10 years ago today

This was the view from lower Manhattan ten years ago today. I live a few miles from New York City and that Tuesday afternoon I had a Little League practice. I remember seeing a father who had worked at the Trade Center come to drop off his son and I noticed that he still had traces of the debris cloud on his skin and clothing.  But you didn’t need to live in New York or DC to have felt impact of the attacks. People around the world watched the news as it came in, trying to make sense of what had happened.  In the days and weeks and months that followed we saw America launch a counter-strike in Afghanistan that ten years later seems to have devolved into a violent stalemate. Then 18 months later America invaded Iraq and saw its actions questioned by the wider world while Iraq itself slipped into civil war before being pulled from the brink only years later. Fast forward to today and what exists is a generation that little remembers the confidence and the innocence of a 9/10 world. To them the constant threat of attack and the multi-colored threat levels, the removal of shoes and liquids at security lines, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have always been and may always be.

George Will of the Washington Post notes the vast difference between the muted anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the well publicized one of 9/11. He writes that “the dozen years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and that of the twin towers featured complacent, self-congratulatory speculation about the end of history”, a term which he defines as the end “of a grand politics of clashes about fundamental questions of social organization.” After this return to the historical norm, Will says that Americans desired to have a clear enemy as they did 70 years ago and that a now demoralized nation seeks healing in remembering such an event, something it did not seek in 1951.

Christopher Hitchens of Slate argues that the word “evil” best describes the actions and motivations of the terrorists even ten years later. He writes that after 9/11 he found himself for the first time “sharing the outlook of soldiers and cops” and “heavily involved in defending my adopted country from an amazing campaign of defamation, in which large numbers of the intellectual class seemed determined at least to minimize the gravity of what had occurred, or to translate it into innocuous terms (poverty is the cause of political violence) that would leave their worldview undisturbed.” He says that “10 years ago in Manhattan and Washington and Shanksville, Pa., there was a direct confrontation with the totalitarian idea, expressed in its most vicious and unvarnished form. Let this and other struggles temper and strengthen us for future battles where it will be necessary to repudiate the big lie.”

Articles

George Will- http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/sept-11s-self-inflicted-wounds/2011/09/08/gIQAfjm5FK_story.html

Christopher Hitchens- http://www.slate.com/id/2303013/

Jakob Augstein (Der Spiegel)- http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,785280,00.html

Steve Chapman (Reason)- http://reason.com/archives/2011/09/08/who-really-kept-us-safe-after

Michael Lind (Washington Post)- http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-world-without-911-no-president-obama-more-china-trouble-same-debt-crisis/2011/08/29/gIQA8VkuCK_story.html

Posted By Max Viscio

 

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