Fouad Ajami

The Ways of American Memory

The most amazing thing about remembering 9/11 was that there was hardly anything said about the assailants.  We recalled the horror, but generously.  Perhaps now and then, I thought, too generously.  The American capacity to forgive and forget is without parallel. A source of pride and strength, but perhaps on occasion for worry as well.

Nothing was said on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 of Mohamed Atta and Ziad Jarrah, of the 19 Arabs who assaulted America on that day of grief. Nothing was said of the radical Islamist preachers who had filled the air with sedition and bigotry in the decade prior to 9/11. And those financiers and “charities” who had sustained the jihad were entirely forgotten. The regimes that had winked at the terror – the enablers the peerless Charles Hill called them – were given a pass as well.  The grief was remembered in the manner akin to recalling a natural disaster. Tragedy was the word most invoked as we called back that day.

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