I wrote this over at Carol Platt's site:
9/11 was obviously a galvanizing moment for America. Unfortunately most Americans did not realise the impact it would have on the rest of the world.
It's hard to describe, but the vest majority of the world was horrified with those events on that day. I burst into tears in front of my TV set here in Australia when I learned the news.
There was a huge outpouring of sympathy and brotherhood towards America as a result of this terrorist act. Here in Australia people gathered in front of US consuls and waved US flags and dropped flowers in sympathy. A German warship even saluted an American warship, giving the Americans the highest honour they could give.
America always develops negative feelings amongst the international community, but that completely disappeared after 9/11. We felt as one with America, we wanted to help America, we wanted to stand by America in its action against terrorism, we felt righteous anger. There was a link there with America that had never existed beforehand. Where once there was cynicism there was deep respect and admiration.
And then Bush and the GOP blew it by going to Iraq.
It hurt us that our counsel was so readily ignored. We waited to be convinced by American intelligence sources while, at the same time, Americans began to insult and degrade allies like France and Germany who had genuine questions about Iraq. When we said "no" to supporting the invasion, the outpouring of hate towards us by America was astounding. We had become the proxy enemy though we had done nothing.
America invaded and now is mired in a quicksand of violence that will not end.
America does not want to be liked. That's not America's role. However America needs to be trusted and respected if it is have a positive effect upon the world.
With Bush and the GOP and the war in Iraq, no trust or respect is left. We look upon the ruins of its democracy with sadness and anger. We feel betrayed by America's acts. This will not be forgotten. America's place in the world has changed permanently.