Jeremy Corbyn — who could possibly become British prime minister at the next election – felt obliged to write something about the anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday. What he said is outrageous. At least it’s outrageous on a certain reading. The problem is, I don’t know how else to take it. Indeed many people have taken it in exactly the same way I’ve taken it.
Here’s Corbyn’s short tweet:
“My thoughts are with those whose lives were shattered on 9/11/2001 — and in the wars and terror unleashed across the globe in its aftermath.”
It’s crystal clear that Corbyn felt a strong need to politicise these commemorations. And he did so in a particular way.
Let’s be clear about that interpretation.
i) Corbyn states that his “thoughts are with those whose lives were shattered on 9/11/2001”.
ii) He then says: “and in the wars and terror unleashed across the globe in its aftermath”.
What connects the first clause with the second? They must have some kind of connection otherwise the whole sentence would be a non sequitur.
Why would a terrorist attack which was “the victims’ blow to the motherland” (as Chomsky once put it) — and after which tens of thousands of Muslims celebrated on the streets — have “unleashed war and terror across the globe”? After all, this was a successful act of terror for al-Qaeda and tens of millions of other Muslims.
That must mean that what followed 9/11 — not 9/11 itself! — “unleashed terror and war across the globe”. What followed 9/11? The intervention in Afghanistan in October 2001 and the Iraq War in 2003. Thus in a tweet seemingly to commemorate the victims of 9/11, Corbyn couldn’t stop himself from pointing the finger at Blair and Bush (plus another 23 states!) and indeed at all “Western capitalist powers”.