Classic Ellis: 9/11 Ten Years After

America’s long habit of self-celebration – on Oscar Night, on Independence Day, at Thanksgiving and in the various lists of the Ten Best Films Ever Made – is at its most pretentious at Ground Zero on 9/11. We are there to celebrate the killing of 1,892 Americans, for some reason, and some foreigners in a cunning act of war and behave as though that act of war was in some way special, or unprecedented, or horrific, or obscene.

But a hundred thousand civilians died in a night when US bombers napalmed Tokyo, a timber-and-paper city, killing forty thousand children. A hundred and fifty thousand civilians died when Hamburg, in successive raids, was immolated in February 1945, among them fifty thousand children. A hundred and sixty thousand civilians, including seventy thousand children, died in three days in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killed by Americans, and three million Vietnamese, including seven hundred thousand children, over ten years, killed by American fire-power.

More resonantly, perhaps, forty thousand Japanese died in earthquake, fire, tsunami and radioactive exposure in and around Fukushima, in this, the year it all fell down, and the living and the dying behaved with rather less self-pity and self-dramatising ego and breast-beating than Americans, who lost only 1,892 office workers and airline passengers, pilots, hostesses, police and firemen on 9/11, and no children, do every year.

It is as if they have won some special Lifetime Oscar For Unique American Suffering and no human has died in a plane crash, a car crash, a fire or an act of war in any era before them. It is as if the Holocaust, the Armenian Massacre, the Potato Famine, the Black Plague and the killing of one hundred and fifty million Native Americans during the White Invasion and Conquest had never occurred. It is a kind of elective Masada, or self-professed and self-acclaimed and self-enacted Crucifixion that is, well, as we say in Australia, a bit much.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Celebration or commemoration?

    It was a sudden, out of the blue and highly symbolic attack on the capital of the world, perpetrated by human beings bent only on the taking of civilian lives. It was not an earthquake or a bombing in time of war or an accident caused by human error (horrific though those things are). It is different. The wound is probably more psychological than numerical or mercantile. It is rightly still mourned as a testament to the streak of unreasoning, hateful, murderous evil in man.

    Incidentally Fr Robert Barron cites it as the twin cause of the militant atheist movement - I.e. It was wrought by a strand of Islamic religious belief and sparked a movement against all religion as irrational hatred.

    • Once again, the mainstream narrative or hollywood version gets trotted out. It’s an interesting observation on human behaviour and response to disaster to note how many believe the official story rather than do their own research. The majority of Americans still think the 9/11 incident was the work of bin Laden.

      It’s much more evil and darker than you think.

      The argument that planes crashing brought down the twin towers is a fallacy.

      Many with expertise in engineering, architecture, explosives and other pertinent disciplines have expressed their deepest concerns over the whitewash that was the 9/11 Commission Report.

      Dr. David Ray Griffin is one example you could usefully investigate through his book ‘The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11′.

      The government’s narrative is phony and disingenuous to the highest degree.

      It totally ignored the demolition of WT7, which Larry Silverstein, in an unguarded moment, admitted he’d ordered demolished.

      He said, in that interview: “I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, “We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.” And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse.”.

      The two 2007 documentaries, ‘Zeitgeist and ‘Loose Change Final Cut both do an excellent job in cutting through the official smokescreen.

      ‘Just say know’, is the best advice. Do your own research and maybe you’ll develop a broader perspective on the realities of geo-politics.

      This link is one of the best sites on the web.

      Life is not a barrel of roses, and the black operatives are truly pathological in their pursuits.

      • Canguro, I do believe John Howard was in Washington at the time of 9/11.

        George W Bush at the time called him a “man of steel.”

        Nothing could bring him down.

        Howard was pretty chuffed about all this praise and grinned from ear to ear.

        George W walked up to him and put his arm on his shoulder and whispered quietly in his ear “I got two words to say to you partner - Nano-Thermite!”

        True story.

        Or it should have been… :mrgreen:

      • Do you think one of the reasons people think bin Laden was responsible for the WTC attacks is because
        a) he had tried before to bring down the World Trade centre, B) He claimed responsibility for it about a million times and C) He planned more such attacks.

        Now I know it sounds silly to believe a terrorist who spends three years plotting an attack, whose members admitted to being part of it, where emails show they were planning it, and then they rejoice afterwards and say ‘yes, it’s us, we did it’.

        But you’re right, bin Laden probably just boasted so Afghanistan and Iran could have the shit bombed out of them.

        • I do not believe in any conspiracy about how the towers were destroyed or by whom, I just want to have that clear. BUT, there was an interesting piece of footage of Zawahiri and Bin Laden not long after the attack, together in a white washed walled hut, and they were being visited by some acolytes. And these acolytes were fulsome in their praise for the success of the attacks, praise Allah and all, and heaping accolades upon Osama. He looked a little uncomfortable accepting their fandom for the success of the mission, as if he didn’t have any direct input into the process and could not claim such enthusiastic approval without looking a little sheepish, knowing that the “concept and execution” of the plan laid with others elsewhere. Maybe it was done without his express knowledge but in his name, he had a certain “careful what you wish for expression” on his face, a little surprised like Orville Wright who was rumoured to have said to Frank “I didn’t expect it was going to get up Wilbur, so I didn’t give any thought as to how to get the fucking thing down!”

      • Well, who would have thought that we would have a 911 conspiracy on board here -in spite of the claims being all laughed out years ago. You want a real response just let me know.

        Top join the comedy theory and have a laugh, read this:-

        BUSH: So, what’s the plan again?
        CHENEY: Well, we need to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. So what we’ve decided to do is crash a whole bunch of remote-controlled planes into Wall Street and the Pentagon, say they’re real hijacked commercial planes, and blame it on the towelheads; then we’ll just blow up the buildings ourselves to make sure they actually fall down.
        RUMSFELD: Right! And we’ll make sure that some of the hijackers are agents of Saddam Hussein! That way we’ll have no problem getting the public to buy the invasion.
        CHENEY: No, Dick, we won’t.
        RUMSFELD: We won’t?
        CHENEY: No, that’s too obvious. We’ll make the hijackers Al Qaeda and then just imply a connection to Iraq.
        RUMSFELD: But if we’re just making up the whole thing, why not just put Saddam’s fingerprints on the attack?
        CHENEY: (sighing) It just has to be this way, Dick. Ups the ante, as it were. This way, we’re not insulated if things go wrong in Iraq. Gives us incentive to get the invasion right the first time around.
        BUSH: I’m a total idiot who can barely read, so I’ll buy that. But I’ve got a question. Why do we need to crash planes into the Towers at all? Since everyone knows terrorists already tried to blow up that building complex from the ground up once, why don’t we just blow it up like we plan to anyway, and blame the bombs on the terrorists?
        RUMSFELD: Mr. President, you don’t understand. It’s much better to sneak into the buildings ourselves in the days before the attacks, plant the bombs and then make it look like it was exploding planes that brought the buildings down. That way, we involve more people in the plot, stand a much greater chance of being exposed and needlessly complicate everything!
        CHENEY: Of course, just toppling the Twin Towers will never be enough. No one would give us the war mandate we need if we just blow up the Towers.
        Clearly, we also need to shoot a missile at a small corner of the Pentagon to create a mightily underpublicized additional symbol of international terrorism—and then, obviously, we need to fake a plane crash in the middle of * nowhere in rural Pennsylvania.
        RUMSFELD: Yeah, it goes without saying that the level of public outrage will not be sufficient without that crash in the middle of * nowhere.
        CHENEY: And the Pentagon crash—we’ll have to do it in broad daylight and say it was a plane, even though it’ll really be a cruise missile.
        BUSH: Wait, why do we have to use a missile?
        CHENEY: Because it’s much easier to shoot a missile and say it was a plane.
        It’s not easy to steer a real passenger plane into the Pentagon. Planes are hard to come by.
        BUSH: But aren’t we using two planes for the Twin Towers?
        CHENEY: Mr. President, you’re missing the point. With the Pentagon, we use a missile, and say it was a plane.
        BUSH: Right, but I’m saying, why don’t we just use a plane and say it was a plane? We’ll be doing that with the Twin Towers, right?
        CHENEY: Right, but in this case, we use a missile. (Throws hands up in
        frustration) Don, can you help me out here?
        RUMSFELD: Mr. President, in Washington, we use a missile because it’s sneakier that way. Using an actual plane would be too obvious, even though we’ll be doing just that in New York.
        BUSH: Oh, OK.
        RUMSFELD: The other good thing about saying that it was a passenger jet is that that way, we have to invent a few hundred fictional victims and account for a nonexistent missing crew and plane. It’s always better when you leave more cover story to invent, more legwork to do and more possible holes to investigate. Doubt, legwork and possible exposure—you can’t pull off any good conspiracy without them.
        BUSH: You guys are brilliant! Because if there’s one thing about Americans
        - they won’t let a president go to war without a damn good reason. How could we ever get the media, the corporate world and our military to endorse an invasion of a secular Iraqi state unless we faked an attack against New York at the hands of a bunch of Saudi religious radicals? Why, they’d never buy it. Look at how hard it was to get us into Vietnam, Iraq the last time, Kosovo?
        CHENEY: Like pulling teeth!
        RUMSFELD: Well, I’m sold on the idea. Let’s call the Joint Chiefs, the FAA, the New York and Washington, D.C., fire departments, Rudy Giuliani, all three networks, the families of a thousand fictional airline victims, MI5, the FBI, FEMA, the NYPD, Larry Eagleburger, Osama bin Laden, Noam Chomsky and the fifty thousand other people we’ll need to pull this off. There isn’t a moment to lose!
        BUSH: Don’t forget to call all of those Wall Street hotshots who donated $100 million to our last campaign. They’ll be thrilled to know that we’ll be targeting them for execution as part of our thousand-tentacled modern-day bonehead Reichstag scheme! After all, if we’re going to make martyrs—why not make them out of our campaign paymasters? Shit, didn’t the Merrill Lynch guys say they needed a refurbishing in their New York offices?
        RUMSFELD: Oh, they’ll get a refurbishing, all right. Just in time for the “Big Wedding”!
        ALL THREE: (cackling) Mwah-hah-hah!

        • Totally agree, M Ryutin. This conspiracy theory has no leg to stand on.

        • Ah, the ostrich position. The only problem with it is that it leaves your arse sticking up in the air and makes you look like a complete goose.

          But please satisfy the reader’s natural question, that you’ve reached your position after careful and dispassionate consideration of ALL THE EVIDENCE, including all objective and material aspects that prove the lies of the government’s position.

          Too hard, isn’t it, to have to drop the de facto acceptance and think a little more deeply? About half or America felt the same, after all, who would willingly entertain that their own country would facilitate such a heinous event?

      • A truly, comprehensively, paranoid and idiotic post. Bob Ellis, you must be so proud to be fostering such patent delusion among the left. Mission accomplished. You can now close down the blog and retire to your study to write an entire volume of lines for Albanese to be shouted from the Opposition benches.

    • Dresden. No strategic point to bombing it at all. None. It was a culturally significant city, too, where the secret to porcelain was finally uncovered by the Europeans after the Chinese had been keeping it under wraps. I read a book on it. Fascinating. For a while the recipe for porcelain was on par with alchemy. Pulverised to rubble, a city at the time full of women, old people and children with no soldiers and no weapons manufacture, by good militant Christians going through the motions.

      • I think the Allies had a belief that if you cause enough grief to civilians that way, then they’ll make the leaders end the war. It didn’t work in Europe and was a wicked waste. It probably worked on Japan, though.

        But the whole thing is sickening, I agree.

        • It didn’t ‘work’ on Japan. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were spared the infliction of conventional weaponry for the duration of the war to preserve them for the final show, which had very little to ending the war prematurely and everything to do with post war posturing.

        • Why do you find that disturbing Peter? I find that hard to believe when you destroy and genocide humans for having a slightly higher rate of attraction for men than women in the scale of hormones. And you have the hide to quote God on the matter. Without that section,degree in the scale of human gentics and outcomes, the human race is dead.
          Looking forward to day that kind of thinking specializes itself out of governance and nature.
          Personally, I think your stand has more to do with some men’s dominance of women like the extreme Muslim versions of servitude. God help us I guess if an objective or balancing view of matters come into society. Some’s lack of testosterone may show up as that? not as high as made out? Just show and no God to hide behind?

    • It was a bombing in time of war, like Pearl Harbour, like Shock and Awe.

      What is wrong with you?

  2. And what was Shock and Awe?

    • I don’t know. Modern warfare? The people of Iraq and Afghanisan did have ample warning that war was coming and to take cover. The aim of the bombings was not a simple, gruesome taking of maximum human life. That’s a dishonest comparison.

      But you’re right to say that aerial bombing of cities is pretty reprehensible. I don’t know how the pentagon calculates the dubious morality of these things. I’m sure there are painful compromises that are difficult to stomach… Is it less moral to send American troops into an unscathed city and risk another Stalingrad?

      • The opportunity to get rid of insidious disease ridden 12th century morality,education and future climaxing potential in populaces for rebuilding is ,I suppose in war, a collateral bonus.
        9/11 happened in a height of US false self illusion of grandeur, power and invincibility. Right wing institution and corporate wise over it’s people.That and the extents to maintain and spread that idealism is the only ill I find of the US and that ilk and powers entrenched ability to pull the plugs on it’s own people when threatened.
        I had premonition of disaster. I wrote Howard and wrote him and the US President an I told you so. Everyone underfoot of an abusing system could see something coming. A system with overindulgent top rungs disenfranchised from it’s own people’s pains and abuses. Clearly evident in health insurance slaughter on the people. The list of excuses for that gets played on the public daily.

        Pulling building’s may be part of the senario of 9/11 other than have them fall sideways as locking men in hold’s of burning ships becomes a choice for greater good. I haven’t seen anything that can’t sanely be explained of the mechanic’s of the day though other than photo’s of one of the strike aircraft’s blistered fuselage to hold more fuel but think on the matter- why would and how would they bother and at risk of photo public exposure. I didn’t explore the matter to find if i’d been duped with a doctored photo.

        Through Australia’s boom I have felt the same pig fest of lapse and the right’s work inflicted on the Australian people that does come back to bite the whole. Sectors of power, greed, self righteousness,doctrine and government and shirt tail holder’s that do not care of tolls other than own self benefit. They kill and manipulate for it.Their comfort and doctrine above. I believe they would take us to war to keep it under any manner of excuse and I have tried to address it for many years. Believe me, it hurts.
        The present key of great failure in this country is housing and life pressure relief for too many.
        I just received a few new content 500 errors - apache tomcat 6018, trying to post this on a Courier mail article warning about the Qld premiers probable intentions. Nothing has changed in decades, the march of this goes forward 24 hrs a day so why does it change on Cambell Newman’s watch?

        “There is more to this than public service efficiency. The tricks of corporate, institution and party is to dig a hole for others to pay for after the next baton change of governance. A very convenient hole for the usual sectors benefits powerwise and monetarily.
        The implementation and implanting of American elitist system has not gone unnoticed by an increasingly large sector of silenced victims. Many now dead in the greatest era of Australian wealth, and personal, in the countries history. A blas’e, marauding,entrapping, what are you going to do about it pigfest of American type right doctrine on the populace that has flourished coming over the top of all and any political rule.

        Other than just cleaning up the public service,the doors are forever closing on addressing the brutality, comeback, overbearance, disparities and crop of permanently savaged poor under all manner of excuse and brutal pig superior wealth doctrine that embeds itself.
        Just a fear and warning.

    • I think it was a known or hold on maybe it was an unknown

  3. I remember a lot of people made similar observations on the day the airpalnes crashed into the Twin Towers. Some Americans themselves said; “What goes around, comes around.”

  4. In your attempts to downplay 9/11 one notes that all the heinous single and *deliberate* attacks on civilians you recount are from 1945 or earlier.

    Prove me wrong by all means, but 9/11 represented the greatest number of civilians deliberately targeted fatally *in a single operation* since 1945.

    For the vast majority of the population, “since 1945″ means *within living memory*. And while acknowledging with grief all innocents who tragically die in war, I think moral people people still distinguish between operations in which the aim is to *minimise* civilian deaths and those that seek to *maximise* them (like 9/11 and other terrorist acts, and indeed the indiscriminate bombings of Germany, London and Japan inter alia in WWII). So 9/11 gives me the chills more than Shock and Awe because of the *intention* behind it, not simply the raw numbers.

    The 9/11 attacks took place at morning peak hour. From this one might infer the plotters thought the buildings would actually fall down rather than implode, which would have meant tens of thousands of deaths of pedestrians. It was a miracle that 200,000 didn’t die. Who imagine that the plotters would have not preferred that they did?

    So I have absolutely no problem with the nation upon whose soil it was perpetrated commemorating it in whatever way it sees fit.

    The flight of leftist intellectuals from the unique evil of terrorism is shameful. There’s a MORAL difference between deploying absolutely all your firepower *solely* to the end of killing civilians, and deploying a fraction of your firepower inside a methodology that attempts to minimise civilian deaths, even if the latter produces more innocent deaths. This moral relativism - that says let Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas acquire whatever weapons they will despite their charters or rhetoric - and furthermore seeks to equate Al Quaeda with Western democracies is truly ill.

    The reason the Holocaust of Jews and Gypsies was and is a unique evil despite the far greater of number of Russians who fell at the hands of the Nazis is the fact of what they were trying to do and how they went about achieving it, and indeed what they would have done if they were not stopped. The atom bombing of Japan was absolutely barbaric, but bombs were not dropped daily until the Japanese race were exterminated.

    • Well said Muso. The anti- American on this blog is reprhensible

      • They are indicative of the antiquated pro communist propaganda that proved so futile. “Nationalize the Bastards” of the DQ ilk is unfortunately just plain anti-American

    • Muso, hi.

      Could you please articulate or define that “moral difference” you speak of?

      If you have the time or the inclination could you have a go at these?

      i.Could you also mention who you believe should arbitrate the matter of degrees inherent in any distinction you would necessarily need to make in answering the question above.

      ii. Could you also state whether any calibration of that difference needs to be contextually specific, as in American/ Muslim/Middle East conflict, or whether it can be located in a general field of inquiry, as in American intervention over say the past 100 years?

      iii. How is it you see “conflict” that its moral nature can be measured and plotted and adjudicated, and,
      what is the moral nature of conflict, and are there any other (historical?) forces which you see as being more relevant or primary?

      Again, ta.


      • I’d like to engage with your thoughtful questions. However, due to a situation that is nothing to do with you I won’t be doing so. I’ve been looking around this blog. “Table Talk” suggests intelligent, civilised discussion. Unfortunately, I see too many instances where our host abuses in a shrill, crude and ad hominem manner those who say things he doesn’t like and also makes repeated punitive threats like a tin-pot dictator. So I shall remove myself from this place, from this post on. I suppose I could say, adopting the prevalent tone for the sake of satire: this blog is banned for life.

        • I’m sorry you feel that way Muso.
          Many others have left before you; interesting, provocative and considered posters, and I imagine there are many yet to come, and many yet to leave.

          All I can say is stay.

          Are you reading this??

          You are hemorrhaging posters; like a Verdun - bled white.

          • Plenty of fish in the sea, Fedallah.

            Are you a frustrated would-be lawyer by any chance? Your questions read like a request for further and better particulars. :smile:

    • No, the greatest number of civilians ‘targeted’ in a single operation was in Ruanda, seven hundred thousand, or Shock and Awe, twenty thousand, or one of the raids on Hanoi after 1967, probably five thousand.

      What are you talking about?

      • Pedant’s corner. Rwanda wasn’t a single event. The genocide that claimed an estimated 1.2 million lives took place over months, however the on-going massacre of Hutus and then Tutsis had been occuring since Belgian and French colonisation. The genocide was planned and executed by the militia, aided by political parties - not perpetrated by terrorists. And the UN was on the ground too - only you can blame Clinton for their failure to intervene.

        In terms of single events - that is, a masscare taking place over a few hours, then 9/11 is possibly the greatest loss of life since 1945; especially if you include the thousands of rescue workers who are dying of cancers caused by breathing in the deadly air at Ground Zero.

        This event deserves and needs to be remembered and never forgotten.

      • Fish like you become putrid over time

  5. It’s not often that I totally disagree with your views Bob, but here I find myself wondering where this comes from.

    In Australia, we celebrate Gallipoli –the only country to celebrate defeat in war, for that’s what happened. We have a holiday for God’s sake, where people drink and gamble and go shopping and play Rugby League and AFL – and that’s how we remember young men sent to their slaughter because of a British mistake?

    Doesn’t this seem odd to you?

    Given the bombing of Japan, the Lisbon earthquake, the 13 million Russians killed in 1942-45, the Stolen Generation, shouldn’t we stop ANZAC Day, as you prescribe of the Americas vis-z-vis 9/11?

    And isn’t the greatest celebration of all about the birth and death of Jesus, an event that has led to more death, torture and massacres than any other in history?

    Now here’s an event not to celebrate.

    Why not go over to the widows and children without parents and parents without children and tell them to stop remembering their dead because you don’t like the way Americans acknowledge the massacre of 3,000 innocent people. Let me know how you went ….

    • Thoughtful, sobering and faultless.

      I never liked the “Bring out your dead” game. Grief is not open to statistics, and body-counts are just corpse mathematics.

      That is why there are flowers at funerals, not calculators.

      • Like Paul Keating I detest Gallipoli and think it the last thing we should celebrate. More men died on that peninsula in that year than died in the bombing of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden and Hamburg put together and not an inch of ground was gained. It murdered our most talented young men and widowed and anguished a generation.

        And you think we should celebrate it?


  6. None of the events in question are worthy of celebration; so far as commemoration is concerned, those most closely involved can please themselves.

    And they will.

  7. Following all things American. This from Jon Stewart

Leave a Comment

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

56,017 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>