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Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 17:53 | SYDNEY
Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 17:53 | SYDNEY

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14 September 2011 10:34

The great intellectual victors in the immediate post-9-11 period were the people who could imbue it with meaning. To do that required a plausible explanation and the confidence to advance it. Nobody would have that confidence without the explanation being pre-packaged, ready to be deployed in any available circumstances. In other words, the very fact that there was so little we knew, and that what there was to know wasn’t very satisfying in terms of imparting meaning to events, very naturally empowered those whose views didn’t depend on knowledge. That’s how we wound up in Iraq. The advocates of war did not begin advocating for war on 9-11 – “finishing the job” in Iraq had been on the agenda for the entire decade prior. Nor did they need to prove any connection to the 9-11 attacks. We wound up in war in Iraq, in a very real sense, because “finishing the job” in Iraq imparted an appealing meaning to the terrorist attacks. And opposing the war felt like it tore the meaning off that terrible day, leaving its empty horror naked before us.

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