It is the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and petty politics continue as usual. Here’s what’s happening, 9/11-related and otherwise, on the national security front.
First, the non-anniversary-related intel:
- The Pentagon’s spokesman, who spent the past four years talking up the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, takes a new job: Now he’s BP’s PR man.
- NATO declares “Mission Accomplished” in Libya, kinda sorta.
- Congress’ Commission on Wartime Contracting releases its final report, from which we assemble a greatest-hits list of top ten all-time worst war contractor boondoggles. If you can stomach roads that cost $2 billion a mile, oranges flying first-class, and crateloads of KBR, read on.
- A universal logo for human rights sounds great…too bad it’s being plugged by a PR firm that repped the Libyan and Syrian regimes.
There’s much that’s related to 9/11, though, that’s also worth knowing:
- My friend and colleague Adam Serwer, who joined us at MoJo last week, points out that you may soon be able to board an airplane without taking off your shoes…but that doesn’t mean you’re getting any of your privacy back.
- The FBI has spent the last 10 years amassing a network of domestic informants. But are they helping stop terror plots or invent them?
- Republican congressmen, looking to protect their defense pork, released a tendentious 9/11 video saying more Americans will die if the military budget is cut. Classy anniversary stuff.
- That reminds me, in fact, of something I wrote on another 9/11 anniversary: “It was an ‘attack on America.’ And the site where the Twin Towers stood is ‘hallowed ground.’ And yet. The people today who are likeliest to employ those phrases are also the least likely to appreciate the American faith that the towers and their city embodied.” It continues here: America’s Jihad on America
- Speaking as a Manhattan Sept. 11 survivor, I have only seen one documentary ever that captured that day in a beautiful, terrible, sensitive, sublime, instructive, nonpolitical, nonpedantic, nonsaccharine way: 9/11, by the French brothers Jules and Gedeon Naudet. CBS will replay it Sunday evening. If you can tolerate some traumatic imagery, it’s worth a watch.
- Finally, harrowing new audio from 9/11 suggests that military authorities wisely disregarded Dick Cheney’s orders to shoot civilian aircraft out of the sky. Lesson: If they could ignore him, maybe the rest of us can, too.