What’s changed? Not much, not enough.
Go ahead and use this as an open thread for your remembrances if you like. Here’s my own contribution: a link to an 18-minute film produced by the Port Authority in 1983 about the construction of the World Trade Center. This little curio affects me in a way that not even footage of the attacks manages to do; it comes, I assume, from being a City native and having grown up with the towers as part of reality. To watch film of them being made is like watching film of an old friend, since died, on his wedding day.
I know people won’t watch the whole movie so here are four minutes of highlights. I want to preserve the clip anyway just in case PBS takes it offline.
Lileks, from the NRO symposium:
If 9/11 had really changed us, there’d be a 150-story building on the site of the World Trade Center today. It would have a classical memorial in the plaza with allegorical figures representing Sorrow and Resolve, and a fountain watched over by stern stone eagles. Instead there’s a pit, and arguments over the usual muted dolorous abstraction approved by the National Association of Grief Counselors. The Empire State Building took 18 months to build. During the Depression. We could do that again, but we don’t. And we don’t seem interested in asking why.
Our moral betters are using the occasion, naturally, as an opportunity to note Bush’s failures. They’re constitutionally incapable of devoting an editorial wholly to the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism, even to mark a milestone. The closest any of the major papers comes is this thumbsucker by the L.A. Times, which lays off Bush and instead spoons out some oatmeal about “openness.” The lowlight: bien pensant Andy Rooney on last night’s 60 Minutes, closing with this gem.
Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us. We seem so nice to ourselves. They do hate us though. We know that and we’re trying to protect ourselves with more weapons.
We have to do it I suppose but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn’t make so many people in the world want to kill us.
Since they insist on partisanship, even on a day like today, I’ll toss this back at them and be done with it:
SAUDI BOMBING — recovered from Friday and looking great
Approve Clinton handling 73-20
Big gain from 63-20 on Friday
Security was adequate 52-40
It’s not Clinton’s fault 76-18
I’m not bothering with the British papers. I saw this last night at the Independent, which I took as fair warning to stay away. If you do choose to peruse, note that they omitted at least one number: 0. The number of attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11.
I will, however, close with an Englishman — Hitchens, writing in Opinion Journal and somehow avoiding the temptation to which the Times and WaPo succumbed even though he himself was a named plaintiff in the NSA warrantless wiretapping lawsuit. Saith Hitch:
“We”–and our allies–simply have to become more ruthless and more experienced. An unspoken advantage of the current awful strife in Iraq and Afghanistan is that it is training tens of thousands of our young officers and soldiers to fight on the worst imaginable terrain, and gradually to learn how to confront, infiltrate, “turn,” isolate and kill the worst imaginable enemy. These are faculties that we shall be needing in the future. It is a shame that we have to expend our talent in this way, but it was far worse five years and one day ago, when the enemy knew that there was a war in progress, and was giggling at how easy the attacks would be, and “we” did not even know that hostilities had commenced.
We’re getting better. A good note to end on.