Atentado 11-S

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial on Tuesday, the day before the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

There is something almost magical about New York as summer turns to fall. The changing of the seasons brings a spirit of renewal. People hurry to school and work, propelled by dreams and ambitions. The leaves shift from green to orange. But this beauty is transient. In the evening, when I go on my walks, I look at the two blue lights beaming into the heavens from just south of the old World Trade Center and I try to hold my gaze there. I never last long.

When the Sept. 11 attacks happened, I was an 11-year-old Muslim boy suddenly confused about the world and unsure of my place in it.…  Seguir leyendo »

An image of Jake Campbell above his mother’s name on the south fountain of the 9/11 Memorial in New York.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

When I was growing up, the only time I noticed that I was different from other kids at school was when their parents were around. One of my earliest memories is my first day of kindergarten: Among a sea of young parents, my grandparents and I stood out. I was too nervous to let go of my grandmother’s hand.

The rest of the time, though, I felt pretty normal. My thoughts revolved around driveway baseball games with the neighbors and making sure I had my homework done in time to play some video games.

But early September always felt different. I could sense a change in the mood in my home.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vi a mi presidente en su perorata en el Pentágono y todo lo que pude pensar mientras no paraba de hablar de heroísmo en la décimo sexta conmemoración del 11 de Septiembre (11-S) fue cómo acabamos con Humpty Dumpty.

Obviamente fue Humpty Dumpty quien declaró: “Cuando uso una palabra, significa solo lo que yo elijo que signifique, ni más ni menos”. Al menos Humpty Dumpty lo dijo sin el gesto de nuestro estimado líder de unir su regordete dedo anular y su pulgar una y otra vez.

Las palabras salieron a borbotones de esa boca contraída que no decía nada, porque cuando un hombre con un vacío moral trata de exhortar a una nación a la grandeza moral, lo único que comunica es su hipocresía patética y casi cómica.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks — 16 years ago on Monday — President George W. Bush declared a war on terrorism that he pledged would not end until every terrorist group of global reach was defeated. Bush drew a line in the sand, telling every nation, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” The Bush administration was more flexible than this rhetoric suggested, but it still evinced a strong willingness to act unilaterally.

President Barack Obama sought to make U.S. counterterrorism efforts more sustainable, and thereby enable the United States to focus more on other challenges.…  Seguir leyendo »

Years ago, at the height of the Arab Spring, I asked Zbigniew Brzezinski about prospects for democracy in Saudi Arabia. The grand old man of muscular American foreign policy — national security adviser to Jimmy Carter and a believer that the US had become “the first truly global power” — looked decidedly unimpressed.

“Democracy, in Saudi Arabia?” he rasped. “How do you know they wouldn’t elect Osama bin Laden?”

We moved on to other topics. America generally does move on to other topics when the subject of Saudi Arabia is raised. Those self-styled “grown-ups” who run US foreign policy regard any serious questioning of the relationship with the desert kingdom as a sign of weakness, pottiness, or childishness.…  Seguir leyendo »

In July, after approval from the Obama administration, Congress released a 28-page chapter of previously classified material from the final report of a joint congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said that the document had ruled out any Saudi involvement in the attack. “The matter is now finished,” he declared.

But it is not finished. Questions about whether the Saudi government assisted the terrorists remain unanswered. Now, as we approach the 15th anniversary of the most heinous attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor, it is time for our government to release more documents from other investigations into Sept.…  Seguir leyendo »

En 1904 Ortega y Gasset defendió su tesis doctoral sobre un estudio acerca de las leyendas sobre un inminente fin del mundo que se difundieron en Francia a finales del siglo XI. Ninguna inquietud futurista semejante atemorizaba a los ciudadanos occidentales cuando íbamos a traspasar el umbral del siglo XXI. La última década del viejo siglo, que antes de empezar ya nos regaló la sorpresa de la caída del Muro de Berlín, parecía marcar para muchos la senda de un progreso imparable. De aquel tiempo quizá les suene todavía el título de un ensayo, «El fin de la historia», publicado en 1989 por el politólogo Francis Fukuyama.…  Seguir leyendo »

We all remember where we were when the planes hit the World Trade Center — and then the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania — 15 years ago this Sunday.

I was barely 20 years old, offshore in the Bay of Biscay as a volunteer able-bodied crewmember on a square red sailing ship for disabled people. Immediately, one had the feeling that the destiny of millions of people – perhaps many I knew – had been immediately changed.

For the officials in authority, it was likely even more jarring. For them, it meant nothing less than changing the way the West approached the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

The myth of Saudi support for terrorism

Last Friday, the infamous “28 pages” from the 2002 Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks were declassified. For years, this final section of the report was kept from the public, which led some to believe that it contained evidence that the Saudi Arabian government was behind the attacks, either indirectly by financing al Qaeda or directly by providing support to the actual terrorists on the planes. Now that the pages have been released, the truth is out, and in the words of the 9/11 Commission: “[there is] no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [al Qaeda].”

Still, some American pundits may continue to link Saudi Arabia and 9/11 in their minds, perhaps because 15 of the 19 terrorists came from the kingdom.…  Seguir leyendo »

An video image of Osama bin Laden from 2002. Text at bottom reads "Voice message from Osama bin Laden." Al Jazeera, via Associated Press

It’s rare when we find ourselves as the right person in the right place at the right time. More often, it’s an unsatisfying mix of those and other variables: The place is right, the timing is spot on — only you were off.

I was 22 years old, and one day into an internship at the ABC program “Nightline,” when the Sept. 11 attacks happened. They woke this country up from the slumber of the 1990s, and in my case, from a jet-lagged coma in a corporate housing unit down the street from the Pentagon. In a week, I went from a sheltered college existence to having ash on the balcony from the smoldering crash site nearby.…  Seguir leyendo »

The anniversaries of 9/11 mount, yet every year on that date we recall with extraordinary clarity where we were on that terrible day, what we felt, how we gradually absorbed the enormity of the horror that had been visited upon us.

I was in the New York Times newsroom in Times Square that day, and among many other things, I remember how we scrambled to glean some information about Al Qaeda and its zealous leader, Osama bin Laden. Islamic extremism was not new, but it was still a dim and obscure force. The acrid smoke and dust billowing over ground zero spoke to the enormous potential for destruction in that hatred, yet when President George W.…  Seguir leyendo »

Do not call what happened 13 years ago this week a tragedy. It was a terrorist atrocity, an act of war and a war crime. These are very different.

The self-proclaimed jihadis responsible for hijacking commercial jets and using them as missiles targeted the World Trade Center because it was a Western financial capital, a place where men and women of many ethnicities and religions worked in peace to create prosperity. Another plane was flown into the Pentagon — the brains of the greatest liberation army the world has even known. One more jet was meant to hit the political heart of the Free World — the Capitol or the White House — but Americans on that flight refused to surrender and thereby won a battle.…  Seguir leyendo »

September 11 was the moment when history finally caught up to America, that sparkling bright day when we lost whatever innocence still remained. Living in McLean, Va., and working as a military analyst for NBC News, I was no better prepared than anyone else. Ironies abounded: Beginning on a snowy morning in February, I had regularly taped running commentaries for an MSNBC documentary (remember them?) with a working title of “Attack on Manhattan.” Focused on the unlikely idea of terrorists attacking the United States, it eerily predicted an attack on the twin towers and was scheduled to air later in September.…  Seguir leyendo »

After Britain was reportedly dismissed as a “small island” by a Russian official last week, David Cameron took the steering wheel and sped off to compose his response. For security reasons, prime ministers are not normally supposed to drive. But at the G20 summit in St Petersburg, there were electric cars to ferry the participants from one location to another. Cameron decided to commandeer one such buggy, and give his officials, Craig Oliver, Liz Sugg and Helen Bower, a lift to the press conference.

Occasionally hair-raising as Cameron-Cabs turned out to be, the team was calm enough to help the driver draw up his inventory of British accomplishments, which the PM duly rattled off to the media when they arrived – ending, correctly, with a quip: “If I start talking about this ‘blessed plot, this sceptred isle, this England’, I might have to put it to music, so I think I’ll leave it there.” His mini-speech is indeed going viral, with a variety of added soundtracks.…  Seguir leyendo »

My family and I marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11 last year with a ceremony at the Los Angeles Fire Academy. Our daughters marveled at the enormous fire engine ladders, lifted toward the sky to proudly display an American flag.

The older one took pictures with my phone of a twisted piece of steel, a piece of the World Trade Center, pictures she would later share with her second-grade class.

They listened, as best they could, to speeches by the mayor and other politicians. They stood at attention as a bagpiper played taps.

As a mother, I felt as if I’d found the perfect way to mark the solemn day.…  Seguir leyendo »

It was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history.

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief  in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

It can sometimes take a tragedy to reveal a truth.

Who does not remember where they were on Sept. 11 when they heard that the towers had come down? But terrible times also can provide insight that might otherwise never come.

In 2001, I was teaching in Chicago. My main break from work was frequent participation in a daily pickup soccer game that I stumbled onto soon after arriving in town. It was a virtual United Nations, with players from Argentina, Russia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, Georgia, Brazil, Poland, Korea, China and Mexico.

I was the only non-immigrant who was a regular, and each group had its own style.…  Seguir leyendo »

It can sometimes take a tragedy to reveal a truth.

Who does not remember where they were on Sept. 11 when they heard that the towers had come down? But terrible times also can provide insight that might otherwise never come.

In 2001, I was teaching in Chicago. My main break from work was frequent participation in a daily pickup soccer game that I stumbled onto soon after arriving in town. It was a virtual United Nations, with players from Argentina, Russia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, Georgia, Brazil, Poland, Korea, China and Mexico.

I was the only non-immigrant who was a regular, and each group had its own style.…  Seguir leyendo »

No hay drama, en el caluroso día festivo, cuando te acercas entre una multitud de pantalón corto y gorra, pero aun así apenas bullanguera, al Memorial del 11 de septiembre (Memorial 9/11 en las siglas americanas). Tampoco la mayoría de los visitantes que hacen cola, provistos de su pase gratuito, conocerá la intriga, a veces cruel, que ha precedido y sigue manifestándose en la construcción de este parque conmemorativo que es ya, en su estado incompleto, una de las grandes atracciones turísticas de Nueva York, aunque, al contrario que todo lo demás en Nueva York, sea gratuita y no suponga pagar impuestos ni propinas.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran has been at war with the United States for more than 30 years, but every administration from President Jimmy Carter’s to the current one has tried to ignore it. Currently, the Obama administration is wrestling with the issue of Iran’s drive to achieve nuclear weapons capability. The question of what we should do about it really becomes moot, since we now have clear evidence of Iran’s direct involvement and support of al Qaeda before and after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Evidence indicates Iran, Hezbollah and al Qaeda made an alliance in the 1990s.…  Seguir leyendo »