Issue 66: UN Leaders Condemn the Terrorist Attacks on New York and Washington, DC

UN leaders issued strong condemnations of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC.

Analysis: Following the terror assaults in New York and Washington, DC, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a strong and clear statement: “There can be no doubt that these attacks are deliberate acts of terrorism, carefully planned and coordinated-and as such I condemn them utterly.”

The same day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson expressed her “deep revulsion at the horrific events,” stating that the “callous and barbaric actions of those who perpetrated these crimes are indefensible and could never be justified.”

UN Security Council President Jean-David Levitte similarly stated: “Members of the Security Council are shocked by and unanimously condemn in the strongest terms the horrifying terrorist attacks…There can be no excuse or justification for these acts and any terrorist act.” He further urged the “international community to redouble its efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts.”

In plain and forceful language, lacking any equivocation, these top officials laid out the UN’s position on this latest series of terror atrocities. The strong language-“deep revulsion,” “barbaric actions,” “indefensible,” “horrifying”-leaves little room for debate on the global body’s posture on terrorism.

Sadly, there are those who have not taken the same moral position. Some commentators took the opportunity to make the indefensible distinction between terror attacks against Israeli citizens and the recent attacks against citizens of many nationalities at the World Trade Center. Others have exploited these assaults to advance their anti-American political agenda. Echoing the rhetoric of Saddam Hussein, who called the attacks the result of America’s “evil policy,” their calls for the United States to “learn its lesson” from its “arrogance” reflect appalling moral equivalency and lack of sensitivity. Nor can we forget those who danced in the streets of Nablus, Baghdad, and elsewhere.

The UN officials cited above, and all those who have joined their clear condemnation of terror, have upheld the principle that there can be no justification for terrorism. Their principled statements should serve as the yardstick by which we measure the comments of others in the international community.

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