The Grey Chronicles


Lessons from 9/11

Grey DayStatue of Liberty and WTCToday is the eighth anniversary of the September 11, colloquially 9/11, “a day of unprecedented shock and suffering in the history of the United States”, which razed the twin-towers of the World Trade Center, partly damaged the Pentagon and nearly missed the White House in 2001.

To pay respects to the victims and heroes on that day, 11 September 2001 was ironically the United Nations “International Day of Peace”, «The Grey Chronicles» is preempting the Toyota’s Culture of Contradictions series, which will be continued tomorrow. Today’s post will attempt to collate what the world learned from 9/11.

On 27 November 2002, the US created the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, composed of ten members from the US Congress chaired by Thomas H. Kean, mandated to investigate “facts and circumstances relating to the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001.” After reviewing more than 2.5 million pages of documents and interviewing more than 1,200 individuals in ten countries, 19 days of hearing and taking public testimony from 160 witnesses, it issued a 585-page The 9/11 Commission Report on 22 July 2004 (2004: xv).

The Commission identified lessons learned, such as: about a sophisticated, patient, disciplined, and lethal enemy, where “collateral damage is not in its lexicon”; the protective institutions misunderstanding how grave the threat was; the failure of intelligence; and the pervasive problems of information management across a large and unwieldy government (2004: xvi).

After the release of the Commission Report, alternative theories proliferated. Peter Dale Scott (2007) declares the 9/11 Commission Report is “an example of concerted cover-up, partly by omissions, and just as importantly by its cherry-picking of evidence to create impressions that are in fact authoritatively disputed, and in some cases probably not true,” and demanded that Dick Cheney, then U.S. Vice President, testify under oath. The 9/11 Commission decided that its supporting evidence and records should be withheld from public view until January 2, 2009.

Mickey S. Huff and Paul W. Rea (2009) writes:

“For the past eight years, American culture has seen an outburst of media-driven mythmaking. Corporate mainstream media organizations, the pundits they sponsor, and politicians from both major parties have formed a new contextual chorus singing the same refrain: “On September 11th, 2001, everything changed.” … This chapter concerns itself with the ongoing phenomena of media mythmaking and how, like many Americans surmised just after 9/11, everything has not changed.” [Emphasis added.]

Even Michael Moore’s movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 was later debunked by David Kopel’s Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 911 (2004) as “a twisted, dishonest, paranoid, and hateful fantasy.” David Ray Griffin (2007) in a follow-up article to his books, The New Pearl Harbor (2004) and Debunking 9/11 Debunking (2007), alleges the complicity of the U.S. government, particularly the Bush-Cheney administration, in a “false-flag operation” to create “an all-encompassing [American] empire with diametrically opposed values” to all the world’s religions and ethical systems. Interrelating religion, politics and ethics, Tom Rockmore (2006), moreover, insists that 9/11 is premised on “continuity as opposed to rupture.” Rockmore contends that in the modern world “religion and politics are subordinated to economic factors,” thus ethics can be recovered from a constructivist perspective.

On the fourth anniversary of 9/11, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton (2005) reviewed the events of the past years after the release of the Commission report, and wrote:

“The passage of historic intelligence reform, and the creation of a National Counterterrorism Center to integrate and ensure timely action on terrorism information, have made us safer. … A number of common-sense recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission in its final report would address these deficiencies but remain unimplemented.”

Richard Barrett (2008) addresses some of the key long-term challenges posed by counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization, specifically Al-Qaeda. Alan Johnson (2008) also delved to answer the global politics after 9/11. Julianne Smith and Thomas Sanderson (2006) assessed America’s War on Terror, the offshoot of 9/11. Dr. Angel M. Rabasa, et. al. (2004) examine “the dynamics that are driving changes in the religio-political landscape of the Muslim world” and “the sources of Islamic radicalism.”

Gail Makinen (2002) writes “9/11 is more appropriately viewed as a human tragedy than as an economic calamity.” Bryan W. Roberts (2009) finds the 9/11 attack had “significant negative macroeconomic impacts in the very short run” on U.S. real GDP growth and the unemployment rate by examining how forecasts of these variables were revised after the attack occurred.

Tim Wilkinson (2002) tackled some engineering design issues of the World Trade Center, which may affect structural design philosophies, mostly based on the FEMA Report (2002). The National Institute of Standards and Technology (2008) released the Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on November 2008.

On September 2008, the Committee on Homeland Security and Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives issued an Anniversary Report (2008) citing 25 instances how the Bush administration has ignored the law, Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, and squandered its opportunities to make U.S.A. safer. The Department of Homeland Security issued on 22 July 2009 a 12-page, 5-part, 5-year Progress Report (2009) of its implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

Seven years later there is still no international consensus about who was behind the 9/11 attacks. A (2008) poll of 17 nations finds:

“On average, 46% say that al Qaeda was behind the attacks while 15% say the US government, seven percent Israel [see Tobias & Foxman (2003)], and seven percent some other perpetrator. One in four say they do not know. … A stronger correlate of beliefs about 9/11 are respondents’ attitudes about the United States. Those with a positive view of America’s influence in the world are more likely to cite al Qaeda (on average 59%) than those with a negative view (40%). Those with a positive view of the United States are also less likely to blame the US government (7%) than those with a negative view (22%).” [Emphasis added.]


Image of the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center taken from the World Statesmen web site, September 11 Memorial page.

9/11 Commission (2004). The 9/11 Commission Report. Washington, D.C.: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 18 July 2004. xix, 567pp. back to text: 1 | 2.

Barrett, Richard (2008).Seven Years After 9/11: Al-Qaida’s Strengths and Vulnerabilities. The Future Actions Series. London: Eden Intelligence and International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence [ICSR], September 2008. 13pp. back to text.

Federal Emergency Management Authority [FEMA] (2009). World Trade Center Building Performance Study, FEMA Report 403. Washington, D.C.: Federal Emergency Management Authority, May 2002. back to text.

Griffin, David Ray (2004). The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch, 2004. back to text.

Griffin, David Ray (2007d). Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch, 2007. back to text.

Griffin, David Ray (2007). The American Empire and 9/11. The Journal of 9/11 Studies, 2007. p. 32. back to text.

Huff, Mickey S. & Rea, Paul W. (2009). Deconstructing Deceit: 9/11, the Media, and Myth Information. Project Censored, February 2009. back to text.

Johnson, Alan [ed.] (2009). Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews. London: Foreign Policy Centre & Democratiya, 2008. back to text.

Kopel, David B. (2004). Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 911. Independence Institute, 04 June 2004. 4pp. See also: Fifty-six Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11. back to text.

Kean, Thomas H. & Hamilton, Lee H. (2005). Reviewing Our Defenses, Four Years After 9/11. New York: The Forward, 09 September 2005. back to text.

Kull, Steven (2008). International Poll: No Consensus On Who Was Behind 9/11, College Park, MD:, 10 September 2008. back to text.

Makinen, Gail (2002). The Economic Effects of 9/11: A Retrospective Assessment. Report for Congress. RL31617. Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, 27 September 2002. p. 53. back to text.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (2008). Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7. National Construction Safety Team Act Report [NCSTAR] 1A. Washington,D.C.: National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. November 2008. 130pp. back to text.

Rabasa, Angel M. (2004). The Muslim World after 9/11. Arlington, VA: RAND Corporation, 2004. xvii-xviii. back to text.

Roberts, Bryan W. (2009). The Macroeconomic Impacts of the 9/11 Attack: Evidence from Real-Time Forecasting. Working Paper Washington,D.C.: Office of Immigration Statistics, Department of Homeland Security, August 2009. back to text.

Rockmore, Tom (2009). Before and After 9/11: Religion, Politics, and Ethics. Ars Disputandi, Vol. 6. back to text.

Scott, Peter Dale (2009). 9/11 Commission Deception, Cheney’s Actions on 9/11, and Why He Should Testify Under Oath. Journal of 9/11 Studies, 24 February, 2007. back to text.

Smith, Julianne & Sanderson, Thomas [eds.] (2006). Five Year After 9/11: An Assessment of America’s War on Terror. Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2006. back to text.

Tobias, Glen A. & Foxman, Abraham H. (2003). Unraveling Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Theories. New York: Anti-Defamation League, Gorowitz Institute. 2003. 26pp. back to text.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security [DHS] (2009). Progress in Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations. Washington, D.C.: Department of Homeland Security, 22 July 2009. back to text.

U.S. House of Representatives. Committee on Homeland Security and Committee on Foreign Affairs (2008). Wasted Lessons of 9/11: How the Bush Administration Has Ignored the Law and Squandered its Opportunities to Make Our Country Safer. Washington, D.C.: U.S. House of Representatives, 2008. 52pp. back to text.

Wilkinson, Tim (2002). The World Trade Center and 9/11: A Discussion on Some Engineering Design Issues. Sydney: The University of Sydney, 2002. Written for “Safe Buildings for This Century” Australian Institute of Building Surveyors National Conference, 12—13 August 2002; Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia. back to text.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: The posts herein do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions. Read the full version of self-imposed rules for this blog: A New Year; New Rules. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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