- Steven Pinker, experimental psychologist and writer at Harvard University, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
- Chas W. Freeman, Jr., the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 to 1992, and author of America’s Misadventures in the Middle East and Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige,
- Pico Iyer, British-born novelist and travel writer, essayist for Time magazine, and author of The Man Within My Head about the late great novelist Graham Greene.
Here’s an awkward question that may be urgent: Are we getting over 9.11? Will we ever? Do we want to? Is it a scar by now, or a wound still bleeding? Is it a post-traumatic-stress disorder? What is it doing to our character, our culture, our Constitution? After a monstrous attack on the American superpower, is there anything like those five stages of individual grief — some version of the famous Kubler-Ross steps: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance? We’ve been through the flags-everywhere stage, the foreign invasion response, the big build-up of surveillance and eavesdropping, interrogation, with torture – all in the name of security, but do we have a word for the fear we sense inside the new Security State? Do we have a word for the anxiety that a War on Terror can feed on itself forever? A decade and a half out, are we a different country?
We’re imagining this as an ongoing series, with conversations and podcasts to be added as we go. Have you any suggestions for people we should speak with? Writers? Historians? Critics? Your next-door neighbor?
- Chas Freeman’s speech on The Middle East, America, and the Emerging World Order:
Osama expected to die by violence, as he did. Sadly, he probably died a satisfied man. In addition to alienating Muslims and the West from each other, as was his aim, he achieved so many other transformations of the order he sought to overthrow… He catalyzed two wars. He bears responsibility for the death of thousands in the West and hundreds of thousands in this region. The unfunded financial burden of the conflicts he ignited has come close to bankrupting the United States. Indirectly, it is upending the international monetary system. It has produced recession in the West. Osama will have been pleased.
- Susan Sontag, Amitav Ghosh, John Updike and other writers shared their thoughts on September 11 in The New Yorker’s Talk of the Town two weeks after the attacks;
- Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars, Continued: How Does the ‘Global War on Terror’ Ever End, The Nation;
- One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion, calculating the cost of the attacks ten years later, including homeland security and two wars abroad at The New York Times;
- David Foster Wallace, The View From the Midwest, from Rolling Stone;
- And “It Felt Like a Kiss,” a provocative video essay by the British documentarian, Adam Curtis.