisor on energy issues. He is former Editorial Writer, Tokyo Shimbun.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

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2001年 10月 7日






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English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > Questions Surrounding the Simultaneous Terrorist Attack on the United States