On The 9/11 Anniversary

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 I wrote this post about what I wold like my children to learn from it. I don't have much to add, other than saying that point #6 is more evident than it was two years ago.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Steven H. says

    The thing I remember most about 9/11 was the fall of the second tower. I was watching live TV coverage after the first tower fell (before they knew it was an attack, and not a dreadful accident), and the announcer was babbling something about the plane hitting the tower. Over his shoulder, I watched the second plane fly into the WTC, and the building start falling, and the announcer says "we have unconfirmed reports of a second plane in the vicinity of the WTC" (or words to that effect).

    I couldn't decide whether to laugh at the poor guy, or cry….

  2. Renee Marie Jones says

    On 9/11 our character as a people was tested and we failed. We surrendered our freedoms and our sense of fairness and justice. We lashed out in anger and revenge. On that day we became the enemy.

  3. The Man in the Mask says

    What I have learned is that our adversaries — to lump together many disparate groups with diverse goals — are smarter than we are. They launched a simple-but-well-crafted attack using cheap/expendable labor, a minimal training budget, and almost no materials. The idea was, of course, not to destroy the WTC or the Pentagon or anything else because that's not an important goal. The idea was to provoke us.

    And it worked.

    Instead of asking ourselves why the most heavily-funded military force on the planet couldn't even defend its own HQ from amateurs flying a civilian airliner, we asked ourselves how we should strike back, how we should seek vengeance, how we should prevent this from happening again. (Free clue: it's not preventable. Ever.)

    So we turned the US into a surveillance state far beyond the dreams of the most imaginative Stasi official. We invaded other countries, spending our treasure and blood in them. We destroyed our economy. We trashed the (momentary) empathy and sympathy of most of the world. We created new enemies. We further destabilized political situations that were already rickety. We gave every podunk sheriff in the country an excuse to buy an armored humvee and build a SWAT team, and to see terrorists behind every bush. We instituted warrantless searches of our citizens. We instituted "may I see your papers, please?", a nightmare I'd hoped never to live to see. We turned our fellow citizens — who happened to be Muslim — into "niggers"and "dirty japs" and (pick your racist xenophobic epithet for whatever group is blindly hated this decade)…and we've been every bit as hostile to them as we've been (and sometimes still are) to other people we call "minorities" — but who are really our brothers and sisters. We've done things beyond the bad dreams of Orwell. We've killed indiscriminately with drones. We've built our very own gulag in Cuba. We've made ourselves one of the most hated countries on earth. And we lie to ourselves about it constantly, every time there's a militaristic display (complete with flyover) before a football game and marching soldiers and "at least I know I'm freeeee" and flags and banners and and and…

    Like I said, it worked.

    When the history of the fallen United States quasi-empire is written, a few hundred years from now, it will be noted that we weren't conquered from outside. It wasn't necessary. We destroyed ourselves, our fear and paranoia quietly eroding us from the inside until, finally, there was nothing left of the grand, noble experiment.

    "A republic — if you can keep it" — Benjamin Franklin

  4. Bryan says

    Shortly after the first World Trade Center bombing, I remember a statement from Osama bin laden that he was going to turn the western nations into police states like the middle east was. Looks like he succeeded for the USA and GB. :(

  5. Erwin says

    Let's summarize:

    Osama won. The model of western democracy was winning, at least outwardly. And we threw it away to build a useless police state because he killed a few stockbrokers.


  6. babaganusz says

    "because he killed a few stockbrokers."

    …and white collar crime investigators, and pentagon bookkeepers… okay, i'll quite before some ninny cheapens the term 'conspiracy theory' even further…

  7. Myk says

    Renee – I would disagree. On 9/11 America was tested and found its strength, in those who rushed to help. In the 12 years since, however, that strength has failed and fear, paranoia and suspicion has been used to advance the power and wealth of a select few at the expense of the many.