Syria and September 11

PARIS – By chance, it appears that the US Congress will decide on or around September 11 whether to endorse President Barack Obama’s proposal to respond militarily to the Syrian government’s use of poison gas against civilians. The shadow of two previous events that took place on September 11 looms over the outcome – indeed, over the fact that the question is even being considered at all.

Long before September 11 became a day of infamy in the United States, it acquired similar significance in Chile, where 40 years ago, on September 11, 1973, the armed forces, led by General Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the country’s democratically elected government. More than any other event of our era, that violent coup was responsible for launching both the contemporary global movement for human rights and the American movement to promote human rights internationally.