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A Tale of Two Media:Tragedy and Images 1391

Pearl Street, Lower Manhattan -- Tuesday morning definitely marked the passage from one time to another. The Information Age is defined by images, not e-mail, and your kids and others will be asking you all of your lives where you were when the plane crashed into the World Trade Center and burst into that orange fireball and the buildings fell down. I can't help but think that this was the day when computer animation became reality. One of the most striking things about this story is the marked evolution of two media -- online and off. Politicians and pundits own the second, individual humans the first. It was odd how cool and natural all of the reporters and anchors were. Everybody said they were shocked, but nobody seemed to be. There was a lot of grave talk about how things will change forever, but most of the coverage was curiously remote and detached. Thanks to some local cops and firemen from my town, I just got to within a couple blocks of what the volunteers call "Ground Zero" -- the shockingly small pile of rubble that is all that is left of two of the biggest buildings on the planet. It's the perfect place to write about how the media -- new and old -- handled this story.(more)

For me, the images down here will be the barges that chugged out of Battery Park carrying corpses bound for vast New Jersey morgues, the smoke and smell and noise, the gaunt and hollow-eyed looks of the cops and firemen digging desperately for their buddies with their bare hands, the relatives on their knees praying all over the place, the video of the couple jumping off one of the towers holding hands, crushed police cars and fire trucks, many with bodies inside, the distant figure on the water everybody said was the U.S.S. George Washington, an aircraft carrier sent to protect New York harbor, and the soldiers with machine guns that are guarding major roadways and airports.

Big stories like this now are covered two ways -- online and off. The former draws millions to websites like CNN's and USA Today's, and new kind of sites like this one. Bloggers and others put up sites so that people could describe what was happening in their own words. People in apartment complexes and news sites posted accounts, and looked for relatives and housing.

As interesting as the Net is -- some of the best and most graphic video of the tragedy was popping up all over the Web -- and as idiosyncratic, the dominant medium when stuff like this happens is still TV, by a wide margin. Hour by hour, TV culls and culls until it finds a handful of quickly familiar images burned into our national and global consciousness. In our time, somebody has a videocam aimed at everything all the time, and within minutes the pictures show up everywhere, on television and the Net. Almost nothing is our culture goes unrecorded or unobserved any longer. The immediacy was as astonishing as the images were unbelievable.

By nightfall, CNN, MSNBC and the networks were moving away from the dramatic video and the indescribable scenes of wreckage and carnage and calling in the policy wonks and propellerheads who hide out in Washington caves until something like this happens. The focal point of all the airtime then shifted from the devastation in New York to the parsing and analyzing of the political, governmental and intelligence communities. For future reference, that may be a good time to turn off the tube and get online, the medium of individual stories, feelings and experiences.

When things like this happen, TV, much more than the Net or the Web, reveals whether leaders rise or fall to the occasion. Mayor Guiliani of New York clearly rose to the tragedy. President Bush, sticking to his cautious sing-song monotone, fled to various bunkers and seemed to shrink throughout the day. Guiliani got bigger by the hour. Defying advice that he hide out until the shooting stopped, he rushed to the scene, was nearly killed, calmed the city down and took charge of the clean-up and rescue. Bush got on his best suit and stuck to the prompter. At least that was the image that TV brought of us of these two very different leaders.

If you love New York, your heart will break when the smoke clears. Something about the city is busted for good, no matter what the mayor says. The damage is not describable, and surely hasn't been captured on TV. There are dead firemen, cops and office workers all over the rubble, everybody is saying, and the dust is so thick even the cadaver dogs are getting sick. Five techs with thermal imaging probes were retreating uptown, their sensitive equipment almost useless in the mud (caused by water poured on the still-burning fires) and smoke and dirt.

The buzz from the cops and reporters standing around is that the death toll will be horrible -- between two and three thousand -- but nowhere near the much higher figures feared yesterday. It seems that many people did get out, calling wives and cops from their cell phones as they went, as did some of the doomed passengers on the hijacked planes. (And a number of the people buried under the towers are still calling for help on their cells. Others got calls from spouses and friends telling them to get out.)

Across the street, a group of structural engineers were reassuring reporters that the towers collapsed of their own structural weakness, the steel melting from the fires, the buildings designed to collapse inward -- rather than fall down -- to save lives.

With their usual hubris, reporters and politicians were promising us that everything was going to change. But if the attacks demonstrate nothing else, it is the folly of that kind of thinking. Terrorists change too, and for all the high-tech equipment pouring into Manhattan, sometimes there isn't a thing we can do to stop them.

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A Tale of Two Media:Tragedy and Images

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  • by ClarkEvans ( 102211 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:03PM (#2295390) Homepage
    The Middle East Wire [middleeastwire.com] is very interesting read. I've especially enjoyed their Commentary and Interviews [middleeastwire.com]. For example, here is one very good article...

    Jordanian Perspective about Attacks on America
    Middle East News Online
    By Edna Yaghi for Middle East News Online
    Posted Wednesday September 12, 2001 - 06:00:52 PM EDT

    While Israeli bulldozers continue to destroy Palestinian homes in the Beit Hanina district of Arab East Jerusalem and while 2 Palestinians in Nablus were killed and 20 injured as Israeli tanks shelled a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin, Tuesday, September 11, 2 hijacked planes cut through the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and a third plane dove done into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

    These attacks, the worst ever on the U.S. mainland in modern history, struck at the heart of the American people and paralyzed the entire nation.

    Thousands of innocent people may have lost their lives in a most tragic way. Surely, no peace loving person can condone the killing of civilian people regardless of what race, nationality or creed they possess.

    Yet, America's blind and unconditional support for Israeli atrocities and crimes against the Palestinian people, plus the ongoing American assault against the Iraqis was bound to boomerang sooner or later. It is, after all, American made weapons that demolish, bomb, cut down and shoot Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. American planes are the ones that also randomly bomb Iraqi civilian targets.

    One people are no more human than any other. As Americans grieve for the loss of their loved ones, so do Palestinians grieve for the senseless deaths of their people and the same goes for the Iraqis as well.

    For nearly a year, the Palestinian people have been under Israeli siege. Every day Palestinians die in their homes, going to school, going to work, trying to get through an Israeli checkpoint or on the streets where they are open targets for Israeli tanks and snipers.

    Every day Iraqi babies die because of the sanctions. Every month the death toll of Iraqi children surpasses 5,000. And George Jr. has taken over the job of bombarding Iraqis by air to make sure that their misery continues.

    For the first time in a long time, the American people experienced how it feels to be attacked. People ran in desperate fear through the streets of New York City. Some hid behind cars. Others could not escape death.

    America will never be the same again. The attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon have proved that the greatest and only super power in the world is not invincible. No mater who is responsible for the attacks on America and not matter how viciously the Americans choose to retaliate, American foreign policy is what brought this all on. Perhaps this is the beginning of the decline of the great American Empire.

    All good and bad things eventually come to an end. Americans should become aware of just how detrimental their foreign policy is and for a change, stand on the side of justice instead of supporting injustice all over the world.

    • Every day Iraqi babies die because of the sanctions. Every month the death toll of Iraqi children surpasses 5,000. And George Jr. has taken over the job of bombarding Iraqis by air to make sure that their misery continues.

      What a bunch of, ahem, silly rhetoric. First of all, Iraq gets tons of food and medical supplies, which are often intercepted by the military away from their own people. Second of all, maybe they forgot that Iraq invaded a sovereign nation in order to steal their oil. And maybe they forgot that Saudi Arabia was next. Yeah, it would be a great world with Saddam Hussein in charge of a great majority of the world's oil.

      • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:31PM (#2295513) Homepage

        I agree with your criticism of the original post, Reality Master. And I would add an additional criticism: the terrorists have not stood up and said why they did what they did. So the original post that Reality Master replied to, and it's original article, are either guessing, or inferring, or else it was written by the terrorists. In which case, I suspect that the FBI will be knocking on slashdot's door pretty soon.

        Since I don't believe that the article was written by the terrorists -- it certainly isn't portrayed that way -- I'm left thinking it's just guesswork, which I reject, or else they inferred it based upon current information. If that's the case, every person on slashdot is equally qualified to state why it was done, based upon current information. It's entirely up to each person's interpretation. And in that case, my interpretation is that these are terrorists, these are evil people who are willing to sacrifice innocent people. There is no higher cause at work here. They are petty, self-absorbed people who are willing to sacrifice and sell-out their own people and other innocent people for an unstated message that I would reject even if it were stated. I give no forum to murderers.

        • No-one is saying the terrorists were justified. What we are saying is they may have had legitimate greivances against the US, and maybe, just maybe we should sit up and take notice. There is a difference, it's not that subtle.

      • by PatientZero ( 25929 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:35PM (#2295534)
        First of all, Iraq gets tons of food and medical supplies, which are often intercepted by the military away from their own people

        A UN inspection group found that well over 95% of the food and medical supplies were reaching Iraqi civilians directly. They reported it as one of the most effective humanitarian projects in history.

        Second of all, maybe they forgot that Iraq invaded a sovereign nation in order to steal their oil.

        American oil companies use U.S. military and political force to obtain their oil. They do it in secret, using the State Department and CIA, to escape justice. In most cases only money is required to grease the wheels, but on several occasions we've provided all but the soldiers.

        Neither side is right. They both must be stopped. Don't try to claim that "they" are somehow more "evil" because they attacked civilians, for the U.S. does that as well. What happened is an atrocity, but at least most everyone killed in Tuesday's attack died instantly. Iraqi children have been starving to death by the thousands for well over a year.

        The terrorists are probably hoping that this will result in the American public pressuring our government to change some particular action. I believe they are, unfortunately, just as wrong as our government in believing that the starving citizens of Iraq are going to suddenly revolt against their leadership.

        Most Americans not only don't know what our government does, they don't want to. The majority believe they have no say in what the government does, so the last thing they want is to learn of U.S. atrocities. They don't want to feel any more guilt or responsibility. They pay their taxes, and that means they don't have to think about all the terror that money buys.

        • by greenrd ( 47933 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:13PM (#2295722) Homepage
          Iraqi children have been starving to death by the thousands for well over a year.

          Correction (amplification). The sanctions have been in place for over ten years. Children have been starving and dying of cancer at highly above-normal rates for much of that time. After the Gulf War conditions were pretty bad even to start with because of the destruction of basic infrastructure. Iraq has seen children playing in streets covered in raw sewage, emergency vehicles and hospital equipement lying idle for want of spare parts, patients treated with anaesthetic. This was a country that before the Gulf War had a high quality socialized healthcare system and relatively good living standards (due to oil exports, of course). The US has stood by and callously blocked the import of essential medicines, anaesthetics and spare parts. Make no mistake, the US government is fully aware of their complicity in the suffering and death of innocent Iraqi civilians.

      • by greenrd ( 47933 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:54PM (#2295631) Homepage
        First of all, Iraq gets tons of food and medical supplies, which are often intercepted by the military away from their own people.

        You have swallowed US bullshit propaganda whole. Learn to be a bit more skeptical, damnit! I trust individuals like Halliday who have staked their careers on these allegations rather than the vicious US government. How many times do we have to say Don't believe government propaganda without question. If they were killing children they wouldn't admit it, would they?

        Now to the facts at issue. Iraq does not get enough supplies. For a long time the UK, France, Russia, etc. have been pushing for better targeted sanctions - all of them acknowledged there was a humanitarian relief problem. The US has up to now maintained its hardline stance. More info and analysis acan be found at the excellent CASI site:

        http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/casi/index.html

        Notable quotes:

        "if the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998" Unicef, 12 August 1999.

        "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral." Denis Halliday, after resigning as first UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, The Independent, 15 October 1998

        • Did you actually read that site? The latest news section is rife with US/UK references, ie the US and the UK are in agreement on these things. In fact the proposed smart sanctions are UK/US backed and most of the sanctions appear to be US/UK backed from I have read on that site. I think you're anti-US mindset has clouded your vision a bit. This is as much a UK problem as a US problem.
    • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:37PM (#2295548) Homepage

      America will never be the same again. The attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon have proved that the greatest and only super power in the world is not invincible. No mater who is responsible for the attacks on America and not matter how viciously the Americans choose to retaliate, American foreign policy is what brought this all on. Perhaps this is the beginning of the decline of the great American Empire.

      I really detest reading these editorials, where the author seems to be on the verge of celebration because innocent people have died in a country he doesn't like, or because now more people have experienced horror and death in the world than before.

      Will this author be pleased when every man, woman, and child on this planet has felt terror and pain, rather than have the audacity to desire a free and happy life?

      Innocent human lives do not go on opposite sides of a balance, with Americans or Israelis on one side, Palestinians on the other. Innocent human life knows no political boundaries. Innocent human lives are always just that: human lives. Or put another way, two wrongs don't make a right.

      And I don't understand when people say this shows America is somehow weak. Don't they realize, we have several hundred millions of people, and 49 more states? The terrorists took two buildings, and several thousand innocent lives, and this will somehow topple America? Even without America, the world is full of people who will fight for the ideals of democracy and freedom and capitalism. We know it's not perfect, but there's nothing better.

      We fought hard to get to the point where we don't have to experience death and suffering every day, and we will continue fighting for it, as any rational human being would do!

      • by Seenhere ( 90736 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:07PM (#2295694) Homepage
        Hmmm, that's not the way I interpret the point of the editorial. It seems to me the sentiment is a hope that the US will, because of a new awareness of its own vulnerability, no longer feel as free to cause suffering to innocents abroad as it historically has been. Anyway, apart from whether or not that's a reasonable hope, that's what I thought the author was focusing on, not a celebration in increased suffering overall.

      • by greenrd ( 47933 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:27PM (#2295797) Homepage
        This is how I interpret the article, in a nutshell: Now you know how it feels, now, will you finally start to care about the oppression and violence that America and Israel are perpetrating in your name and with your dollars? How about waking up and caring about people outside the borders of your own country - and putting that caring into practice?

        • by Col. Panic ( 90528 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:07PM (#2296357) Homepage Journal
          This is exactly the point my wife (who is Polish) made to me (an American citizen) when we discussed the tragedy. I was shocked, but the European perspective (at least her and her friends) is that America has stood idly by while terrorism has gripped the rest of the world for so long. She went on to say that the same was true of WWII, in which we declined to participate until we ourselves were at risk.

          Perhaps the United States has been accused of acting like the global police department, but only for our own ends. It appears we can no longer rely on our own media to bring us news from around the world, because they don't. If you watch BBC television or surf the world's news websites, you will see a greater picture than the AOL/Time Warner machine is presenting to the majority of Americans.

          Maybe it is time we wake up and start acting like part of a global problem.

          • by PD ( 9577 ) <slashdotlinux@pdrap.org> on Friday September 14, 2001 @03:45AM (#2297332) Homepage Journal
            1) WWII was essentially the second phase of a European Civil War, WWI being the first phase. In both cases, the U.S. kept out of it until attacks upon American interests forced their hand.

            2) (one side of mouth) America has stood idly by while terrorism has gripped the rest of the world.
            (other side of mouth) United States has been accused of acting like the global police department. Come on, say what you mean. Contradictory statements don't help your point.

            Why should America hastily involve itself in every conflict and problem in the world? We run a free society based on liberal values, and thankfully we have avoided the dual curses of a politicized military and nationalism. I fear that with too great of an entanglement in the affairs of others we may degenerate into a nation that holds blood grudges against other nations, much like what you will find in Eastern Europe or the Middle East.

            On one hand, many people complain that the terrorist actions were a result of too much US meddling in the affairs of others (going back to the cold war days). Now is your argument that we haven't meddled enough? And if we're not going to meddle for our own purposes, then what purposes should we be meddling for?

            • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday September 14, 2001 @08:36AM (#2297847)
              "And if we're not going to meddle for our own purposes, then what purposes should we be meddling for?"

              This is the crux of the matter. You present a false choice: that between "meddling" for our own personal interests, or not "meddling" at all; when in fact, that should not be the question. We should be *participating*. We should stop acting unilaterally. We should stop blessing this nation and condemning that nation and walking around with a big stick bullying everybody. We may be "number one" but that doesn't mean we should be an asshole about it and this shows that, yes, we aren't impervious, and yes, we can be brought the same fear and terror that other nations have to humbly cope with and cooperate with each other to solve. Regardless of what the mindless jingos keep chanting, this was not an attack on "democracy" or on "freedom" - this was an attack in retaliation for a long history of actions and behaviors that have generated lots of hate toward us. But everybody wants to wrap themselves in a flag and stand on some moral high ground. There are people just like you and me, just as human as any American, which have been the butt of our policies.
    • American planes are the ones that also randomly bomb Iraqi civilian targets.

      Hmmm... Looks like they spelled military wrong.

      Every day Palestinians die in their homes, going to school, going to work, trying to get through an Israeli checkpoint or on the streets where they are open targets for Israeli tanks and snipers.

      And every day Israelis die in their homes, going to school, going to work, walking on the streets where they are open targets for Palestinian suicide bombers.

      But it doesn't matter! You know why? Neither side will ever give in. None of the people are able to change. The only hope is that their children will be sheltered from the hatred, so they might grow up too naive to realize they are supposed to hate each other. But until then, fanatics, and hatred-filled nutcases that believe in an afterlife will continue the killing, and thus mindful people that believe in justice or prevention will continue retaliating.
    • by CaptainCarrot ( 84625 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:49PM (#2295600)
      This is insightful? Rather, I'd say it's symptomatic of the blind hatred for the US we see in many Muslem countries, regardless of what we may or may not do.

      Why are there now areas within Israel where Palestinian Arabs are self-administered? Because of a US-mediated settlement between the PLO and Israel. Why are these areas now under "Israeli seige"? Because Palestinian terrorists, whom Arafat is either unwilling or unable to control, started blowing up Israeli civillians. Why did Israel take such a hard line against the Muslims within their borders in the first place? Does the year 1967 [israel-mfa.gov.il] remind anyone of anything? (Not the main cause perhaps, but a symptom of why Israel has valid reasons for doing what they do, by their own lights if nothing else.) Nor has US support for Israel in recent years been either blind or unconditional. We have repeatedly insisted that Israel back off on reprisals to Palestinian terror, often clearly to the detriment of Israel's own self-interest, in the hopes that this time, just maybe, the cycle of terror will be broken. The terrorist groups instead have shown absolutely no interest in peace, but continue to escalate their activities.

      As Americans go, I'm a Palestinian sympathizer. I'm an Orthodox Christian [oca.org], within the same communion as the indigenous Christian Church in the Holy Land. Palestinian Christians suffer from all of the disadvantages of being Arabs in Israel even though they are not among the militants. I know very well that Palestinians have lived under conditions of oppression. But I'd have to be blind not to realize that the militant Palestinian factions brought most of it upon themselves and upon every other Palestinian, terrorist or not, Muslim or not, by their actions.

      As far as Iraq goes, neither sanctions nor bombings would ever happen if Saddam Hussein would simply abide by the terms of the agreements he made at the end of the Gulf War. He would be able to end all sanctions tomorrow by doing so if only he hadn't proven repeatedly that his word can't be trusted for anything. I suppose the Jordanians don't much care that the reason the Gulf War happened in the first place was because of Saddam's sudden, unprovoked assault on a peaceful neighboring Muslim state. (And are 5,000 Iraqi babies really dying every day due to economic sanctions while Saddam rests comfortably in one of his many palaces? Even if it's true, how can it possibly be the fault of the US when Saddam clearly has the resources to deal with it, but chooses instead to spend them on militancy?)

      Perhaps this is the beginning of the decline of the great American Empire.

      They can but hope. I suppose it's useless to point out that the US doesn't really have an empire. If we did, our "client states" are the most unruly and disobedient of those of any empire in the history of the world. But I'm well read in world history, and I say that anyone who would provoke the US again ought to proceed with extreme caution. If the provocation is sufficient, the US just might be moved to create a genuine empire, if that's what it takes to make itself secure. Be very, very careful.

      • by rneches ( 160120 ) on Friday September 14, 2001 @04:26AM (#2297412) Homepage
        I couldn't agree more.

        In addition, I really do wonder what people mean when they refer to Israeli "atrocities." In most cases, the incidents refered to are the shootings that have left so many young Palistinian men dead. These deaths have nearly brought me to tears, but not for their injustice - for their stupidity. Think about the circumstances under which so many of them have been killed. If you initiate or participate in a riot and assalt police officers, you will probably get shot. It doesn't matter what country you are in, or what religion you are, or what ethnic group you belong to, or how rightous your cause might be. The Police will eventually have no choice but to shoot you. It sucks, but that is how you have to maintain order. Honestly, if you throw rocks and bottles at someone with an assault rifle, you are practically begging them to shoot you. If they eventually do, that doesn't make you a martyr, no matter what you might have been screaming at the time. It makes you an idiot.

        What makes me sad about these deaths is not just that Palistinian children are being killed. What makes me sad is how the Palistinian community glorifies their deaths, and exploits the sadness that anyone would feel about such an event. Parents, role models and leaders all but beg their children to go out to Israeli checkpoints and get shot. Their lives are being manipulated and expended by a self-serving and cynical leaders. This is not exactly what I would call an "Israeli attrocity."

        The other complaint that one hears about the most is the demolition of Palistinian homes, and the construction of additional settlements. I've never been in support of either of these actions. I think it's wrong to take away someone's home, even if they didn't have a permit to build it. Furthermore, I think it's unwise to settle territory in the way that Israel has chosen to given present circumstances. These are both probably mistakes. But again, people seem to forget what we're talking about here. Israel is 20,330 square kilometers. The state of Vermont is 23,957 square kilometers. Areas like the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights are comparable to in size to such places as Windhan county or Bellows Falls. Not to belittle the Great State of Vermont, but why on earth would people get so worked up about such tiny, insignificant dollops of land? It would be like going to war because the state wanted to move you from Bellows Falls to Brattleboro. It's utter foolishness.

        It always seems to come down the the fact that there are all sorts of "holy sites" all over the place there. In my opinion, if these holy sites are really causing that much trouble, they ought to destroy them all, for all religions, and be done with it. No pile of rubble, no matter how mystical or aincent, is worth the blood that has been spilt. I'm sure that if Muhammad, Moses and Jesus all appeared as guests on CMM'sCrossfire, they would all agree that a holy site isn't worth a single human life. So, with respect to land and settlements, I beleive that Isreal has acted beligerantly and unwisely. But the Palestinians (or at least their leadership) has acted completly insane. When the whole country is small enough to drive across in a couple of hours, what does it matter if you live here or there? We should be hearing demands from the Palestinian side that sound more like this:

        Well, if you're going to expect us to agree to live there, then you're going to have to agree to build and maintain a public transit system from here to there! We denamd a high speed rail line from Golan to Jeruselem! And keep in mind that that's out in the middle of the desert, so you're going to have to help us build water and sewage facilities! And, since it's so hot, you're going to have to subsidize the electricity, so we can run our air conditioners!
        Instead, they are blowing themselves up on streetcorners and taking potshots at preschools. Not all of them, of course. But the critical thing is that this behavior is all but encouraged by their leadership, and was officially encouraged not too long ago. We have such people in the United States, but we go to lengths to discorage them from actually killing people, and when they do, we lock them up.

        I happen to think that a lot of the things done by Israel have been mistakes. There have been times that I've been ashamed to call myself a Jew on acount of what Israel was doing at the time. But the fact is, Israel offered a final and permanant peace to Arafat, and Arafat turned it down. Israel allowed the United States to twist its arm until it yeilded to just about every demand made by the PLO. But Arafat decided to hold out for a better deal. Parez knowlingly sacrificed his leadership of the nation in an attempt to make this peace, and Arafat must have known that this would be his last shot at such a sweet deal. Up until that point, I was on the side of the Palistinians. I felt that they had been wronged, and although they behaved very, very poorly, they ought to be copmensated. But to respond to a peace offering by starting a war, and to do so with the blood of their own children is to betray the very name of Peace.

        Arafat and the Palestinians wanted a war, and Israel has merely obliged them. It is exactly the same situation as the rock-throwers and the soldiers, only with whole nations. Israel (the soldier) might not be the most enlightened in its opinion of the rock-thrower (the Palestinians), but will reluctantly shoot when forced to. It sucks, but that's how you defend a nation.

    • So how does this affect the Palestininans? Does anyone think that this event will cause US policy change to favor Palestine?
      Ariel Sharon now has carte blanche, short of setting up extermination camps.
    • Oh please.... Trying to compare this to what's going on with the Palestinains or in Iraq is ludicrous. Let's count the ways:
      1. If this act was because the US has armed Israel, why then didn't the terrorists go after General Dynamics, Lockheed, Ratheon, or another US company which develops and sells these weapons? Why are they killing a bunch of bankers and stock brokers instead of the guys who developed the F16?
      2. As much as you might dislike what Israel is doing to the Palestians, they're not the one's going around and intentionally bombing pizza joints and wedding receptions. I have a hard time condeming Israel going after terrorists who are killing people who's only crime is trying to get married.
      3. If Saddam didn't put his own people in harms way (can you say "human shield"?) they wouldn't get hurt when the US bombs legitiment military targets.
      4. And if the sanctions are so horrible in Iraq, then why doesn't Saddam simply comply with the UN resoultions and allow them to inspect for bio and chemical weapons? Why is Saddam choosing developing weapons of mass distruction over the welfare of his own people?
      5. When was the last time American's were dancing in the streets because some Palestians or Iraqi's died in an attack? Honestly, that's what has me the most sick. It's one thing for someone to be a terrorist and kill a few thousand people, it's even worse to be happy about it.
      6. Yes, everyone loves to complain about American foreign policy. Of course whenever there is any natural disaster or other event (like war) which destroys a nation, the US is always the first there to help and you don't hear people complain then. The US singlehandedly rebuilt most of Europe and Japan after World War II, not to mention countless times we've sent aid to countries for famine, disease, or other natural disasters. Maybe if the rest of the world wasn't so fucked up we wouldn't have to keep getting involved all the time. Somebody has to be the world's police officer and I don't see anyone else asking to fill the role. Oh, and when was the last time another country came and offered help to the US when we had a natural disaster? I don't remember anyone offering help after the San Francisco Loma Predia quake or the hurricanes in Florida. Hell, I don't see Japan, England, France, China, or anyone else for that matter helping us now other than making a few strong statements to the media which will be forgotten in a month.
      Frankly, anyone who thinks terrorism is "deserved" or "acceptable" or that "they deserved it" is morally corrupt in my opinion. The whole purpose of terrorism is to attack the innocent population for political purposes. There is no moral high-ground or legitimate reason for terrorism.
      • "...when was the last time another country came and offered help to the US when we had a natural disaster?"

        This year. Last year. The year before. And the year before that.

        Ignorant, arrogant, isolationist idiot that you are, you have no idea how often Canada has had to come down to the US to bail your asses out of wildfires, floods, ice storms, and earthquakes.

        First to help my fucking ass. America was the *last* to help in WWII, *last* to help in the Yugoslavian conflict, and still hasn't done a damn thing to help Canadian peacekeeping troops in any number of global hotspots.

        Plus you refuse to pay up your UN dues, and then figure you still have a voice in the UN.

        Your attitude is exactly what earns America a hearty "fuck you" from so much of the world.

        If you weren't posting during a time of great grief and a tragedy that strikes at every peaceful country in the world, I'd impolitely remediate your ignorance.
        • by furiousgeorge ( 30912 ) on Friday September 14, 2001 @12:55PM (#2299021)
          I'm a canadian - and you embarass me. Here is an excellent statement made by Gordan Sinclair that sums things up. Yes the US *isn't* perfect..... but they do a hell of a lot more and put up with a hell of a lot more than anybody else out there......

          TRIBUTE TO THE UNITED STATES
          This, from a Canadian newspaper, is worth sharing.
          America: The Good Neighbor.
          Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator.
          What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:
          "This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
          When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
          When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.
          The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.
          I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?
          Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles.
          You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon- not once, but several times - and safely home again. You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at.
          Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.
          When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.
          I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.
          Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."

          Stand proud, America!
          Wear it proudly!!
          Gordon Sinclair

    • Well now the whole area has a lot in common then. Just replace most of the "Palestinians" with "Israelis" and you have an average article in www.jpost.com *sigh*. My brother pointed out something interesting. Why is it only the Western Islamic and Muslim leaders that condemn the trade center attacks as against their religion? (there was an excellent post by an American-Arab about this.) It most definately is. Jihad is only for people oppressed into not following their religion by the government. It definately allows for tolerance and love for people in its own borders.

      Remember that Bin Laden is exiled from Saudi Arabia becuase he thought the American presence was a violation of Holy Land. He seems to have no religious founding for that, so we dig up our own rationalization for him anyway. People in America that picked up news paper some stories who think they then know what is going on. Anyone ever track down those 5000 Egyptian women who were shipped to S.A.supply the Soldiers needs during Desert Storm? That was all over the Arab world presses at the time.

      I was on the side of the poor victims of American 500-pound-guerilla-ism, and in many ways still am. But I've learned something in the mean time, and have since grown up.

      1) We are responsible for the Govt's actions. They did it for us. We say "we want cheap oil" and we say "we want cheap beef." The Government that wants to stay in power just listens and obeys like a humble a-moral robot.

      2) Every two bit johny-come-lately to power down there realizes there is much to be gained by listening to their people who look with envy on the prosperity of America. Heck, even Mexico feels the same way. Its easy to look across the atlantic and blame all their troubles on those two towers where world trade happens and they think they get shortchanged. That perspective can twist many events that really are more benign. That perspective twisting is something called hatred.

      So all in all, I take what I hear from both sides with a grain of salt. Meanwhile I look to get into the government becuase the only real change will come from within. Not from a plane flying into a building. Also I plan to be nice to Arabs so that my judgement doesn't get clouded by fear, hatred or jealousy.

      Becuase in the end, aside from a very few admirable people that I see actively doing something from what they've learned about our secret government, I find that I can lump everyone that starts complaining about American Imperialism into my round "Complainers" file.

      And I definately lump people who take their own inadequacy and hatred and jealousy as excuses for destruction as no better than a child who throws a rock through the t.v. becuase his/her parents won't let them watch Barney. Doing something does not mean destroying things for attention. Ghandi and MLK showed us a better way.

      Tantrums do not get a sympathetic ear in my experience.
  • by ClarkEvans ( 102211 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:10PM (#2295418) Homepage
    When we go to prosecute a murder, we look
    for intent. I find it funny that very
    little media has given us a detailed
    background of the history and possible
    motivations of the terrorists. This was
    obviously not a spur-of-the-moment thing.
    It took determination, planning, willing
    to give up one's life. I would like to see
    less talk of War and more of Why.

    In short, I've listened to CSPAN all day
    today and yesterday. Lots of talk of
    war, getting retribution, but no analysis
    of what part we have played in this story.

    Best,

    Clark
    • Lots of talk of war, getting retribution, but no analysis of what part we have played in this story.

      That would be "victim".

      • I wish I could feel safe being so naive as to say something like that. I hope you don't believe that the only role our country has played in this nightmare is as a victim. Certainly everyone who died in the attacks Tuesday was a victim, and purely a victim. But you can't just close your eyes, cover your ears, and pretend that our country has played no role but that of a victim.
    • by foonf ( 447461 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:29PM (#2295502) Homepage
      I find it funny that very

      little media has given us a detailed
      background of the history and possible
      motivations of the terrorists.


      Because if they were to do this, they would have to admit a number of things which would undermine the message they are trying to send, such as:

      1. Osama bin Laden, the current prime scapegoat, was originally supported by the CIA to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Most of bin Laden's associates, as well as the others associated with the Taliban regime, were trained and financed by the CIA.
      2. If it was bin Laden, the bombing was in response to such things as: the bombing and sanctions against Iraq which may have killed clost to a million innocent civillians, the continued oppression of Palestinian civillians by Israel (recent death toll in the thousands, at least), and the destruction of a Sudanese pharmacutical plant by American cruise missiles, death toll unknown because a UN investigation was blocked by the US, but it was the primary source of vaccines and antibiotics for almost all of Central Africa, so it is possible the death toll is in the ten thousands. It would be difficult to acknowledge these things while at the same time clamoring for retribution against Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., because it would be clear that the attack on america itself was a similar act of desparate retribution.

      But rather than explaining anything, the media seems more interested in rallying support for another middle eastern war, which will likely lead to further despicable terrorist attacks on america such as this one, AS WELL AS untold thousands of civillian deaths wherever the american government chooses to attack.

      Oh yes, one more thing. The images of Palestinians celebrating in Israel you have seen on the news are most likely fake. In a manner of speaking, anyway. They are from 1991 and unrelated to anything going on currently.
      • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:07PM (#2295687) Homepage

        Because if they were to do this, they would have to admit a number of things which would undermine the message they are trying to send,

        The US Government doesn't have to "send a message". The American people, believe it or not, actually are angry all on their own because their lives have been disrupted, and they're tired of terrorism.

        It really doesn't matter that the USA trained bin Laden, or who we've supported, or what we've done. None of that justifies the choice of targets, none of that justifies the WAY he chose to attack.

      • When was the last time that the United States or Israel flew a plane loaded with jet fuel into an office building full of civilians?

        Hmmm, I can't remember. Can you?
      • Oh yes, one more thing. The images of Palestinians celebrating in Israel you have seen on the news are most likely fake. In a manner of speaking, anyway. They are from 1991 and unrelated to anything going on currently.

        ... you imply the Palestinians are complaining about old footage. Funny, let's see ... Palestinian Authority threatens camera crews covering celebrations [worldtribune.com]

        Oh but wait, an anonymous internet website that offers no proof is more credible than our corporate eviiiiil media, no ? Please.
      • by kootch ( 81702 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:39PM (#2296159) Homepage
        so the images of Palestinians celebrating are most likely fake? okay...

        so if they're fake, why is Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian Authority Cabinet member, discussing them in a press conference?

        "Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Authority Cabinet member, said the apparent celebrations in Ramallah in the West Bank were a minority reaction and focusing on them would be misleading, as far as Arab reaction to the attacks is concerned."

        This in reference to this:

        "As Palestinians celebrated in one West Bank town and in Lebanese refugee camps on Tuesday, their leader Yasser Arafat offered his sympathy to Americans and said the Palestinian authority was "completely shocked" by the string of attacks."

        taken from here [cnn.com]

        Please tell me that for your next act you're going to try to excuse the act of Jyhad as a natural response to the supposed oppression of the american government.

    • Cartago Delendo Est. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:41PM (#2295556) Journal
      The enemy's greatest fear is that the prosperity of the West will seduce the generation after this one. That the memories of old blood feuds will fade when presented with McDonald's and computers and cheap cell phones. Every call they make to recruit is against the decadence of the West destroying their way of life.

      After we punish the enemy with bombs, with bullets, we must salt the soil that the twisted tree of intolerance and fanaticism takes root in. We must change the hearts and minds of the young.

      We salt them with small computers. With internet access. With a telephone in every village. With juvenile novels and encyclopedias translated into Arabic. With teachers who speak their language, and who teach them to use these tools to answer questions for themselves. Yes, some of those teachers will be killed. They are soldiers in this war as much as anyone who takes on a beret or a gun, and we can make martyrs of them for the world.

      No tyrant can long survive with an informed and educated populace.

      The organizations they declaim as the mouthpieces of the US shall be USED as the mouthpieces of the west. We tell their children that there is a life beyond substistence farming and blood feuds. We tell their wives and daughters that there is a life where they are valued as individuals and people in their own right, not as chattel.

      We give them the tools of bilateral communication, rather than unilateral indoctrination. We give them the internet. We declare a great work, of making sure that every corner of this globe has access to fast internet access. Not just the US. Not just Europe. The world.

      They will see pornography sites. They will also see sites discussing engineering, and simple improvements to agriculture. The curiousity of children will be piqued, and their questions answered. With each question asked, and each answer given, we slowly wean them away from the culture of intolerance.

      They'll be able to ask questions without censure or censoring, and get answers they might not otherwise have.

      I would sooner carpet bomb with game boys and Pokemon, and an Arabic translation of Monopoly, than FAEs and nuclear explosives. The adults are beyond our reach. The young MUST be reached so that 20 years from now, the thought of piloting a captured airliner into an office building full if innocent bystanders meets with universal horror.

      I fear, in the haste for vengeance, that the nature of this conflict will be forgotten. Make no bones about it -- this is a culture war. It can only end with a declaration on the order of Cartago Delendo Est.

      We cannot win this war with bombs or bullets, although we can accelerate its prosecution by those means. We can only win this war through a generational conflict; we must win the war in the hearts and minds of the children growing up in the Middle East now.

      Winning that longer war will be costlier and less immediately gratifying than cluster bombs and Fuel Air Explosives, and "killing the bastards and everyone that helped them."

      It can, however, be a profitable war.

      If you are an author, or someone who creates media, contact your publisher about translating your works into Arabic. Someone in the DoD is in charge of outbound propaganda; we should find who that person is, and give them the munitions to win this war.

      Bin-Ladin has declared this a culture war.

      Let's show him what a culture war TRULY looks like. Let's send in Shakespeare. And Heinlein. And Harlequin Romances, Pokemon and The Simpsons.

      Ken Burnside

      reprinted without permission from jerrypournelle.com But Jerry won't mind.

      • cause and effect? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ferkelparade ( 415620 ) <sven @ l rdg.de> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:23PM (#2295781) Homepage
        While I like your attitude a lot more than that of all those guys running around yelling bloody revenge, I have a couple of problems with your post:

        To start off, who exactly do you refer to as "the enemy"? If I read you correctly, the whole of the Islamic/Arabic world. Sorry, sweeping overgeneralization.

        What's even worse is the total disregard for cultures other than our own your post shows - there is nothing inherently better in modern Western culture than in traditional Islamic culture (which was, as can not be pointed out often enough, a haven of learning and tolerance for centuries during which European crusaders lined their way to the holy land with corpses). Sure, there are extremists, and there's not the slightest reason to defend them and their sick actions, but these extremists are by no means a majority, and they are by far not the only thing that makes up Islamic culture.

        I have a gut feeling that this sort of (sorry) cultural chauvinism is at the heart of much of the terror we have been witnessing during recent years...

    • The motivation is most likely US foreign policy. The motivation behind the attacks were most likely not caused by any single action. More likely, they were a result of US intervention and aid in the Middle East over the years.

      With the United States being the only remaining superpower, we (since I am a US citizen) make a perfect target. The sad fact is that the majority of US citizens don't pay much attention to foreign policy. In the case of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the US support given to Israel makes the US just as guilty of killing Palestinians as the Israelis, from a Palestinian point of view. That's why some Palestinians were applauding the attacks. (Others were donating blood and denouncing the attacks. Most people don't mention that.)

      US foreign policy in the Middle East is a long and sordid affair. Our government is not innocent and this will make alot of US citizens wake up.

      Now that all of the knee jerkers are ready to flame me - NOTHING that our government has done, should result in a tragedy like this. Regardless of the US foreign policy, innocent civilians DO NOT deserve to die. I stared out of my window towards the Financial District in shock and disbelief as the WTC fell. Terrorism is irrational and results in senseless bloodshed, mostly of innocents.

      I hope that the people responsible for Tuesdays attacks are brought to justice swiftly. I also hope that the US retaliation doesn't result in further (and possibly worse) terrorist activity.

      • but I disagree with your conclusion.

        Now that all of the knee jerkers are ready to flame me - NOTHING that our government has done, should result in a tragedy like this. Regardless of the US foreign policy, innocent civilians DO NOT deserve to die.

        There's quite a few things about US policy itself that display these characteristics. It's OK for US foreign policy to:
        • deliberately starve millions in Iraq and Afghanistan when the Federal Government's loyalty changes towards former favourites.
        • prop up corrupt leaders in Africa and Central America just because the political and military opponents are communist.
        • blatantly ignore treaties whenever it suits them.
        • ignore the UN when possible
        • support Israel's ignoring of UN resolutions as much as possible.

        These points are not the mindless ravings of a Muslim fanatic (whatever that means - all the Muslim guys I've ever known are really cool). I'm a white journalist who has lived through 15 years of terrorist war in Southern Africa and then fought against it in Northern Ireland - and I'm not just mindlessly sounding off. (I've also travelled widely in the US). All of my points are facts which can can be independently verified. But don't take my word for it - check them out. Don't rely on your own mainstream media which can't even bring itself to talk about how Bin Laden was funded by the CIA and the Taliban are a bastard creation of a US-sponsored agency in Pakistan. Go and find out just why these political problems in other parts of the world are the fault - in whole or in part - of the self interest of the United States of America.
        Mantras seem to be the order of the day so here's mine:

        In the eyes of some, US citizens are fair game as long as they continue to ignore their own government's foreign policy

        Having correctly pointed out that US foreign policy has caused misery, suffering and death to millions elsewhere in the world, you seem horrified that a couple of those people are ready to give as good as they get.
    • this story from the UK sums it up, rather accurately.
      Sad, but true [guardian.co.uk]
    • The simple fact is that many of the leaders in the Islamic world simply treat their people like shit. They half to make up some enemy to distract from the fact that they are tyrants and any decent people would overthrow them. The peacfull state of Isreal is a perfict target - and likewise their strongest ally the USA.

      The current assinations used in self defense by Isreal are a perfict example. The peace process was going along nicely until Airifat started to face political unstability - immeadiately Isreal started to be provoked. Lets make no mistake about it - it was not at all for religious reasons, or at all for moral reasons, but only because political islamic leaders started to feel threatened and needed an enemy to distract the people from the current corrupt powers.

      In a way, it is America's fault. We should never have tolerated such an injust government as Saddam Husseins (spelling) to stay in power. He has more than anybody used the war mentality to distract the people from the fact that they are murdered and pillaged (by him) not the USA. But displacing him, and not tollerating others like him was politically costly so the USA simply put up with them, and managed it. - That was a fatal mistake that we paid for this tuesday.

    • by ToLu the Happy Furby ( 63586 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:29PM (#2295496)
      According to Giuliani, at least, they've been repeatedly testing air quality and "as you get beyond the epicenter of the recovery site, the asbestos levels in the air are either safe or nonexistent."

      Giuliani press conference [nytimes.com]. (NY Times; registration required.)
      • > the asbestos levels in the air are either safe
        >or nonexistent

        The problem with Asbestos is that the only safe level of exposure is zero.

        • by ToLu the Happy Furby ( 63586 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:36PM (#2295833)
          The problem with Asbestos is that the only safe level of exposure is zero.

          Actually, that's a myth. The reason so many thousands got sick from asbestos is because so many thousands breathed in lots and lots of it, over and over and over for years. Mainly people who worked in construction and installed it almost every day for years. Also shipyards (asbestos was widely used in ship construction, as you *really* don't want those catching fire) and the factories where the asbestos was made.

          Check out the graph on this page [asbestos.org]. It shows the asbestos-related death rates for workers who were exposed to various levels of airborne asbestos every day of their working careers. Even then, the death rate varies widely (and almost linearly) with the asbestos levels experienced. At low levels (eg. .1 fiber/cc of air), the increased death rate is barely significant (3.2 deaths/1000).

          Furthermore, asbestos exposure is a cumulative risk, very similar to the risks from smoking. Just as smoking 3 packs every day for a week won't kill you if you don't smoke again, even a relatively high asbestos exposure over a few days or weeks will not cause a significant occurance of disease. Or, as that link puts it, "Risk of asbestos related illness is Dose-Response related. That is, the greater the amount of exposure and the longer the time of exposure, the greater the risk of asbestos related cancers."

          Assuming that Giuliani is telling the truth about the levels measured, there would appear to be little to worry about from asbestos here.
  • Worlds bigest towers (Score:4, Informative)

    by chabotc ( 22496 ) <chabotc@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:12PM (#2295434) Homepage
    Not to be distastefull, but the bigest towers in the world are in malaysia. The Petronas Twin Towers (well known from the movie 'Entrapment' with sean connery and catherine zeta-jones). At 88 floors and 452 meters.

    One & Two World trade measured in at 417 and 415 meters and 110 stories.

    The Sears tower (443 meters, 110 stories) in chicago and the Jin Mao Building in Shanghai (420 meters, 88 stories) are also taller then the WTC's.

    Anyways, non of it matters anyways.. just nit-picking.
    • which is why Katz said

      two of the biggest buildings on the planet

      and not

      the two biggest buildings on the planet
    • Everyone, and I mean everyone, who lives in Chicago (even little babies and dogs!) knows that the Sears Tower is still the tallest building in the world. Adding a bunch of paper-mache decoration to the top of your building and calling it "taller" is nonsense and every sensible person in the world knows it. We're 20 floors taller, for God's sake! Some day the records will show the truth.

  • Slightly off topic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jwakko ( 68476 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:13PM (#2295441)
    Speaking of online media (in another sense) - I've heard reports in the past that claimed that Bin Laden steganographically hid data inside of images and postings on public message boards to communicate.

    I was wondering how feasible it would be to create filters for Apache and/or IIS which would strip images of potential steganographic information. For instance, GIF images could be converted to JPG's and then back to GIF's before being served - this would probably eliminate hiding data in the LSB. (Obviously you'd have to do some caching) You could do similar things to other media, like WAV and MP3 files.

    How hard is this? Could it be used to prevent use of public servers as repositories for steganographic media? Would it work? Would it be used widely enough to be effective?
  • by LauraLolly ( 229637 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:14PM (#2295445)
    NYC has never been my stomping, nor even my visiting ground. But for five hours I dreaded that my sister-in-law (who consults in E ring, west side, pentagon) was dead. She is alive, but the fear brought home the legacy of hatred.

    The temptation is to bomb whoever did this back into the stone age. If we return senseless evil for senseless evil, we will sow a whirlwind for our grandchildren to reap. Let us respond deliberately, and in such a way that not one innocent person is harmed.

    Let us respond by examining ourselves and our policies, but not by restricting our freedoms, or requesting that anyone's liberty be restricted. We need to light a candle for those who mourn, and for those lost. We must become a beacon of sanity, hope, and justice. Justice will be done, but let it not be done with an even greater measure of injustice.

  • Bush's response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurightshu ( 517038 ) <rightshu@cox.net> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:14PM (#2295446) Homepage Journal
    Like most of us, I sometimes wonder if Katz's articles shouldn't just be modded "0, Troll" and ignored. The statement that George Bush "fled to various bunkers and seemed to shrink throughout the day" is rather disingenuous and short-sighted. Bush was evacuated by the Secret Service, doing exactly what they're trained to: get the President out of harm's way and into facilities where he can receive C4I (command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence) data and coordinate a response.

    I live less than ten miles from Offutt Air Force Base here in Nebraska. None of us were surprised when it was announced that Mr. Bush was brought here after releasing his taped announcement at Barksdale AFB; the headquarters for US Strategic Command is here. Data from satellites, human intelligence assets, and news media could be easily collated and presented to the President by the staff in the "rabbit hole," the STRATCOM underground command post.

    President Bush wasn't hiding or fleeing. He was doing his job: managing the country's business in the best possible manner. Just because the mayor of a city was brave and/or foolish enough to endanger his own life doesn't mean the President of a nation has that luxury. Losing so many thousands of individuals is terrible enough; having to attempt to manage that response and simultaneously transition power to a new President because the last one got himself killed is infinitely more so.

    I didn't vote for President Bush, nor do I agree with all (or even a majority) of his other decisions. Nonetheless, to feel the need to criticize the man for doing his job is the mark of a small man indeed.

    • Re:Bush's response (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nettdata ( 88196 )
      I agree... he did what he was supposed to do. For that matter, I'm surprised that the media was so worried about reporting his exact whereabouts like they did.

      Terrorist to hijacker: "quick! according to CNN he's just landed in Portland! Redirect and look for the motorcade!"

      Some people just don't get the fact that some information HAS to be kept private until such a time that it can be discussed without endangering the lives of people in the field. And some of those people doing the asking are senior news anchors and reporters just trying to sensationalize the events to keep people tuned in.

      I wish they'd just stop whining about having to know EVERY little detail as it happens.

      As my Grandaddy said, "common sense just ain't so common no more... was a time when not havin' it meant you got dead".

    • Re:Bush's response (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:11PM (#2296004)
      The statement that George Bush "fled to various bunkers and seemed to shrink throughout the day" is rather disingenuous and short-sighted.

      You're absolutely right on one point. It's not Bush's fault that he was shuttled all over the country.

      I will say this, though. I've never truly understood the public function of the presidency. I've sometimes wondered why the nation so desperately needs a charismatic figure to line up behind, to the point where we elect criminals and people we don't entirely trust. But yesterday changed all of that. I saw the towers burning with my own eyes, and I was shaken up-- I didn't know if more was on the way, if I was safe where I was, what to do next. I wanted somebody to get on TV and say "this is a tragedy, but we've got things under control." Even though I've never liked Bush, I was glad that someone existed to fill that role.

      It didn't bother me that Bush was in the air, I was glad that the Chief Executive was safe. And then he reached Louisiana and gave a speech, and it was devastating. I've never seen such a short, useless, unempathetic performance. He was reading off of a goddamn teleprompter, for chrissake! And he was reading poorly! I've seen fifth-grade plays that convey more emotion, confidence and skill.

      Perhaps irrationally, I lost a lot of confidence in this nation at that point. The knowledge that Bush surrounds himself with intelligent people was not enough to reassure me; I wanted to know that we have a president who cares. I didn't expect him to shed tears-- I just wanted some emotion, be it anger, sadness, grief, anything. I also wanted something more substantial. Perhaps this last could have been attributed to lack of time... But when he reached the White House and for the rest of the day, we got little more; better reading skills, perhaps. But nothing to convince me that the guy cared.

      I understand that Bush is a busy man, but we needed somebody to be there. There isn't a president we've elected in the last 20 years who couldn't have handled that situation. Why couldn't Bush?

      His wife, on the other hand, was extraordinary on TV this morning. Not to mention Guiliani, who could for all intents and purposes have been the president.

  • Absolutely Rude (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sp00nMan ( 199816 )
    I don't appreciate you trashing our President in your comments concerning New York. Yes, the Mayor did a wonderful thing by going down there and helping, but the President was in danger, Air Force One was in danger, and for you to portray him as a coward and a man who "got on his best suit and stuck to the prompter" is just unpatriotic. Jon Katz you have truly offended me, and I'm sure many others.
  • Amazing perspective (Score:4, Interesting)

    by L0g05 ( 306254 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:14PM (#2295452)
    JonKat's article really drives home something that had been hovering around my mind while I dove deeper into the web and farther and farther away from the TV.

    They say that Vietnam was the TV war. The event so saturated by the media that interpreted it that the event itself was changed. The Gulf War might be considered the highest incarnation of event Television -- characterized by just the elements JK mentions. Hyper focused images extracting as much pathos as possible from the event. Tight messages. Repetition. Analysis. Hyperbole without connection.

    It seems that perhaps september 11th is the first Interactive war. The impact of cell phones accross the event is astounding. The role of Internet as events unfolded is equally impacting. The tenor of coverage provided by the Net has been throughally, radically, different from the TV coverage.

    As much as things will change because of this event, I am struck when considering how this event shows how much already has changed
  • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:16PM (#2295461) Homepage

    My God, Katz, is this you? This is a well-done article, I think. You made good sense, you made good points, you even sounded reasonable. I guess something has changed.

  • The FAA is making a lot of changes in the security arrangement. But i'm afraid these may not be enough. All they're doing is what ppl are calling "super security measures" .. which'll lead to more waiting time in the airports ... no curb side check in etc etc. But i feel these will be short term. Soon after a year or so .. ppl will become complacent again. What is needed is a long term policy to prevent such attacks. None of the measures they are taking could've prevented the hijacking if they were in place.

    we've seen this happen many times in past. Extra security measures right after a crisis which begin to wane out soon. This had happened in India too.. when pakistani terrorists had hijacked a indian airlines flight and took it to afghanistan, there was unprecedented security at airports. but this soon waned out. This clearly is a much bigger tragedy but i'm afraid the reaction will be the same.

    we should seriously consider having armed air marshells on every fligt .. armed with maybe not regular guns but something which'll not harm an aircraft if fired.

    People should give up some of their convinences for the safety of everyone. Together we can prevent this from happening again.

    • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:43PM (#2295561) Journal

      The FAA security increases are irrelevant.

      The real security increases took place at internet speed, within the first half hour after the first plane hit. Passengers on that plane used cell phones to let the world know they had been hijacked. The news media let the world know that hijacked planes were being used as weapons. Callers from the fourth plane got their cultural norm updated when they called out on their cell phones. They recomputed the risks and benefits of

      A) 30+ people attacking five hijackers armed with knifes, vs.

      B) sitting quietly while the plane is crashed at high speed into a large object.

      Because they were a little late getting this news, they were unable to regain control of the plane when they attacked the hijackers, but they thwarted its use as a weapon. Within twenty four hours the news had spread: if someone with a knife starts to hijack a plane you are on, jump them-- kick them, bite them, knee them in the holy land. Do whatever it takes, because even though you might get hurt, or killed, your odds are a lot better than if you let them get control of the plane.

      The real lesson here is that, when attacking a wired society, you'd darn well better coordinate your attacks, because within a blindingly short time the society will have learned and that trick won't work anymore.

      -- MarkusQ

  • Uh, normally I tolerate and even defend Katz, but he's way off on a few counts. For example, in New Jersey I haven't seen a single morgue, and I live in Rutherford, within eye-shot of the carnage. I go to work near Fort Lee, and that's about as close as you can get to NY from Jersey without being in NY. No morgues. The only thing even close is the rescue site set up in Giants' stadium parking lot (which I could literally walk to).

    Outside of this, however, I think a small body count is going to be unreasonable. The estimates today (5,000) seem correct. 20,000, as some places were saying, is far too many. I knew a number of people who got out, and 20,000 would be close to half the building's capacity. Unfortunately, "body count" is a vague term. Many bodies have been incinerated, and there have been more body parts found than actual bodies (gruesomely enough).

    I think the worse thing is driving on the NJ Turnpike, looking up at the skyline, and NOT making the same comment everyone else made (that there's a hole in the skyline). That there's still smoke is what scares me. A manmade disaster still billowing smoke 2.5 days later. And a slightly acrid smell, even from here. It's amazingly close to home.

  • by InsaneGeek ( 175763 ) <slashdot@@@insanegeeks...com> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:18PM (#2295470) Homepage
    It may have appeared that he was shirking away, but from what I understand is that when he first heard the in Florida he requested to be flown to NY to be there directly and immediately. The secret service had a clear understanding that they had to first protect him from any and all danger and flew him to the nearest secure area (Louisiana). From there the secret service took him to an even more secure area (SAC in Nebraska). Finally letting him fly to DC once things were secured. There's just no pleasing people these days, if he would have flown directly to NY, you'd probably have called him a fool and putting the leader of the US in undue jeopardy.

    The only thing I wish I had seen more of was a bit more fire in his eyes, an almost WWF Smackdown, we're going to get you look for lack of better words; but of course that would probably not be appropriate for the situation (actually whoever did this would probably just enjoy seeing it).

    Now is not the time Mr. Katz to forward your personal political agenda.
    • by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:05PM (#2295679)

      When Bush was on TV, all I saw was a deer in the headlights, a small scared child reading off of a teleprompter. He did not inspire confidence. He did not speak from his heart; he read what his speechwriter wrote for him. I did not feel he was up to the task of dealing with such important tasks.


      On the other hand, Colin Powell kicked ass during his numerous apperances. And this really is the thing that comforts me; Bush really does have a great set of advisors and a great cabinet.


      Bush leads a group of great men; unfortunately, Bush himself is not a great leader of men.


  • by SumDeusExMachina ( 318037 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:18PM (#2295474) Homepage
    Across the street, a group of structural engineers were reassuring reporters that the towers collapsed of their own structural weakness, the steel melting from the fires, the buildings designed to collapse inward -- rather than fall down -- to save lives.

    I'd like to take issue with this statement, as this phenomena is largely due to design quirks that were a part of a questionable plan to increase floor space in the building. See more information on it in this discussion [cryptome.org] that was held over at Cryptome.org.

  • reporters reaction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jsonic ( 458317 )
    It was odd how cool and natural all of the reporters and anchors were. Everybody said they were shocked, but nobody seemed to be.

    I disagree. Numerous times i've seen even the major network anchors almost breakdown in tears. There was even video of the president on the verge of tears.

  • I found that, yes, the sheer numbers of different cameras and vid-tapes and views was surprising...but at the same time, it helped us deal with it a little more.

    With previous significant events where the event itself was caught on film (Pearl Harbor, the assassination and funeral of Kennedy, the attempt on Reagan, the destruction of the Challenger), there was only one version, one angle, one view of the event...and that view was burned into our eyes and into our minds forever -- we all share that same view because it was the only view the media could give us.

    With tuesday's events, things are different. There are multiple views, multiple angles, different tapes were made public at different times. There is no one specific version of the crash and the fall that we each will share -- for the first time in a major, caught on film and shown on the media, tragedy, each american's view of it is as individual as if he was there to witness it himself.

    Probably won't be the last, but I did feel it was an interesting distinction of the how the new century will differ from the old.

  • by Ghoser777 ( 113623 ) <fahrenba&mac,com> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:29PM (#2295500) Homepage
    Journalists are (for the most part) human, and don't want to see other humans hurt or killed. They feel emotions, they feel pain, they cry. They throw up the morning after watching several thousand people die before their eyes.

    On the other hand, tragedies like this are what make their careers. This is big news. This is how they make all their money. As human as they are, there's something inside of them just hoping something bad will happen to cover. Even worse, sometimes they wish bad situations turn even more horrific...

    Even though I'm not a journalist, I can feel this pull. Half of us wants people to be safe, the other half wants to see something spectacular.

    What a horrible, contradictory dualism we humans have,
    F-bacher
  • It falls to us (Score:5, Interesting)

    by profeti ( 90050 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:31PM (#2295515)
    First: I would urge everyone to be very aware that not everything we read, regardless of source or attribution, is as it seems. We MUST act with reason and common sense, checking to make sure misinformation isn't used to compound these heinous acts. These bastards want to destroy us, Americans and all of the civilized people of the World, we must not allow it. As we have seen the civilized leaders of the world, even those with whom we have serious political differences, pledge to join us in what must be a massive fight against all those who would seek to destroy civilization and we must hold them to it.

    We have already seen extremist from the left and the right, within and without, attempt to advance their "cause" on the back of this tragedy. Surely just as horrendous a crime as the act itself. These extremists must also be dealt with.

    I am certain good will prevail over evil.

    Second: Tuesday we were all made combatants in this War, we must support our military response. And, perhaps more importantly, all of us must defend the world economy. Remember that it is completely in our hands and minds. Consider Monday the bottom of the economic downturn. Invest prudently, but invest. Buy wisely, but buy. And be vigilant of those who try to gouge or otherwise unfairly profit from this.

    Third: I'm a first generation American. My parents were driven from Iran by this same Islamic filth (I'm sorry but I can't help but be prejudice, and feel hate for them all. All I can do is try not to act on it). Deep within me is a hatred of that religion, all religion. They killed more than half of all the people my family knew and loved, stole all they had worked for and filled their lives with pain and terror. Even before the "fundamentalists" took over, my family (Zoroastrian and Catholics) and many others were persecuted for their faith, the cloths they wore, the food they ate (they kill people for drinking wine or eating ham ). I say these things not to spread my hate, It's my burden to bear and I don't wish it on my worst enemy. I say it so I can point out that although I'm filled with hate for ALL muslims and all Gods, my parents are not and didn't teach it to me. They know and love a lot of muslims, muslims helped them flee certain death. But those muslims were secular, they acted in the name of humanity not in the name of Allah. Beware of ANYONE who presumes to act or speak in the name of any god. I understand that some people feel they need faith in gods to be good people , and I try to be respectful when I can but it has gone too far for too long.

    Lastly: To all those like me who owe their very existence to this great nation, it's our turn. Half a century ago the descendants of european immigrants went by the tens thousands to the homeland of their ancestors to rid the earth of a great evil. We must do the same, the battles will be fought differently but in the end we too shall prevail. I have great faith in America and the civilized people of the world. This is not a time to wave the flag, it is a time to display it proudly and put all our efforts into the task at hand. Victory at any cost.

    • By the numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:55PM (#2295635) Journal
      I agree with much of your post. But you lost me with:
      I'm a first generation American. My parents were driven from Iran by this same Islamic filth (I'm sorry but I can't help but be prejudice, and feel hate for them all...Half a century ago the descendants of european immigrants went by the tens thousands to the homeland of their ancestors to rid the earth of a great evil. We must do the same, the battles will be fought differently but in the end we too shall prevail...Victory at any cost.

      I appreciate your patriotism, but (IMHO) that isn't how America works. Here is my position, as posted earlier today on another site.

      By The Numbers (a cross post)

      2001 will doubtlessly go down in history as a year when thousands of Americans died because some people felt so strongly about their way of life that they were willing to die rather than change, and were willing to kill countless innocent bystanders in the process.

      Except of course that "countless" is absolutely the wrong word to use here. One of the many things that Americans do quite well is count things--everything from hanging chad to corpses gets tallied and tabulated here. So we will in fact have concrete numbers to think about, eventually. Even before the year is out we will have good estimates to start thinking rationally about--thinking being another thing Americans are quite good at. We will know not only how many people they killed, but who they were and why they did it.

      Drunk drivers, for instance, are expected to kill around 16000 people this year, give or take a few depending on how jolly the holidays turn out to be. While this is a horrid toll, it is quite a bit better than the 27000 or so that smokers will take out with second hand smoke--both because there are fewer of them, and because most victims of drunken drivers are spared the painful, lingering death of the smoker's victim. These are just two examples, falling between the somewhat larger numbers killed by (say) reckless driving in general and the slightly smaller numbers taken out (for example) by terrorists. But we'll count them all.

      Terrible, surely. As Americans we can hardly hear numbers like this without asking ourselves the next question: what are we going to do about this?

      Some countries have systems in place to deal with these sorts of problems quickly and effectively. Drink alcohol? We'll chop off your head. That certainly solves the problem of repeat offenders, and there is reason to believe that it acts as an effective deterrent. We, of course, aren't so direct. When an individual can be tied to a crime (say, a drunk driver) we deal with their behavior on a case by case basis. But whether a perpetrator can be found or not, we react like--well, like Americans. There really isn't another word for it. We install air bags, we segregate public places into smoking and non-smoking areas, we take myriad small steps to reduce the risks, to mitigate the damage, to solve the problem. We study it. We seek cures and explanations, predictive indicators and systematic risk factors. We debate. We argue. And above all, we seek to educate.

      Some may call us wimps, others may call us civilized. In the long run, it doesn't really matter what they call us, because in the long run our system is phenomenally effective. Our wheels may grind slowly, but like the mill of justice they grind exceedingly fine.

      True, there are always those who preach the extremes. Anyone with a radio can hear them--just fiddle with the dial until you find a station that's all talk (and I am thankful, little action). Or hop on the internet. Smokers should be doused with gasoline. Drunk drivers are doing us a service by culling those people too weak or stupid to get out of their way. We should use our military might to turn foreign countries into parking lots. All the fags should be sent to Haiti. Everyone should be required to smoke for a year, so they'll see how hard it is to quit. Drunk drivers were sent here by Satin. We should embrace Allah. Nuke them from orbit. Kill them all, let God sort 'em out. Everyone is gay, but most people haven't admitted it yet. The Blacks are behind this. Or the Jews. Or the Californians. Elvis is stalking me. Etc, etc.

      The great thing about America is that we don't shut these people up. We don't have them shot, or locked away for decades. We don't even ignore them, really, although most of us don't act on their advice. Instead, we react to them like Americans always react to things. They get counted, along with the chad, along with the casualties, and their voices are weighed in when we consider our options, ground in the mill of public policy.

      Which, as has been noted, grinds exceedingly fine.

      -- MarkusQ

  • by cd_Csc ( 151701 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:33PM (#2295525) Homepage
    It has been said the the government will be investigating suspicious cell phones calls made during yesterday's events in hopes of finding a conversation between terrorists. This is the first time Carnivore is being used in a well publicized situation - and despite my desire for the protection of free speach, I can't bring myself to flame the government for using it under these circumstances. Is Carnivore now our friend? What distinguishes when it should and should not be used?
  • cell phones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coreyb ( 125522 ) <coreyb AT j2t DOT cjb DOT net> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:42PM (#2295558)
    The last few times I've flown, I've been told that all cell phones must be turned off for the duration of the flight. I assumed that this was because they would interfere with cockpit communications. And now news reports are often talking about the cell phone calls made from airplanes during the hijackings. What gives?
    • Somehow I think that if the plane's being hijacked, the possibility of interfering with communications/avionics is the least of your worries.
    • Re:cell phones (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:57PM (#2295651) Homepage
      Actually, on at least one plane (the one that went into the Pentagon), the terrorists herded the people into the back of the plane and asked them to call their relatives and tell them they were going to die. That's what Barbara Olsen (I think that's her name) told her husband before the plane crashed with her on board.
  • My thoughts on the matter are summed up in an essay I wrote addressing what I feel will be most important in the coming months. I would like for anyone reading my essay to share their feelings.

    The Price of Freedom [dyndns.org]

    Thanks

    Jeremy
  • Over the past few months, I've been wondering whether I should or should not buy a cell phone. The FCC issued warning about cell phones causing brain cancer, but since that only applies to people using the phones for more than an hour a day, I decided to cave in and buy one. When I first heard about this crisis, I thought about how horrible it might be to be trapped under a bunch of rubble. That's when my cell phone went off, and my friend from back east asked me if everything was okay out here in California. Then it hit me...if only everyone in the building had a cell phone! Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives would have been saved. Fortunately, since these devices are nearly ubiquitous, many people escaped death. Another blow for Nokia. Imagine their next advertising gimmick: "Buy our new 6100 phone. It could save your life.. [display picture of person lying dead in bomb rubbel, and picture of live person holding up phone hugging their family members] yuck. - Z;(Bu911
  • by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:48PM (#2295591) Journal
    The whole fucking point of this article seems to be to criticize President Bush and the media. How utterly ridiculous.

    I did not vote for Bush, nor do I agree with all his decisions, but this kind of bullshit article is entirely inappropriate during such a time of crisis. President Bush was being moved around by the secret service, it appeared the whitehouse was a possible target, should he have gone back to the whitehouse to be killed? No, he should stay the fuck out of Washington until the immediate danger is over, he can run the country from anywhere anyway!

    Then you criticize the media as appearing distant, etc. I saw the whole thing on live television, when the second plance crashed into the second building, the reporters, camera man, and everyone else in the stupio screamed and started shouting. Some of the news networks STILL haven't run ANY commercials, the same reporters have been reporting for 2 days straight with almost no break, eyes are puffy, speach is slow, and they've put all their partisan political leanings aside and have simply tried to report on the fucking news, which is more than I can say for you!

    Fucking ridiculous, and fucking inappropriate, please, Katz, STFU!

  • by sulli ( 195030 )
    President Bush, sticking to his cautious sing-song monotone, fled to various bunkers and seemed to shrink throughout the day.

    Incorrect! Bush was taken to secure locations due to a credible threat to Air Force One, and clear and present danger to the White House. He went to a secure location (Nebraska) to convene the NSC. These actions may have saved his life. Don't underestimate the importance of these secure locations.

  • Bush a coward? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by toupsie ( 88295 )
    President Bush, sticking to his cautious sing-song monotone, fled to various bunkers and seemed to shrink throughout the day.

    Thank god!

    Katz are you trying to say President Bush is a coward and is not in control?

    I am a fellow New Yorker living in lower Manhattan (SoHo). I understand the mayor of my city (hell of a guy) jumping in front of the camera every five minutes. Guiliani has not been specifically targeted by the terrorists that slammed into the World Trade Towers. Do you want President Bush to be tap dancing in the rubble before the cameras or meeting with his staff to coordinate a response to this unbelievable ACT OF WAR? Remember, Ari talked about specific tactical information the terrorists appeared to have that only President Bush's security detail should know. Scary. Because of former FBI Agent Robert Hanson(sp?), it has been reported those sort of details were passed to the Russians. Who else might have received them? I wish they would have stuck him in the mountain fortress NORAD maintains.

    I, personally, believe the "cautious sing-song" monotone is one hell of a lip bitting act. I would not be surprised if a string of profanity that would make a sailor faint has erupted from his soul in private. Remember what he said about Clymer.

    Sure President Bush isn't Bill Clinton (glad handing for the camera today) in the speaking department. But, I don't need anyone to feel my pain right now. I want a cold, calculated, well planned, painful, mass devastation of the terrorists, their homes, their families, their harboring country and any nation caught funding their operation. Rinse. Repeat.

  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:51PM (#2295611) Homepage

    ...It was odd how cool and natural all of the reporters and anchors were. Everybody said they were shocked, but nobody seemed to be.



    ...President Bush, sticking to his cautious sing-song monotone, fled to various bunkers and seemed to shrink throughout the day.



    Katz, this simply wasn't true. There were several news anchors and people around them full of real emotion, on the verge of tears. For instance Ashleigh Banfield [msnbc.com] on MSNBC (an incredible woman and anchor who should get a friggin' medal for her work), at the beginning of the terror she was almost crying and could barely speak.



    And GW, bless his heart, was almost crying today too. For once, I felt like he was really my president.



    There was a lot of reality on TV for once. Too much.

  • by shankark ( 324928 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:51PM (#2295613)
    If ever there could be a clear demonstration of the immense power of the television as a medium, this was it. What CNN and BBC effectively did was to invoke a sense of overwhelming shock and "unbounded" compassion for the distraught. Add to this the portrayal of emotion from the reporters. It gives the watcher a sense of communion. He feels he is part of that tragedy, however remote he may have been. This can never be duplicated on the Net, simply because, and pardon the cliche, the human angle doesn't exist.
  • by PrometheuSx11 ( 36115 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @08:56PM (#2295644) Homepage Journal
    In these days after the attack, i've seen many who thirst for blood. I can understand the need to strike back blindly in rage and anger.

    Thankfully i didnt know anyone who died, and I send condolences to those who did. The world trade center has been a part of NYC for as long as I can remember it shakes my sense of permenance to think of it gone. it is one of those things that is always there.

    ..was. the past tense still doesnt come easily.

    I dont think that blood pays for blood. I am saddened
    by the events last tuesday, and i am saddened by the events which I am sure to come.

    It is a strange feeling to mourn for humanity. To feel that the human race has gone mad.

    Perhaps it may help those who are angry to view this webpage. It might remind us all what makes us great.

    http://spinster.org/~david [spinster.org]

    Many might think that this is too lenient a stance. That it is giving in to terrorism. But let us remember the words of JFK, words which very well have prevented WWIII.

    "Let no one see an offer to negotiate as a sign of weakness, Let no one fear to negotiate, nor negotiate out of fear.."
    just some thoughts.

  • by joneshenry ( 9497 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:18PM (#2295756)
    Remembrances of history:

    1968, El Al 707 [crimelibrary.com] was hijacked to Algiers. After a month, Israel cut a deal to exchange the hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

    September 6, 1970, the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) organized the attempted "simultaneous hijacking of four airliners bound for New York" [crimelibrary.com]. On one of the targetted planes, an El Al flight, the pilot put the plane into a nosedive, an armed air marshall shot dead hijacker Patrick Arguello, and the leader of the hijacking Leila Khaled "was overpowered by male passengers and savagely beaten". When the plane arrived at London, Khaled was taken into British custody. However two successfully hijacked airplanes had been diverted to Jordan at a former British airfield, Dawson's Field. The PFLP also successfully hijacked a fifth plane to bring their total to hundreds of hostages, dozens of them British. What followed were dramatic secret negotiations [bbc.co.uk] between the PFLP, Jordan, Britain, the United States, and Israel, some of whose details are now known because of a British law requiring release of documents after 30 years. A deal was struck to exchange Khaled and other Palestinians for the hostages. The PFLP had won again. Or had it?

    King Hussein proceeded to launch a war which drove out the armed Palestinian groups he had formerly welcomed on his soil. This war was what came to be reviled by the Palestinians as Black September.

    On the other hand, Leila Khaled has claimed "The success in the tactics of the hijacking and imposing our demands and succeeding in having our demands implemented gave us the courage and the confidence to go ahead with our struggle."

  • by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosity@[ ]global.net ['sbc' in gap]> on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:30PM (#2295809) Homepage Journal
    By nightfall, CNN, MSNBC and the networks were moving away from the dramatic video and the indescribable scenes of wreckage and carnage and calling in the policy wonks and propellerheads who hide out in Washington caves until something like this happens. The focal point of all the airtime then shifted from the devastation in New York to the parsing and analyzing of the political, governmental and intelligence communities. For future reference, that may be a good time to turn off the tube and get online, the medium of individual stories, feelings and experiences.

    On the one hand, I agree with Katz. When the talking heads start spouting, it's time to move on.

    But then, when Katz starts spouting silliness like this...

    President Bush, sticking to his cautious sing-song monotone, fled to various bunkers and seemed to shrink throughout the day.

    ...I know it's time to get off the 'net as well, and move on with life.
  • by radartroop ( 471596 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:43PM (#2295867)
    Predictably, Jon continues to grind his new media vs. old media 'axe'. However, there's a new twist: in this case, at least, he admits that the old media has an impact that the new hasn't significantly blunted.

    Typically, Katz frames the argument about the relative benefits of both old and new media outlets in terms of politicians/pundits vs. the man on the street. Presumeably, the Politicians and Pundits cannot present news sans bias, yet the man on the street can. His position has always struck me as simplistic and puzzling. I could give a damn about the media outlet type...the question is whether or not the outlet reports the news accurately, fairly, and professionaly. Katz himself is a perfect example of the "Man on the Street" that reports with bias. PBS's Newshour is a perfect example of "Old Media" that gets it right (see below). Dan Rather and the newsroom that he runs is an example of "Old Media" that shows regular bias despite their protestations to the contrary.

    The sad fact is that Jon's brand of 'reporting' is a good example of one of the reasons that the "New Media" continues to lag behind the old. I've read his pieces off and on since 'Wired' and his bias and, frankly, immaturity, are often on display.

    Furthermore, it's obvious that Jon frequently heeds his own call to "turn off the tube and get online, the medium of individual stories, feelings and experiences". He often has a poor grasp of facts, political realities, and the world in general. His slanderous use of the phrase "fled to various bunkers" to describe the President's activities after the incident is evidence that Jon has little understanding of the facts surrounding events nor the tremendous repercussions should the President have been killed. The destruction of the World Trade Center was a tremendous blow struck against US, and world, economics. The destruction of the President, (not George W Bush the man, mind you, whom it's obvious that Katz despises, but rather the President of the United States) would have been a tremendous blow against the US government. The combination of the two blows would result in chaos for this country, and the world. Katz's statement is silly, petty, and poorly thought out for so many reasons, too many to describe here. I'm not surprised by them, though: it's typical of him.

    The "cool and natural" demeanor of Reporters that Jon calls "odd" I call refreshing and professional. I don't want a reporter sobbing, dazed, shocked, exhausted, angry, etc. I take it for granted that even the most hardboiled reporter is genuinely moved by recent events and, if they're capable of containing their emotions while doing their job, they're to be congratulated.

    Anecdotes are nice and occasionally important. However, hard facts are what makes news, IMHO, and I want those facts presented rationally and dispassionately. I enjoyed Jon's first piece about the tragedy but I certainly wouldn't describe it as journalism: I was genuinely moved when he mentioned that he fell to his knees and prayed. However, that's anecdotal. Ultimately, I want facts, not emotions.

    On-Line reporting, at least reporting unconnected with "Old Media" has a long way to go and attitudes like Katz's are at least in part to blame. Katz has crowed for years about the impending demise of "Old Media" and now, in today's piece, he's admitted that "old Media" still reigns supreme. I was surprised to see Katz admit that much: I'll be even more surprised when he admits that his brand of "reporting" is one of the reasons why "On-Line" journalism still eats the "Tube's" dust.

    Replace Katz and his ilk with the On Line equivalent of Walter Cronkite, Robin McNeil, or Jim Lehrer, and things might change. Until then I'll still rely heavily on the "Tube" for news.

    Now it's time to plug my favorite news program: PBS's "NewsHour". If you:

    1. take News seriously and

    2. despise the "O'Reilly Factor" method of news reporting

    then do yourself a big favor and watch the NewsHour tomorrow afternoon.

  • by dgroskind ( 198819 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:49PM (#2295897)

    If you love New York, your heart will break when the smoke clears. Something about the city is busted for good, no matter what the mayor says.

    One has only to think of London under the blitz [historyplace.com] or the San Francisco earthquake [berkeley.edu] to know that great cities can recover from great disasters.

    According to seminal urbanologist Jane Jacobs [radio.cbc.ca], cities are inherently resilient to catastrophe. More damage is done by misguided urban planning.

    The World Trade Center, as its name suggests, serves a national and international market. The demand for the products and services that the companies in the World Trade Tower provided is still there. Compared to the damage [greenpeace.org] caused by hurricanes in Florida, the cost to rebuild is manageable.

    If New York could thrive despite a crime rate [nyc.ny.us] that killed many more people than the terrorist over the last 10 years, it can survive this single event.

    I suspect that the most lasting effect is that architects will reconsider the need for 110 storey buildings.

  • by wiZd0m ( 192990 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @09:53PM (#2295925)
    I would not know if that is true or not, but according to this site, they passed 1991 footage showing the palestinians dancing.

    Anyone with better info can deny/confirm this ?

    The Story is here [indymedia.org]

    David
    • Time of day issue (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Squiggle ( 8721 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @11:29PM (#2296474)
      According to a poster at the site there are some "issues" with the time of day portrayed:

      sunset in israel was at 6:50pm on the 11th. israel is 7 hours ahead of EST.

      if the video was taken around 11[am] our time (which seems to be just about the right time). that would make it 6 pm their time

      and thus... sunset....

      NOT around 3pm as some of the videos show.

      So, either CNN knows how to defy Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion.....

      Or they reused at least *some* old footage.

  • by joneshenry ( 9497 ) on Thursday September 13, 2001 @10:17PM (#2296026)
    The United States is facing a difficulty decision in how to strike back. After the Munich Olympics, Israel faced a similar decision. I think everyone should read Alexander B. Calahan's Master of Military Studies thesis "COUNTERING TERRORISM: THE ISRAELI RESPONSE TO THE 1972 MUNICH OLYMPIC MASSACRE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDEPENDENT COVERT ACTION TEAMS". This document is available from among other places the Federation of American Scientists website [fas.org].

    Golda Meir's decision was for Israel to resort to assassination of those responsible for organizing and carrying out the attack, an operation later referred to be the media as the "Wrath of God". Calahan concludes that method which worked was for Mossad to cut loose from bureaucratic restrictions a mostly independent operating team organized similar to current US special forces. This team was given a list of potential targets, a directive to not harm innocents, and autonomy to go hunting.

    I am concerned that it would be simply impossible for any current United States government to authorize similar autonomy despite the necessity of success.

    One key difference between then and today is that today's targets might be less inclined to be in Europe, an area in which it was relatively easier for the Israeli assassination teams to operate in than say Afghanistan or Pakistan for Americans. Calahan's thesis also mentions an operation where the proximity of Israel to Lebanon enabled a massive force of dozens of Israeli commandos to kill three major targets and about a hundred Palestinian guerillas.

    In another disturbing article The Atlantic Monthly raises the issue of whether the unwillingness and/or inability [theatlantic.com] of United States intelligence agencies to conduct longterm missions to penetrate local populations in areas such as Afghanistan might make any effective action against Osama Bin Laden's organization impossible. The United States doesn't even train agents in the local languages let alone assign agents to become experts specializing in a country.

  • by Performer Guy ( 69820 ) on Friday September 14, 2001 @01:29AM (#2297019)
    This kind of blatant misinformation is exactly what we need to guard against. It's an old trick, take the facts and distort them subtly to completely misrepresent reality. The US and other allies regularly bomb Iraqi military targets, they bomb Radar installations and command and control infrastructure Iraq uses to direct missile attacks on overflying jets. Your loyalties are betrayed by the bare faced lies in the text of the article you are promulgating. There are thousands of innocent civilians dead in America and Palestinians are dancing in the street. There is a clear distinctions to be drawn between right and wrong here. The Palestinians and other Arabs have been hell bent on the destruction of Israel as a state, they tried to destroy Israel and failed, now they want Israel to forget all that and concede the territory they were attacked from back to their attackers and just HOPE that the Arabs will be nice enough to not try the same thing again. Moreover they want the parts of Jerusalem originally offered when they collectively walked out of the UN decades ago and embarked on their antisemitic crusade. In the mean time just to underscore how insane that policy would be for Israel, Palestinian terrorists rocket and suicide bomb civilian targets while hiding in civilian centers like the refugee camps. Your two faced lies don't withstand scrutiny. The only deliberate and targeted murder of civilians is the terrorist attacks and we're all doomed if we forget that and listen to the lies and doublethink from the groups who condone murder. I no longer give a damn about Palestinians or their cause. Enough is enough, you can gloat over the death of innocent lives but that's the same mistake that the Palestinians made when celebrating Sadam's SCUD missile attacks on Israeli cities and American & Saudi targets. It's time for the Palestinians to drop the murderous and futile rhetoric and genuinely support peace. If there's a wrong side to be on they have an instinct for picking it. The only way they can ever hope to regain their territory is by earning the trust of their neighbours, that will take decades of concerted work towards peace. Every bomb and rocket moves them further away from their ultimate objectives. If they knew how far the attack on America had set back their cause they'd have been weeping not celebrating.

Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. -- Russell

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