ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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South Asian Imperatives

In a follow-through that has taken the world by surprise, and contrary to the apprehensions raised initially, the US has shown growing restraint in its pronouncements and its apparent intentions in the pursuit of its war against terrorism. Whatever the internal and geopolitical compulsions that have moderated the early rhetoric, this in retrospect makes the Indian government’s response to the World Trade Centre disaster appear notably naïve.

Pleasures of Outrage

The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon triggered more pleasure than pain in America. At the immediate level the pain belonged to the dead and the injured and their loved ones; the pain was felt also by those who looked on with empathy. There was also the pain, or rather the shock and dismay, of cruelly exposed vulnerabilities in the national manhood. But shock and dismay soon turned into rage and this anger, it is argued here, is intensely enjoyable.

A Different War

No words can possibly reflect the horror of Tuesday’s mass murder of men, women and children – ordinary airline passengers and workers in commercial and government offices – by terrorists using hijacked planes to blow up the World Trade Centre in New York and a part of the Pentagon complex in Washington. Nor the psychopathic inhumanity of those who over weeks and months went about cold-bloodedly planning and executing this crime against all humankind. What has sent shock waves round the world, even more than the actual human and physical devastation, terrible as it has been, is the realisation how vulnerable even a country as powerful and as well defended against external attacks as the US is to the sort of invisible enemy who struck on Tuesday. And the next time round the enemy might choose to arm himself with chemical or biological weapons or even a crude nuclear device.

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