Sixteen Years On

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.”