What U.S. newspapers are saying

Sept. 9, 2002 at 9:41 AM
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New York Times

The city has felt Sept. 11 coming for weeks and weeks now. The closer it comes, the more time seems to wrinkle. In August, many New Yorkers found themselves looking back a year, if only to remember a time when they didn't know what was coming. The past has a way of looking inexorable. It's almost impossible, now, to imagine the early morning of Sept. 11 a year ago without also imagining a train of events already in motion -- flights boarding, workdays beginning -- and a cataclysm approaching.

In the year since, New Yorkers have suffered two severe shocks. The first was the obvious one, the impact of the planes, the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center into 17 acres of dire rubble and the loss of nearly 3,000 lives. ... For everyone, it was a dislocation unlike anything else in our experience. And that made it common to us all.

The second shock New York has suffered arises from the aftereffects of that morning, and particularly from the almost indescribable cohesion the city felt in the first days and weeks after the attack. It's impossible to talk for long about New York, and especially Manhattan, without using a unifying metaphor, without calling the city a machine or an organism. ... That coherence, amid so much incoherence, persisted for days and then weeks. It persisted among those working at the recovery site and among those who were only trying to help recover each other. ...

This city has only begun to recover itself, a year later, no matter how routine any other Tuesday than the second Tuesday in September or any other date than 9/11 might look. On a late summer morning, midweek, you can stand almost anywhere in Manhattan and feel the city rumble. The rumble seemed to fade away that morning a year ago, once the roar of the falling towers had ended. And in the silence afterward, it became clear that what made this city a single thing, what gave it its metaphorical unity, wasn't the asphalt and the steel and the rock beneath it all. It was the people.

Washington Times

The United States motivations for seeking out new sources of foreign oil are several, including a potential war in Iraq to an unabating Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a mercurial leader in oil-rich Venezuela. Fortunately, President Bush made diversifying foreign oil sources a key part of the energy policy that he unveiled last May. With the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaching, that has become an even more pressing concern.

The anticipation of potential U.S. war in Iraq has had an impact on oil prices. "There's a fear premium in the price," said Pulitzer Prize winning author Daniel Yergin. The good news is that some of the most promising countries for oil exploration have become close U.S. allies over the years. "The area where most of the buzz has focused on is Russia and the Caspian," said Mr. Yergin.

Thanks to Mr. Bush's outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S.-Russian relationship is on solid footing. And the Caspian's most oil-rich country, Kazakhstan, feels a strong solidarity with the United States, since the United States, under the first President Bush, was among the first countries to recognize Kazakhstan's independence from the Soviets. ...

Today, with the United States increasingly at odds with countries in the Middle East, Mr. Bush's energy policy seems particularly prescient.

Washington Post

Seeking to rebut the claim that the Bush administration is not sufficiently engaged in the world, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice recently cited Sudan's peace talks as proof to the contrary. It was a well-chosen example: Sudan's appalling civil war has been running for 19 years, but the administration has put some effort into trying to get it stopped, notably by appointing a special envoy to the country. With the help of determined mediation by Kenya, the two sides in the civil war opened serious peace talks in July. But this achievement was thrown into doubt last Monday. It is time for the administration to redouble its efforts. ...

The administration has many other issues on its plate; it may not seem obvious that Sudan matters. But this war is possibly the greatest humanitarian disaster on Earth, and the next chance to make peace may not come for a long time if this one is squandered. Moreover, Sudan's continued anarchy may threaten the United States directly. The country served as a base for Osama bin Laden between 1991 and 1996; last Tuesday The Post's Douglas Farah reported that al Qaida may be moving gold back into the country. It will be easier to ensure that al Qaida does not reestablish itself in Sudan if the United States resumes full diplomatic relations with the Sudanese. And that will only be possible if the peace talks go successfully.

Dallas Morning News

The U.S. response to the attacks of Sept. 11 was appropriately multifaceted.

How has the United States performed outside of its military campaigns against al Qaida and the Taliban? It has scored some admirable successes, but its overall record is mixed.

For the United States to fight terrorism as successfully as it fought the Cold War requires strong international cooperation. With that in mind, the Bush administration formed a coalition. Britain played an especially heroic role, no matter how often critics termed Prime Minister Tony Blair an "American poodle." Even Iran quietly helped.

Now, the administration must apply the same cooperative spirit to the war's flanks: Iraq, Israel-Palestine and al Qaida's remaining hideouts.

Unfortunately, the coalition is "a little frayed," as the Council on Foreign Relations' Walter Russell Mead correctly observes. ...

In the war against terror, it is not enough to kill or capture members of al Qaida and the Taliban. Arms alone won't secure victory. The United States also must obtain and keep the help of its allies. It must apprehend terrorists in this country without branding innocent U.S. Arabs and Muslims or trampling civil liberties. It must use its communications and marketing expertise to defuse foreign resentment of U.S. power. Success is possible, but it will require a broad, coordinated and sustained effort. It will have to be the type of effort that the United States exerted during the Cold War. The United States has made an admirable start, but it can and must improve.

Los Angeles Times

Japan's prime minister has scheduled an unprecedented visit to North Korea next week that could go far toward easing tensions in one of the more dangerous parts of the world.

Junichiro Koizumi's planned one-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il represents another small opening of North Korea to the outside world after nearly 60 years of secretive Stalinist rule.

The last decade has seen Pyongyang swing back and forth, at times appearing approachable by Japan, South Korea and the United States but at most times remaining deaf. ...

There is no reason to expect North Korea's relations with other countries to progress quickly and evenly. Koizumi needs to return home with some visible sign of progress to show Japanese who were frightened and angered by the 1998 missile test, but he has to be a hard bargainer as well.

One accomplishment in this summit would be persuading Kim that it's in his best interests to negotiate with Tokyo, Seoul and Washington rather than sell missiles to any country willing to buy them.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Last Thursday's one-two punch against the fragile Afghan government raises the ominous possibility that U.S. and other forces in Afghanistan will come under attack in a country that has long served as a graveyard of foreign armies. While last week's events may be a harbinger of things to come, they are not a reason to abandon Afghanistan. In fact, the opposite is true.

On Thursday, President Hamid Karzai was the target of an assassination attempt that was made more worrisome by the fact that it occurred where he ought to have been safe: Kandahar, his home city. About three hours after the assassination attempt, a bomb killed more than 25 people in his political base, Kabul, the Afghan capital.

The possibility that the attacks signify resurgent power by Taliban and al-Qaida forces is more than obvious. The right response to this grim possibility is not retreat, but a major counter-effort led by the United States. ...

It has often been said that rescuing Afghanistan from terrorism and helping it become a united and peaceful country cannot be done easily, quickly or cheaply. Last week's events proved that.

(Compiled by United Press International.)

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