How different would things be now, if Bush, after the 9/11 attacks, had responded, “The answer to violence is even more Democracy”?

The following video is of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, addressing the press and the people of Norway after the murder of nearly 100 people on the tiny island of Utøya. It is the kind of thoughtful response to terrorist violence that I longed for here in the United States after the attacks of 9/11, and it makes me wonder how things might be different now, had we followed such a course, instead of pursuing wars of choice abroad and infringing on the civil rights of our citizens at home, corralling them into “free speech zones” and listening in on their phone calls.

Here’s the transcript:

Today Norway was hit by two shocking and bloody and cowardly attacks. We still do not know who attacked us; much is still uncertain. But we know that many are dead and injured.

We are all shocked at the evil that has struck us so brutally and so suddenly.

This night demands much of all of us. And the days that follow will demand even more.

We are prepared to face up to this.

Norway hangs together during critical times. We mourn our dead, we suffer with the injured, and we comfort relatives. This is about attacks on innocent civilians, on young people at summer camp. An attack on all of us.

I have a message to the people who attacked us, and those behind them. This is a message from all of Norway:

You will not destroy us.

You will not destroy our democracy nor our quest for a better world.

We are a small nation, but we are a proud nation.

No one shall bomb us into silence or shoot us into silence.

Nothing will frighten us out of being Norway.

This night we will comfort each other, talk with each other, and stand together. Tomorrow we will show the world that Norway’s democracy grows stronger when it is challenged. We shall find the guilty and hold them responsible. The important thing tonight is to save lives, to care for the victims and their loved ones.

I would like to state my recognition for the work of the police, the medics, and all the other people who currently do such formidable work to help others, healing injures and saving lives.

We must never cease to stand up for our values. We have to show that our open society can pass this test, too. And that the answer to violence is even more democracy, even more humanity, but never naïveté. That is what we owe to the victims and to the those they hold dear.

Norway’s Foreign MinisterJonas Gahr Støre then added: “The Norway that you will meet tomorrow will be recognizable. We will stand up for the values that made Utøya possible. The nature of the Norwegian democracy will not change, we will not allow this person that luxury.

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  1. james
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    There was a thoughtful response in the U.S. for about a week after the 9/11 attacks.

    Norway doesn’t have a giant military that needs to be used, so they will probably be better able to actually put the rhetoric into action.

  2. Mr. X
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I’d have to go back and check the speeches given by Bush, but I don’t remember him ever saying that we needed to extend civil rights in the wake of 911. All I remember is a lot of talk of “evil doers” and how we were going to get them. And then the lies about Iraq began.

  3. Posted July 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    And people voted for that guy AGAIN in 2004.

    Kerry ran a miserable campaign (not to be outdone until the McCain campaign), but the world would be a vastly different place now if he had lost.

    God know what Republican President we’d have right now.

  4. james
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    It didn’t take long for their actions to completely contradict their words, but at first their rhetoric was not so stupid. Bush & co. could have treated terrorism more sensibly, instead they decided to declare the eternal “War on Terror”.

  5. Edward
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Actually, if I remember correctly, Bush went into hiding immediately after the attacks, and didn’t resurface for quite some time.

  6. Meta
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Anders Behring Breivik, the man who killed nearly 100 in Norway, is said to have been influenced by American right wing bloggers.

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