X Close

We need to talk about 9/11 A short story about America's new enemies

What happens when a generation forgets? Credit: Porter Gifford/Corbis via Getty

What happens when a generation forgets? Credit: Porter Gifford/Corbis via Getty


September 4, 2021   6 mins

September 11, 2021

Dear Bobby,

I wanted to warn you that only one of my three kids will show at the 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan this year. Roman finally exploded that the reading of all those names every frigging September (though he didn’t say “frigging”) has got “kill-yourself boring”, even if one name is his uncle’s.

For Ettie, who was only two at the time and can’t remember you, 9/11 belongs in the same dusty bag as Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations. Just out of college, she dismisses the memorial as an exercise in archaic patriotism — itself a celebration of “white supremacy”. I know, I know. That expression used to refer to a few kooks in peaked white hats. It now functions as an indictment of the entire country. And that’s just the beginning of what you’ve missed out on.

I’m hoping that bringing you up to date about the past two decades will partially restore the breath-taking sense of perspective that descended on me that monstrous morning. Although the weight on my chest was almost unbearable, I do miss the accompanying clarity.

To my chagrin, I’d suddenly been elevated to American royalty: I’d lost an immediate relative to the attacks. I soon grew weary of the deference. I didn’t want to feel special. After all, part of that clarity was realising the country itself wasn’t as special as we’d thought. People have been attacking other countries since forever, especially rich countries full of people who think they’re special.

Not that I believe we deserved it, mind. Just that shit happens, even to the United States, which we might have learned from Pearl Harbor. And sisters have been losing their brothers forever, too.

Everyone was nice and kind and open in the immediate aftermath, as if the shock had shattered the shells we hadn’t even realised we were cocooned in. The force of collective mourning was so overpowering that nothing else seemed to matter, which frankly made the conduct of prosaic daily life rather difficult.

Having still to remember that we couldn’t have tacos again tonight after having had tacos just three days earlier was embarrassing. Funny, I got into a huge fight with Roy, when I pointed out about ten days in that now no one was going to give a flying fig for a documentary about how “attachment parenting” turns your kids into little shits; all that mattered about kids now was that they had parents at all.

Roy exploded. He couldn’t believe his wife could concern herself with anything as petty as her career at a time like this. I said, well, at least it took me a whole ten days to even remember that, oh, crap, a year’s work just swirled down the sewer. In our family mythology, I was the selfish one, and Roy found the typecasting useful. By the way, and you won’t be crushed, because you never cared for his high-horsery: we’re divorced.

Epiphanies are lies. They seem to offer a radical realignment of how you look at things for the rest of your life, but actually they’re just tiny wrapped-up presents that you can peek at but don’t get to keep, and then you snap right back to seeing everything the same way again. It took New Yorkers only a day or two to get competitive about who’d lost someone or knew someone who’d lost someone, who was closer to downtown at the time, whose neighbourhood stank worse, and whose sidewalks were more covered with that awful grey silt. 9/11 brought in a whole new hierarchy, but it was still all about status, so New Yorkers were simply reverting to the same rivalrous assholes they’d always been.

It’s been especially brutal for me that when you died, we still weren’t speaking. And we fell out over what? Bush v Gore! I can’t even dredge up the details we got so exercised about—something about chads and military ballots and “cherry-picking”. Okay, our whole family couldn’t get over my having voted for “that idiot”. You accused me of merely trying to distinguish myself from my liberal family out of desperation for a separate “identity”, but at the expense of throwing the country under a bus. Honestly, in retrospect, I think I just didn’t care for Al, whose dreary sanctimony reminded me of Roy. FYI, our pal Al, always fleshy, is now fat.

Obviously, that 2000 election ripped the country in half and put us all at each other’s throats. At first, 9/11 seemed to mend that rift. But only with a basting stitch, whose straggled threads broke years ago. No one cares about terrorists anymore. Americans save their animosity for each other. As for contested elections, the last one takes the cake. Two-thirds of Republicans think the 2020 presidential election was stolen, without a shred of evidence. Like, practically half the electorate thinks voting is rigged and fake. That’s way worse than some too-close-to-call in Florida, and even Al had the grace to concede. So that sensation of us all being in this together, that warm feeling of communal suffering while walking down Broadway? Long gone.

The other revelation 20 years ago was, wow, there really is such a thing as an enemy. There really are people out there who hate this country and want to destroy it, and it was pretty disturbing that I’d never noticed before. Well, kiss that insight goodbye, too. These days, no one seems to pay the slightest attention to enemies outside the country. They’re all in the country. Our very President — Joe Biden, believe it or not, and no, he’s not dead, or not quite — claims the biggest threat to the US is “domestic terrorism”. He’s not talking about Islamic nutjobs with visas for going to flying school, either, but about white people — and not even the white people burning down black-owned businesses in the interest of “social justice”.

So never mind China (massively more dangerous than in your day), or Russia, or Iran, or the tons of terrorists in Africa and the Middle East still plotting more mayhem; all that matters is “systemic racism” right here. You’d think this country had never elected a black president (surprise!) — twice (double surprise!). You’d think 9/11 had never happened — that we’d never been shaken up, never looked around wide-eyed at the big scary world out there. We’re back to squabbling with the other children in our grubby private sandbox.

When the South tower collapsed with you in it, I also thought: my God, there is such a thing as evil. Such a thing as truly horrible, despicable people who do horrible, despicable things. And now our compatriots think “evil” means asking someone where they’re from or complimenting a foreigner’s English or using the wrong pronoun. If Ettie and her friends ever came face-to-face with proper evil, smoke would come out their ears and their brains would short out.

After the attacks, we blathered endlessly about defending “freedom”, but no one gives a tinker’s damn about freedom anymore. For 18 months they’ve “locked down” swathes of the country, telling everyone to close their businesses and stay home. That’s what now passes for “liberty and justice for all”, and practically nobody complained.

Maybe that’s because no one feels safe saying anything more controversial than their shoe size. If you announce what might have seemed self-evident 10 years ago, like “women don’t have penises”, you can lose your job, and the only place I’d dare to type such heresy is in an unposted letter to my dead brother.

You’ll be glad to hear we attacked Afghanistan in your memory, but less happy to learn that we only left that slagheap, tail between our legs, ten days ago. The Taliban are back in power, and aside from leaving them as one of the best equipped fighting forces in the world — with $86 billion’s worth of our gear — everything is the same. Oh, we finally shot the Jesus-y creep who ploughed a plane into your office, but two trillion dollars is a stiff price for one hit job. Eight years of occupation of Iraq cost nearly the same money and accomplished the same nothing.

I need to get ready for that memorial, so this will be rushed. In 2008, the financial world went blooie. Though we’ve technically recovered, we’re still tippling on the edge of a sheer drop; my finance guy’s advice is: “Don’t look down.” In 2016, we elected an inarticulate, narcissistic blowhard as president, who made us an international laughingstock. Now we’ve elected an elderly puppet with encroaching dementia who draws not contempt but pity; he’s spending money as if medically incapable of remembering that he already spent all of it last week. The government is in hock $23 trillion and counting (your eyes are bulging), and if the dollar is ever replaced as the world’s reserve currency — this is your bailiwick, Wee Willy Wall Street — we’ll all be huddled around campfires with meat on sticks. Or soy protein on sticks. Yum.

Back in 2001, it was medieval fanatics who denigrated our country as decadent, degenerate, corrupt and irredeemably amoral. Now the leadership of all our institutions — universities, arts foundations, corporations, even the Army and CIA — has taken on the smear job for them, happily trashing the country as wicked and unsalvageable. It’s a form of the entrepreneurship we’re so famous for: Americans have learned to terrorise themselves.

By the way — although well into production, my new documentary on “cancel culture” has just been cancelled. Imagine the hilarious late-night debrief you and I might have enjoyed as I drip-fed you the ironic details. One more of our jousting, wine-soaked sibling powwows would have more than compensated for my wasted work.

L.


Lionel Shriver is an author, journalist and columnist for The Spectator. Her new book, Mania, is published by the Borough Press.


Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

80 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dan Gleeballs
Dan Gleeballs
2 years ago

You’re a terrific writer, LS – always have been. You are one of the voices that make me think (a little ironically, given this piece), that the world actually hasn’t gone all to hell. We even have a friend in common – your lovely UK editor, who admires you as much as I do.

I will just add though, that my kids – at 18 and 21 – aren’t looking at a world in ruins, but one of wonder and possibility. I think it’s really hard for men and women in early middle age not to see decay and despair on all sides.

We didn’t feel like that when we are young and crucially, the young don’t now. Some of that change must stem from our own loss of shining youth.

I hope this isn’t too trite and obvious to say. There’s a tone of despair in the article and I wanted to say how important your voice is to me.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dan Gleeballs
Gunner Myrtle
Gunner Myrtle
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

I agree – now that Social Justice has gone mainstream – young people are going to start rejecting it.

mikegray2005
mikegray2005
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

Contrived?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  mikegray2005

very

mikegray2005
mikegray2005
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

In what way? You think they’ve planned this?

mikegray2005
mikegray2005
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Expand please, I’m a very basic dude, with a serious lack of formal education and I honestly can’t see how that would be possible?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  mikegray2005

‘Contrived’ in the rhetorical style of writing where you set up your own punch line.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

To expand on contrived…

Contrived is when you use the first sentence of a paragraph to set up a straw-man, the sentences between to kick and pummel it, and the closing sentence to say how you defeated it.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

-4 and counting

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

listen to popular music – the people have no clue. Sometimes you wear the down votes like a badge.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

Brilliant essay that didn’t take sides. It lampooned the whole sad shebang since 9/11.
Peace to all the poor souls who died on that terrible day.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Fair point. Not taking sides is certainly adopting a position with respect to a particular argument or world view. Even non-participants participate through their silence.
I’m not convinced, though, not taking sides is always the default position of the professional intellectual, along with sneering at those who try to fix the world’s problems. There are certainly some intellectuals who do exactly that (most are safely tenured at a prestigious universities), but I don’t believe it’s a universal practice.
For me, Shriver is presenting a summary of the two decades since 9/11 and they have not been kind to America. She avoids pinning blame on left or right. If there’s a problem with America, we are all to blame to some extent.
The tone of the article is somewhat despairing but I nonetheless find the article hopeful. I don’t think she’s encouraging us to sneer at people who get their hands dirty trying to fix the world’s problems. She’s saying all of us created these problems and, by implication, we’d better all start working together to fix them.
Meanwhile, she mourns the loss of a brother and “[o]ne more of our jousting, wine-soaked sibling powwows.” It’s our friendships and family ties that make these difficult times bearable. 

James Rix
James Rix
2 years ago

This is a sensational piece of writing. Thank you.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  James Rix

pass the sick bucket

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

-4 and counting

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

they can’t take the truth

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Minus 13! wow

sheep

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You should explain your thoughts. Might get some agreement.

Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

One look at the comments here should show you that there is no “truth,” only people who enjoyed the piece and people who didn’t. An old friend of my husband’s once stayed in our spare bedroom for quite a while, but he wore out his welcome with me fairly quickly. It wasn’t the space he took up or the effect his presence had on our privacy. He had the relationship-killing habit of stating his personal opinions as “facts,” most often on the subject of food as he was passing through the kitchen and noticed what I was cooking. I couldn’t wait for that guy to move out. He was almost 50 years old and alone in the world, and I was not surprised.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

From where I’m sitting, Biden et al make Trump look angelic and that is no mean feat.

Graeme Archer
Graeme Archer
2 years ago

Electrifying. Brilliant. Thank you.

Sam Burton
Sam Burton
2 years ago

Dear Lionel,
Thank you for such a well-written and thought-provoking, short story!
I was sorry to read that your documentary on cancel culture has been cancelled
.this issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I hope you find another way to finish and release it.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
2 years ago

Brilliant. Keep doing what you do. You are needed.

Shelly Andon
Shelly Andon
2 years ago

A beautiful expression of what we all feel is happening to our world, and we need writers like you to help us articulate it to ourselves. I just wonder if all generations feel this despair as the baton passes to the next generation and they see them turn against the ideas and institutions of the previous one.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
2 years ago

What a piece. Brilliant.

Stuart Noel
Stuart Noel
2 years ago

Why do awards like the pullitzer prize and worldwide alternatives never get handed to pieces like this one? Succinct, balanced and absolutely mesmerising. Shriver is one of the best social commenters of my generation, possibly my lifetime.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Noel

Insufficiently preachy and left wing.

Sally Owen
Sally Owen
2 years ago

A Brilliant piece of writing. Thank you..

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago

Superb writing. Astute, funny, emotional. Just to get something like this once in a while reminds me of why I’m a member.

Adam Wolstenholme
Adam Wolstenholme
2 years ago

The author gets asked this a lot in below the line comments. Maybe we should give her a break. Never one to shirk difficult questions, she’ll no doubt address this one when she’s ready. Her Spector article was hardly cheerleading Biden, more assessing him as the lesser evil. Also it’s actually quite difficult to accurately predict the disasters that lie around the corner – as this piece reminds us.

mikegray2005
mikegray2005
2 years ago

You and I might not have to pick an option, but surely the whole point of an opinion piece writer is that they do pick a side….

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
2 years ago
Reply to  mikegray2005

What is the point in abstaining in a Presidential election? There will always be one candidate you marginally prefer to the others (and who has a realistic chance if winning). Or at least one you dislike marginally less than the others.

2020 was a difficult one, but on the facts available at the time I would have agreed (I’m not American) with LS; Biden was marginally preferable to Trump if only because he appeared more normal. Now I’m not so sure, in spite of the Trump lunacy of trying to buck the election.

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
2 years ago

This really affected me. Beautifully written. Thank you

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

Further: This is what happens when you don’t have a culture to fall back on. Italians and Brits have found themselves ridiculous for years, but it doesn’t stop them still being serious people. Great music, great painting, even great writing – this is the moment for that. Forget about trying to rule the world and being great all-round. Hang in there, and maybe it’ll come right, in time.

Last edited 2 years ago by Giles Chance
mikegray2005
mikegray2005
2 years ago

She also rescinded a lot of that in a recent article admitting she was wrong….not something you hear anyone admitting these days so fair play

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

She’s a writer. She’s allowed to deplore both presidents. Just as she’s allowed to decry the parlous state of politics on both sides. Indeed, knowing there is no better to be had is a potent cause of despair, and perhaps a good reason to write about it rather than joining sides.

Jean Nutley
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I would be in LS’s position if I had a choice between Blair and Johnson. Couldn’t have possibly chosen, neither hold/held any great appeal.

mikegray2005
mikegray2005
2 years ago

Bl**dy hell…I always make a point of reading your articles, either here or on the Spectator, but this is another level.

My condolences.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
2 years ago

If the leadership of the USA has taken on the job of trashing and smearing the country from the USA’s external enemies (the same applies to the UK), perhaps the next upheaval is that we take on the task of trashing the trashers?

Leigh Dixon
Leigh Dixon
2 years ago

Give her a break. Unlike the usual commentators, LS actually has skin in the game, by virtue of the horrific loss of her brother when a plane flew into his WTC office. Her observations since 9/11 are doubtless coloured by what later happened as a consequence of that terrorist act against the US and all it stood for.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Really good essay from the ever interesting Lionel Shriver. A question to Americans: are the differences between left (I no longer call the left liberal) and right more divisive than they were 20 years ago? From where I sit in Africa they certainly seem so.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago

Looking on from outside the USA I’d argue that the differences are minor but the polarisation is enormous.
According to Wikipedia:

The narcissism of small differences is the thesis that communities with adjoining territories and close relationships are especially likely to engage in feuds and mutual ridicule because of hypersensitivity to details of differentiation

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

“Looking on from outside the USA I’d argue that the differences are minor”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BLM? CRT? Cancel Culture? Education being Captured by Post Modernists? Military spending more time training on identity politics than combat? The Afghan USA Embassy in Kabul flying the rainbow flag?

The differences are night and day. It is Socialism in Sweden and Socialism under Stalin. One for income justice, one for class war.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

“A question to Americans: are the differences between left (I no longer call the left liberal) and right more divisive than they were 20 years ago?”

YES!

20 years ago it was a Lefty/Marxist Philosophy, now it is a Neo-Marxist philosophy, and they are utterly different in everything except how all people, and groups are about power – oppressed and oppressor.

Marxists believed it was all $, and the ‘Means of Production’, Land, Labor, Capital – oppressors and oppressed.

Neo-Marxism is all about ‘Identity Politics’, Gender, Race, Class – oppressors and oppressed., the production merely being one tool of oppression. Take the ‘Patriarchy’, take ‘Racism’ and so on. It is oppression for itself, not merely for gain.

Money and the Means of Production are merely one means of the vast numbers of oppression in Neo-Marxist thinking. It is all about identity politics, Critical Theory (CRT) Historical Oppression of one group over another. It is Post Modernism, that most evil philosophy which twists the very core of human existence, it is vengeful Nihilism.

Old Marxism was Production (land labour capital)

“I. Capitalists, or bourgeoisie, own the means of production and purchase the labor power of others
II. Workers, or proletariat, do not own any means of production or the ability to purchase the labor power of others. Rather, they sell their own labor power.”

Now it is just about hate. And the way to fight it is ‘Equity’, utterly unlinked to meritocracy or value of contribution, – just all must have equal irregardless of anything. And all must pay back any past inequitable issues, back to the tenth generation, the sins of the fathers are very much the sins of their sons.

20 years ago the left was about getting better pay, now it is about Pay-Back. and if they get their way it will be a Bi* ch, and destroy the West, which is the ultimate goal of the Neo-Marxists as they are Owned, bought and paid for, by the Globalist Elites.

Jim Cox
Jim Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Good point. I did also note the passing snide comment in Lionel’s piece that there was not a shred of evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Pennsylvania alone had mysterious ballot dumps that consisted of statistically impossible
batches of Biden ballots which improbably put Herr Biden ahead in a crucial swing state.

Val Colic-Peisker
Val Colic-Peisker
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“Irregardless”? My mind boggles 😉

Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago

I recently watched “How the Magic Trick is Done” by Bret Weinstein, and in the final five minutes he explained what I’ve been trying to figure out, by pointing out that libertarians who lean right and others who lean left can have discussions in which they find themselves in agreement on many issues. He said we’re still stuck in the idea that the divide in the U.S. is between left and right, but it’s actually between freedom and authoritarianism. People who used to nod in solemn affirmation at historical statements like “give me liberty or give me death” and “those who would give up their freedom for security deserve neither” now flock like sheep to give in to endless lock-downs, mandates, vaccine “passports,” etc. The latest institution to die is the ACLU, which had the gall to release a mealy-mouthed statement that vaccine mandates “actually increase civil liberties.” I feel like I’m living in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
2 years ago

Love it. We need more sanity.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

We need more Bansky in the National Gallery, and less Rembrandt too –

This is not literature – the guy above talking of the Pulitizer? OMG.

mikegray2005
mikegray2005
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You mate, are what I believe, the left refer to as a hater…

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago

I am sorry that your Brother was murdered before you were back on speaking terms; it no doubts makes the grief worse.

Peter Styles
Peter Styles
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

A very difficult piece of writing for LS.
To lose a sibling in such circumstances and continue to write and thrive in the wake of such poor government leadership demonstrates a remarkable ability.

Barrie EMMETT
Barrie EMMETT
2 years ago

One of the most concise informative reads.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
2 years ago

Fantastic piece. A view with perspective while not undermining the detail.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

THANKYOU Lionel – and please write more for Unherd.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

I cant help but wonder-does the average American understand why many peoples of the world might feel antagonistic towards them and that the World Trade Center might represent an oppressive force on the planet ??

Val Colic-Peisker
Val Colic-Peisker
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

No, they don’t understand. The ‘average American’ is too busy shopping and getting fat to have time to read stuff and pay attention to the rest of the world. A definite decline of the West, not just the US.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

Horribly true. Sadly.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

It’s time “the rest of the world” got its own act together. Without America, the rest of the world would be miserable.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

You may be right in saying that many people in the world feel antagonistic towards them, but the fact is that many people in he world are desperate to leave their own countries and immigrate there. It’s really the most effective test of a country.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

America used to tap-dance
Now it tip-toes;
America, so full of woe,
has become its own foe

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
2 years ago

Don’t ever give up.

Mark Knight
Mark Knight
2 years ago

Thanks L.S.

tony deakin
tony deakin
2 years ago

Bleak but on the money.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

I hope she does one in 2041. Looking back on whatever cataclysms have occurred, I wonder what she’ll pinpoint (as hindsight is wont to do) as the event that lit the tinder?

There’s lots of good candidates- 9/11, the GFC, the pandemic, but I suspect the day the US gifted the global jihadi movement $85bn worth of modern weaponry, and a western trained military of 300,000, is likely to feature.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

“They said America had had it coming. Is everything now alright?”

“Actually, they said America had it coming. The world’s still full of spite.”

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago

My own sister told me we deserved 9/11. Stunned me that she could say something that stupid.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  L Walker

But did you understand what she was trying to explain ??

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

IE that the US has a nasty history of bullying weaker nations if they get in the way of their economic wants – and that they have regularly started both overt and covert wars to that end, and that their corporations have had free range to rape the planet both inside and outside US borders. Did you actually understand that from your sister or are you one of those described below ?? We are all here to attempt to understand unpleasant realities ….

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago
Reply to  L Walker

The terrorists who hijacked the planes were from the same sectarian gang that blew up more than 200 Kenyan civilians in its truck bomb attack on the US embassy in Nairobi, in 1998. Dozens of young women training at a secretarial college next door to the embassy were crushed when their building collapsed. A US embassy worker who survived, in a piece he wrote, noticed the ill-fitting clothes of many of the hundreds of injured commuters and various employees walking round, dazed. These were poor people desperate to make something of their life. What did they do to deserve that cataclysm? Did they also have it coming to them? So yes, the talk of Americans having had 9/11 coming to them was just total nonsense, immoral and spineless.

Michael Burnett
Michael Burnett
2 years ago

A great piece of writing. Thank you.n

tracy clements
tracy clements
2 years ago

Why criticise someone like that? If you don’t like it then fine it’s not for you. But commenting on her skill? Why give uninvited criticism? I loved the words and the message and the form. But if I didn’t, then I would ponder why and move on.

Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago

Because we’re desperate, we have no place to go. I did the same. My only goal in voting for Biden was to get Trump out, I hate that guy so much. He’s a buffoon, he’s embarrassing. I thought if I traveled anywhere during that time I would tell people I was Canadian. Since the pandemic, BLM, etc., I have changed my voter registration to “not a member of any party” (doesn’t roll off the tongue, but okay), but I don’t know what to do. I’m flailing. I might even be ready to vote for a Republican, but not if they bring Trump back. I feel like I have no country anymore. I’m lost here. I’m almost 60 years old and sometimes I actually don’t feel physically safe in my own country, and that’s astounding.

Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago

Because we’re desperate, we have no place to go. I did the same. My only goal in voting for Biden was to get Trump out, I hate that guy so much. He’s a buffoon, he’s embarrassing. I thought if I traveled anywhere during that time I would tell people I was Canadian. Since the pandemic, BLM, etc., I have changed my voter registration to “not a member of any party” (doesn’t roll off the tongue, but okay), but I don’t know what to do. I’m flailing. I might even be ready to vote for a Republican, but not if they bring Trump back. I feel like I have no country anymore. I’m lost here. I’m almost 60 years old and sometimes I actually don’t feel physically safe in my own country, and that’s astounding.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

“
, tail between our legs, 
”.

Is that now seen as a virtuous act? As yet another way for America to signal its remorse? Its newly enlightened desire to wear sackcloth and ashes? You never know with the Dems these last few years. Whatever happened to that old Wild West saying, which had more of the Christianity about it, of “Guilty. But not so dern awful guilty!”?

Ian Moore
Ian Moore
2 years ago

A good piece exposing the ever shifting allegiances and hypocrisy within the political establishment in the USA, which is also symbolic of the situation right across the “west”.
The writer is definitely well placed to comment on the subject considering the fact that she herself is symbolic of the current malaise.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
1 year ago

Best thing I’ve ever read on UnHerd, and there’s some stiff competition in that category. From the insight to even the technique – genius.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

What’s a billion? A million million? A thousand million? The Americans mean 86 thousand million dollars’ worth of equipment left as basically a gift to the Taliban. So that’s less than a tenth of a billion in dollars’ worth, according to the non-American definition of a billion. There are a thousand American billions in one British billion. If the British military had left behind the same amount of equipment, then, with the exchange rate, the British would be lamenting having left behind about 70 thousand million pounds’ Sterling worth of stuff. Sounds a lot less worse than 86 billion dollars. Well, maybe not. If the American embassy in Kabul cost one billion dollars to build and equip, then that 86 figure is the equivalent in money terms to say what it would cost to build and equip 86 world-class hospitals. It cost the Americans a little more than 800 million pounds Sterling to build their embassy in Kabul. Must stop talking to myself.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

It’s the same here, 1000 million

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

mmm. shit.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Best comment. The writer Reminds me totally of Erma Bombeck in her writing, but less fun.