- Reaction score
Folks, we're starting to go in circles. Please keep future responses to something new......if possible.
On September 8, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, will deliver the keynote Canadian address to a 9/11 Commemoration Summit in Washington, organized by the Center for National Policy, the Voices of September 11th, and support from the Rockefeller Foundation. In his speech, Minister MacKay will speak to Canada and the U.S.’s ambitious security and defence agenda—bilaterally, within the hemisphere, and globally. Media are invited to attend.
The Town of Gander, Newfoundland, will also receive an International Community Resilience Award at the gala dinner following the Summit, accepted by the Mayor of Gander and introduced by Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer. Eminent reporter Tom Brokaw’s new documentary will be screened. The dinner will be attended by members of the 9/11 Commission, survivors of 9/11, Members of Congress, and senior officials from the U.S. government including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ....
CBC.ca, 8 Sept 11The federal government will announce Friday that Sept. 11 will become a "national day of service" to inspire Canadians to show the kind of compassion and generosity that were in abundance following the attacks of 10 years ago.
"It is important to recall the incredible acts of courage, sacrifice and kindness by Canadians on and following that infamous day," a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said.
As an example, the official's remarks cited the efforts of the people of Gander, N.L., who hosted thousands of foreign airline passengers who had been re-routed to Canadian soil following the grounding of passenger flights in the days following Sept. 11, 2001.
The day of service is also meant to honour the "selfless service of civilian and military volunteers who continue to stand up in the face of terrorism; and the outpouring of Canadian support in the aftermath of the attacks."
The national day of service will be marked every Sept. 11 ....
Transcript, President's weekly radio address, 27 Aug 11.... This September 11th, Michelle and I will join the commemorations at Ground Zero, in Shanksville, and at the Pentagon. But even if you can’t be in New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia, every American can be part of this anniversary. Once again, 9/11 will be a National Day of Service and Remembrance ....
Nearly a decade ago, the world was shaken by a series of senseless and cowardly terrorist attacks that took place in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
On this tenth anniversary of 9/11, we honour the nearly three thousand innocent people from 90 countries who lost their lives in the attacks and pay respect to their family and friends who still suffer with the losses of that horrible tragedy.
It is equally important to recall the incredible acts of courage, sacrifice and kindness by Canadians on and following that infamous day – acts like a community of 10,000 in Gander hosting several thousand diverted air passengers and treating them like part of their families; the selfless service of civilian and military volunteers who continue to stand up in the face of terrorism; and the outpouring of Canadian support in the aftermath of the attacks.
I hope that this National Day of Service, observed hereafter on September 11, will inspire Canadians to once more show the same kind of compassion to strangers in need, by engaging on that day in charitable activities, fundraisers and community service for worthy causes across the country.
It is a fitting way to pay tribute to the Canadians and others who were lost in 9/11, to show continued support for the families of victims, to honour the sacrifices made by those who served in the rescue efforts, and to turn an infamous date into a day of hope marked by a communal outpouring of warmth and generosity.
How can we expect to go on after this?'
Robert Fulford, National Post
Sept. 10, 2011
I went home and cried, wrote Norman Stock, a poet and librarian in the New York borough of Queens. His prose poem appeared in a book of lamentations called to. When he stopped crying he asked himself, "What will any of us do now and how will we live and how can we expect to go on after this?" In asking that question he was not alone.
Nothing will ever be the same, some people said, but that turned out not to be quite true. The poet Stock and most other people discovered they could, in fact, go on. A few months after 9/11, when even the most persistent of the fires at the Twin Towers were at last extinguished, the everyday flow of life picked up. The mass media recovered their footing. Soon politics in the U.S. and Canada hardened into an intensified version of the familiar left-right struggles of the 1990s.
While thousands of people bitterly mourned relatives and friends who were lost at Ground Zero, there were probably millions of others who turned away from their TV sets with a sharpened sense of life's cruel limits and a fresh awareness that even on the most beautiful day in early autumn, in a place of historically unprecedented prosperity, there is always the possibility that a catastrophe is waiting to happen, an outrage waiting to be perpetrated.
Many tried to get over 9/11, to move on and not let the terrorists win - and many believed they succeeded. Rich bankers discovered, to their delight, ways to get still richer. The sex lives of politicians recaptured the tabloid headlines. On college campuses beer remained, just as before, a cherished focus of student life. People resumed their complaints over gas prices. The fall of the stock market in 2008 seized as much of our attention as the fall of the World Trade Center.
Even so, marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11 means understanding that a great deal has, in fact, changed. We Canadians, Americans and Europeans are not the same people we were.
The biggest changes, bigger even than the developments in technology, have been in attitude and disposition and sensibility. We have grown more cautious, more addicted to security and at the same time more militant. Principles once considered firm have proven shaky. Our mindset, the standard equipment we bring to each new situation, has been fundamentally altered in a dozen different ways.
TO WAR AGAIN
This spring we demonstrated how much we've changed in one crucial way. Canadians joined Americans and Europeans in a NATO mission to assist the Libyan rebels - and did it with hardly a moment's hesitation. In a stunningly brief period, talk about an innocent-sounding "no-fly zone" was followed by hundreds of bombing raids.
Notably, no sizable group of Americans or Canadians objected, except during the period when it seemed the progress of the revolution was stalled. We were all appalled by the clownking Gaddafi; we were sure which side deserved our help, so we went briefly to war.
Consider that in the last decades of the old century, Canadian textbooks increasingly taught a sanitized version of history that emphasized our record as peacekeepers and just about ignored the many wars in which Canadians fought and died. Before 9/11, pacifist opinion had grown so prevalent that many Canadians agreed with the NDP's since-abandoned view that we should give up our membership in NATO and NORAD.
New and unexpected choices have been made. Our interest in maintaining our safety since 9/11 has weakened our interest in civil rights.
When weighing the needs of security against traditional liberties, the public (perhaps after a brief moral skirmish) comes down firmly on the side of security. We are much more likely than before to acknowledge that for everyone's sake the government probably has to do what it does.
Every airport has become a theatre where we act out the details of our pathetic acquiescence. Herded by insolent guards, made to wait meekly for interminable periods, submitting to bizarre indignities, we tell ourselves that it doesn't matter all that much and perhaps it has to be this way, for security's sake - even as we watch a great-grandmother struggle out of her wheelchair to prove her underwear contains nothing combustible.
Those of us who once looked forward to a plane trip don't bother to tell children how it used to be. They wouldn't believe us - and would find it hard to understand how much we have changed.
MULTICULTURALISM IN QUESTION
Multiculturalism ended the 20th century as a mainly amiable, clearly hopeful idea. It defined a nation in which immigrant minorities could choose to live in more or less self-contained clusters (usually with some government help) and let future generations decide how they will or will not make their way within the larger community.
But in the 21st century multiculturalism has become shrouded in suspicion. We now speak of it warily as something that must be "handled" with care; some countries are said to handle it well, others badly. Canadians, who once took it for granted that we know how to do this sort of thing, discovered that we don't. Our old mixture of carefully kept distance and official encouragement has proven inadequate. "Tolerance" is a much-loved word with a noble history but it no longer does the job.
Non-Muslims, so far as we can tell, believe that most of the 657,000 Muslims in Canada abide by the laws and seek only a happy private and religious life in their new home. But we have learned that we will not get through to a permanent social peace without serious tensions and anxieties, several of which are beginning to appear in the criminal courts. Mention the phrase "honour killing" and you ignite furies, even when "honour killing" is the best available term for what has happened.
Muslims sometimes claim they are the victims of Islamophobia. That word was seldom used before 9/11 but has now become an all-purpose accusation, available for use by Muslims in whatever inter-group disagreement arises; which is not to say that Muslims have no grounds for suspicion when they hear their lives and customs carelessly discussed in public.
Before 9/11, discussion of the burka was rare; many did not know what the word meant. No one would have believed in the 1990s that Canadians would ever find themselves debating whether the state should allow people to wear this or that garment on public streets. Most of us would have dismissed it as a personal matter, beyond the realm of public discussion. This libertarian attitude changed, to the consternation of Muslims and everyone who believes in individual liberty.
But if we feel free to discuss the role of the burka, we are far more inhibited when it comes to talking about the nature of Islamic beliefs.
In Canada for four or five generations people have felt free to discuss critically the Roman Catholic church, first because of its power in Quebec and various European countries, more recently because of its evident difficulty in dealing with the sexual offenses committed by priests against children.
Even earlier, many of the great scholars of the 19th-century world turned sharply critical eyes on the credibility of the Bible, the great and cherished book of Protestants.
These two traditions of robust criticism have been among the pillars of free speech in Canada as in much of the West. But no parallel stream of scholarly criticism has been directed toward Islam and the Koran. The reason in the past was probably lack of interest. Today it is sensitivity. Traditional Muslims believe the Koran is a divine book, beyond discussion. This question, muted now, is bound to surface again as multiculturalism requires us to learn more, in the normal course of education, about Muslim history.
MISSILES, HUMAN AND ROBOTIC
In this one decade the nature of war also changed radically, whether we speak of the war made by al-Qaeda against the West or the war the West makes against terrorists. Recently George Bush reflected on 9/11 in a TV interview, "It became apparent we were facing a new kind of enemy. This is what war was like in the 21st century."
This new form of conflict was carried to America by men eager to surrender their lives so that Americans would die, in itself a startling and bizarre notion to many North Americans - although not of course to Israelis, who have lived for many years under the threat of Palestinian suicide killing.
Abu Jandal, the former chief bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, knew a great deal about suicide bombing, saw its appeal broadening across radical Islam and understood how it threatened the West. He happened to be in a Yemeni jail when the Twin Towers were destroyed. Summoned from his cell, he co-operated with the FBI and identified the 9/11 pilots. He explained the future of al-Qaeda by citing the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200.
"Can you imagine how many joined bin Laden after the embassy bombings?" Jandal asked the FBI man. "Hundreds came and asked to be martyrs." He understood what we all know now, that the suicide bomber was becoming the signature of 21st-century terrorism and one of the emblematic figures of this era. "These are our missiles," he said.
About 3,000 terrorists, according to the best estimate, have died as suicide bombers in the past 30 years. These selfchosen victims have forced on us a reappraisal of one corner of the human psyche. There have been isolated political suicides in the past, including suicide bombings, but no one guessed (until the Palestinians' Second Intifada) that volunteers for this duty would become available by the hundreds.
With these human missiles, bin Laden turned American ingenuity and industry in on itself. In an unprecedented triumph of symbolism, he used one of the great American achievements, the commercial aircraft, to destroy an equally significant American success, the skyscraper.
Suicide bombing was unknown in Islamic societies until the 1980s. It was discouraged by most religious authorities but finally approved by some. Today it's impossible to talk about the warriors of the Islamic jihad without mentioning those lonely young men (and a few women) who decide they can give meaning to their wretched lives by strapping on a suicide belt and going forth for one moment of glory.
The more we know of them, the more trouble we have maintaining a good opinion of humanity. All of them are backed by elaborate and well-trained teams of instigators, fearquellers, financial backers and coaches, several of whom have admitted with chilling frankness that they would never dream of killing themselves. The bombers are also backed, in many cases, by proud families, their mothers in the forefront, awaiting praise and financial compensation.
Suicide bombers have installed their presence in global consciousness. They live now in our nightmare gallery of human menaces, alongside rapists of children and psychopaths who murder for pleasure.
Partly in response to those human missiles, the U.S. has developed a non-human missile of even greater force and brought a new kind of terror to Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. Pilotless aircraft were barely in use in 2001. Now they routinely fly far out of sight, photograph onthe-ground details, send the pictures back to controllers in Nevada, then rain sudden death on selected targets.
The drones are expensive where the suicide bombers are cheap. They are usually precise in their effects where the suicide bombers kill at random. While the operators of the drones see only obscure figures on television monitors, the suicide bombers see many of their victims up close, for a moment. Each method seeks to deal sharp, swift blows; and each seeks to protect the political status of those directing them.
Suicide bombers can be depicted as martyrs, enhancing with their lives the meaning of their cause. Drone aircraft can fight battles without spilling a drop of blood, except on the enemy side.
Like so much warfare today, the missions of the drones are of course kept secret beforehand and are disclosed afterward only if they kill an al-Qaeda leader or mistakenly kill civilians. There are at least 7,000 in the air and roughly 12,000 more on the ground. Their numbers have increased threefold since Barack Obama became president; a U.S. Air Force general has predicted that the wars of the future will involve tens of thousands of these robots.
The U.S. government knows that casualties are blamed on political leadership. With the help of the defence department and the drone program, the Obama government has done everything possible to limit military casualties. This is war in the Obama era and its development would have startled almost everyone who supported his campaign for the presidency in 2008. Mr. Obama's career as a war president illustrates how much political power is now in the hands of forces he cannot hope to control.
The hard-to-believe survival of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is the most famous symbol of the brutal realities confronting him. Established in 2002 to hold prisoners from Afghanistan and Iraq, it was among the most unpopular innovations of George W. Bush's government. Mr. Obama promised he would close it soon after becoming president. He would also take the job of judging the prisoners out of the hands of military tribunals and have them heard, with all the usual constitutional guarantees, in criminal courts in the U.S.
But many in Congress, including many Democrats, opposed the closing and opposed the change of jurisdiction. Moreover, it appeared that no community in the United States would welcome the prisoners, whether they remained jailed or were freed as immigrants.
For now, and for the indefinite future, Guantanamo remains open, a standing rebuke to Mr. Obama's over-confident campaign rhetoric. He didn't know what he couldn't do. (But of course his predecessor was equally innocent when he became president in 2001, planning to lead a peaceful and prosperous era.)
Republicans and Democrats bicker viciously about budgets and health care but Mr. Obama seems determined to revive the old ideal of a bipartisan war policy, although without quite admitting it. He's maintained the essence of the Bush approach to the struggle but executed it in a different way and with different words.
He doesn't speak of a war on terror or evildoers but he employs many of the same tools. Like Mr. Bush, he allows security officials to intercept telephone signals without going to the trouble of obtaining warrants. Like Mr. Bush, he permits the armed services and the terrorist-hunters to maintain the practice of "rendition," sending prisoners to foreign countries that may or may not have U.S.style rules prohibiting torture.
DEATH IN ABBOTTABAD
It was Operation Neptune Spear, which reached its climax on May 2, 2011, with the shooting of bin Laden at his residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that registered as both the most successful single accomplishment of the Obama government and the most vivid illustration of how consciousness has been affected by 9/11.
It was handled, first of all, by a team of U.S. Navy SEALS acting under the direction of the CIA, which itself has been transformed by 9/11. Once it focussed its most earnest efforts on collecting data but now it's a paramilitary agency (and this week acquired as its director a distinguished soldier, General David H. Petraeus). Its Counterterrorism Center, where only 300 people were working on 9/11, now employs more than 2,000, a tenth of the whole agency. Recently the Washington Post quoted the chief of the Counterterrorism Center on current progress in dealing with al-Qaeda, "We are killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them."
Placing the SEALS under the direction of the CIA was a result of the post-9/11 revelations that turf-obsessed security agencies were jealously guarding their findings from each other, to the great detriment of American security. That became clear with the release in 2004 of "The 9/11 Commission Report" from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks. In response, the Bush administration fundamentally restructured the Washington security world.
One result was that long before bin Laden was located, Special Operations units working under the CIA made five practice flights into Pakistan, testing their ability to reach a target without being detected by Pakistani radar.
This remarkable killing revealed the new style of security in other ways. Ten years ago it would have been unimaginable that the government would have sent Special Forces to kill an enemy and drop his body into the North Arabian Sea, in the process violating the territory of an American ally, Pakistan. In the 1990s, before bin Laden's attack changed the ethical landscape of America, none of that was regarded as normal or acceptable. The decision not to return his body to his family may be unprecedented.
When Mr. Obama announced the death of bin Laden, he did it with pride in a job well done. The public response indicated that on at least this one occasion, his fellow citizens were behind him.
THE PERSISTENCE OF DREAD
When major attacks in Madrid, London, Bali and Mumbai followed 9/11, they imprinted on our collective psyche the idea that terrorism may be a permanent fact of life.
Perhaps the war against it will not be "the long war," as some security specialists call it, but instead, the permanent war. After all, what would end it?
This harrowing question, once articulated, is impossible to banish from the mind. It is one of the important ways that our imagination is held hostage by 9/11.
So much of what matters to us has been invaded, swamped, by terrorism. Anyone who thinks about religion and its history, for example, finds it hard not to wander off mentally in the direction of two themes bin Laden forced us to consider: what he and his colleagues planned to do to the West and what he blamed the West for doing to Islam many centuries ago.
Those of us with a little knowledge of the Bible have heard of punishment extending unto the generations that follow. But bin Laden claimed he and his warriors were still furious about events that happened a millennium ago. Conveyed to us, this thought seems at once preposterous and terrifying, yet it's become an inescapable part of the Islamist narrative.
That's typical of much that we now need to know but neglected until 2001. This knowledge can be a burden, as well as an invitation to feel nostalgic for the days of comparative innocence, when we remained unaware that there were vast numbers of humans who wished us ill and were delighted to plot against us.
In New York, during the first few weeks of its recovery period, I heard several times a surprising phrase. Leaving a restaurant or bar, you might be sent on your way with a minted-for-the-season wish, "Stay safe," rather than "Have a nice night." It was a way of acknowledging the new aura of dread that surrounded us.
The American sense of comedy attempted to deal with it. The Onion, a great satirical paper, carried a headline on its Sept. 26, 2001, issue: Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell. A reporter in Hades had found them confused over their destination. "I was promised I would spend eternity in Paradise, being fed honeyed cakes by 67 virgins in a tree-lined garden, if only I would fly the airplane into one of the Twin Towers," said Mohammed Atta, between attempts to vomit up the wasps, hornets and live coals infesting his stomach. "Is this to be my reward for destroying the enemies of my faith?" Another dead terrorist decided, "This must be some sort of terrible mistake."
Later the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber, men who came to this continent to make themselves agents of violent death, instead turned into jokes - but there remains always a nervous undertone beneath our laughter.
Television drama offered its own kind of solace in 24, the Kiefer Sutherland series that lasted eight seasons. Every year, Sutherland's character, Jack Bauer, a rebellious government agent, faced an impending attack on America that was at least as bad (and sometimes much worse) than 9/11. And each season America was saved by its brilliant single-combat warrior, who proved more than the equal of the enemy. This was the height of terrorist drama and no one could fail to notice that Jack showed no interest in obeying the rules. Some of us found 24 both irresistibly watchable and nevertheless discomforting.
In 2005, near the middle of a nervous decade, Ian McEwan delivered Saturday, which may well be the best novel about 9/11 and its consequences, even though it says little about 9/11.
McEwan's central character, Henry Perowne, a London neurosurgeon, awakens before dawn and sees from his bedroom a plane coming down over the Post Office Tower, apparently trailing a fireball from its wing.
What does the plane mean? He reflects that "everyone agrees, airliners look different in the skies"; now they appear to be either predatory or doomed.
Perowne is a rationalist, a man of science, a believer in evidence who resists the appeal of imagination. But he sees the limits of his knowledge. He knows certain crucial issues of his time remain beyond his intellectual range. He fleetingly wishes that he could live a more private life and not spend so much of his time worrying about the world he will never be able to control.
While buying fish he remembers research demonstrating that fish feel pain. He resents "the expanding circle of moral sympathy." Distant people are now brothers and sisters; and one must feel compassion for foxes and laboratory mice. "Now the fish."
All that is a distraction from what really afflicts Perowne. He suffers from a low-level but persistent thrumming of anxiety about his own civilization's future, the 21st-century's peculiar form of dread, the most powerful effect of terrorism.
PATHS NOT TAKEN
The challenge of the jihadists was a threat to the future of the West. It should have called forth a titanic effort in response. And certainly the emotion to fuel such a response was there. Because the first city in the West to be hit was American, this new conflict especially challenged the Americans.
But it has not evoked the kind of effort that would be familiar to the parents and grandparents of current political leaders. It was not at all like the effort put forward during the Second World War, a conflict that was several years shorter than the 10-year (so far) involvement with the jihadists.
The missing word is "sacrifice." In the 1940s, Americans and Canadians, from schoolchildren to capitalists, were all expected to make a sacrifice. Boys collected junk containing strategic material to be re-used in weapons. Girls knitted socks.
Major companies donated their executives, sending them to Ottawa to organize the war effort, usually through the departments of munitions and trade. The executives received a dollar a year from the government while their employers back home paid their salaries, which can't have been easy in all cases. Profit, it was widely agreed, was not the point, not for "the duration." American executives worked on a similar system.
Since 9/11, nothing remotely like that has even been suggested. The cost of the current struggle has been unevenly distributed. Terrible sacrifices have been made by members of the armed services and their families but for most civilians it's been business as usual. The idea of shared sacrifice for a common goal has never appeared on anyone's agenda.
And whatever happens in this conflict, we have not allowed it to interfere with our prejudices. It seemed possible that Canadians, out of sympathy for the U.S., would moderate our chronic anti-Americanism. With a few exceptions, that didn't happen; we are still eager to blame the Americans for almost anything and assert our superior moral standards wherever possible. Americans, for their part, managed to generate or renew a prejudice against the French for failing to fall into line with American policy. As a joke (but not entirely a joke), french fries in some restaurants were renamed Freedom Fries.
On a CBC panel shortly after 9/11, an academic raised a much larger question: Would the attack educate North Americans and Europeans about the terrorism that Israel had been enduring for years?
She suggested it might make the world more sympathetic to Israel's burdens.
In fact, the opposite happened. Anti-Israel feeling grew in many countries, often buttressed by the dubious idea that we wouldn't be having all this trouble with radical Islam if only Israel would liberalize its relations with the Palestinians. Of course bin Laden didn't even mention the Palestinians at the start and only added them to his list of causes because (as a democratic politician would put it) they polled so well.
If Israel ceased to exist, one of Osama's heirs could list a dozen other reasons for maintaining the jihad; and, if those issues were somehow removed, another dozen would quickly be found.
THE WEST'S FUTURE IN QUESTION
They are ill-matched opponents, the West and the radical Islamists. They live on different planes of existence.
The West's identity rests, first of all, on many millions of individuals rooted in their homelands. The radical Islamists, on the other hand, exist as an idea, and a highly portable one. Scare it out of Afghanistan, it turns up in Pakistan and Yemen. Kill its current leaders and their replacements appear. In a dozen different places, from Africa to the Philippines, they can find a new (if temporary) headquarters.
The two sides will never exchange opinions, since they share no common language and no hope of developing one. The Islamic jihad speaks, or pretends to speak, with one voice and with one message, its own version of Islam.
The West prides itself on speaking in an infinite (and expanding) multitude of voices. That is the essence of the West, politically its burden, philosophically its glory.
When the radical Islamists had declared war on the West it seemed obvious they did not understand it. But perhaps the West did not sufficiently understand itself, and still does not.
The enemies of the West seem to see it as 900-millionor-so humans who are lucky enough to be occupying the richest landscape on the planet.
If that were the whole truth, the West would be worth defending only as property. But the West as a civilization embodies, on its best days, the principles articulated in the 18th century by the Enlightenment, principles that in theory can in some distant era be used by the whole world but at this moment are indispensable to our own lives - free speech, competitive politics, private property and independent judges.
During the four decades of struggle against Russia, the Cold War was the frame in which the West saw itself. Our shared consciousness had a purpose - although not one that we would have chosen.
With the crumbling of communism after 1989, the West lost that frame and lost a sense of its own meaning. In his perverse way, bin Laden had something right: He saw the signs of decadence and corruption.
Today, as it continues to fight a resourceful enemy, the West finds itself in an uncommonly weak position. It took success for granted too long and borrowed too much against it. Most of the democracies now suffer from disastrously wrong-headed national budgeting, a persistent economic slump and politicians driven to distraction by partisanship.
For the first time since 1945, the way of life invented by the Enlightenment shows serious signs of cracking. Incredibly, its future as the intellectual engine of mankind is in doubt. With the help of the external threat from radical Islam, we may have reached one of those places where a civilization finds a way to revive itself or quietly accepts that it has permanently lost its way.
It wasn't 9/11 that did in U.S
Diane Francis, Financial Post
Sept. 10, 2011
We all remember where we were at roughly 8.30 a.m. ET when the first of two attacks, which changed the world, occurred. A minute's silence is in order for the nearly 3,000 who died that day.
And another minute's silence is in order for the massacre of the U.S. economy that day.
Osama bin Laden's death in May has brought some closure and the 10th anniversary of 9/11 seems to be mostly about placing the tragic events into historical context, even though it's too early to do so.
But the usual suspects are taking the usual sides. There are those who blame all of America's financial woes on former president George W. Bush's preoccupation with his Iraq and Afghan occupations and bin Laden. "To keep the economy going during the turbulence of these years, the U.S. and its European counterparts unleashed what was to become perhaps the biggest credit bubble of all time," wrote Jeremy Warner in The Telegraph.
But any connection is tangential if, in fact, real at all.
At the other extreme is the triumphalism of Bush apologists such as Charles Krauthammer, who wrote Thursday that the busy decade of invasions and occupations and torture and security guards was cheap, effective and heroic.
"It kept us safe," he wrote, "the warrantless wiretaps, the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, preventive detention and, yes, Guantanamo."
Then he added, the total cost of "the two wars" was US$1.3-trillion or "less than 1/11th of the national debt."
Both couldn't be more off-base.
Surely Krauthammer knows the independent Congressional Budget Office in 2007 estimated the Afghan and Iraqi invasions and occupations would end up costing taxpayers US$2.4-trillion by 2017 if interest payments on borrowings to pay for combat were included. Or that Brown University, in 2010, calculated that the added price of operations in Pakistan, of the benefits due to veterans and of the interest due on debt put the total cost closer to US$4-trillion.
Or that such staggering amounts do not include the total for Homeland Security spending, which is mostly allocated outside the defence budget. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the tab has risen to US$635.9-billion.
But the allocation is worth it, say the Bush supporters, because the expected second attack didn't happen. But who expected a second attack? It looks like that was their best shot and it was a bull's eye. The only other airborne attempts involved a shoe that didn't work and some guy with exploding underwear over Detroit.
To be fair, the opposite extreme is also questionable. Jeremy Warner's theory that the war caused the financial collapse is tenuous. He said the credit bubble created by the United States and Europe was to "keep the economy going during the turbulence of these years."
The Europeans were on the military sidelines this decade. They overspent because the European Central Bank did a lousy job of managing, never even requiring independent audits of the Greek financials or anyone else's. This was as negligent as were Canadian banks in the 1980s which never asked the Reichmann family to provide income statements before lending billions until they went bust.
As for the U.S., its President made earning a Harvard MBA a dubious achievement when he over-reacted after 9/11 and launched two invasions without doing due diligence, then stayed there for years, and billions, then had no strategic plan or exit. He then changed course and spilled more "treasure and blood" to try to turn them into democracies in defiance of both logic and history. Poor old George had never read their prospectuses.
These military misadventures did not cause the economic mess either. Nor did Social Security. That was due to spending more than taxes brought in, plus allowing the monkeys to guard the bananas on Wall Street. Bush buddies, like Henry Paulson, let the suits turn U.S. banks into casinos and themselves into swindlers.
This has not been a pretty decade and thank heavens it's mostly over, except for the fiscal cleanup.
My takeaway from all this, however, is quite chilling and hard to admit. The only leader in the past 10 years with clear objectives and prescient vision was the late Osama bin Laden. He said before the attack that the real price of oil was US$100 to US$150 a barrel. Then, in 2002, he forecasted his efforts would duplicate what he did to the Soviet Union and drive the United States to "economic bankruptcy."
Tragically, the guy was right. Twice.
Each year, the 9/11 reminds the Afghans of an event in which they had no role whatsoever, but, using this as a pretext and a clout, the American colonialism shed blood of tens of thousands of miserable and innocent Afghans .... The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, from the outset, has been calling for an impartial investigation into the event but, contrarily, the Americans and their coalition partners, far from positively responding to this rationale demand of the Islamic Emirate, are sending cruise missiles, poisonous and depleted uranium embedded weapons instead. It will remain a permanent stigma on the face of the Western democracy that America and her Allies martyred tens of thousands of Muslims under the pretext of this ambiguous and murky event ....
The Canadian Press, 10 Sept 11U.S. President Barack Obama has written Prime Minister Stephen Harper to thank Canada for its help during the terror attacks a decade ago and for its continuing help in fighting terrorism.
The letter was delivered as Harper formally designated Sept. 11 a national day of service to commemorate the attacks.
Obama said Canada came through when it counted after the World Trade Center was taken down by hijacked airliners.
"In one of the darkest moments of our history, Canada stood by our side and showed itself to be a true friend," he wrote.
He paid a special tribute to Gander, N.L, which took in 6,700 airline passengers whose flights were diverted when North American air space was closed.
"We remember with gratitude and affection how the people of Canada offered us the comfort of friendship and extraordinary assistance that day and in the following days by opening their airports, homes and hearts to us."
The president also thanked Canada for its solidarity in fight terrorism today.
"On this anniversary, we recognize all the gestures of friendship and solidarity shown to us by Canada and its people and give thanks for our continuing special relationship."
In his own letter in reply, the prime minister said he and Canada extend "our sincere expression of solace and remembrance."
"Ten years later, we pay tribute to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and honour the survivors and families whose lives were forever altered that day" ....
jollyjacktar said:I hope that in 10 years from now, the world will be a safer place from this type of terrorism. :yellow:
Ten years ago today, nearly 3,000 innocent lives – including 24 Canadians – were taken in horrific acts of terrorism that took place on American soil.
These senseless and cowardly attacks shattered not only the lives of those who perished, but also of the family and friends of the victims who have had to live with the terrible losses inflicted that day.
While Canadians share in the grief of all those mourning loved ones lost, we also honour the incredible acts of courage, sacrifice and kindness by those who served in the rescue efforts.
While we honour and remember those who fell, this day will serve as a constant reminder that we are not immune from terrorism. We will continue to stand firm with our allies to help ensure such a tragedy never happens again.
Terrorism will not undermine our way of life. We will continue supporting the brave Canadian Armed Forces members and intelligence and police officers who put their lives on the line every day in the fight against the many faces of terrorism. We will steadfastly defend, protect and promote our democratic values and principles; the very foundation of our free and prosperous society.
It is what the victims would expect and what the families deserve.”
Ten years ago today, a calm and clear September morning was shattered by senseless acts that took the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children. These unprecedented and coordinated terrorist attacks led by extremists that hold no regard for human life targeted buildings that represent liberty and strength, freedom and prosperity. We remember the calamity and confusion on that day as well as the images of towers falling and ashen-faced citizens running for help. On that September morning, we bore witness to a loss of innocence. We will forever remember those who lost their lives in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, including 24 Canadians who were killed, and we continue to stand with, and offer our deepest and sincere condolences to, the families, friends and loved ones of those who perished.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have shaped the security environment of the past decade and have necessitated that Canada and the Canadian Forces act to confront this threat, in concert with our allies.
In the ten years since that fateful day, Canada has taken decisive action to address the evolving threat of terrorism. The Canadian Forces committed 38,000 military members to a UN-mandated, NATO-led mission to Afghanistan, the country used as the launching pad for the terrorists who perpetuated the attacks of September 11, 2001. Canada worked with our closest ally, the United States, to secure our continent by expanding the scope of NORAD to include maritime surveillance. This government set forth the Canada First Defence Strategy to ensure the Canadian Forces are a modern, combat-capable, flexible force, able to defend Canada and Canadian interests at home and abroad. As a result, we are better equipped and better prepared to deal with the security challenges of the 21st century.
Today, as we remember those who lost their lives exactly ten years ago, we must also remember those who sacrificed in the years since.
Canada’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen faced the threats that challenged the security of our nation, accepted the fears of their compatriots, marched to the front lines of one of the most dangerous places on earth and fought to defend the ideals and values that shaped Canada and made this country great. Through their efforts, our nation is more secure and our world is more stable. Canada owes our fighting forces, and all who support them, our gratitude. On behalf of all Canadians, I thank the members of the Canadian Forces for their service, sacrifice and selflessness.
Working with our allies, Canada remains vigilant against the threat of terrorism and continues to take action to ensure the security of Canada and the safety of all Canadians.