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September 11, 2009

September 11
Posted by Patrick at 01:46 PM * 19 comments

Today marks a grim anniversary, a day when a few fanatics, equipped and secretly encouraged by foreign ideologues, struck a violent blow against normal, civil, democratic society. In the years that followed, the events of that day led to further tragedy, as a once-civilized country turned to the widespread practice of torture. Perhaps now at last we can gain some perspective on this history, and better understand what the defense of a democratic society demands of us.

Today is also the anniversary of an attack on New York City and Washington, DC.

Comments on September 11:
#1 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 03:59 PM:

A point well made.

About the other September 11 ... I saw it on television but I lived it on Usenet, mainly through your posts.

#2 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:00 PM:

I've had my annual cry now...

#3 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:02 PM:

When I was a student in London, c. 1991-1994, I had a friend, older than I of course, who had been a schoolteacher in Allende's Chile, and fled in fear of her life after the coup. She described almost being shot by soldiers, and detention, and there was probably worse. Life in the UK as an asylum-seeker speaking no English (at the time) and working as a cleaner was better than staying there.

#4 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:24 PM:

Today is also the 232nd anniversary of the battle of Brandywine, where, in 1777, Casimir Pulaski charged the British army and saved the life of George Washington, thus ensuring that we would have him around long enough to help found the nation and become our first president.

#5 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:31 PM:

It's the 17th anniversary of Hurricane Iniki, which did horrendous damage to Kauai and a lot less to Oahu.

#6 ::: Elizabeth Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:33 PM:

My co-worker just came in and related her 9-11 story. She spent it driving around the Olympic Peninsula in Robbie Knieval's van with Dan Haggerty to get bears for a photo shoot. She spent part of the day with a bear the size of a Volkswagen growling a few feet from her face and Haggerty saying, "Don't show fear!" You can't make stuff like that up.

#7 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Keith Kisser @4:

"Make it one for Washington and all his gallant men, and one for the girl I left behind,
Make one for the bonny boy I'll never see again, and don't forget the Blacksmith of Brandywine."

#9 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:49 PM:

Thank you, Patrick.

#11 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 11:17 PM:

In the days after the attack, I put up the flag at my house, and felt the flags flying through the neighborhood gave a comforting sense of solidarity in grief. I should point out that my neighborhood is pretty solidly liberal -- for example, I've never seen a Republican bother to file for the state legislature in this precinct. These weren't flags accessorized by pictures of bombers.

On Facebook earlier this week, a friend mentioned that he'd be flying his flag on 9/11. I felt no urge to do so. Today, a flag on 9/11 makes me think of lies about weapons of mass destruction, Halliburton, and loss. That adds to the sadness of the anniversary.

#12 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 01:01 AM:

Ten years ago, September 11th was a Saturday...and with a cheap weekend fare, a good day to be visiting NYC from Boston. A CityPass meant we had various tickets that we wouldn't necessarily have paid full price for, so we hit a few extra tourist sites that weekend, including the observation decks of both the WTC and Empire State Building.

The view from the World Trade Center's observation deck on September 11, 1999 looked something like this.

The next day, the view from the Empire State Building's deck looking south.

That's the New York City I want to remember in September.

#13 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 04:26 AM:

Today also marks the 6th anniversary of the assassination of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh.

#14 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 04:27 AM:

D'oh. "Yesterday", I mean.

#15 ::: janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Thanks, Patrick. I couldn't read it on the 11th.


#16 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 08:10 PM:

Thanks, Patrick. I am emotionally unable to think about or talk about the events of September 11, 2001 on any anniversary of the date, but now the day is over, I can. I'm hoping that a few more years will give me, and the rest of the US as well, enough distance to mourn the ones we lost without feeling stuck in a flashback to the event itself.

It's interesting to compare the changes over the last 8 years in the attitudes of the inhabitants of the US about the attack and its justification of subsequent actions like torture with the changes in the attitudes of inhabitants of the Islamic world towards Osama bin Laden and the use of suicide bombing in defense of Islam.

#17 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 05:50 PM:

The Narcosphere just had an article about Obama's, well, very cautious reaction to the golpistas in Honduras, and concluded with this:

"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves." — Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon

#18 ::: The AstroDyke ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 11:55 PM:

Thank you, Patrick. A few years ago, I was working at a telescope in Chile on Once de Septiembre. On the TV, I watched the (annual) riots on the streets of Santiago. Students with bandannas, police water-cannons, and dozens of mothers leading the procession, holding simple 8x10 photographs of the "disappeared", labeled with the simple question, ¿Donde?

#19 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 10:59 PM:

Many years ago, I encountered the late, great Stafford Beer's book Platform for Change, about the Allende government's attempt to wire the whole country. Beer made it sound more like it worked than the links from Wikipedia. I believe that the experiment in itself scared enough people that the destruction of the Allende government was provoked.

It's an under-reported and very science fictional experiment; I think of it on occasion when the newspaper is screaming about the latest economic "news" - usually what happened two months ago. If Beer could deliver next-day numbers in 1971, why are we so slow today?

(Mostly because it's collated from mostly paper, and no one's priority to supply the numbers, and the creation of monthly numbers and especially yearly ones is more art than science. Supplying the raw data would be quicker and more useful - but unlikely.)

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