September 11, 2001

An edited collection of views on the attack and its context. Send comments and essays to
Last rev: 11/11/2001, and this rev: 8/1/2004

It turns out that Ken Kesey has received a lot of the same email that we have seen, and he has assembled a set of excerpts. So for a quick introduction to much of the material we offer below see kkesey.txt.
Ken frames it all with his own views, expressed with the heartfelt delicacy of a D8 Cat in competent hands.
Another quick synopsis is Tom Atlee's stories of the attack which lays out several major classes of viewpoints.

Ground Zero, views from NYC

A survival story from a young Pakistani Muslim who worked in the World Trade Center. brother.txt

Robin Morgan's eyewitness account of lower Manhattan. Clear and detailed. Impassioned. rmorgan.txt

Suheir Hammad, author of "Born Palestinian, Born Black", reports from New York in a poetic voice, titled simply "first writing since". shammad.txt

A lower Manhattan correspondent tells how it is: 22 days later a haze, said by city experts to contain elevated levels of fiberglass, asbestos, and bone dust, blows from the smoking pile across town to "Little Italy". bonedust.txt

American Responses

Our summary of the four types of responses needed. Certain groups of correspondents seem to fix on one or another of the four. We're calling for a balance of action between justice, deterrence, and defense on the one hand, and addressing worldwide human needs on the other. 34.txt

Richard Kidd, of West Point and Yale, calls for the same balance, but his analysis is based on some years in Afghanistan. rkidd.txt

A set of early letters about the WTC disaster from me and three friends who range across the political spectrum, but are all sophisticated observers, including one with personal experience in Saudi Arabia. wtc.txt

A talk given to an audience at Oxford by Scott Simon, the host of NPR's "Weekend Edition". This piece recalls the response of the Oxford academic community to the challenges of Hitler in 1933. They concluded that Britain's own history of colonial oppression was such that they could not, in good conscience, "fight for king and country". We think this essay must be read to balance the criticism from the left, and from many educated observers around the world who argue against a military response. ssimon.txt

Susan Sontag's New Yorker piece is passing around the net. With an excellent finale. ssontag.txt

George Lakoff writes his view. "We must be the change we want!" Very smart. glakoff.html.

Salman Rushdie, "among the newest of New Yorkers", brings his experience to bear on a strategy of American response. Echoes of FDR's famous quote. srushdie.txt

Hazel Henderson proposes an American response. hazel.txt

The Leonard Pitts article from the Miami Herald is pretty good. It addresses the perps directly and explains what to expect. A little dramatic, but then it's a news column. We like that he portrays us as a quarrelsome family that pulls together in a pinch. lpitts.txt

Two letters at opposite ends of the spectrum: one from Fred Reed, and one from Deepak Chopra, united in one document from hell. In classical terms, one could say Mr. Reed takes the Spartan view, and Dr. Chopra the Athenian. We are celebrating diversity here. end2end.txt

An open letter to Bush from an ex U.S. Marine, Greg Nees, speaks to a pretty broad, but Christian, audience, and argues for restraint. We appreciate that this argument is coming from this quarter. gnees.txt

A long piece by Slavoj Zizek examining the "end of America's escape from history" (George Will) and the entry into "the desert of reality" (Morpheus, The Matrix). szizek.txt

"A Pure High Note of Anguish". Barbara Kingsolver, writing in the Los Angeles Times, poses a 5 year old child's questions to us and attempts some answers. These are the harder questions of course. bkingsolver.txt

Bill Moyers lays out his view of what's happening among Americans since 9/11, and the betrayal of democracy by those in DC. bmoyers.txt.

Doris "Granny D" Haddock gives us her view of the democratic values that Americans seek to support around the world. "Terrorism and the Four Freedoms". dhaddock.txt.

"Memo to American Muslims" from Muqtedar Khan. Dr. Khan speaks to, and, we hope, for, the American Muslim community. mkhan.txt

2004 addenda - Ron Reagan, the son of the 40th president, wrote "The Case Against George W." for Esquire Magazine, September 2004. It seems relevant in the WTC 9/11 context. We heartily recommend it. rreagan.txt The original Esquire web location is given at the end of the text.

British Responses

"The Hidden Agenda Behind the War on Terror" by John Pilger, writing for The Mirror, UK. jpilger.txt

Two pieces by UK journalist Robert Fisk. rfisk.txt | rfisk2.txt

"Why do they hate us?" analysis of the American blind spot from Seumas Milne, writing in The Guardian, U.K. smilne.txt

A thumbnail history of aborted attempts to extradite bin Laden in 1998, by Brian Whitaker in The Guardian. bwhitaker.txt.

George Monbiot writes, in The Guardian, of "America's Pipe Dream" (of Caspian Oil). gmonbiot.txt

George Palast, in The Observer, writes about the World Bank's strategies. gpalast.txt.

International Context

Fouad Ajami describes the genesis of Mr. Atta's action, in "Nowhere Man". fajami.txt

Thomas Friedman, NY Times correspondent in Israel, writes a response to those pointing fingers at America's foreign policy errors in the Middle East. "Yes, but What?" See also ssimon.txt for a more thoroughly articulated exposition of this view.
Friedman also writes of the different standing of the various nations in the present coalition, corresponding to their various levels of commitment to freedom: tfriedman.txt The original is found at: "It's Freedom, Stupid"

Helen Darville writes from Australia, "Were we US-bashers wrong all along?"

An excerpt of a speech, responding to G.W Bush, from R. M. Tum. A sobering note from overseas. rmtum.txt

A string of 3-way correspondence about Israel from an American ex-pat living in Israel since 1989, me, and an American Buddhist, born a Jew, who has been a cultural/political activist since the early sixties. israel.txt ... and an apology from Jews to Palestinians, which is collecting signatures now. apology.html

From Robert Bowman, an American Air Force (Vietnam) veteran, now a Catholic bishop, another why-they-hate-us analysis. rbowman.txt

Edward Said writes of the views of Muslims in America. esaid.txt

Jeremy Larner responds to Edward Said's piece. jlarner.txt

Lloyd Marbet on the reverse situation: Warren Anderson (once of Union Carbide) and Bhopal. lmarbet.txt

Lyuba Pronina writes from St Petersburg of the shifting trends in Russian arms deals since Sept. 11. lpronina.txt

Mid-East Analysis

John Sifton writes, in the New York Times Magazine, of his last year spent there with an NGO. jsifton.txt

Joshua Teitelbaum, in the New Republic, "Why Riyadh Stiffs America" jteitelbaum.txt

History and analysis from the former prime minister of Pakistan. She was there for the opening acts. She both watched and suffered the results of our mistakes, and of our (we think) premature abandonment of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. bbhutto.html

Richard Kidd, of West Point and Yale, spent some time in Afghanistan directing the clearance of landmines. His analysis of the situation there and his proposed outline of strategy is thus well grounded. rkidd.txt

Journalist Michael Moran's analysis from 1998. mmoran.txt

William T Vollman's New Yorker article from May, 2000: "Letters from Afghanistan: Across the Divide - What do the Afghan people think of the Taliban?" wvollmann.txt

A current NY Times story filed from Kabul, gives a glimpse of the Afghani POV and circumstance. We appreciate the quotes from the men on the street and the reminder that Afghanistan is already "rubble". kabul.txt

Tamim Ansary, an Afghani-American writer, is one of many who think any large American military response would be walking into a trap. tansary.txt

"Understanding Osama bin Laden" by William O. Beeman, a Middle East specialist, and professor of anthropology at Brown University. Professor Beeman warns that the problem is much larger than this manhunt will solve. wbeeman.txt

"Fact Sheet on Islam and Jihad" from the Islamic Law Society, Syracuse University, forwarded to us from Paul Hawken. phawken.txt

A list of links to foreign and domestic press, relating to the Middle East and US policy. presslinks.html

Intelligence on the Assailants

Janes Aircraft web site has pertinent discussion.
... including this brief from the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews, Scotland: rgunaratna.txt
... and this whodunnit analysis from Foreign Report points to Iraq for financing, and an Egyptian man and a Lebanese man for planning: janes2.txt

Security solutions

Security solutions are found in the Seattle area. Aircraft flight deck doors that resist kicks and bullets, and surveillance systems that communicate encrypted, compressed images at one frame per second over the internet, are two of several products offered here. Why aren't we using them? Had flight controllers been able to see into the cockpit, the flights would have drawn USAF fighter attention before reaching their targets. See security.html.

Frank Rich sees the Bush administration's work to ensure our security as a Keystone Kop farce. frich.txt

Matt Bivens on defending our nuclear power plants. mbivens.txt

Biochemical reading

This is a general primer on defense against biological and chemical weapons, purportedly from a soldier who has been trained in the subject. biochem.txt.

A short history of Anthrax and civilization. anthraxhistory.txt

Where is our public health infrastrucure when we need it? Bruce Shapiro writes about the anthrax threat. bshapiro.txt.

Caspian Oil

"The Geopolitics of War" by Michael T. Klare. A quick history of US relations to the Middle East and oil. mklare.txt

George Monbiot writes, in The Guardian, of "America's Pipe Dream" (of Caspian Oil). gmonbiot.txt

A letter to the Green Party from Patrick Mazza of Climate Solutions points to our oil addiction as a source of our predicament. pmazza.txt

Another oil-plot: "The Dismantling of America" by Marshall Smith. Food for conspiracy buffs. Can this be substantiated? msmith.txt


Some futurists sound like this - W. Warren Wagar, of the World Future Society, asks What Now? Three Futuribles.

The Co-Intelligence Institute

The stories we live in determine our sense of what September 11 was about and how we should respond. Since that day, Tom Atlee, of the Co-Intelligence Institute, has been working with a flood of correspondence about the attack and proposals for response. He distills into stories seven worldviews that seem to characterize the opinions that havecrossed his desk. In some ways this is the highest altitude perspective, the most inclusive, that I have seen: story.txt
...and here is much of the flood itself: | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 |

Bioregional View

Wendell Berry reminds us that the problems we face are deeper than much of the discussion that we hear. wberry.txt

Views from the Left

Michael Novick warns that the left is fighting the last war not the next one. mnovick.txt

Some commentary from Noam Chomsky in Belgrade. Recent. chomsky_belgrade.txt | chomsky.txt

A book review and an essay from Todd Gitlin. review | essay

An American socialist, Joe Hamill, views the whole enchilada. This includes anti-Israel invective with which we disagree; nor are we convinced of war's inevitability as claimed. Otherwise a substantially sound argument. jhamill.txt

The Radio Havana commentary that appeared after Bush's first substantial post attack speech (the you're-either-with-us-or-agin'-us speech): cuba.

Views from the Heart

Some Buddhist perspectives. David R. Loy writes "A New Holy War Against Evil?". More from Buddhist writers at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

A good collection of creative wholistic ideas, things to do, compiled by David Sunfellow. Our favorites:

A young American, Eric Wallen reflects on the generous side of America, and makes a proposal. We think twenty billion dollars is way too small for his aims, but his heart is in the right place. ewallen.txt

A photo gallery of the response around the world. It will take a while to download, but is well worth it. The support for America is huge; a revelation. Get out your kleenex. thankyou.htm

A supportive TV commentary from a Canadian, Gordon Sinclair. This is a few years old, first seen here at the beginning of the Clinton scandal, but still tonic. gsinclair.txt

A poem, by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat: "Rest In Peace". rip.txt
[In the manner of Thich Nhat Hanh's "Please Call Me By My True Names"]

A view from a Hopi elder. Is this current? It is clearly true. hopielder.txt

A view from 37000 feet above the Atlantic on westbound Delta Flight 15. delta15.txt


As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
      We became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning building,
      We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope,
      We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno,
      We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
      We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement,
      We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
      We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss,
      We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss,
      We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes,
      We become one people.					


"Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand;
it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy."
-- Wendell Berry


For comic relief take a look at the latest Onion. Especially the Bush administration story, and don't miss God's view which, as it should be, is both funny and touching.

Last, but not least, John Montoya's piece jmontoya.txt is, by definition, the most important viewpoint of all, notwithstanding the view just prior.

Acknowledgements: Substantial portions of this material came to us via The Co-Intelligence Institute and Wild Dog Productions.