THE NATION ON 9/11 AT TEN. Sunday marks the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. There is still much to grieve—the lives lost and the police officers, firefighters and first responders who gave their lives that fateful day. And there are those in uniform and their families who have sacrificed and are still sacrificing today. The solidarity we felt in the days after 9/11 was all too quickly shattered by an administration that used the attacks to launch a global war on terror, which has cost thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and undermined our civil liberties. It was also a time of media malfeasance when too many in the press acted like stenographers to power—and failed to ask the tough questions necessary to ensure accountability and democracy. At The Nation, our historical DNA kicked in, and in those weeks and months after 9/11 the enduring concerns of The Nation took on new relevance. As national security became an obsession in Washington—one steeped in a politics of fear—the need for an independent, critical press seemed more urgent than ever.
The Nation’s special package of essays on "9/11 at Ten" embodies that spirit. In the wake of 9/11, writes Jonathan Schell in "The New American Jujitsu," we have summoned imaginary demons and made a habit of exaggerating perceived threats so as to spare ourselves from facing the all too real burdens of our time. In "Our Vanished Civil Liberties," David K. Shipler explains how the Obama Administration may not employ lawyers advocating for the extreme abrogation of constitutional protections, but frequently ends up acquiescing to the forces that would. Meanwhile, the compelling piece by Ariel Dorfman, "Epitaph for Another September 11" explores how Chile and the United States offer contrasting reactions to collective trauma.
In the following video by Nation web editorial producer Frank Reynolds, I’m joined by columnist Patricia Williams, editorial board member Eric Foner, Jonathan Schell and David Cole—writers I was fortunate to call upon to analyze and explain the tragedy after it happened—to commemorate 9/11, ten years later. That’s available here.