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Post 11 Sep 2011, 6:14 pm

Lots of great remembrances of 9/11 today, and many on these boards over the last 10 years. Here are two observations that I’ll make this year:

1) Starting on 9/12/01, there were stories about people living downtown who sold everything and got out of the City as fast as they could. They were scared (with good reason) and they were running. Many people thought that this was the end of people living (and perhaps working) downtown.

Between 2000 and 2010 the population of lower Manhattan nearly doubled, with every census tract around the WTC site gaining at least 1,000 people. It was the fastest growing part of NYC.

2) After 9/11, driving deaths increased significantly as people chose not to fly and drove more. The reasons are myriad, but two major causes for the public changing their modes were fear, & the inconvenience/expense of air travel in the age of heightened security. This study talks more about this: http://dyson.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/gb78/wp/fatalities_120505.pdf. It suggests that over 2,000 additional people lost their lives in after 9/11 due to the change in mode. Considering how security measures changed people’s modal behavior, it could be argued that the security changes made directly after 9/11 made us less safe, in a very measurable way, as more people died on the road.

We live our lives thinking A+B=C. It’s how we make sense of the world. If we increase security, we’ll be safer. If you murder 3000 people in a neighborhood, people will avoid it. But we are constantly being reminded that the world is more complicated than we think when often the exact opposite thing happens than we think will happen. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten much more comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” I’ve also learned that people who have all the answers: people who’ve figured everything out, don’t and haven't.

Hope you spent at least some time today thinking about what happened 10 years ago, and perhaps more importantly, what’s happened over the past 10 years.
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Post 12 Sep 2011, 6:45 am

geojanes
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten much more comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” I’ve also learned that people who have all the answers: people who’ve figured everything out, don’t and haven't.

Fundamentalism in religion creates a militant piety that eliminates doubt within the minds of the adherents.
It is this militant piety that shaped both the acts of 9/11 and much ot the response.
People invested with a certain reasonable doubt don't over react.
Imagine if the president had said, "we will not blame the peaceful aherents of an entire religion for these acts, only the small band of mad men responsible.". Then acted with appropriate caution and went selectively after the criminals rather than elevating a horrible crime to the aspired status of the perpetrators. (Bush had words to that effect, but not actions...)
Newspaper reports that hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on security measures over the last decade that probably havn't added much to peoples actual security. Waste and inefficency in government is trumpeted and derided and yet in the name of security any investment was tolerated for the sketchiest rationale. A little more doubt, and acceptance of the ordinary risk of living, which New Yorkers seem to accept by moving into the city in such numbers, ...might have tempered the ultimate cost of the event.
Because it wsn't the conflicit of cultures that many trumpeted, I think it is apparent today that far more important, in the long scope of history, is the financial collapse and perhaps the Arab spring. I beleive the arab spring, particularly the way Egypt enacted change, is a final repudiation of the methods of the band of criminals (AL Queda).After 18 days of largely non-volient protest, more change has been ahcieved in Egypt than Al Quedas efforts produced in decades...
And more damage has been inflicted on the West by its own banking and financial industries than any terrorist organization could hope to achieve.
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Post 12 Sep 2011, 6:59 pm

rickyp wrote:I beleive the arab spring, particularly the way Egypt enacted change, is a final repudiation of the methods of the band of criminals (AL Queda).After 18 days of largely non-volient protest, more change has been ahcieved in Egypt than Al Quedas efforts produced in decades...

Egypt’s new military regime has arrested around 12,000 civilians since January 28, more than the total number detained during former president Hosni Mubarak entire 30-year rule, according to a US-based human rights group.

“Nearly 12,000 prosecutions since February is astounding and shows how Egypt’s military rulers are undermining the transition to democracy,” Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Saturday. “The military can end these trials today – all it takes is one order to end this travesty of justice.”

HRW said the arrest and trial of civilians since the onset of Arab Spring in the North Africa state is more than the total who faced military trials during the entire 30-year rule of former president Hosni Mubarak and “undermines Egypt’s move from dictatorship to democratic rule,” it said.

Between January 28 and August 29, military tribunals tried 11,879 civilians, with 8,071 convicted, 1,836 receiving suspended sentences and 1,225 awaiting verdicts, according to General Adel Morsy of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
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Post 13 Sep 2011, 7:23 am

Neal I didn't claim that the Arab Spring has resulted in a new nirvana anywhere. What I claimed was that the esults had repudiated Al Queda's methods.

That Egypt isn't yet a full spring democracy, with solid established functioing democratic mechanisms, is hardly surprising. The question is, what are the populace of Egypt going to do in reaction to the tactics of the military? If they chose to follow Al Queda's methods violence should break out, with bombs and asasinations etc.
I think we'll see a repeat of the demonstrations... They proved succssful, and their continued use should prove successful. Perhaps not entirely successful, in that the entrenched elites will be protecting the Military Corp. that is Egypt. But there will likely be a forcing of incremental change.

I doubt that Tunisia is yet a paragon of a free and democratic society yet either... But again, the methods being used to pursue their freedom are not Al Quedas... That is the fundamental achievement from the Arab Spring so far..
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Post 13 Sep 2011, 7:48 am

rickyp wrote:.
I think we'll see a repeat of the demonstrations... They proved succssful, and their continued use should prove successful. Perhaps not entirely successful, in that the entrenched elites will be protecting the Military Corp. that is Egypt. But there will likely be a forcing of incremental change.

Ricky, the only reason peaceful demostrations worked is because the military leadership supported the demostrators. Do you think, with the military being the one clamping down, they are going to support the peaceful demostrations again? I believe I read a story about 3 or 4 weeks ago where the Egyptian military used force to clear out Tahir Square.

It also seems people are starting to protest in Tahir Square against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forceswhich is running the country on September 9, 2011. It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces reacts.
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Post 13 Sep 2011, 1:05 pm

arch
Ricky, the only reason peaceful demostrations worked is because the military leadership supported the demostrators. Do you think, with the military being the one clamping down, they are going to support the peaceful demostrations again?

They had every chance last time to use violence. They didn't.
People tend to repeat behaviours....
It may be that because the demonstrations are now aimed right at the army that they will change their behaviour. But nothing has really changed about the make up of the military. Whatever calculations they used to determine that they wouldn't use lethal force to sustain Mubarek, ...I suspect will be repeated. (I include in this, importantly, the makeup of the enlisted forces. Thier enlistment of all Egyptian men, who serve and train for a career outside the army... ) Frankly I think that the officer corp will be slow to change too much. But they won't risk losing popular support all at once by too violent means.
Could be wrong.
But even so, Archduke, my premise is that civilians aren't resorting to bombs, terror and violence. And That is the major indication that AL Queda failed. Their methods have no support now, and weren't responsble for any gains so far.
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Post 14 Sep 2011, 9:18 am

rickyp wrote:They had every chance last time to use violence. They didn't.
People tend to repeat behaviours.... It may be that because the demonstrations are now aimed right at the army that they will change their behaviour. But nothing has really changed about the make up of the military. Whatever calculations they used to determine that they wouldn't use lethal force to sustain Mubarek, ...I suspect will be repeated. (I include in this, importantly, the makeup of the enlisted forces. Thier enlistment of all Egyptian men, who serve and train for a career outside the army... ) Frankly I think that the officer corp will be slow to change too much. But they won't risk losing popular support all at once by too violent means.
Could be wrong.


The army didn't mind throwing Mubarak under the bus because they knew in supporting the demostrators meant them staying in charge.

However, this time, if people start demostrating against the government, the army will not remain in charge. People tend to make decisions that give them the best results for them. If the original decision will do that again, they will make the same decision. However, if they fear a different outcome, they will make a different decision.

rickyp wrote:But even so, Archduke, my premise is that civilians aren't resorting to bombs, terror and violence. And That is the major indication that AL Queda failed. Their methods have no support now, and weren't responsble for any gains so far.

And my point is that they didn't need to resort to bombs and violence because they didn't need to. However, if the military starts to crack down on the demostrators you can bet you ass they will resort to violence like happened in Sanaa.
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Post 09 Jan 2012, 12:02 pm

Saw the 9/11 memorial yesterday. It didn't really do it for me.

Part of it may be the fact that it's designed to be this serene place, but right now, it's in the middle of a construction site surrounded by chain link with cranes moving steel overhead. The grass is dead, and the trees are bare, and you get to it in a decidedly unpleasant way, walking on a part of a street fenced off from traffic by another chain-link fence. It may be that the environment right now is so unpleasant that any design would fail, but I was wondering if anyone else has seen it and has an impression.
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Post 11 Sep 2012, 8:30 pm

Beautiful day in NYC today. Not quite as clear as 9/11/2001 but close. Not one person I talked to today mentioned the anniversary. More than a few Facebook mentions, of course, but no conversations. I guess the 11 year anniversary doesn't get the attention that the 10 year does.

11 years ago today was the first day my infant son was sick. My wife and I were waiting at home, fretting, not knowing what to do, waiting for our pediatrician to get in and call us back. First, the radio went out. As I remember it, it just went silent. I turned on the TV and there was fuzz (we had bunny ears) but Univsion and one of the major networks were broadcasting and we saw the reports of a plane hitting the WTC and saw when the second one hit. The doctor did call back eventually, and we spent part of that day in our pediatrician’s office. When we headed back home, there were already streams of people walking, walking home or somewhere for shelter, and it went on all day and into the evening. My wife worked on John Street at the time, probably 1000 feet from the WTC, and her co-workers escaped over the Brooklyn Bridge. Because of our sick kid, because we were overly-cautious new parents, we were together, which unlike most people we knew, was a great comfort on the worst day ever.
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Post 12 Sep 2012, 8:52 am

geojanes wrote:Saw the 9/11 memorial yesterday. It didn't really do it for me.


I have not seen it.

At the risk of being a bit political, I think GWB murphed this.

To me, the New Yorker (and American) response should have been this: we're gonna put that thing back up, bigger and better than ever. He should have sold bonds to rebuild it and to fund the war on terror. It would have been a tax on the willing and I think it would have created a sense of unity in purpose.

Now, I know that the offices may not have been needed. I don't care. The point would simply be this: we're not giving you people an inch.

Part of it may be the fact that it's designed to be this serene place, but right now, it's in the middle of a construction site surrounded by chain link with cranes moving steel overhead. The grass is dead, and the trees are bare, and you get to it in a decidedly unpleasant way, walking on a part of a street fenced off from traffic by another chain-link fence. It may be that the environment right now is so unpleasant that any design would fail, but I was wondering if anyone else has seen it and has an impression.


To me, the idea of a somber place of remembrance is wrong. That could have been included in the rebuilding, but should not have been the entire focus.

"Remember Pearl Harbor" was a war cry.

"Remember 9/11" has become all about crying. I think turning the memorial project over to bureaucrats was a mistake.

I was numb, disbelieving, and then angry on 9/11. I will never forget it. My children will never forget it. There is something missing from the design: the American spirit that is captured well by residents of NYC. I doubt many there want simply a place of quiet and reflection. It needs to capture some of the "you can't keep us down" attitude of New York.
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Post 12 Sep 2012, 9:26 am

I agree with DF on this. We need to be having the attitude "you knocked this down, now it is bigger and better." Just like the hydra that replaces a cut off head with two more.

BTW, I just finished the book "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle. Good read, fast paced. We as Americans have a debt owed to servicemen like that.
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Post 12 Sep 2012, 10:13 am

Am I missing something? The new World Trade Tower shows our resolve not to be deterred by terrorist attacks (you blow up our towers and we will build again and better) As for the memorial itself, it seems like a beautiful, serene place--entirely appropriate for a memorial. What is there to be dissatisfied about?
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Post 12 Sep 2012, 12:53 pm

It should not be a memorial. It should be a place of business, capitalism and world finance. That is what was there, and that was why the terrorists attacked it. There SHOULD be a small memorial, but the main purpose should be to show we will not be deterred from doing what was there before. They want to blow up a place of finance. then it should be bigger and better financial center.

I am sure it is a nice memorial. It should be a better same thing as what was there before.
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Post 12 Sep 2012, 3:20 pm

I haven't seen the memorial so I'm not best placed to comment, but at the same time I don't really see a problem with it being there. I do understand the point that Brad is making, butit's not like the site isn;t already being rebuilt into a bigger and better symbol of resurgent capitalism so it isn't doing any harm. The best response, as George aluded to in the header post, is the fact that people are flooding back to live in Lower Manhattan. Grand symbolic gestures can't beat ordinary people getting on with their lives in defiance of attempts to frighten them. That's how British people reacted to the IRA bombing campaigns, and I've always thought it was a better way to react than our current obsession with security which seems to be replacing the old phlegmatic spirit.
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Post 13 Sep 2012, 7:01 am

Doctor Fate wrote:"Remember 9/11" has become all about crying. I think turning the memorial project over to bureaucrats was a mistake.


The redevelopment of the WTC was completely messed up. We had a hole in the ground for, what, like 8-9 years? And it still isn't finished after 11 years. Yes, it was way complicated. Yes, there were many, many interests including the families of 3000 people who were murdered. But it was completely messed up and that process is embarrassing, indeed, humiliating.

That said, we go forward. It is getting relatively close to completion, and completion will only make things better for all of us so we aren't reminded every day how messed up the whole process after 9-11 was.

I'm hoping that the memorial is nicer once all the surrounding construction is done, but Brad, make no mistake, they are rebuilding every SF of floor area that was destroyed. It is NY after all.