WH guidelines on 9/11 anniversary emphasize not “just about us”

posted at 12:45 pm on August 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks not “just about us” as Americans?  Was the attack itself “just about us”?  The New York Times got an advance look at the Obama administration’s detailed guidelines to federal agencies and diplomats about the observance of the upcoming observance of the terrorist attacks:

The guidelines list what themes to underscore — and, just as important, what tone to set. Officials are instructed to memorialize those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and thank those in the military, law enforcement, intelligence or homeland security for their contributions since.

“A chief goal of our communications is to present a positive, forward-looking narrative,” the foreign guidelines state.

Copies of the internal documents were provided to The New York Times by officials in several agencies involved in planning the anniversary commemorations. “The important theme is to show the world how much we realize that 9/11 — the attacks themselves and violent extremism writ large — is not ‘just about us,’ ” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal White House planning.

That approach of making 9/11 about more than just America caught the attention of the Drudge Report, and will likely be a hot-button debate issue over the next two weeks.  Some will argue that the attacks and the anniversary are all about the US.  After all, al-Qaeda had specifically targeted the US in a series of attacks over almost a decade leading up to 9/11, and the most damaging attack was on one of our most prominent symbols of economic freedom and global integration — the World Trade Center.  Of course, they also attacked the Pentagon, the center of American military might and security.  Critics of the Obama administration may object to a perception that the focus on this day will shift in some measure from American victims of the attacks.

However, it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t really a change from the Bush administration’s position.  George W. Bush certainly made the argument during his tenure at the White House that the 9/11 attacks were an attack on the West, and the entire free world.  The Bush administration never hesitated to point out that the victims who died in that attack came from around the world to work in New York, and that all major religions and many nationalities are represented in the lists of those whom al-Qaeda murdered. Both administrations have been consistent in pointing out that mass attacks like the kinds perpetrated in Madrid, Bali, Mumbai, and so on involve all of the free world, and not just the specific nation targeted in a single attack.

Indeed, we need to remind our friends and some of our foes that the free world takes 9/11 as an attack on global order and freedom, and not just one particular nation. Otherwise, we will find ourselves fighting the forces of terrorism and totalitarianism alone as other nations think that only the US and Israel are at risk, and our enemies will be emboldened even further.

The White House also leaked to the Times that they plan a low-key approach to the remembrances:

Some senior Obama administration leaders had advocated a lengthy program of speeches and events to mark the anniversary, but the final decision was for lower-key appearances by Mr. Obama and other senior leaders only on the days leading up to the anniversary and on Sept. 11 itself. …

That may be, but some American counterterrorism and intelligence officials are complaining that the White House missed out on tying together the 10th anniversary with recently announced strategies to combat terrorism and violent extremism into a more coherent, longer-term plan. “They don’t do that kind of long-term planning,” said a senior counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid disciplinary measures from the White House. Mr. Rhodes rejected that criticism, saying these themes have threaded through many of Mr. Obama’s speeches in recent months.

They will also warn Americans that AQ wants to conduct a remembrance of their own by launching another terrorist attack on or around the tenth anniversary.  That’s a good point to remember, and Americans should heighten their vigilance and communicate any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Update: In my haste to make my point, I unintentionally left out a mention of the attack on the Pentagon.  I’ve corrected that above, and apologize to our readers.  It’s also worth pointing out that United 93 was almost certainly circling back to Washington and probably aiming at either the Capitol or the White House.

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/garafolo off

blatantblue on August 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I’m shaking my head at the sheer cost to you to even turn it on…

karl9000 on August 30, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Maybe I’m off base here, but I see a pattern. The second worst president ever mucked up the US’ 200th birthday (1976) and the worst president ever is mucking up a solemn remembrance of a day we were attacked. I see the worst president ever as equivalent to the 2nd worst president on steroids. Neither one truly appreciated the country they were elected to preside over.

Duncan Khuver on August 30, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Gerald Ford wasn’t elected as President.

KGB on August 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Oops! You’ve answered incorrectly! Duncan was referring, of course, to Jimmah “not as bad as Obama” Carter.

massrighty on August 30, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Any chance to knock the nation down a notch, Obooba takes.

Akzed on August 30, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Hey! how about instead of having 9/11 as a day of remembrance for the World Trade Center attack, we should make it an outreach day for all the scientific contributions Muslims have given the world?

Koa on August 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM

After those 30 seconds needed to list them, what do we do the rest of the time??

Maybe ponder this list.

Which doesn’t even include Jonas Salk, BTW.

fred5678 on August 30, 2011 at 4:34 PM

The article I read earlier today didn’t mention Islam or Muslim in it. Funny how that was left out.

jeffn21 on August 30, 2011 at 4:42 PM

I was about us you moron . . . it was an attack upon this sovereign nation and its people by a foreign entity. The man makes me want to puke.

rplat on August 30, 2011 at 4:44 PM

massrighty on August 30, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Exactamundo. As I recall Jimmuh, the hero of the rabid rabbit attack, cut back on festivities because of the economy, thought it was a waste of money and time.

This guy (Obama) doesn’t have that excuse, he just out and out said we ain’t all that, we are the world, ____ (fill in stupid leftist feel good saying here)_____

Duncan Khuver on August 30, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Carter wasn’t president during the US’ 200th birthday (1976).

blink on August 30, 2011 at 4:50 PM

D’oh!

(With apologies to Mr. Anthony DeTeso, who taught me much better history than that…)

massrighty on August 30, 2011 at 4:58 PM

I suppose there will be no mention of Islam or Muslims except to point out that many many Muslims died in the towers (what has CAIR got it up to now? 1 in 3?)and that apparently all the important first responders were Muslim. I hope W pipes up about Islam being peaceful and tolerant, we miss that.

So go out to the malls, buy Chinese stuff, be vigilant and if you encounter any one that looks like a hijacker of airplanes/religions, be respectful and keep your eyes lowered and be silent.

BL@KBIRD on August 30, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Kumbayah.

Ward Cleaver on August 30, 2011 at 5:24 PM

OK I am corrected.

Duncan Khuver on August 30, 2011 at 6:44 PM

I didn’t see a plane hitting the UN building, so yes.. 9/11 was ALL about us. In my opinion, we didn’t hit them back hard enough. We should have bombed their either countries to rubble, bomb that rubble to sand and bomb that sand to dust. If we would have taken a harder approach and shown what we will do to countries that harbor our enemies, then something like 9/11 would never happen again because countries would kill off any radicals due to fear of reprisal from the US. Instead, Bush caved to the bleeding hearts and 0bama is as soft as butter in the sun. Another 9/11 is only a matter of time and I suspect that next time, it will be nuclear or biological and have a 6 figure plus death toll.

Wolftech on August 30, 2011 at 7:48 PM

9-11 NEVER FORGET!
NEVER SURRENDER!
OUR country was attacked that day and those of us still sucking air and still in our right minds will continue to remember, despite what the (p) Resident has to say!

MITX on August 30, 2011 at 7:50 PM

bombed their eitherentire countries

FIFM :)

Wolftech on August 30, 2011 at 7:52 PM

I don’t understand why the first responders haven’t been invited.

Knucklehead on August 30, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Because, standing next to them on a dais, the Pencil-DicNeck-In-Chief would look like the mom-jeans-wearing, America-hating, narcissistic wimp that he is. Poor “optics”, doncha know.

:-P

Mary in LA on August 30, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Carter wasn’t president during the US’ 200th birthday (1976).

blink on August 30, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Thank you. I was hoping I wasn’t the only one who noticed that gaffe.

KGB on August 30, 2011 at 10:11 PM

Not just about us? WTF.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no ….

shades_of_gasden on August 30, 2011 at 10:53 PM

OMG…Obama Must Go!

StarLady on August 30, 2011 at 10:57 PM

I find it strange that the White House would send out ‘guidelines’ for remembrance. Does that happen frequently? I thought most people would just organize their own thing according to their local preferences, except for the main site in NYC which would coordinate with the city, state, and White House.

Common Sense on August 31, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Guidelines are proper-we don’t want to restrain Muslim joy in celebrating the 10th anniversary death of 3000 Infidels.Also we should contribute infidel taxpayer money to fund a Muslim Victory mosque so they can keep the joyful memory of this occasion permanently embedded in their hearts.What’s that you say? Better a 30-06 slug in their hearts? Such poor losers!!!!What will the UN think of us?

MaiDee on August 31, 2011 at 12:15 AM

Carter wasn’t president during the US’ 200th birthday (1976).

blink on August 30, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Thank you. I was hoping I wasn’t the only one who noticed that gaffe.

KGB on August 30, 2011 at 10:11 PM

His presidency was so awful it seemed like it lasted much longer.

Extrafishy on August 31, 2011 at 5:56 AM

I didn’t see a plane hitting the UN building, so yes.. 9/11 was ALL about us. In my opinion, we didn’t hit them back hard enough.

Wolftech on August 30, 2011 at 7:48 PM

-
Someone please send this directly to Obulldung’s morning comics page.
-

RalphyBoy on August 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

It’s all about us

Everyone in the world knew it was all about ux.

The terrorists were not striking terror targets, they were striking America.

That is why there was dancing in the streets in muslim countires. They were not celebrating another well placed terror attack. They were celebrating an attack on America. This is why big hezbollah rallies end with the chant “Death to America”

If the WH wants to say it was not all about us, it is only because the WH is not one of us

entagor on August 31, 2011 at 2:31 PM

I find it strange that the White House would send out ‘guidelines’ for remembrance. Does that happen frequently? I thought most people would just organize their own thing according to their local preferences, except for the main site in NYC which would coordinate with the city, state, and White House.

Common Sense on August 31, 2011 at 12:00 AM

The guidelines are for Federal representatives acting in an official capacity.

I don’t think it happens with every event, but, it’s not uncommon for the White House to set the official tone on big events.

JadeNYU on August 31, 2011 at 5:20 PM

9/11 was all about us.

AQ certainly didn’t mind if other people got caught in the cross fire, but, they were not the target. They were victims of ‘wrong place/wrong time’.

They hijacked American planes and flew them into American buildings in the hopes of hurting the American economy and military and, in the process, managed to kill nearly 3000 people (most of whom were American).

I think it’s worth pointing out that simply not being American is not enough to guarantee your safety, in case some of our fellow westerners hope they can appease our enemies and escape their notice. If that’s the point the President is trying to make, fine. If; however, he’s trying to claim that this happened to the world and the U.S. wasn’t uniquely wounded that day, he can shove it.

JadeNYU on August 31, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks not “just about us” as Americans?

Of course it wasn’t about us at all, that’s the big cover up. There was a yemeni janitor working in the building who deflowered muhammad atta’s sister. You don’t do that to a saudis sister and get away with it. Bush just used the event to start two wars.

peacenprosperity on August 31, 2011 at 6:56 PM

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