9/11: Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere
Father Mychal Judge: A modern day Pietá. More here.
Are we safer today?
Two years ago, we and our colleagues issued a report card assessing the
government's progress on the bipartisan recommendations in the 9/11 commission report. We concluded that the nation was not safe enough. Our judgment remains the same today: We still lack a sense of urgency in the face of grave danger. U.S.
homeland confronts a "persistent and evolving terrorist threat," especially from al-Qaeda, according to a National Intelligence Estimate issued in July. Six years after the attacks, following a series of ambitious reforms carried out by dedicated officials, how is it possible that the threat remains so dire? U.S.
The answer stems from a mixed record of reform, a lack of focus and a resilient foe. Progress at home -- in our ability to detect, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks -- has been difficult, incomplete and slow, but it has been real. Outside our borders, however, the threat of failure looms. We face a rising tide of radicalization and rage in the Muslim world -- a trend to which our own actions have contributed. The enduring threat is not Osama bin Laden but young Muslims with no jobs and no hope, who are angry with their own governments and increasingly see the
as an enemy of Islam. United States
And so history will remember 9/11 as the mouse that roared, the thorn brushed in passing that somehow pierced the very soul of the nation, rending it in two and laying bare the stunning fragility of the American national character. It will remember 9/11 as a small tragedy compounded by the much larger one of an
that cannot move on, an America that would rather run endlessly after phantom terrorists than focus on fulfilling its own great promise, an America that was diverted so easily from its great mission of world peace and world prosperity. The metaphor of the mouse and the elephant is particularly apt here, for of course a mouse cannot really strike in any significant fashion at an elephant, yet the elephant is so irrationally afraid of the mouse that it becomes completely paralyzed by the very sight of him -- the powerful beast takes on the ultimate animistic visage of a coward. America
and the world, George Bush's "war on terror" approach walked directly into the trap the terrorists set for us. Islamic extremists wanted to frame the conflict with the America as a war of civilizations, and the Bush Administration, stuck in a Cold War mentality, happily complied. U.S.
-- JOHN EDWARDS
Even if you wanted to forget what day it was, you couldn't. When you write a check or plan a meeting, there it is — printed on the calendar, encoded in time.
You might forget the date
was bombed or Kennedy was shot. You can't forget Sept. 11, the date that shares its name with the catastrophe of 2001. Hiroshima
Is that beginning to change, even as the war the attacks helped to inspire drags on in
Tuesday's sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people is unlikely to pack the same emotional clout, generate the same media attention or command the same public focus as the fifth anniversary.
-- RICK HAMPSONAnother anniversary of 9/11 is near. It's been nearly six long years since a catastrophic attack on our shores, and we've understandably turned to infighting and second-guessing - about everything from Guantanamo to wiretaps.
But this six-year calm, unfortunately, has allowed some Americans to believe that "our war on terror" remedy is worse than the original Islamic terrorist disease.
We see this self-recrimination reflected in our current Hollywood fare, which dwells on the evil of American interventions overseas, largely ignoring the courage of our soldiers or the atrocities committed by jihadists. Our tell-all bestsellers, endless lawsuits and congressional investigations have deflected our 9/11-era furor away from the terrorists to ourselves.
All this tail-chasing comes only with the illusory thinking that the present lull is the same as perpetual peace. Have we forgotten that experts still insist that another strike will come, carried out by those already here or shortly to enter the United States?-- VICTOR DAVIS HANSEN
When Osama bin Laden resurfaced Friday in a 26-minute videotaped speech, his most important message was one left unsaid: We have survived.
Six years ago, in the aftershock of the terrorist attack that reduced the World Trade Center to a smoldering pile, local officials wondered whether people would want to live or work around the financial district again.
Today, as new residents fill converted office buildings and jam the raucous block party that erupts nightly on Stone Street, the more likely curiosity about Lower Manhattan is: Where did all these people come from, and how can they afford to live here?
Despite the slow pace of reconstruction at ground zero, the area below Chambers Street is humming with activity, much of it designed to appeal to the well-heeled professionals who are transforming the neighborhood. Already, it has added hundreds of condominium units and hotel rooms, a thriving restaurant row, a private school charging $27,000 a year, a free wireless Internet service, a BMW dealership and an Hermès boutique.
As we historians look back on September 11 and the political changes it wrought, we need to keep in mind the context. "September 11 changed everything" is a constant refrain. But like so many major historical events, change is relative. More importantly, change is limited by preexisting beliefs and assumptions. Americans processed September 11 according to those notions. For the right it merely verified their own hyper-imperialism, xenophobia, war-lust, and dislike of democracy. For Democrats, it showed yet again the need for and political value of Cold War liberalism.
It is an attachment that shows little sign of abating. And its effects suggest that for American progressives, a primary challenge in the coming years will be to reorient the Democratic Party away from Cold War liberalism, and toward another kind of foreign policy, one that does not assert American hegemony, and one that does not rely on militarism and interventionism to accomplish its aims.
Here, then, is probably our great failure as academics over the last six years - and longer. Six years ago history disrupted our reverie. Rushing to return to normal, we, like George Bush, missed a great opportunity. We need to make our campuses centers of political creativity, intellectual daring, and moral grandeur. We need to think more broadly and more deeply about our role and our students' role in the world. We need to do this to help face the terrorist threat to the West more seriously and effectively; but we also must do this to make sure that our universities are not merely credentialing factories mass producing the complacent careerists of tomorrow but are cutting edge centers of active and engaged learning nurturing the leading problem-solving citizens of today - and tomorrow.
Our defining moment happened hundreds of years ago and it wasn't televised. When the signers of the Declaration of Independence gathered, they knew what they were doing and what the eventual cost could be. Many of the believers paid with their lives in order to give future generations freedom from the tyranny of an out of touch leader who felt that the colonies were his personal line of credit. Nathan Hale, John Paul Jones and Patrick Henry fascinated me as a fifth-grader. Their reported sayings energized my interpretation of history, inspiring me to believe in the freedoms that were later written down as our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The current generation is willing to give up everything that these people fought and died for, because they are scared that something bad might happen to them. Some people need to get a grip on reality. Do people honestly believe that there that many terrorists who could destroy us? Do people honestly believe that there that many terrorists who could destroy us? There are more than 300 million of us spread out over 3.7 million square miles. If you live in
, the only people coming to get you are people who didn't like Radar. Why are we running around scared of every little shadow and any dissent from the official line is called treason? Americans are supposed to be braver than that. And smarter. Ottumwa, Iowa
What the heck happened to my country?