The 9/11 Decade Newsnight

The 9/11 Decade

Kirsty Wark presents a special edition of Newsnight live from New York to mark ten years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11th 2001.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to The 9/11 Decade. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Tonight, we're live from New York, with a special edition of Newsnight,


to mark the decade since 9/11, as America takes in reports of a new


Al-Qaeda threat. Al-Qaeda, again, is seeking toe harm Americans, and


in particular - to harm Americans, and in particular to target New


York and Washington. We will be getting a reaction from Michael


Chertoff, America's director of Homeland Security. In a specially


extended programme, we will explore the impact of 9/11 on America and


the world. I will be speaking to Rumsfeld - Donald Rumsfeld, the


architect of the US response. was not about retaliation or


revengs, our task is - revenge, our task is to protect the American


people, not to get even. We will hear from those caught up in the


day. The guys were over here, they were like we can't hear you, then


he turned round the megaphone round and said he could hear us, and the


whole world can hear you, and the people who knocked down the


buildings will hear all of us soon. I have been at Ground Zero, looking


at the difficult process of rebuilding and recovery. Did the


atrocity change American life and culture forever? I will be talking


about that with Carl Bernstein, Fran Leibowitz and Suzanne Vega.


Good evening, as we approach Sunday's anniversary, it is not


surprising there is a new security alert in America. The threat to the


country has never gone away. In had the decade since the terrible


events of 9/11, the US has fought back on several fronts. Against the


Taliban in Afghanistan. In a devisive war in Iraq. With new


security laws at home. Counter terrorism in Pakistan, where Osama


Bin Laden was finally captured and killed. First tonight, our


diplomatic editor assesss America's We never dreamed this would happen


on American soil, so we grew up very fast. They did it in our


backyard, I can't turn the other cheek, not on this one. So much


changed that day, so many souls were lost. So many preconceptions


shared about America and the length it would go to defend itself. Two


planes caused huge casualties in New York, another was flown into


the Pentagon in Washington. The dead from that attack are


remembered here. The choice of the Pentagon as a target was a


deliberate humiliation by Al-Qaeda of American power. It called for a


completely new kind of strategic thinking, a different sort of


response. President Bush, fuelled by popular outrage, hurled American


power forward across the world, in retaliation, in a series of steps


that would prove enormously costly, and the consequences of which are


still being felt today. General Jack Keane was in the


highest councils of the military. The fact of the matter is, to


conduct the low end of war, against people who blend in against the


population, and who use the population as a shield to protect


them, even though they are conducting a relatively low tech


war, so to speak, against a very high-tech military, intellectually


we were not ready for. That we had purging ourselves of everything we


had learned from our ten-year experience in Vietnam at the end of


that war, based on how that war ended. We drove it out of our


doctrine. The military had barely thought about striking back when


the President visited Ground Zero. There people were still clawing


away at the rubble, desperate to find survivors. Among them was Bob


Beckwith, a remired firefighter who had donned his old uniform and gone


to help. He came right in front of me and he puts his arm up, I


thought, oh my God, I turned around and ask if he was OK, he said yes,


I started to get down. I said where are you going, I said I was told to


get on, and he said stay right here. He started to talk. The guys over


here are yelling they can't hear, then he turned that megaphone round


and said, I can hear you, the whole world hears you, we will find the


people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us


soon....will Hear all of us soon. Do you think America was bent on


revenge after 9/11? Revenge. Of course that is what you were going


to do. We're at war. Colleen Kelly's brother, Bill, had


gone to a conference in the north tower that morning, it took his


family weeks to accept that he would never come home. We don't


know when Bill died, none of us know how he died, exactly or when


he died. I didn't want to think of my brother being scared and fearful


and you know I wanted to think of him having his last thoughts that


he would survive. The loss of Bill Kelhy, Colleen's brother, produced


grief, but then anxiety too, as America started to strike back


weeks after the attack. I do remember very, very clearly,


October 7th when we started bombing in Afghanistan, feeling awful. I


just remember crying that whole day, and thinking that there is now


families in Afghanistan who have nothing to do with September 11th,


who would now be in the same position as our family. On a very


deep, real sense, that didn't make sense to me. We will spoke them out


of their holes, we will get them running and we will bring them to


justice. The Bush administration declared war on terror, very soon


it was mired in controversy. Guantanamo Bay produced shocking


images. And even as operations continued in Afghanistan, President


Bush sought to carry the fight to the heart of the Arab world. Right


after we took the Taliban down, we had a meeting among the senior


generals, and the chairman told us that the administration has made up


its mind to go to war in Iraq. I was the first one to speak, I said,


why, why are we doing that? He said he didn't know why. We would


eventually get some insict to that decision. I said why - insight to


that decision. I said why not wait. I could see the logic myself, but


why not wait and finish the Al- Qaeda off in Afghanistan. We have


taken down the Taliban, we have plenty of Al-Qaeda running around


here, we have to get our arms around these guys. The invasion of


Iraq soon brought US troops into the heart of Baghdad. It was laden


with symbolism, as an Arab strongman fell. In the square, the


placing of an American flag suggested triumphalism, the


euphoria of naked power. Captain Casey Kuhlman was the


Maureen officer who saw that - marine officer who saw that happen


and quickly stepped in. I said that is not what we are here to say,


that is the worst possible thing we should be showing the world right


now. We were all very aware of hoich of the world was watching us


at that - how much of the world was watching us at that time. Since I


was right by my vehicle, I went and pulled an Iraqi flag. Did you,


while you were still in the city, feel a change of mood? We pulled


the statue down, and then we said, OK, what now, boss? They said, OK,


what now boss? And they said, what now, boss? There was silence.


silence cost America dear. So much so it prevented large scale


interventions elsewhere. The Bush administration Iraq surge allowed a


graceful exit, an opportunity Barack Obama was determined to take.


At the lab Day parade in Maryland, there were plenty of Obama


supporters, this is staunch Democratic country. The theme of


the day fit neatly with that of the moment, keeping America moving


forward, trying to restart the economy. The Obama administration


may have come in with a markedly different political language, and


an attempt to reassert traditional American values in foreign policy,


but certain inconvenient facts remain, that Guantanamo Bay is


still open, despite a campaign pledge, and that certain types of


pre-emptive strike, for example by drones in Pakistan, have gone on at


an even greater rate under this President than President Bush.


determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an


additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan. President Obama may


have wanted out of Iraq, but he surged in Afghanistan, and ramped


up special operations. Four months ago, that paid


spectacular dividends, with the killing of Osama Bin Laden. If I


was the sharp shooter I would have shot Bin Laden in the throat, give


him another minute to think about it. He knows he's going to die, but


think about it. But they took him right out, right through his head.


A at Deep Creek Lake, they held Labour Day holiday races, America's


economy is struggling to get under way, and costly wars have required


huge borrow, money that might have helped the re- huge borrowing,


money that might have helped the recovery. The economy has been the


lynch pin of security. If you look at what happened to the Soviet


Union, their economy collapsed, their state collapsed, our economy


can collapse. Europe can collapse. These things are very much, I think,


they have to be very much in front of people in terms of thinking


about security. I think we need to focus back, get our own fiscal


policy back in line. We need to get our budget back in line, and maybe


pull back and not be the police for the world.


Ten years on, the passage of time, and the death of Bin Laden, have


brought some sense of closure to Americans, and intervention on the


grand scale, practised soon after the attacks, is no longer on the


political agenda. But make no mistake, this country is prepared


to act lethally and pre-emptively against terrorists now, in way that


was one thinkable before 9/11. - unthinkable before 9/11.


The man who led the military response to 9/11 was secretary of


defence, Donald Rumsfeld, you I spoke to him earlier about the


prosduegs - prosecution of the so- called war on terror. First I asked


him about his memories on that day. When the plane hit the Pentagon,


what did you do? I left my office to find out what had happened. No-


one knew what had hit the Pentagon or caused the explosion. Or for the


building to shake. I ran down the hall on my floor, and as the smoke


got too bad I decided I better go downstairs and go outside. Which I


did, I ran into a Lieutenant Colonel, who had seen a plane, who


told me he had seen the plane hit the Pentagon, and that is what


caused the damage. I ran around the corner and there was the smoke and


the flame and the people streaming out of the building burning. It was


shortly after it happened that I was physically there. Presumably


you know people who perished? goodness, yes. You can't ever say


you're fortunate after something like. That but the plane happened


to hit a section that was not yet fully occupied. That was reinforced.


It had been part of the Pentagon that had been rehabilitated and


fixed. It was stronger and therefore we were, as I say,


fortunate that the numbers weren't much larger. Do you still think


about it, does it come to you in strange moments that day, in


flashbacks or dreams? Oh my goodness, yes. You can't go through


something like that, and watch those Twin Towers, or think of the


people aboard that aeroplane that crashed in Pennsylvania, where the


passengers went in and subdued the terrorists, and saved the capital,


or the White House from being attacked as well. People had very


powerful emotions around that time, particularly of revenge, you had to


then snap too, in a way, go to the person and see to your job. You had


to implement what was going to happen. The President called and


said start getting your people thinking about what's next for us.


He said it will come to you. You used the word "revenge", I try


to avoid having people use that word. This isn't about retaliation


or revenge, I said, our task is to protect the American people. It is


not to get even. It is to put pressure on terrorists, wherever


they are, make everything they do more difficult, harder to talk on


the phone, harder to move around from countries, harder to find a


country that will be hospitable to them, and harder to recruit and


raise money. When you think about what happened at Abu Ghraib, and


the enhanced techniques and a the talk of rendition. Do you think you


went too far? I don't know what you mean by you, the Pentagon didn't do


waterboarding and renditions at all. I know the world thinks they did,


the CIA water boarded three people, and the director of the CIA, and


his successor, and they were appointed by Clinton, and the other


two by Bush, they Leon Panetta, appointed by President Obama, they


all said the information that came from those interrogations,


constituted a large fraction of what we knew about Al-Qaeda, and in


some instances contributed to the mosaic that led to the killing of


Osama Bin Laden. My view is that the people in the CIA did what the


President ask them to do, they did it professionally, it benefited the


information that was needed to tackle the new problem of a


terrorist network like Al-Qaeda. After almost a decade, the US


finally got Bin Laden, do you think the death of Bin Laden represents a


moment when America can stop feeling fearful? Can stop feeling


fearful? About Al-Qaeda? You say America as though we are


distinctive. There have been a lot of successful terrorist attacks in


the world since September 11th, they have happened not to be in the


United States, they have occurred in a number of other locations and


other countries. No, I think that Osama Bin Laden is replacable, and


that there will be a replacement. I think that the wroorder, deeper


task, is - broader, deeper task, is to weaken their fundraising support


s and recruiting ability, and to persuade more people that attending


radical Madrass, and learning how to strap suicide bombs on your body


and going in and killing innocent men, women and children, ought not


to be your first choice in life. it time, then, to talk to the


people now the leaders of Al-Qaeda, the double-headed beast. The former


MI5 leader said just this week, look, in the end I hope western


countries are talked to Al-Qaeda. The inference being that eventually


you talked to the IRA, and the Taliban, because it is necessary to


have that kind of solution? There is no question about that, people


have to be persuaded to not do what they are doing. If free people are


going to be able to get up when they want and go where they want,


and say what they want and do what they want without fear. If that


means talking to people attached to Al-Qaeda, you should do it? We talk


to people all over the globe, and trying to persuade them, directly,


and indirectly, they should be doing that. You have no compunction


about that, if that, in the end, leads to peace? The goal has to be


to compete in the battle of ideas. Their idea is a danger to them, and


danger to the world, and we need to be willing to confront it, and to


talk about it and persuade people not to do that. If that means


talking to members of Al-Qaeda so be it, the same way you have to


talk to the Taliban and the IRA? They are talking to the Taliban,


sure, yeah. Where do you think, you talked about the knowns and


unknowns, where do you think the next threat is coming from, when


you look at Syria, Syria now we know, there is people being killed


in the streets, there is attacks on homes, the other hour, there is


torture. What makes it any different from Libya? Well, I think,


if you asked me cold, which is it more important to the United States


in our strategic interest, clearly Syria is, Libya was a side show


compared to, not to the people involved, not to the people being


killed or being repressed by Gaddafi. But the combination of


Syria and Iran is, they are out funding terrorist network, and


causing difficulties in Iraq, difficulties in Afghanistan. They


are brutal to their own people. I mean, the Assad regime is a vicious


regime, the idea he's a reformer is nonsense. Just on that very point,


you said, just in your speech, that you tried to counsel President Bush


not to call it a war on terror, you thought that was wrong? I lost. He


decided to call it that. What was your argument against? I think once


you say the word "war", the implication is it will be a battle


of bullets, tanks and airplanes, but what we are engaged in here is


much more than that. It is not going to be won by bullets, it is a


problem of a competition of ideas, a way to live lives. Second, once


you say "war", the implication is that the Pentagon will solve it.


Once you say a war on terror, what you are basically talking about,


ter I don't is a technique a - terror is a method, it is a


technique used, they could use tanks, terrorist activities. You


are not make warring on tanks and terrorists, you are making war on


the people that are trying to kill innocent men, women and children.


Do you think you can talk about the war in Iraq and say, well, one of


the reasons I think it was a good thing, is because it has led to the


Arab Spring? Oh goodness, I couldn't prove that. There is no


question it is a good thing to have a country in that part of the world,


that has a constitution they have fashioned, has a democratic


Government, is respectful of the various diverse element, and no


longer has a vicious dictator running it, and is no longer the


kind of country willing to invade its neighbour like Kuwait.


6,000 though US personnel, 3 1,000 though others, civilians, women,


and children, it was worth it? think the world is a better place


with Saddam Hussein gone, but that evolving democracy in that part of


the world, I think he's right. said, we cannot guarantee what sort


of regimes come out of Egypt, and Tunisia? Nobody knows about those


countries. You can't help but be hopeful they will end up with freer


political systems and economic systems and the young people will


get jobs and opportunities. But you can't be certain of it. Therefore,


you have to do what you can to try to encourage the people that are


trying to move in the right direction, and discourage those


that are moving in the wrong direction. Thank you.


I'm joined now by Michael Chertoff, the former Secretary of State for


Homeland Security, who introduced many of the most controversial


legal measures of the war on terror. Joining us in a moment will be


Christiane Amanporu, foreign correspondent and anchor of ABC's


This Week programme, Brad Blakeman, whose nephew died in the attacks


and former adviser to the Bush administration, and John


Meersheimer. We are now apparently on the high security alert, how


serious is it to be discussed by the Secretary of State? This is not


the first time since September 1 we have had this kind of warning. What


was - 11th September we have had this kind of warning. There may be


a particular piece of information but we don't know about it. What


will the authorities be doing in this mosaic of making sure that New


York and Washington, particularly, is safe? Two things are happening,


one is a very determined effort to collect more intelligence. All the


sources, human sources, technical sources, are being pushed to get


more details. Second, you see a show of force, you see it in New


York. The idea is to be prepared and also for anybody to deter, by


changing the routine, so the terrorists can't count on knowing


what we will do. Isn't this all part of the fact that America can't


move on. The cultural fear still exists? I don't think it is


cultural fear, I think it is actually prudent capability to


respond. What you don't want to have happen is what happened in


Mumbai, in 2008, where there was an take and it took 60 hours to


eliminate the attackers, we won't let that happen here. This whole,


what Donald Rumsfeld was talking about, the war on terror, ramping


up the idea, which then some people say, allowed the US Government to


produce all sorts of measures, and many of which you were the author


of, in order to promote different policies. Do you think this is all


part and parcel of the same thing right now? I think the fear was


generated by the act. The visual image of people jumping out of the


World Trade Center because it is about to collapse and it is on fire.


That wasn't generated by the US Government, that was the reality.


But the accusation that is you ramped up by calling it war on


terror, you use yourself use the words "war on terror". I used to


say I would describe it as a war on the network of ideolgical Islamist


extremists. I agree with Donald Rumsfeld, terror is a tactic, but


it is a war. It was a global network determined to bring the


kind of catastrophic loss to the United States that was preceded by


prior war. Do you regret using the laj language of "war on terror"?


think that became a shortland. The critical piece was to recognise it


was a war, and it is war, not merely a police action. Because of


the nature of that kind of language and so forth, what happened was


that the Patriot Act, for one kicked in, you were an author of


that, that allowed certain things to happen that were beyond the


norms of American law. Phone tapping, lifting of immigrants and


so on? We have always had phone tapping, the rules with respect to


immigration didn't change. Easier to look at citizens' records and go


into their homes? Not really, we took tactics used against drug


dealers, and for the first time, said we will use it against


terrorists. As between a marijuana dealer and a terrorist, it seems to


me to be tougher on the terrorist than the marijuana dealer. They


were controversial at the time, and people thought extraordinary. You


might say they were extraordinary times? It was unanimously passed by


the Senate. That in itself is an opinion of the Senate. Some would


say actually, what it was it was a blight on America for having to do


that. What you were essentially doing is infringing people's civil


liberties? No-one has yet pointed to the case where the Patriot Act


infringed on civil liberties. It allowed us to share information and


use the same techniques we have used for years in criminal cases in


terror cases. Now, of course, it has become part of the fabric of


the legal system in America, where as I think, even you said it would


only be a temporary measure. Do you think now it is permanent? I think


it is permanent. What it did is adapt us to a technological era of


the internet, which, frankly, the old law didn't allow us to address.


But what the Government wants to do here is, as it were, export freedom


abroad, you would presumably agree you are limiting people's freedom


here? I wouldn't agree with that. I would say measures in the act which


allowed us to share and analyse information, don't limit freedom.


What they do is actually allow freedom, they allow the freedom to


travel and the freedom to enjoy your life, which is basic.


Christiane Amanporu, let's take you back to the recollections of that


day on 9/11, what do you remember most clear? I was abroad, I was a


foreign correspondent for CNN at the time, I heard about it as I was


actually on a shoot in Sierra Leone, which was incredibly difficult to


get to, it was in the full throws of war, there was - thros of war,


there was no cellphones or airport functioning. We got trickles of


information back from my producer that this had happened. CNN had to


airlift me out to the story and to start covering T it was a visceral


and shocking moment, I had covered wars for many years up until then.


Never one that had happened in the United States and now getting ready


to cover the fall-out. I must say listening to your reported piece, I


do believe that it was absolutely the right decision to go to


Afghanistan. A country had been attacked, it was in self-defence,


more than that, the people of Afghanistan needed to be free of


the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, they voted with their feet in support of


being liberated. What about Iraq, that is a different story? I think


Iraq was a major mistake. It had little to do with the Al-Qaeda


problem. We took our eye of the ball. Instead of finishing the job


in Afghanistan, we went to Iraq, found ourselves in a quagmire there,


and then, of course, Afghanistan eventually turned into a quagmire


again, so the United States is stuck in two losing wars now.


do you say to Michael Chertoff's response that it had to be what it


had to be, because had you to go where you had to go? Michael


Chertoff and I agree on what the enemy was. I think the strategy we


employed to deal with that enemy was a boneheaded strategy. I think


we should have emphasised intelligence, and police work, and


not gone charging in to Iraq. boneheaded solution? I don't think


I would describe it as boneheaded. First of all, think you needed to


go into Afghanistan. People forget there were laboratories that the


9/11 Commission reported on, where they were experimenting with


chemical weapons, you had to get rid of. That we had to develop and


improve our intelligence system and we did. The proof is eliminating


Osama Bin Laden, that was the fruit of all that work. I think Iraq is a


kind of separate issue, but I think, with respect...You Accept that Iraq


is much more controversial? It is controversial and distinct. But


Afghanistan was very much at the core of what we had to do in


response to that. Now looking back do you still defend Iraq? That is a


long question. But it has to do with the legitimate concern that


for years Saddam Hussein had defied UN mandates about getting rid of


weapons, and hadn't fesed up to what he was doing. That had nothing


to do with Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda. By going into Iraq we maximised the


prospect that is we would fail in of a stkwapbs, because we took our


eye - Afghanistan, because we took our eye off the ball. You lost your


nephew, did you think the response in Iraq that proved to be so


controversial, was danging to the both the hunt - danger to both the


hunt and the capturing of Al-Qaeda. I was the only White House


personnel to have lost somebody in 9/11, if anyone was critical of the


policy that I was privvy to as a member of the President's senior


staff was me, but I was not. I was proud of the work that Michael


Chertoff of the work that he has done.


And all those who served the President at the time have done. We


have allowed ourselves to bring Iraq into a question about 9/11,


which I don't believe has a proper place. I think Iraq is totally


different than the response on the war on terror. I think we went into


Iraq for valid and proper provocation, by the fact he didn't


allow inspectors in. We allowed ourselves to be dragged into a


position I don't think is valid. You report for ABC around the world.


Looking at the response of different countries, and what you


are hearing from people about, particularly about Iraq, and the


way that Iraq was prosecuted, not only just in the invasion, but in


the post-period. How did people respond? With due difference to


those who have lost their loved - difference to those who have lost


their loved ones, Iraq did take the eye off the main fight, Al-Qaeda.


It did prolong the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. It caused people to look


at America in a different and negative way. I think one of the


great hopes now in this ten years after 9/11 is the Arab Spring.


Because there you have all these mums, whom America asked where are


the moderate mum, where are their voices, and Britain has asked that


as well, there they are as well, repudiateing Bin Ladenism,


repudiateing that philosophy of nihilism and hate, and asking for


progress, democracy and freedom. That is what we should focus on.


There is this debate about whether the Arab Spring is a direct result


of Iraq, what is your view on that? It will be difficult to prove, we


probably won't know for many years, first of all, with the outcome of


the Arab Spring, then we will have to figure out what was the causive


set of factors. What was important is trying to do what we can,


recognising it is limited, to encourage those tendencies that do


create an alternative narrative to extremism. But you have a situation


where, yes, there appears to be democracy in Iraq, but the story is


still very much unfold anything other Arab Spring countries?


key point to keep in mind is where the United States is today. Our


economy is in shambles, in good part because of the two wars and


the response to 9/11. Is it a safer place? Is it a safer place, I think


it is safer place. But it is not worth the price? No, that was not


the price, it would be a safer place if we had not gone into Iraq.


It was not necessary to go into Iraq to make it a safer place. It


was better to do good intelligence and police work and go into


Afghanistan and solve the problem there. But going into Iraq


complicated matters, we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan,


and spent huge amounts of money, and bort wars have now gone sour.


Let's say there is democracy in Iraq, what happens, and there is


still Syria, which it is interesting to know what the


Americans will do if anything beyond pushing for more sanctions.


If the Arab Spring actually does not deliver this democracy that


George Bush wanted to export, and actually is hostile to America, and


they end up being dangerous, and lawless place, what can America do,


will you have other foreign interventions? Won't know for some


time how it turns out, whether we will get democratic states, or


whether the military will come in and run another dictatorships or


the countries will break apart. And we will have other platforms for


terrorism. The Arab Spring generated itself not from America.


It teaches us that we are in a world where technology and


globalisation means that even problems on the other side of the


globe can have an effect here in Times Square in New York city.


were talking about the flowering of countries into democracy, here we


have the greatest democracy in the world on its knees economically.


Has this decade seen the waning of American power? We have been


damaged in some place, I don't believe the execution of the war


and keeping ourselves safe has been the reason we face the economic


strive we face today, I don't believe that. There were other


systemic problems that created the crisis we are in. Having said, that


I believe that the United States is a great power. Have we lived up to


all we can be? Did we make mistakes? Sure we did, we made


mistakes not clearing Ground Zero and opening it up within 18 months


of the attack. The fact it is still like it is hurts me.


Do you think this is the end of American intervention?


absolutely not. Look at what is happening in Libya. Grapblted the -


granted for the first time in a NATO action the US didn't leave,


France and Britain led. It seems to be working. We shouldn't dump all


over the Arab Spring and think it will be a fundamentalist and anti-


western thing, give it a chance to play itself out. You have, of


course, the situation where the things that Bin Laden said, that


started his antagonism still exist, America is in Saudi Arabia and


Bahrain, is it time to recalibrate what America does abroad? The fact


is these people have risen up, not because of Iraq, but because they


have got and lived under the fist of dictatorship. Dictators who the


United States supported. Now foreign policy of the United States


will be tied to the street in that part of the world. Would you like


to see America taking a lead role, for example, against Assad and


Syria, is that America still to be the world's policeman? I don't want


to see the United States being the world's policeman, I believe in


self-determination. People in individual countries should figure


out for themselves what kind of political system they want to have,


and the United States should keep its nose out of people's business F


it goes in there, especially with ground forces, with social


engineering t will end up in the same situation as Iraq and


Afghanistan, which is disastrous, economically and stragically.


After 9/11, there was the feeling that in America the culture would


change forever. New York itself was physically scarred, and Americans


traumatised. Now with rebuilding well under way at Ground Zero, what


does the new New York tell us about There was this gash in the skyline.


The things that we saw is given, it is permanent.


The Twin Towers stood for Americans' hope and optimisim and


innocence in materialism, if you like. And that I think has gone.


Today, a new monumental structure is rising out of the void, and no


building in America's history has been so feted with expectation or


had such a tort rouse birth. No-one knew if it was hallowed ground or a


piece of real estate, whether to act out of emotion or economic


necessity. There was an international architecture


competition to produce a plan for the site.


The freedom tower won. Lined up with the Statue of Liberty and


encirleled with other towers, with a memorial at its heart.


Politicians and planners argued over the designs and eye vently the


master plan was parceled out to the different architects. His Freedom


Tower is now called more politically One World Trade. It is


still rising and David Childs is the architect. We are standing in


World Trade, looking through the mist at One World Trade. No


building has had such a torturous birth. Some people thought don't


build anything, run ahead and get something build. The emotions of


those who lost family on the site, all of that was real and


appropriate and we needed to recognise how difficult it was


going to be before we started. We also knew that at the end of the


day we didn't want to show this as a tortured building. We wanted it


to be simple and look right. Without anybody knowing the


difficulties. In the aftermath of the attacks,


there was the idea that nothing would be the same again in cultural


society, and things would change for the better. The heroism of the


rescue workers inspired a new wave of volunteerism all over the


country, and attendance at religious services was up. The idea


too was people would think more deeply about the meaning of life,


that would be reflected it television, literature and film.


America had been jolted out of its 90s babble of materialism and


escapism, or had it? America has Attention Deficit Disorder, and has


for years. It has no memory, and so we bounce back quickly. In some


ways, I think that's built into our character. It has a lot to do with


the establishment of the frontier, the constantly pushing west. I


think in some ways it is a laudible part of the American ethos. And in


another way, we don't often always learn from our mistakes. Author,


Jay McInerney, was one of the first writers to respond to 9/11. His


novel hit the spot of togetherness after the attacks, his main


characters fall in love after they neat volunteering. We got into the


habit of actually speaking to each other on the sidewalk. We got in


the habit of looking at the people who were riding in the elevator or


the subway with us. Because those people might be the last people we


see. Those people might be the people who rescue us. Those people


might be the people we rescue, or they might be carrying a bottle of


anthrax. We are more ware of our fellow citizens. It is no longer


uncool to help a stranger with directions, or in distress. I think


that my characters, looking back, would find that their lives weren't


as dras heically changed by the e- drasticically changed by the events


of 11th September. As the tenth anniversary approach, everyone is


trying to make sense of it and whether culture has changed? I was


reading my diary from that time. It is remarkable how in those weeks


you thought you would never think of anything materialistic again.


How could we be in a culture that cared about buying Prada clothes


and spending money on expensive restaurants. There was a period


that was obscene, and now everything has gone back to what it


was. In some ways, something has been lost too. There was a


remarkable time in the culture of 9/11 afterwards. A sense that


America had glimpseed a self that it wanted to be, and reaching out


to it. There was a real moment that was lost.


That loss of unity was highlighted last year in protests over another


controversial building project. The proposal to build an Islamic


community centre two blocks away from Ground Zero.


This old coat factory remains as it is while the wranglings continue.


Muslims here say life has got harder for them here in America.


And the research shows that those who think favourably about Islam


has gone down and down again. big question emerging from 9/11 and


last year's controversy about the proposed community centre, which I


had proposed and my dreamor the last 20 years s how will - dreams


for the last 20 years, is how will America engage with Islam. This is


the big and important question. This question has to be addressed.


Because unless it is addressed and until it is addressed


satisfactorily, it can continue to be a sore that can contribute to


social infection. The question of what to do with the memorial plazza


site at Ground Zero became all about healing those wounds. The


bases of the towers will have the names of all the victims of all


faiths. The park will eventually open on to the street. I wanted to


reflect how public spaces like union quair square and Washington


square acted as - union square and Washington Square acted as places


that brought us together. The civic quality of these place that is


acted as a binder, they held us together and allowed us to act as a


community. These place also allow people to come here, even if they


come alone, they will not be alone. They will walk and sit amongst the


trees in the landscape designed by Peter Walker. Do you think the fact


of it being here will move America forward? The people who began this,


the memorial was one part, a very important part. The rebirth of this


particular district was another. Both of those things are going to


show Americans that we can do this thing, we can recover, we can go on.


I think that we're part of that. I feel good about that.


Joining me now is Suzanne Vega, who has written songs inspired by 9/11.


The writer, Fran Leibowitz, journalist, Carl Bernstein, and


Rehan Salam, columnist with the Daily Beast. First, let's pick up


on the idea of divisions in America, is there an unease in America about


the war on terror still being prosecuted, the way America is


approaching the future and foreign policy? I think there absolutely is


a very deep divide, that divide has only expanded over the last decade.


I think it is to be expected, in this an affluent and stable society,


on one buffeted by economic turmoil, it is natural for such a society to


have these divisions, and what is unnatural is for those divisions to


go away. That tends to happen in time war and crisis. But this was a


weird hybrid moment. A cultural divide about what has happened in


the country? Yes, there is a tremendous cultural divide in this


country, it is worse by the second. Part of it is real, and part of it


is constantly incited by the media. In what way? By asking, "do you


think there is a cultural divide"! An approach to how the country


should lael itself, for example we had the whole situation whether -


heal itself, for example we had the whole situation about whether Islam


is welcome in this country? believe I can be wrong, but I'm not,


until September 2001, most Americans had hardly heard of Islam,


I believe that to be true. I don't think there was a particular


prejudice against Muslims, there was a total unawareness of the


religion itself. This is not Europe. We have a less, the good stuff


about America and New York, if you had said to someone before 11th


September there are people from this Muslim country, the first


thing they would have said, what do they eat?


What do you think has changed in the decade since 9/11? I think we


make a big mistake to use 9/11 as an example of a great moment of


change in America. I think all things we are talking about,


particularly the political divide predate 9/11. What 9/11 did,


politically, it enabled people who had agendas that were not perhaps


in the national interest, to pursue those agendas whether they had to


do with suspending some civil liberties, whether to do with


invading Iraq, which had nothing to do with the take itself. Whether


they had other jingositic, or perhaps demogogic, or perhaps


political objectives. But we have had this divide for a long time.


Both between right and left, between Conservative and Liberal,


Republican and Democrat. 9/11 might have exacerbated, but also this


particular city, New York, had a reel sillence. If this attack had


happened - resilience. If this attack had happened anywhere else


we would be talking different. This city came back in the way the


particular civic Compac was not riven, it came back together. That


was the most important aspect in terms of those who live here. Let's


not think, for instance, let me take a second here, I would say the


great moment of change in this country is the abolition of the


draft in the United States. Because we would never have gone into this


war in Iraq if we had a draft. Absolutely. Those members of


Congress would never have voted to go to war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton,


if Chelsea Clinton was going to war in Iraq, would Hillary Clinton as a


senator have voted to go to war in Iraq, I don't think any of them


would have. You need to look at what happened first, this event


came in the midst of something already going on. And now, yes,


there are some ripples, but is our economic situation the result of


9/11? No, it is the result of perhaps people who wanted to


capitalise on it. Looking back to 9/11, how do you think people want


to remember it? How do you remember it, and what impact has it had on


you, you have sung about it? Yes, well I think there is a collective


post-traumatic stress disorder we all have, especially in New York


city. Any time anything happens, a water main breaks, or an earthquake


that happened two weeks ago, which is very unusual, the first thing


you think is it is happening again. One thing about 9/11, you have


talked about healing and how can America go forward and heal, and I


think that any time you suffer from a trauma like, that the way to heal


is to get involved with something other than yourself. I agree with


Fran, when Fran said most people were not very aware of Muslim


culture. What I sense from the younger generation coming up is a


wish to dialogue, a kind of curiosity about the world outside


of America. I think that's one of the good things that has come out


of 9/11, if you can say anything good has come from it. Do you think


we should be rembering, particularly this weekend, this


anniversary and obviously with the opening of the memorial garden is a


special moment? It depend ones the person whether you think. That ten


years such a long time, in anyone's life, even someone as old as me.


When you say what has changed in ten years, everything has. In any


ten year period it is the same. If this had been done a year after it


was more connected. Ten years a long time. The only reason I


believe there is a concentration on ten years, is how long it takes to


do anything in York. Why are those buildings not built, they should


have been built in a year. What about the idea that the memorial


plas za will be a central thing for New Yorkers. It is such a focus for


tourist, people will want to come there as a particular place of


homage. Tourists want to come here in Times Square. You shouldn't look


at what they want. They come here. The people with a personal


connection with those who died is very meaningful, like the have the


nam memorial - Vietnam memorial. The vet mam memorial is much bigger


with many more names, it is an intense connection to those who


have relatives there. It is more like envisioning a grave. If your


son or daughter died in 9/11 you go to the Trade Centre, it means more


things and different to you than us as tourists. In ten years, the


composition of New York City's population has changed markedly.


Hundreds of thousands of native- born Americans have left, there are


hundreds and thousands of immigrants arrived, many of Muslim


origin and south Asian origin. It has changed the pace of life. While


there has been a rice of anti- Muslim sentiment in the country


itself, in New York City this is a country that has changed the way we


live and related to each other. you think you relate to each other


better than you did before, for example, you would suggest there


has been a change for the better for that, Suzanne Vega, that people


do reach out to people more? Not in the streets or subway. We're New


Yorkers, we don't want you to talk to us, we don't care who you are.


Do you think there is a return to the comfort zone? I was talking


more abstractly. Part of what you see happening in New York, New York


is a city where you have fabulously wealthy people, and hard scrabble


immigrants, they don't necessary engage in a lot of social


intercourse. New York is 30% non- Hispanic white. Think about New


York's eleets, and that population and those who dominate the media


landscape, it is more than 30% non- Hispanic white. These people are


making the city work are different. There is an organic unity of people


working together. What a lot of elites, and non-Hispanic white


elites don't understand, that these other people are not just victims


but take an active role. It is different from the wider America?


It is, but the wider America has gone in that, there is a shift in


Latino population. Many whites now are keenly aware of the fact that


demo graphically speaking they no longer define the American centre


as they once did. That is a huge part of what is changing our


politics now. When you were just talking about the site and the idea


that for a long time people were arguing about whether it was


hallowed ground or real estate, there is a natural assumption that


New York is about commerce, even in the middle of Ground Zero? I think


again we are oversimplifying too many things. It has to do with a


very complicated city in a very complicated country. Our essence in


this city is about rubbing elbows, that is the history of this city.


It is not just about money. It is about a huge number of people, the


biggest city in the country, who for a century-and-a-half, have had


this collective friction, and at the same time, this incredible


ability to move forward together. That remains, unbroken by this


event. Unbroken by this immigration that has occurred. We absorb this.


Yes, there is an awful lot of intellectual debate. We can have a


lot of these panels. But the fact is you go out there on Times Square


when we leave here, and everybody will be having a pretty good time


on the street. If this had happened in another city in America, I'm not


sure that would be the case. I don't think that we can attribute


all of these things to saying oh well 9/11 has changed us. Yes there


is a change in the way a lot of people look at Muslims in our


country, because they are more aware, and there is a relationship


formed in some people's minds. There is political realities that


came out of it, that excesser baited all kinds of things that


were - exacerbated all kinds of things that were going on already.


But in terms of it being an historic event that absolutely


changed the United States of America, I don't think it was.


There was a psychological impact on the people of the city? I feel that.


Whether it will last over a long period of time, whether in 100


years we will feel it in the same way, time will tell. You have


things like Gettysburg that resonates still with people, don't


you think this event will resonate still, because America was thought


impregnable and now there is an insecurity? I believe it will


resonate and for a long time. The United States role in the world has


changed, we are not the economic power we were in the world that we


were at that time. Do you think that is a as a result of 9/11?


think it is one of the things, I think that 9/11 definitely impacted


that, yes, I think so. I think it is part of the fabric. In terms of


money wasted on a war. That's true. In Iraq perhaps. And the feeling of


insecurity. Do you think there is a vulnerability about America that


didn't exist before, maybe it was ramped up but it did exist before?


I think that is one of the things. Sure, again, if 3,000 pem are


killed there is going - people are killed there is going to be that


feeling. Look at Oklahoma City, and look at the impact of the bombing


on that town. It defines that town today. I would not say that 9/11


defines us. Of course not. Do you think that America is both more


vulnerable and a lesser player in the world now? Because of 9/11?


because of the decade subsequently? I agree with Carl on this inset,


there is so many other factors. I also, it is true that as a New


Yorker when that earthquake happened, I was standing at my


kitchen sink and it shook, and I thought there was a bomb in the


subway, because my building is over it. I would never have thought that


before, that there was a bomb, it would never occur to me. You have


that feeling. But Oklahoma City, the difference is, before the


bombing of Oklahoma City, it was Oklahoma City, it still is, we were


New York before, we still are. I mean, I think that high


consciousness of ethnicity and race and religion is bad. I don't think


it is good. I think that it has been heightened by that. But one


thing about New York, Carl is right, it is not that New Yorkers are


delightful and they love each other, it is that they tolerate each other.


For toleration we will leave you now in New York. We leave you with


images from that day, ten years ago, that followed on from there.


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 70 seconds


Really quite a mild night out there. Warm start to the weekend. But a


grey and damp start for many of us. Writer skies in the east, late


morning sunshine here. This band of rain works across Wales and South-


West England and spreading across the Midlands into north-east


England into the afternoon. North West England brightens up. The


cloud and rain drifting towards East Anglia, before the rain


arrives, temperatures could reach 22-23. The rain arriving to the


south-east for the late afternoon. After a dreary start the south west


brightens up, a dry end to the day. A few blustery showers drifting in.


The breeze will be strengthening throughout the day. Pretty windy


across north and west Wales, there will be spells of sunshine.


Throughout the day there will be sunshine. Showers in Northern


Ireland, here the winds getting strong through the afternoon and


evening. Particularly blustery across North West Scotland late in


the day. A grey start for most of Scotland, some places will see


afternoon sunshine. The wind picking up during Saturday evening.


A blustery day on Sunday. Some sun yi spells, showers in most places,


especially wet in western Scotland and Northern Ireland. The winds


will strengthen further on Sunday evening and into Monday. They are a


Kirsty Wark presents a special edition of Newsnight live from New York to mark ten years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11th 2001. Mark Urban examines the impact of the US reponse to the atrocity, and a range of leading political and cultural figures discuss how the world and America itself have changed in the last decade.

Download Subtitles