Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Anwar al-Awlaki Assassinated, Officials Say

In Drones and Assassination, Targeted Killing, Yemen on September 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm

After an unsuccessful attempt to sue the U.S. government over their assassination order targeting him, officials now say that Al-Awlaki is dead:

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who preached terror as the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed Friday in Yemen, the nation’s Defense Ministry said.

A Yemeni government official told CNN that an airstrike hit al-Awlaki’s motorcade but gave no details about the operation or who conducted it.

The United States regarded al-Awlaki as a terrorist who posed a major threat to American homeland security. Western intelligence officials believe al-Awlaki was a senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the most active al Qaeda affiliates that has been linked to the attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit in December 2009 and a cargo plane plot last year.

Al-Awlaki was killed about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the Yemeni town of Khashef, east of the capital, Sanaa, said Mohammed Basha, a Yemen Embassy spokesman in Washington. He said the operation was launched at 9:55 a.m.

A senior U.S. administration official confirmed al-Awlaki’s death. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to CNN because he was not authorized to release the information and did not provide any other information.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pew Research Center Poll: 10 Years after 9/11

In 10th Anniversary, Civil Liberties on September 18, 2011 at 7:54 am

Pew Research released their latest 9/11 poll, tracking trends in public opinion on terrorism and civil liberties, and on 9/11’s personal impact:

Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the events of that day retain a powerful hold on the public’s collective consciousness. Virtually every American remembers what they were doing at the moment the attacks occurred. Substantial majorities say that 9/11 had a profound personal impact and that the attacks changed the country in a major way.

Yet the public continues to be divided over many of the anti-terrorism policies that arose in the wake of Sept. 11, and these differences extend to opinions about whether U.S. wrongdoing prior to 9/11 may have motivated the attacks: 43% say yes, while 45% disagree. In late September 2001, 33% said U.S. wrongdoing might have motivated the attacks, compared with 55% who said it did not.

Read the rest of this entry »

Presidents Bush and Obama Together at Ground Zero: Comparisons, Contrasts

In 10th Anniversary on September 12, 2011 at 7:50 am

Bush and Obama, together again for the first time:

Bush and Obama, Shoulder to Shoulder

By  and 

On Sunday, for the first time, President Obama and former President George W. Bush stood together at the site of the Sept. 11 attacks, listening as family members read the names of lost love ones and bowing their heads in silence to mark the moments the planes hit.

In May, Mr. Bush declined Mr. Obama’s invitation to join him at ground zero after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But on this morning, they stood shoulder to shoulder — commanders in chief whose terms in office are bookends for exploring how the United States has changed since Sept. 11, 2001, particularly in its response to terrorism.

The tableau was striking: the president who spent years hunting Bin Laden next to the one who finally got him. The president defined by his response to Sept. 11 standing alongside the one who has tried to take America beyond the lingering, complicated legacy of that day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feared 10th Anniversary Attack a “Goose Chase”?

In 10th Anniversary on September 11, 2011 at 11:31 am

According to FOX:

A possible Al Qaeda plot to launch an attack during the 10th anniversary weekend of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is “looking more and more like a goose chase,” a senior U.S. official told Fox News on Saturday.

Federal authorities have been questioning all day the credibility of a tip from a previously reliable source that that Al Qaeda had planned to attack Washington or New York, putting though both cities on high alert.
Read the rest of this entry »

Memorable 9/11 Photo

In 10th Anniversary, Official History on September 11, 2011 at 6:45 am

View the photo and read the story behind it:

At the same time that the Twin Towers were falling, there were people having toothaches.

Friday, September 09, 2011 – 03:26 PM

By PJ Vogt

I’m not sure how I found it in the first place, but the image that I most often think about when I think about September 11th was shot by a photographer named Melanie Einzig on the morning of the attacks. She didn’t publish it for years because she was worried it would offend people.

I wanted to get Melanie on the radio show this week, but we ended up too squeezed for time and it didn’t work out. However, when I spoke to her on the phone she mentioned that the writer Luc Sante had been moved by her photo as well, he’d even asked her for a print. I decided to call him to find out what it is about this picture, exactly.  

What drew you to the photo?

One of the things about it is that while it’s not like the Zelig figure exactly, it’s not unrelated to it. You have this historical moment occurring and there’s somebody in a corner of the picture who’s paying no attention whatsover. Looking at his watch as the zeppelin plows into the skyscraper. This postman going about his rounds completely unaware of the conflagration going on a few blocks down and above his head. It’s such an amazing picture – the fact that it exists, that that moment was recorded. It’s one for the ages.

Read the rest of this entry »

NYTimes: Roundtable on What 9/11 Means

In 10th Anniversary on September 10, 2011 at 7:42 am

Freewheeling discussion on 9/11:

The American reaction to being attacked on Sept. 11 was in many ways an intellectual one. President George W. Bush tended to frame it that way: the attack was on our “values,” and the “war against terror” was a war of ideas meant to advance the idea of freedom. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was the administration’s epistemologist, worrying over the question of knowability; Bernard Lewis was its historian, Paul Wolfowitz its moralist in arms. That America’s actions (as opposed to precautions) after 9/11 almost all took place far from home, with a professional army, strengthened this sense of abstraction. The possibility of anything like victory over our enemies was discounted early on (by Rumsfeld). Little wonder that, unlike in earlier wars, we have talked so much about what this conflict means, rather than simply working to end it as soon as possible.

This magazine participated from the beginning in debates on the meaning of 9/11 and its aftermath. For this 10th anniversary, we brought together some of the actors to discuss what has been learned and where our conclusions might take us. Michael Ignatieff wrote frequently for the magazine on terrorism and war before entering Canadian politics as a member of Parliament and then Liberal Party leader; he is now at the University of Toronto. David Rieff was a frequent contributor of essays short and long on American policy. James Traub anchored our foreign-policy reporting across this period while producing two books on the subject, “The Best Intentions” and “The Freedom Agenda.” Paul Berman’s March 2003 cover story on Sayyid Qutb, ‘‘The Philosopher of Islamic Terror,’’ was a seminal attempt to frame the conflict in terms of competing ideologies. Ian Buruma’s magazine articles focused more on contemporary Muslims, most notably Tariq Ramadan (in February 2007). We met virtually, on two separate occasions, with Ignatieff entering the fray late and Rieff exiting early. – SCOTT MALCOMSON

Read the rest of this entry »

NYTimes: Words We Use after 9/11

In 10th Anniversary on September 10, 2011 at 7:37 am

Unlike some other momentous events in our history — World War II, say, or the Vietnam War — the attacks that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, have not particularly changed or enriched our vocabulary. Sometimes these things take a while. It wasn’t until the 1960s, for example, that the term “holocaust,” which used to mean any large-scale massacre, took on the specific connotations it has today. For now, though, you could argue that the events of 9/11 still seem so unfathomable that they have actually impoverished the language a little, leaving us with a vacuous phrase like war on terror, which manages to empty both “war” and “terror” of much their meaning, or the creepy, Nazi-sounding homeland, which seems a far less pleasant place to live than just plain America.

Read the rest of this entry »

NYTimes: American Culture after 9/11

In 10th Anniversary on September 10, 2011 at 7:36 am

“Outdone by Reality”

VIDEO: Artists Reflect on Sept. 11 »


Ten years ago Don DeLillo wrote that the attacks of Sept. 11 would change “the way we think and act, moment to moment, week to week, for unknown weeks and months to come, and steely years.” The historian Taylor Branch spoke of a possible “turning point against a generation of cynicism for all of us,” and Roger Rosenblatt argued in Time magazine that “one good thing could come from this horror: it could spell the end of the age of irony.”

They were wrong, of course. We know now that the New Normal was very much like the Old Normal, at least in terms of the country’s arts and entertainment. Blockbuster video stores (yes, that’s how many of us watched movies back then) placed warnings on some films — “in light of the events of Sept. 11, please note that this product contains scenes that may be disturbing to some viewers” — but violent pictures continued to top most-rented lists. Despite rumors of their demise, black humor and satire, too, remained alive and well on “Saturday Night Live” and The Onion, which ran headlines like “Rest of Country Temporarily Feels Deep Affection for New York.”

Read the rest of this entry »

NYTimes: Overview of Civil Liberties since 9/11

In 10th Anniversary on September 10, 2011 at 7:31 am

Few new rules, lots of enforced old ones:

There is a place for alarmism when threats to civil liberties are concerned. Too much worry about our freedoms is better than too little, particularly in the face of a government shrouded in wartime secrecy after the Sept. 11 attacks.

But there is also a place, a decade later, for sober reflection. By historic standards, the domestic legal response to 9/11 gave rise to civil liberties tremors, not earthquakes. And even those changes were largely a result of reordered law enforcement priorities rather than fundamental shifts in the law.

Read the rest of this entry »

NYTimes: Cost of 9/11 is 3.3 Trillion Dollars

In 10th Anniversary on September 10, 2011 at 7:28 am

According to the NYTimes, who has boldly and unilaterally called the 2000s the “9/11 Decade.”:

In 2004, when he was arguably still capable of initiating another devastating attack on the United States, Osama bin Laden released a video gloating about his plan of “bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.”

As usual, Bin Laden’s vow was overblown — but, as it turned out, not entirely crazed. A survey by The New York Times, detailed in the accompanying chart, puts a stark price tag on the cost of reacting — and overreacting — to the defining event of the past decade. America’s bill for fighting a 21st-century “asymmetric war” comes to at least $3.3 trillion. Put another way, for every dollar Al Qaeda spent to pull off the Sept. 11 attacks, the cost to the United States was an astonishing $6.6 million.

Today, Al Qaeda in Pakistan is crippled and Bin Laden is dead. But the $3.3 trillion figure suggests that the unanticipated costs of how we managed a grim decade — money already spent or committed in the future — amount to a little more than one-fifth of America’s current national debt.

Read the rest of this entry »