In the terrible terrorist attacks of September 11, thousands of our fellow citizens were buried under the rubble. The rest of us have been buried under the rubble of words that followed. It is hard to criticize such words; all of us utter trivial platitudes in moments when events simply exceed our capacity for reflection and insight.
Next to the minaret of Milwaukee’s Islamic Society a new sign appeared after the horrific events of September 11: “Our Hearts and Prayers Are with the Victims and Their Families.” That message was emphasized at the mosque’s prayer service on September 14, the national day of remembrance for all those who have suffered as a result of September 11’s terrorist attacks
For a couple of hours on September 11 I, along with a lot of other people in southern Manhattan, had to face the real possibility of sudden and violent death as buildings collapsed and the streets filled with choking dust, fumes and falling debris.
For several months Congress had been calling for President Bush to coordinate the work of security-oriented agencies spread throughout the executive branch. The president, who retains a 75 percent approval rating, resisted such a move.
Many Americans have become born-again believers in patriotism since September 11, some to their own surprise. Writing the “My Turn” column in Newsweek, for instance, 20-something Rachel Newman confessed that before 9/11 she and her girlfriend had been talking about moving to another country because of the perceived inequalities in the U.S.
The U.S. war against terrorism since September 11 has obscured a longstanding yet growing set of dysfunctional relationships between this nation and most other nations. The U.S. has become disconnected from the interests and perspectives of other nations on every continent due to its isolationism, lack of cooperation, and unilateral actions.
When she was ten years old, Deora Bodley was in a play called Compukids in which she sang a song written by her father: “My daddy always said / when he’d put me down to bed: / Rest easy, little one, and don’t you cry.
Nine days after the events of September 11, when President Bush laid out the grounds and directions of the U.S. response to terrorism in a speech to a joint session of Congress, he declared that this is “not . . . just America’s fight. And what is at stake is not just America’s freedom.