Tuesday 24 October 2017

9/11: the day America’s decline began

Ten years after the World Trade Centre attacks, it is evident that there are no winners from 9/11, only losers, writes Rupert Cornwell

Ten years. An eyeblink in the eternal march of history -- yet sufficient distance to gauge the impact of America's most dreadful day, one that no one old enough to remember will ever forget. After 10 years, winners and losers can be declared. And in the case of 9/11, it becomes more evident by the day -- both sides are losers.

The most obvious one, of course, is Osama bin Laden. The organisation that he founded has been not only decapitated, but decimated. Hardly a week passes now without the death or capture of top al-Qa'ida commanders, their security presumably compromised by the documents seized during the raid in Pakistan in which Bin Laden was killed. Touch wood, there seems scant chance of the spectacular 10th anniversary attack for which, those documents show, he was desperately trying to organise.

As for his notion that violent Islamic jihad might create a new caliphate stretching from Indonesia to Spain -- that seems even more far-fetched than it did 10 years ago. Even the 'Arab Spring' of uprisings against the secular Middle Eastern dictators that Bin Laden hated is no vindication of his warped ideology.

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