What can I add to other people’s eloquent writings on this topic.

I was not surprised by the attack. I had been expecting WMD terrorism for years. I expect more of it. I am grateful that President Bush, instead of sending the FBI to Pakistan to take depositions, understood immediately that we were in a world war. IMO this was his defining act as president, from which everything else followed. If he had handled things differently then we might be in a much worse position now and for years to come.

What surprises me is how quickly so many Americans have decided to put the 9/11 attack, the war and concerns about WMD terrorism behind them. We are probably safer now than we were immediately before 9/11. But we will probably remain a target because technology that can be used to make WMD is probably only going to become more widely available.

Time will tell. In the meantime I want us to keep killing our enemies, to discourage attacks and to discourage other groups and countries from becoming our enemies.

I invite discussion in the comments.

UPDATE: David Foster has a related post here. See also here.

12 thoughts on “9/11”

  1. I was not surprised either. My wife was surprised that I was not surprised. I told her, I thought it would be a nuke when they attacked New York again.

    Jonathan called me that day after the planes hit but before the towers fell. Neither of us were surprised.

    I am surprised we have not been hit again yet. We will be.

  2. Inne remarks…Americans have made it very clear that terror is uppermost on their minds…and the antrax? what happened to that one? Who was at the table where the buck stops on 9/11?

  3. Well, I was surprised. But then it was like a novel’s resolution – I stopped and realized, yes, that’s where we’ve been headed. And considering the huge kinds of projection out there, it may well be true that terrorism remains high in American’s minds, but there’s a huge amount of denial going on.

  4. “Who was at the table where the buck stops on 9/11?”

    After thirty years (+,?) of airplane hijacking being existent (if not common) the buck stops at the airlines and their partner in the skys, the FAA. Simple procedures re. cockpit access, physical barriers to the cockpit, and emergency weapons would likely have prevented all the damage on the ground and much on board the planes.

    Mind you, it is exceedingly difficult to protect oneself from ambushes since the advantages to the attacker are just about limited to his imagination and intelligence. The airlines didn’t have to imagine an airline hijacking however; they’d seen enough; they only had to imagine one ending badly.

  5. I was surprised at the size of the 9/11 attacks, but not much else. And especially not that it was Islamic fundamentalists. I had read so much history and current events, you see. It was on my knowlege horizon that Bin Laden had declared a fatwa against Americans everywhere, so when I did think of it in a desultry way, I assumed that it was just a matter of time. I kind of expected some kind of spectacularly horrid bombing atrocity/hostage-taking event in CONUS; oh, and it would involve a nursery school or a hospital, 50+ casulties and news coverage up the wazoo.
    And I wasn’t some counter-intel big brain, particularly, just someone who could make the conceptual leap.

  6. U of C being a conservative bastion, is Bush’s Iraq response worth a TRILLION dollars, not to mention the blood? We’ll look at it again about 2010 – may be $$TWO TRILLION by then. I will never again believe government “can’t afford” anything. The GOP finally followed the Bushies right over the cliff; if the Dems weren’t so inept they could be in charge for 100 years – and may be anyway.

  7. I was living in a town in southern France. A friend in Singapore emailed me to say the WTC had been attacked and they thought it was terrorists.

    I went out onto the tiny main street – it was twilight and the shop lights were just beginning to come on – and walked over to a café and watched the news on their large screen TV, along with other people – most of them French – immobile with shock, faces drawn, not speaking. We watched President Chirac’s response,which was grave and dignified. I don’t know how the others spotted me for a foreigner, but two or three kindly people asked if I am an American. I’m not. I’m from just the other side of the Channel, but I was touched nevertheless by their desire to offer their condolences to someone. Anyone. It even flashed through my mind that I ought to say, “Yes” in answer to the question, so they would have someone to receive their goodwill.

    Unlike Jonathan, I was a little bit surprised. Not surprised that an attack had been made on the West, and on the richest and most powerful country in the West, and on its financial centre – symbol of its wealth and power. I think I was surprised by the scale, though. Oddly enough, one thing I was not was impressed. (Other than by the bravery of the New Yorkers.)

    Like many others, I knew instantly that this was not a one-off. I knew it was a declaration of a permanent state of war, and I endorsed the “bring it on” stance of President Bush. It is the defining event of our age, and this is one of the defining battles in the history of civilisation.

    People are foolish when they – usually militant atheists – say “religion causes all wars”. It doesn’t, of course. Land, power, wealth motivate most wars. But this one is truly about religion and the desire of a group of zealots to impose dominancde of their primitive religion on the entire world. And we have to resist it with all our might.

    What disturbs me are the morons who want to “understand” what made the muslims so angry; and want to blame Western society. How can people witness an act of aggression and horror of that magnitude and want to “understand” rather than condemn and resist by the sword?

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