Reflection on 9-11

It’s been 10 years since the anniversary of 9/11 and much of the world has changed a lot in that period. We’ve had full body scanners at airports, marshalls on flights, bombs hidden in toner cartridges and two wars. I reflected on this and remembered two really good articles I’ll share here on the topic. Hopefully we’ve changed for the better.

Yesterday I finally wrote something that’s been bothering me for about ten years: The fact that Al Qaeda can’t be as big and bad as it’s made out to be, because its whole design violates every rule of guerrilla organisation. It’s like a counter intelligence officer’s dream, the Al Qaeda plan to bring guerrillas from all over the world, introduce them to each other, and exchange funds, material and ideas.

It was pure cowardice that kept me from saying that sooner. A good lesson for me in not listening to the majority. The majority, the media, whatever you want to call it-maybe “the background noise” is the best way to describe it-kept saying that Al Qaeda was the biggest baddest thing in history and even though I grumbled and held back a little, I bought into that idea way more than I should, knowing the way I did that everything about their set-up pointed to a flash in the pan-which is what they’ve turned out to be. Back in 2005, when the Al Qaeda hoax was hitting its peak, I wrote a column called “Nerf War and Real War: Al Qaeda vs. IRA.” If you want a good quick lesson in why dummies like me have such a hard time understanding guerrilla warfare, even when they’ve got all the info they need right in front of them, just read that article. I re-read it yesterday, after a reader pointed out that I’d praised Al Qaeda for going all out and was being inconsisent in yesterday’s blog for saying they blew their assets. - WN 38 IRA VS. AL QAEDA: I WAS WRONG

In the aftermath of the disaster, the sheer demand for information sent news site after news site crashing down, especially in the US, leaving the world once more glued to the telly for the up-to-the-minute details of what was taking place.

The Register did its best. Generally, the site stayed up, and in response to email requests from Americans who were stuck at work, Reg hacks posted rolling updates, sourced from TV and radio, as the disaster unfolded.

Ten years on, things have changed. For starters, internet infrastructure is much more robust. In 2011, the internet still hasn’t beaten TV for serving up breaking news, but it’s at least an equal player now, with news organizations trawling Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and personal blogs to find out what is happening on the ground.