Belmont Club

Sixteen Years On

Sixteen Years On
(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

It’s been sixteen years since September 11, 2001, a date which stands out not just because of the physical harm that occurred but because it marked a change in consciousness.  On September 10 America was inviolable and the global word on an unstoppable advance to an assured future.  The next day ended with 3,000 dead on America’s streets while a stunned nation faced a new foe it neither comprehended nor could even visualize.


But as often happens the course of subsequent events were never as foreseen by its instigators. In hindsight 9/11 also marked the beginning of the end of the old MENA order. The shattering of Syria. Iraq, Egypt and Libya started then, though few could hardly have realized it.  The planes that slammed into the skyscrapers toppled much more. The towers, though long dust, are still falling.

In retrospect it is clear more than the Twin Towers fell that day. We are only now beginning to realize what died. We still don’t know what was born. Yet if we have not reached the end of the story we are at least past the opening act. Act 2 is in rumored in production with Pakistan, Saudi and Iran in lead parts. Russia is auditioning for a yet undetermined role.

It is obvious now that the fates of Saudi, Pakistan and Iran could not be firewalled from 9/11 despite the efforts of the Bush, Obama and perhaps even the Trump administration.  Though it took 16 years for the fuse to burn,  the chain of events which started that day are rippling through Yemen to Saudi Arabia, Syria to Iran, Afghanistan to Pakistan.

The fires are unlikely to stop there.  The response after 9/11 persuaded many the attacks were regarded by Western leaders as the price of “business as usual” in an international system that had to be preserved at all costs, a message reinforced by the not so subtle hints it was America’s task to “absorb” the blow and move on. If nothing else the seed of doubt in that once unshakable global world was planted that day.  The final victim of September 11 may be the old globalist project itself.


The fires of September 11 will never go out.  They will simply recede as the years go by, occluded by other, more recent events. A new building has already risen where the two towers once stood.  In time it will be as distant to the living as Pearl Harbor is to now, till all we have are echoes of those who lived and died on that day.

Minutes before United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, 38-year-old Brian Sweeney made a phone call to his wife from the back of the plane.

“I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked,” Sweeney said in a voicemail left to his wife, Julie Sweeney Roth. “If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I absolutely love you, I want you to do good, go have good times—same to my parents and everybody—and I just totally love you, and I’ll see you when you get there. Bye, babe. I hope I call you.”

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The Price of Admiralty: The Evolution of Naval Warfare from Trafalgar to Midway, In this book, leading military historian John Keegan illuminates the history of naval combat by expertly dissecting four landmark sea battles, each featuring a different type of warship: the Battle of Trafalgar, the Battle of Jutland in World War I, the Battle of Midway in World War II, and the long and arduous Battle of the Atlantic.


The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman. According to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. Ackerman travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research – in Barbados and New Caledonia, the bowerbird habitats of Australia, the ravaged mid-Atlantic coast after Hurricane Sandy and the warming mountains of central Virginia and the western states – and delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are shifting our view of what it means to be intelligent.

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, by George Packer. Using a novelistic approach, Packer tells the story of the past three decades by journeying through the lives of several Americans, including a son of tobacco farmers who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money, and a Silicon Valley billionaire who arrives at a radical vision of the future. He interweaves these stories with sketches of public figures and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics. Winner of the 2013 National Book Award.

For a list of books most frequently purchased by readers, visit my homepage.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with your friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.
The War of the Words, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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