Archive for The Fallacies of 911

The Days After

I didn’t write anything on September 11, 2006 — worked the entire week and month before about what I might write, wanted to write, should write. Then didn’t. Started pulling things together on September 12. It is obviously going to take a little longer than I anticipated. So I am starting a new category and will post in small amounts as I manage to find the words for this difficult subject.

I will pull a few threads together that have been consistent for me over the last few weeks, months, years… my lifetime.

Let’s start with re-stating the obvious. The events on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001 were appalling. They were painful to watch, even for those who knew no person directly involved, whether lost or helping in the rescue and recovery efforts. No other attack on primarily civilian targets had ever succeeded on such a scale in this country. With the exception of the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, there had been nothing in my adult life that even approximated this event.

That said, let’s talk about what it actually meant at the time. Obviously, it meant that there are some people in this world who care so little for other people they are willing to commit mass murder just to make a point.

But that isn’t news.

It meant, also, that the United States government was not listening to its sources and following up on leads to prevent this sort of attack. It meant, perhaps, that there were just so many leads — real as well as false — that sifting through them took more hours and people than the government could provide.

But that isn’t news.

Obviously, it meant that the United States was a target, but so too was the world — it was, after all, the WORLD trade center, and huge numbers of the dead and injured were born outside the United States.

That isn’t news, either!

And it meant that, somewhere, there was a degree of desperation, or madness, or both on the part of the people who planned and carried out the attack.

And neither was this truly newsworthy.

Finally, it meant that the United States had entered the modern world as seen through the eyes of people the world over: never knowing if the young boy riding home from school, or the grandmother entering the bus, or the car parked across the street might be carrying a bomb. Never knowing when, or where, or for whom, the next bomb would be detonated. And yet knowing there would be another…

This was definitely news!

My thoughts moved from what that single terrorist incident to the many incidents in the world before and since: bombs in Indonesia, Spain, India, Yemen, Israel, …

The United States is not alone — as a nation or as a people, no matter how isolationist its policies, nor misguided its actions.

Not only does the United States not exist in a vacuum, but there are many many countries that deal, on a truly daily basis with crimes and tragedies of this type and on nearly this scale.

So the question becomes:

How do we deal with these new (to us) fears and remain the same open, optimistic, outgoing people we imagined ourselves to be on September 10, 2006?