11 September 2006

Five Years Ago

I was in the shower, listening to NPR as per my usual morning routine. It's kind of hard to hear the radio clearly in the shower, but I keep in on anyway because I like to be surrounded by the white noise of news on radio and TV. It was just a few minutes after 9 a.m.

It was clear that they were focused on a single news event, but I didn't know what it was. They didn't say the words "World Trade Center" for a while. After my shower I turned on the TV and saw the live footage of the burning towers and the subsequent collapses.

Normally I would have finished my morning routine and been at work for an hour or two already, but this morning I needed to make a trip to the surplus furniture warehouse before going in to the lab. The warehouse didn't open until 10 a.m., so I pushed by schedule back that day.

I skipped the warehouse, instead watching the TV for an hour or so. I wondered about my 2 cousins who work in Manhattan. One of them worked in Rockefeller Center. I didn't know where that was relative to WTC. I tried to remember the building where the other cousin worked... was it "World Trade Center" or something similar like "World Financial Center"? I wasn't sure.

I called an ex-girlfriend who recently moved to Chicago and worked downtown. Her office was abuzz with the news and I advised her to forget about what everyone else was doing and go home. Her office building was just a few blocks from the Sears Tower, which I suggested was a likely target. She stayed in her office, wanting to do whatever everyone else did. I said I thought that was stupid but good luck.

(A year or two later, agents would find early versions of the terrorist plot which included the Sears Tower as a target)

When I got to work there was very little activity in the hallways. People were working, but that day work was something we did in between updating each other on the latest from the TV, radio and internet. I remember the internet was very slow and many sites had shut down or were difficult to access.

...

A few years later I attended a lecture by a visiting professor from the Middle East. I think he was from Jordan but I can't remember for sure. After his lecture someone asked him if he could share how his colleagues in academia reflected on 9/11. In other words, we had a pretty good idea that anti-Americanism was fomenting in the streets, but what about in the minds of educated professionals?

He put it this way: When 3,000 Americans died, America made the world stop. But when a million people die in Sudan, the U.S. does nothing. The Middle East doesn't trust America, he said, because America only cares about America.

12 comments:

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Jimmy Carter said...

We have done more to confront the Sudan than any other nation.

And lets face it, unless we confront the evil of this world nobody else will.

WestEnder said...

Clarification: the professor made his comments before the U.S. took any action in Sudan. And I think it's fair to describe the U.S. response as perfunctory. Only those with little concern or low standards would be satisfied with how the U.S. and the international community dealt with Sudan.

I would also add that the comment And lets face it, unless we confront the evil of this world nobody else will is an overly simple-minded and ignorant "bumper sticker" assessment of geopolitics.

Unfortunately it's hard for neocons to think in the complex terms that accurately reflect reality. They can only understand the world in an "Us vs. Them" perspective.

Wes said...

Unfortunately it's hard for neocons to think in the complex terms that accurately reflect reality. They can only understand the world in an "Us vs. Them" perspective.

Truer words were never spoken. They NEED an enemy - they are completely useless without someone or something to hate.

WF

KatieG said...

right,but christianity is all about "peace" and "love" right? that's what being a "good christian" is all about!?

Michelle Fry said...

Too bad somebody's using the name "Jimmy Carter" to make comments. I happen to be a big fan of the real Jimmy Carter's beliefs and actions.

Jimmy Carter said...

Only those with little concern or low standards would be satisfied with how the U.S. and the international community dealt with Sudan.

We took the lead and the international community didn't follow. We don't control the international community. Do you think we should act unilaterally? Does anyone here want to invade oil rich Sudan? It would be another "war for oil" cooked up by Bushitler and his oil buddies.

I think that the CIA should stage a coup to overthrow the Sudanese government and install someone better. Wait, you guys don't want that either.

So what are the options?

Can't invade, can't overthrow, what can we do? Oh yeah, we can complain about it. You guys should be good at that. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

The fact still remains that the United States has done more to confront the Sudan than any other nation. I would love to hear your plan. How bout another sanctions program? Lets call it "Oil for Food, the Sequal". Then we can pat ourselves on the back and ignore the slaughter while the French make some money on oil vouchers.

And you can shove your own bumper sticker philosophy. If we don't do something about the Sudan, nobody else is going to lift a finger.

Stay on the sidelines where you belong while real men make the tough choices that true leadership requires.

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Wes said...

I totally agree. Real men make decisions and confront challenges.

Too bad the current administration has done neither successfully.

And never besmirch that wonderful quote of TR by using it to show Dubya in a positive light. George W. Bush isn't fit to lick the boots of Theodore Roosevelt. Heck, he's not fit to lick the boots of James Buchanan.

WF

Jimmy Carter said...

And what is your plan for the Sudan?

Bush is an idiot. That isn't my question.

What did the idiot do wrong relative to US foriegn policy in Sudan? Am I correct in saying that we have done more than any other nation?

Did Bush do anything correct in his handling of the Sudan? Is US policy better on Sudan than that of other countries?

Lastly, what should Bush do? What do you think is the appropriate policy for the genocide happening in the Sudan?

I hate Bush too. Lets get that out of the way early. He has to make some tough decisions in respect to Sudan. Judge him fairly. And keep the topic on Sudan.

And what do you do if Sudan doesn't listen? Do you believe that it would be appropriate to use the US military to halt the ongoing genocide in the Sudan?

Why don't you tell me. I will be forever indebted to you for sharing your vast knowledge.

Jimmy Carter said...

The sound of silence. Just what I thought.

WestEnder said...

Your comments had nothing at all to do with the content of this post. That, along with the fact that you've stopped taking your anxiety meds, is why you were ignored.

nothing at all to do with the content of this post said...

"He put it this way: When 3,000 Americans died, America made the world stop. But when a million people die in Sudan, the U.S. does nothing. The Middle East doesn't trust America, he said, because America only cares about America."