Thursday, September 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Homage at Ground Zero
Bush in dilemma over launching attack on Iraq
Hari Jaisingh

Firefighters and construction workers file into the pit
Firefighters and construction workers file into the pit before a memorial service on Wednesday at Ground Zero in New York. Political leaders from around the world have gathered in New York to pay homage to those who died in the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. 

A woman carries a portrait
A woman carries a portrait before the memorial service on Wednesday at Ground Zero in New York. 

Sarah Joseph from the Islamic Society of Britain prays
Sarah Joseph from the Islamic Society of Britain prays at a commemoration service for the victims of the September 11 attacks, at the Central Mosque in London on Wednesday. 
— Reuters photos

New York, September 11
Notwithstanding the solemnity of the ceremony at “Ground Zero” here today marking the first anniversary of the horrendous airborne terrorist strikes, the George Bush administration is in a dilemma on carrying out unilateral attacks against Iraq.

While there is unstinted support of the American people and the international community to crush the menace of terrorism and bringing to justice the Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden and others of his ilk who have sought to perpetrate a reign of terror, the same is not the case in targeting Saddam Hussein and Iraq for producing weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Washington’s obsession of seeing the back of Saddam Hussein by launching a unilateral attack against Iraq has not been supported in equal measure by certain Western powers, India, the Russian Federation, China, Japan, the United Nations and several other countries extending unqualified support to the international war against the menace of transnational terrorism.

The Atal Behari Vajpayee government has not hedged in opposing unilateral attacks against Iraq and has warned of serious ramifications of such a misadventure in West Asia and globally.

US President George Bush is expected to outline his country’s policy at the United Nations tomorrow in taking forward the international fight against terrorism and dealing with the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and its linkages with terrorist groupings.

The US leadership’s stand towards Iraq has hardened considerably. US Vice-President Richard Cheney has promised that Washington will take “whatever action is necessary” to defend itself from the threat posed by Iraq’s drive to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Mr Cheney, who had been taken to a secret location yesterday because of the increased risk of a terrorist attack, made the remarks on videotape to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

It is apparent the USA is trying to make a determined bid to secure international support for launching attacks on Iraq on the ground that Saddam Hussein can indulge in blackmail after arming himself with weapons of terror while sitting atop 10 per cent of the world’s oil reserves.

The U N General Assembly which began its 57th session today hoped that the USA will desist from embarking on any unilateral action against Iraq without the concurrence of the 15-member Security Council.

Impartial observers here believe that the failure of the USA which is in the vanguard of the fight against international terrorism to nab the elusive Osama bin Laden and other masterminds of the September 11 outrage has been a dampener for the Americans. By changing tack now and trying to target Saddam Hussein, the effort is apparently to divert attention from Osama bin Laden.

New York in particular and entire America as well as the international community woke up today remembering the horror and tragedy of 9/11 (September 11), 2001. It was this black letter day last year that changed the world and made it a defining moment in more ways than one. It was so as more than 5000 persons belonging to more than 80 nationalities had lost their lives.

The message after the landmark World Trade Center towers in New York came crashing down was clear: For pursuing peace and progress, the menace of terrorising the innocent had to be crushed by concerted and sustained international resolve.

All the Heads of State or Government assembled here for the UNGA will make their presence felt at “Ground Zero” in the evening by lighting candles. 


US bases attacked in Afghanistan

Bagram Airbase (Afghanistan) September 11
Attacks were reported on three US bases in Afghanistan today, just hours before ceremonies to commemorate the attacks on the USA last September 11. 
The US military said a gunman fired on Bagram Airbase, the US military headquarters in Afghanistan, while the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency said rockets were fired at special forces bases near the eastern towns of Khost and Gardez. No casualties were reported. Tina Kroske, a spokeswoman at Bagram, which is just north of Kabul, said an Afghan national directed “small arms fire” at the base at about 6.30 a.m. local time (7.30 a.m.IST) and was taken into custody. Reuters


White powder fear

Washington, September 11
US Embassies or consulates in Germany, Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg received letters containing white powder today, sparking fears of a fresh anthrax attack, a State Department official told Reuters. “Unidentified white powder was received in local mail deliveries,” the official said, citing official information received from the embassies in Copenhagen, Luxembourg and Rome and consulates in Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig and Munich. Reuters



PM looks for common points
Relaxed Vajpayee chats with media
 Hari Jaisingh

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee looked relaxed and composed as he came out of his cabin to greet the media persons accompanying him in Air-India's special flight to New York for the 57th UN General Assembly meeting. He chatted with them for a while, greeting the familiar faces among the newsmen.

Mr Vajpayee understands the importance of the media and being liberal in his attitude, he invariably likes to hear other viewpoints.

"He listens to others without giving out his inner thoughts. Perhaps he, looks for common points to consolidate his views. Don't forget there is always a poet in his heart. That is why he is a politician with a difference; with poetic pauses he tries to harmonise his heart and mind while unfolding his thoughts privately as well as publicly", a close associate of the Prime Minister told me.

It is, of course, different, when he reads out from a written text. A number of his ardent admirers then feel that his natural oratory suffers in the process. For the present he is busy finalising his UN speech. At work is his mind and thoughts and the turn-out of phrases and ideas in the context of India and the world along with their problems and pressing issues.


Air-India's flight from New Delhi to Frankfurt took over an hour extra since it avoided Pakistan's air space. From New Delhi the aircraft overflew Udaipur, Bhavnagar, the Arabian Sea, Sharjah, Iran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Turkey, the Black Sea, Ukraine, Rumania, Hungary, Austria, Salzburg and Linz before landing at Frankfrut in 9 hours and 35 minutes.

Disinvestment or no disinvestment, Air-India's cabin crew, airhostesses and other members of the staff conduct themselves politely and professionally. Their efficiency level can be the envy of any airline in the world.


The September 11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers have radically changed a number of things in American society — from attitudes to responses. Youngsters seem to take more interest in the study of Islam and other religious philosophies. According to Time magazine, there has been a 50 per cent increase in the enrolment for religious studies in Georgia State. At Emory University twice as many students have signed up for Arabic courses compared to that last year. Interestingly, the in-thing at business schools is corporate risk management.

Along with these new cravings, the youth have their new role models in various walks of life. The message is simple: America and its youth have started the process of rediscovering themselves, the results of which will be known in the years to come. America is not the same. It is neither President Clinton's America nor does it exactly reflect the thinking and perspective of President Bush. What is being witnessed right in New York is the great churning process which will throw up a New America whose characteristics we do not know yet.

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