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White House issues guidelines for 9/11 commemorations

By Wen Xian (People's Daily)

13:38, September 10, 2011

The New York Times revealed on Aug. 30 that the White House has set the tone for commemorations of the 9/11 attacks, and sent a set of guidelines overseas to U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe.

"As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism in every nation around the world," the overseas document stated. The While House also issued a domestic guiding document titled "9/11 Anniversary Planning" to all federal agencies, highlighting the significant role of government agencies in preventing new terror attacks.

While issuing instructions to commemorate those who died in the 9/11 attacks, the White House also reminded people that Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups have since carried out attacks elsewhere in the world.

The 9/11 attacks 10 years ago changed the United States and also the entire world. Its 10th anniversary has attracted worldwide attention, and it is reasonable and necessary for the people around the world to reflect on the attacks. Special attention has been drawn to the attitude of the U.S. government toward the anniversary.

The guidelines have shown the White House's hesitations and reservations about 9/11 anniversary commemorations. "A chief goal of our communications is to present a positive, forward-looking narrative," the overseas guidelines stated. The U.S. government has taken a somewhat low-key approach because of certain tough and embarrassing issues.

The statement that the U.S. government wants to "present a positive, forward-looking narrative" revealed the not-so-positive situation facing the country over the past 10 years. After the 9/11 attacks, the United States launched two major wars in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively and has since been caught in a difficult dilemma.

U.S. Present Barack Obama has encountered too many obstacles in trying to achieve a formal end to the two wars and may be forced to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two wars have exhausted the United States and indirectly resulted in the downgrade of the country's credit rating. The United States opened a Pandora's Box under the banner of combating global terrorism, only to find that domestic terror threats have grown rapidly.

Even the death of Osama bin Laden cannot wipe out the Americans' worries. The U.S. economy has been sluggish for a long time due to the two wars, and many tough problems caused by the two wars, such as the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, remain unsolved.

The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. presidential election of 2012 are both coming. At this sensitive moment, the Obama Administration chose to say less rather than say more and say nothing rather than say less. President Obama plans to go to the ruins of the New York Trade Center, the crash site of Flight 93 and the Pentagon to attend commemorative activities but does not plans to give long speeches.

From the tone set by the White House, one can interpret a sense of caution and adjustments to policy. Since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has been implementing bold unilateral policies: If you are with me, you will live; if you are against me, you will die.

However, after several years, the Obama Administration has been adjusting its policies toward multilateralism. Regarding the 9/11 attacks, the Obama Administration expressed that the United States was not the only victim of terrorism. It laid a foundation for the future relevant actions of the United States. Facing the new situation, the Obama Administration warned that the U.S. people must be prepared for another attack.

For the various political forces in Washington, the solemn commemorative activities on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks have turned into a new political battlefield, and one false move may lose the game. Therefore, the White House has called on U.S. citizens to renew the team spirit shown after the terrorist attacks. It is a measure to "seek common ground while reserving differences" towards its political opponents based on the consideration of gains and losses, and it also reflects that team spirit is just what Washington. is currently lacking.

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