Twentieth anniversary of the World Trade Centre (WTC) attacks yesterday, pandemic continuing, lockdown, and not much cause for hope on the climate-action front. This morning I went for a bike ride, temperature abnormally high for this time of year, not a cloud in the sky, empty streets, a few masked people walking. Early symptoms of what lies ahead, and already our politicians are struggling, fair weather sailors, it brings to mind the old saying that, ‘a person is promoted to their level of incompetence’.
I chuckled listening to politicians talk about the WTC attack, going on about terrorism, our special relationship with the United States, and ‘how the world changed’ on the 11th of September 2001. Really? The World? All that happened was a criminal act of mass murder and one all western intelligence services failed to identify in time. All that changed, as far as the public is concerned, is that law enforcement and intelligence services gained powers of mass surveillance that would have been to the Soviets and the Nazis the stuff of wet dreams. We would not have known the extent of this loss of rights were it not for that young American now trapped in Russia.
There were explosions that did indeed ‘change the world’, or rather propelled it into a new and frightening era; one happened in Hiroshima and the other in Nagasaki. By comparison, the WTC attack was a brick thrown through the shop window, causing the building to collapse admittedly, but even the terrorists were surprised by the result. The humiliation was unbearable and caused the United States to make a strategic mistake by dignifying and validating in the eyes of many, a criminal act with a military response. It should, in my humble opinion, have remained a matter for police. Hunt them down, make arrests, and give them a fair trial in a criminal court.