9/11: When the Politics of Victimhood Turned Violent | RealClearPolitics

9/11: When the Politics of Victimhood Turned Violent

9/11: When the Politics of Victimhood Turned Violent
AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan, File

Twenty years on from 9/11, Osama bin Laden is still viewed as the ultimate evil outsider. The foreign enemy who brought death and destruction to America. The implacable foe of the West, and of modernity more broadly. The footage of him in modest dress and humble surroundings in some holdout in Afghanistan, belying his Saudi origins and his vast wealth, contrasts with the gleaming opulence and swagger of the city he sent his men so savagely to attack on 11 September 2001. And yet the truth about bin Laden, and about 9/11 itself, has always been more complicated than this. In many ways, bin Laden was as much a product of the West, and in particular of its politics of grievance, as he was its most feared terroristic enemy. His reign of terror can be seen as a violent manifestation of what has since come to be known as wokeness.

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