President Obama links 9/11 trauma to war in Iraq

Earlier this month, President Obama spoke at Cairo University in Egypt “outlining his personal commitment to engagement with the Muslim world, based upon mutual interests and mutual respect…  He addressed numerous difficult issues in this speech.

And he mentions trauma (at 22min).

9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the President mention one of the lesser acknowledged reasons for us going to war.  It was the shock and unresolved trauma of 9/11 that forced us to ‘act out’ our pain and support policies such as torture, indiscriminate detentions etc. which were in blatant violation of our principles.

And he quotes, Thomas Jefferson — “I hope that our wisdom will grow, with our power.”


Read the complete transcript of the speech.


One thought on “President Obama links 9/11 trauma to war in Iraq

  1. Under-recognized is the skewed decision-making that leaders (and followers) are vulnerable to post-trauma. When trauma response activation remains beyond the moment of crisis, the system within the body that is designed to preserve us by assisting self-survival becomes the very source of that which puts us even more at risk. To our detriment, the trauma response that is not followed by recovery breaks our tie to species-survival priorities. Our ability to perceive true threats loses specificity as it becomes displaced by an over-generalized and exaggerated sense of enemies potentially everywhere. Broadening our perspective on and deepening our understanding of trauma and trauma recovery is an essential aspect of what must be cultivated if we hope for the development of future policies that better honor humanity across the globe.

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