“The story of the . . . catastrophic intelligence failure that led up to the attacks is told with relish by the authors of The 9/11 Commission Report. Borrowing a technique from the intelligence services, publishers WW Norton refused to confirm or deny to The Observer whether the report was rewritten by John Grisham or Robert Ludlum to give it some narrative muscle. They claim it was the joint work of the Commission’s Republican and Democrat members.
“But I’d like to know which veteran member of Congress wrote the opening lines: ‘Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States. Millions of men and women readied themselves for work.... For those heading to an airport, weather conditions could not have been better for a safe and pleasant journey. Among the travellers were Mohammed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari, who arrived at the airport in Portland, Maine.’
Who wouldn’t read on?”
—Martin Bright, columnist, The Observer, 2004 (See complete column.)
Speak up! Feedback and suggestions—printable and otherwise—always welcome. After all, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “There are no false opinions.”
Along with the murders of JFK, MLK and RFK, “the Day Which Will Live in Infamy,” and the “giant leap for mankind,” 9/11 was one of those irrefutably defining moments in the collective American memory. We all remember where we were when we heard, unbelieving, that planes had struck the World Trade Towers. The world truly changed on that day.
On this anniversary, it’s not only worthwhile but essential to remember the event, the politics of hate that spawned it, and the national and global mindset that have resulted from it. Neither war nor terror is a new concept, but the new global political and cultural iteration that grew from 9/11 was and is new, and warps us all.