The New War on Terror Targets the American Right

Twenty-one years ago, Americans were united behind a common enemy whose attack on New York’s Twin Towers killed almost 3,000 people. While national unity and patriotism felt after 9/11 have long since left the country, the zeal has stayed as one political class labels a large portion of the population as an extension of the threat faced in 2001. For them, January 6 is the new 9/11.

On the 20th anniversary of the attacks, while condemning the extremists behind 9/11, former President George W. Bush implied that Trump supporters present at the Capitol riot pose a similar threat. He had seen “growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within” and emphasized America’s duty to “confront them.”

In an interview addressing 9/11 yesterday, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton described the current conservative movement as a “dangerous threat” similar to the one the country faced in 2001. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both nodded to America’s right wing yesterday during their comments on the September 11 attacks. Other government officials agreed.

  • Mark Warner, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called it "stunning" that 21 years after September 11, "the attack on the symbol of our democracy" hadn't come from foreign threats but from within the US.

Big picture: Instead of encouraging unity against real, foreign threats, political leaders are exploiting the intense emotions felt after 9/11 to demonize half the population and divide the country. This can be seen through Biden’s recent rhetoric labeling the oppositional political movement as a significant existential threat that must be stopped.

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