Will We Ever Get Over 9/11?

Mayor Bloomberg Visits Lower Manhattan Security Initiative With Police Chief Ray Kelly

Guest List

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?

Reading List

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.

Guest List
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. From his 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.
Pico Iver
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
Reading List
Tuesday and After
John Updike, Jonathan Franzen, Denis Johnson, Roger Angell, Aharon Appelfeld, Rebecca Mead, Susan Sontag, Amitav Ghosh, and Donald Antrim
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
Dirty Wars, Continued: How Does the ‘Global War on Terror’ Ever End
Jeremy Schahill
Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars, Continued: How Does the ‘Global War on Terror’ Ever End,  in The Nation on the drones, presidential policy, and the danger of setting a negative precedent abroad
One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion
Shan Carter and Amanda Cox
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
The View from the Midwest
David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace, The View From the Midwest, from Rolling Stone: 
"Suddenly everbody has flags out – big flags, small flags, regular flag-size flags"
 

It Felt like a Kiss
Adam Curtis
"It Felt Like a Kiss," a provocative video essay by the British documentarian, Adam Curtis

Related Content