Four years and counting…


I was just browsing and came across this flashback to 9/11. By the time I got to the end, I was feeling pretty emotional, even after all this time. There’s something about being caught in the narrative that brings it all back.

Afterward, I decided to look up my old AOL Instant Messenger chats from the same time period. (2001 was my most intense stretch of internet chatting. My obsessively accumulated archive contains over 350 individual chat logs from that year, most of them between me and Orson.) When I pulled up the chats from 9/11 and subsequent days, I was struck by how many of the ideas and suspicions Orson and I exchanged matched what the posters were saying. Glaring in their absence were any mentions of Iraq or Saddam Hussein. Hm!

For history’s sake — and with Orson’s permission — I’ve uploaded an edited log. Click “Read More” to see the full, VERY long post.SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

nosroPC (9:42:24 AM): some plane(s) just hit the world trade center!

nosroPC (9:42:31 AM): scott just told me

Therem (9:43:24 AM): I gathered that some big disaster had just occurred. Jogbra employees were all in a tizzy looking for the television.

Therem (9:43:41 AM): and is taking forever to load.

nosroPC (9:44:06 AM): and NY Times

Therem (9:44:49 AM): oh well. I guess our portion of disaster will be served cold.

nosroPC (9:46:14 AM): perhaps a bombing attack? It appears a bomb was detonated at the heliport at the pentagon

Therem (9:46:51 AM): hm. well, is accessible and has a photo of the smoking WTC.

Therem (9:47:16 AM): it sure seems like it must have been a bombing attack, because it involved TWO planes.

nosroPC (9:48:45 AM): yeah

nosroPC (9:53:59 AM): well the smoking trade towers – quite a symbol

Therem (9:54:29 AM): no kidding.

nosroPC (9:55:45 AM): FAA has shutdown ALL air traffic nationwide

Therem (9:55:58 AM): interesting.

nosroPC (9:56:10 AM): now the paranoid police state begins

Therem (10:10:49 AM): hm.

Therem (10:32:20 AM): another bomb.

Therem (10:32:38 AM): you are probably watching TV somewhere.

Therem (10:34:17 AM): both trade towers have completely collapsed.

Therem (10:34:31 AM): there were still 1000 people in the second one when it went.

Therem (10:34:58 AM): peep, I am crying!

Therem (10:35:32 AM): it’s horrible to think of the people trying to escape.

nosroPC (10:41:00 AM): yes it is a tragedy

Therem (10:41:38 AM): I don’t like that word — it is trite. but it is certainly a horrible series of events.

nosroPC (10:46:10 AM): I am not crying. I can’t imagine all those deaths. I am just very, very afraid of the fallout from this.

Therem (10:47:56 AM): it wasn’t the number of deaths that affected me. I just had a sudden almost cinematic flash of what it might be like in the chaos, smoke and water pouring down the stairs, trying in a panic to get out. and then going down in a pile of rubble.

Therem (10:48:50 AM): are you keeping up on events?

nosroPC (10:48:58 AM): only through scott

Therem (10:49:04 AM): I am overhearing reports from co-workers.

Therem (10:49:10 AM): do you want to hear?

nosroPC (10:49:13 AM): he is watching tv

nosroPC (10:49:17 AM): he saw the collapse

nosroPC (10:51:22 AM): another plane down south of PA

Therem (10:51:30 AM): I heard.

nosroPC (10:52:16 AM): sure keep me up to date

nosroPC (10:52:28 AM): somebody said this is worse than Pearl Harbor

Therem (10:53:08 AM): I’m not sure what that means.

nosroPC (10:53:16 AM): Is this a declaration of war? Ben Laudin (sp?) was delivered some ultimatum about 2 weeks ago by Bush. Art told me

Therem (10:53:30 AM): really? first I’ve heard of it.

nosroPC (10:53:54 AM): just speculation. I haven’t heard who claimed responsibility

Therem (10:55:02 AM): no one so far.

Therem (10:55:28 AM): correct spelling: Bin Laden.

Therem (10:56:04 AM): apparently it was an anonymous caller who said that bombs would be going off every hour.

Therem (10:57:40 AM): and one group of Palestinians have called in to explicitly say they are NOT responsible.

nosroPC (11:01:51 AM): art told me to go home if i want to

nosroPC (11:02:53 AM): I am going to stay here. I’m not going to sit, glued to the TV. I can wait to hear what happened after the smoke clears.

Therem (11:05:06 AM): if it does.

Therem (11:07:57 AM): interesting. I have been following updates from the Chicago Sun Times, since NY Times is inaccessible. looks like Chicago is preparing for badness too. they have added more trains outgoing from downtown to their schedule.

nosroPC (11:08:48 AM): clayton’s brother saw the whole thing in person

nosroPC (11:08:55 AM): I am talking to VZ

Therem (11:09:03 AM): hey! she didn’t tell me that!

Therem (11:09:10 AM): are you talking to her on the phone?

nosroPC (11:12:44 AM): on AIM

Therem (11:12:50 AM): huh.

nosroPC (11:12:54 AM): and bokes, too

Therem (11:13:00 AM): I saw he is on.

Therem (11:16:12 AM): has put up a fakey home page with the latest updates to the news. there’s a link to “the rest of the home page”.

Therem (11:16:36 AM): I guess their server couldn’t handle the hits.

nosroPC (11:17:43 AM): has a request for information from any readers who know about flight which went out of Logan

Therem (11:18:12 AM) πŸ™

nosroPC (11:19:52 AM): my mom knew someone who worked in the towers

Therem (11:20:22 AM): oh no! does she know what has become of him/her?

nosroPC (11:21:01 AM): don’t know

Therem (11:21:05 AM): I wonder where Ben (Washington) and Valarie (New York) work.

Therem (11:22:40 AM): from

“Nichols says extraordinary precautions are being taken to ensure the security of both House and Senate leadership. He declined to say where the leaders were.”

Therem (11:22:45 AM): a mineshaft, perhaps?

nosroPC (11:24:57 AM): oh goody, calling doctor Strangelove

Therem (11:28:05 AM): chiro time. bye for now.

Therem (1:08:19 PM): back.

nosroPC (1:10:42 PM): hi

nosroPC (1:11:41 PM): no real news

Therem (1:12:10 PM): thank god.

Therem (1:12:32 PM): I heard some distressing “on the scene” reports on NPR.

Therem (1:12:37 PM): while I was driving.

nosroPC (1:14:29 PM): ugh

Therem (1:16:10 PM): hm. there is more news. it is suspected that another plane has been hijacked and is headed toward the Pentagon. at least according to

nosroPC (1:20:01 PM): Maybe i will break for TV soon

Therem (1:20:31 PM): I feel tired.

nosroPC (1:21:18 PM): was chiro session good?

Therem (1:21:47 PM): not particularly. the right side of my neck hurt afterward.

Therem (1:22:06 PM): but I think it was a good idea for me to get out of the office.

nosroPC (1:23:57 PM): catastrophe claustrophobia?

Therem (1:25:01 PM): I was getting very tense. I was sweating, but my hands were cold.

Therem (1:25:12 PM): I feel better now.

nosroPC (1:30:27 PM): will you leave early?

Therem (1:30:52 PM): probably not.

Therem (1:30:55 PM): we’ll see.

Therem (1:42:45 PM): more

nosroPC (1:50:31 PM): je je

nosroPC (1:50:44 PM): I wish you were here

Therem (1:51:09 PM): you do?

nosroPC (1:52:55 PM): yeah πŸ™

Therem (1:53:27 PM): I suppose I can ask about leaving early.

Therem (1:53:59 PM): it seems quite unlikely that we’ll be getting any help desk calls today. everyone is watching TV or listening to the radio.

nosroPC (2:03:11 PM): I’m going to listen to music. I will get overwhelmed by news of this atrocity all day long

Therem (2:04:39 PM): makes sense.

Therem (2:24:51 PM): NY Times has put up an interim page also.

Therem (3:39:51 PM): I feel drained. I told Mike that I felt like going home, and he replied, “You might as well.”

Therem (3:40:06 PM): it wasn’t exactly rousing confirmation, so I have delayed.


Therem (4:08:11 PM): good peep! MSNBC’s Howard Fineman is creepy!

Therem (4:08:22 PM):

“REMEMBER THIS day, for on this day life in America changed forever, not for better. We are at war, and the war may never end. The death toll is unimaginable, the worst (and almost the only) domestic war casualties in our history. But we’ve lost more than lives. We’ve lost what’s left of our innocence. Remember what life was like before today: freedom to travel, the right to privacy, a sense of ease and security in our homes and in our cities and towns.”

nosroPC (4:13:33 PM): what did I say? Police state. Sounds like howard is accepting it

Therem (4:13:46 PM): yep.

nosroPC (4:15:27 PM): australia looking better all the time

Therem (4:18:21 PM): *laugh*

Therem (4:18:56 PM): only problem is — we would have to fly there.

nosroPC (4:20:39 PM): hrm

SEPTEMBER 12, 2001

Therem (12:21:57 PM): did you dream of explosions and collapses? I did.

Therem (12:22:24 PM): my brain supplied the carnage that had been missing from the television footage. πŸ™

nosroPC (12:23:08 PM): I don’t think I did. But I thought about it when I woke up.

nosroPC (12:23:25 PM): people have called using their cell phones from within the rubble!

Therem (12:23:31 PM): REALLY?!

nosroPC (12:23:37 PM): the use of cell phones in this disaster has been amazing

nosroPC (12:24:33 PM): that is what I read… CNN or NY Times

Therem (12:45:57 PM): well, it’s been good and bad press for cell phones, I guess.

Therem (12:46:39 PM): good in that people were able to call from hijacked airplanes and give info to people. and they can call from rubble piles. but bad in that their network was incapable of handling the call volume.

nosroPC (12:49:26 PM): yeah. also the various online news organizations had that experience of massive overflow

Therem (12:50:37 PM): yeah.

Therem (12:51:25 PM): but they were quite resourceful, I thought.,, — all were able to juggle things around by mid-afternoon to make themselves available again.

nosroPC (12:52:57 PM): streamlined their pages to be able to serve more? not sure how they did it?

Therem (12:53:38 PM): I’m not sure. but I think what they did was create forwarders to send people to multiple mirrors of a streamlined home page.

Therem (12:54:18 PM): was using akamai, I noticed.

Therem (12:55:05 PM): it was showing up in the URL (which it normally doesn’t), indicating some fiddling with domain name forwarding.

nosroPC (12:56:56 PM): huh

Therem (1:00:42 PM): NY Times says today that no survivors are expected in the Pentagon crash.

Therem (1:01:33 PM): I had another creepy thought this morning: this whole thing could have been engineered by Israel.

Therem (1:02:20 PM): it occurred to me because I heard on NPR that Israelis were saying that these events could make others more sympathetic to their cause.

nosroPC (1:03:49 PM): it certainly seems like the attacks were meant to outrage rather than do infrastructure/industrial damage

Therem (1:04:45 PM): uh… the World Trade Center being demolished is quite a blow to the world of finance.

Therem (1:05:23 PM): as far as single targets go, it was an efficient way to cause havoc.

Therem (1:05:41 PM): the Pentagon is less practical, to my mind.

Therem (1:09:08 PM): ah. this is new:

Therem (1:09:21 PM):

“The indication that at least some of the pilots may not have been at the controls when the planes crashed led some terrorism experts to speculate that the hijackers had flight training. But two commercial pilots who train others said that turning a jet into a building would require some aviation skill, but not a great deal.

Therem (1:09:31 PM):

“You can just turn the yoke,” said one pilot, referring to the plane’s controls. “An airplane of this size doesn’t require the same coordination used for a light airplane. It’s not as though you have to have any particular knowledge of flight-control systems.”

Therem (1:10:03 PM):

“Aviation experts noted that the cockpits of the two Boeing aircraft, the 757 and the 767, are virtually the same. Some time in a flight simulator, or even with a computer software program, might have been training enough to accomplish the terrorists’ goal, they said.”

nosroPC (1:15:50 PM): huh. Scott said he has used various flight simulator and has tried to dive his plane into ground targets just for fun and it was really hard to hit accurately

Therem (1:18:52 PM): but 1. how big were the targets? and 2. what kind of plane was he flying?

Therem (1:19:37 PM): I think it’s important that the guy who was quoted made a distinction between this commercial plane and smaller aircraft.

nosroPC (1:21:03 PM): both he says. big planes are so slow to respond

nosroPC (1:21:11 PM): and it

nosroPC (1:21:24 PM): is really hard to line up on something coming in fast

Therem (1:22:08 PM): but come on — it’s certainly possible!

Therem (1:22:42 PM): all you have to do is log the hours with the simulator and hone your skills.

nosroPC (1:22:45 PM): with practice, I’m sure it is.

nosroPC (1:24:28 PM): I’m not very concerned with how easy or hard the whole thing was to orchestrate

nosroPC (1:24:53 PM): they did manage it

Therem (1:25:16 PM): I’m only concerned that the authorities won’t artificially limit their search because they won’t believe that certain people would be able to manage something like this.

nosroPC (1:25:42 PM): and no matter what we do, we are vulnerable. It reminds me of crime Bill. We could just stay at home, in our bunkers.

nosroPC (1:26:26 PM): that’s a good point

nosroPC (1:26:55 PM): I was encouraged by the TV reports. Authority figures seemed hesistant to jump to conclusions.

Therem (1:27:42 PM): some of them.

Therem (1:28:16 PM): I noticed that Madeline Albright was very clear that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions. as was that other guy, Panetta? can’t remember his name. former staffer for Clinton.

Therem (1:28:27 PM): you know, we were never safe. I was annoyed with an NPR commentator this morning when he said that “we were safe. and now we’re not safe.”

nosroPC (1:28:29 PM): yeah

nosroPC (1:28:41 PM): agreed

Therem (1:28:46 PM): it ties in with the whole “losing our innocence” thread.

Therem (1:29:04 PM): I was thinking that it would be more accurate to say that America has lost its IGNORANCE.

nosroPC (1:29:17 PM): just what I was about to say

Therem (1:29:39 PM): we are thinking alike.

Therem (1:30:57 PM): there has been so much bloodshed and horribleness in other parts of the world in the last decade — anyone who thought it couldn’t happen here wasn’t paying attention.

nosroPC (1:35:16 PM): How real do you think the threat is of biological or nuclear attacks?

nosroPC (1:35:24 PM): I wonder about that.

Therem (1:36:33 PM): I don’t know. I think both present difficulties that yesterday’s attacks did not.

Therem (1:37:10 PM): both require an extremely high level of know-how to manage.

Therem (1:37:40 PM): and a technological sophistication that can be hard to achieve.

nosroPC (1:39:09 PM): yes, as well as religious difficulties. I think people would recognise that weapons like that could lead to the death of the world population.
That kind of sacrfice seems a bit much

Therem (1:39:33 PM): no kidding.

Therem (1:43:00 PM): weird. the CTO of Akamai was on one of the hijacked planes.

Therem (2:04:41 PM): hm. this is interesting. the Boston Globe reports:

Therem (2:05:22 PM):

“Sources said that investigators had seized two pieces of luggage that had missed the flight because of a late connection from a US Airways flight from Portland, Maine.

One of the bags, a black suitcase bearing a tag with an Arabic name, contained instructional videotapes on techniques for flying large aircraft, a knife, some type of flight plan or log, a wheel-shaped calculation device used by pilots, and a copy of the Koran, the sources said.”

Therem (2:05:49 PM): how convenient is that?!

Therem (2:06:12 PM): the hijacker is carrying all the things that will give him away in his luggage?

Therem (2:06:40 PM): I have a hard time believing it.

Therem (2:28:40 PM): FBI
arrests suspects at Westin-Copley hotel

nosroPC (2:32:42 PM): hmm

Therem (2:50:05 PM): has some interesting content today. one
talks about flare-ups of religious intolerance and racism on the internet. they also mention other net-related news items. this seemed a propos to exchanges
we have had recently: “The ubiquitous pop-under ads for were replaced by a message that said ‘Sorry, no ads for now, tragedy in NYC.’ “

Therem (3:30:17 PM): chatting with Robin. at least one of the employees of her company died in the WTC disasters.

nosroPC (3:31:07 PM): πŸ™

Therem (3:52:33 PM): aren’t the Oxygen offices near the WTC?

nosroPC (3:53:13 PM): yes

nosroPC (3:53:40 PM): several people saw the towers go down, but nobody from Oxygen was hurt that I have heard

Therem (3:54:40 PM): good.

Therem (4:06:47 PM): two mosques in Texas have been attacked.

nosroPC (4:08:55 PM): figures it would be Texas. those rednecks

nosroPC (4:09:17 PM): …and where is the President from, again?

Therem (4:09:45 PM): hm… what are you implying?

nosroPC (4:10:20 PM): we’re gonna open a can of whup-ass on those camel jockeys!

nosroPC (4:10:37 PM): sorry a 55 gallon drum of whup ass

Therem (4:10:54 PM): LOL

Therem (4:16:25 PM): huh. remember that Harold was on a Midway airlines flight?

Therem (4:16:41 PM): from the wire:


nosroPC (4:16:53 PM): wow

nosroPC (4:17:06 PM): I know that stocks in airline companies plummetted

Therem (4:17:24 PM): I think the industry is going to have a very hard time recovering from this.

nosroPC (4:17:59 PM): I imagine flying will get more expensive for consumers ;(

nosroPC (4:18:05 PM): πŸ™


Therem (4:56:08 PM): I hadn’t heard this before:

“Dozens of United Nations employees evacuated the capital city of Kabul, Afghanistan, and the mothers of two jailed Americans also prepared to leave Wednesday. The U.N. sent emergency flights to transport all 80 of its employees to neighboring Pakistan. U.N. spokeswoman Marie Heuze in Geneva called the withdrawals precautionary, but declined to say whether the United Nations feared a possible reprisal in Afghanistan by the U.S. military.”

nosroPC (4:57:14 PM): yikes

Therem (4:58:01 PM): no kidding.

Therem (4:58:30 PM): I certainly wouldn’t be sad to see the Taliban go. but who else is going to be killed in the process? and who is going to take their place?

nosroPC (5:00:20 PM): I can hardly imagine worse

Therem (5:01:02 PM): there have been worse. the Khmer Rouge? the Nazis?

nosroPC (5:01:38 PM): you’re right. I hadn’t imagined them

Therem (5:01:43 PM): the Taliban are truly awful and oppressive. but they haven’t been able to commit the large-scale atrocities other regimes have.

Therem (5:02:02 PM): at least as far as we know.

Therem (5:12:40 PM): here’s an essay on the subject: Terrorists
are made, not born

Therem (5:21:50 PM): time to head home.

nosroPC (5:22:10 PM): ok

SEPTEMBER 13, 2001

Therem (10:40:48 AM): nix the enthusiasm for Australia:

Therem (10:40:57 AM):

“In Australia, a school bus carrying Muslim children was stoned and vandals tried to set fire to a Lebanese church in apparent acts of retaliation for the terrorist attacks in the United States, officials said. Queensland state Islamic Council Chairman Sultan Deen said stones and bottles damaged the bus Wednesday in Brisbane. Nobody was injured.”

Nosro (10:41:24 AM): ?! why are the Australians getting so worked up?

Therem (10:42:13 AM): I think it’s an outgrowth of their xenophobia and fear of immigrants.

Therem (10:45:27 AM): i.e. “Oh, great! A chance to thump those brown-skinned bastards!”

Nosro (10:45:29 AM): they do seem xenophobic

Nosro (10:45:49 AM): whatever happened to the barge of Afghan refugees?

Therem (10:45:52 AM): dunno.

Nosro (10:52:04 AM): Arab
Americans stress loyalty in face of backlash

Nosro (10:55:05 AM): They
can’t see why they are hated

This is also from the guardain about American’s not understanding why someone would attack them

Nosro (10:58:32 AM): it is ironic how the “enemies of the state” are often previously trained and supported by the state!

Therem (10:58:48 AM): I know. :-

Therem (11:10:02 AM): I agree totally with that second article.

Therem (11:16:14 AM): I didn’t feel any anger about the WTC and Pentagon crashes. I felt very sad. but now I am feeling angry toward the stupid barbarians
who are lashing out at random Muslims.

Nosro (11:17:25 AM): I felt angry at both

Therem (11:17:58 AM): interesting.

Therem (11:19:54 AM): in fact I was baffled at all the media focus on the supposedly inevitable anger.

Therem (11:20:57 AM): what good is anger?

Therem (11:21:53 AM): unless it can be used to actually solve a problem?

Therem (11:22:14 AM): I guess my reaction was more as if a natural disaster had occurred.

Nosro (11:23:14 AM): violence through proxies… like two people having a fistfight by battering one person between them

Therem (11:25:03 AM): hm. except that is too concrete an image. what causes events and reactions like this is the human tendency to falsely generalize and
treat abstract ideas as if they are real things.

Therem (11:26:23 AM): for example the media and political emphasis on how this was an “attack on America” and “we” will not allow “our way of life” to be

Therem (11:27:15 AM): suddenly the US, which to me seems pretty damn fractious and diverse, is reduced to a single outraged entity. absurd.

Therem (11:28:43 AM): if America is a single entity, then other abstract ideas must be too, thus the reaction against an entity called “Islam”.

Therem (11:30:11 AM): but what if the media had instead called it an “attack on the military-industrial complex of the United States”?

Therem (11:30:28 AM): or “attack on New York and Washington”?

Therem (11:31:48 AM): or even “a partially successful show of destructive force in response to American foreign policy”?

Nosro (11:32:16 AM): I would say the media has a motivation to exaggerate

Nosro (11:32:29 AM): to be more spectacular

Therem (11:33:10 AM): yes. but I think it is a tendency that the general population shares.


Therem (1:14:16 PM): unbelievable! from “The House of Representatives passed a resolution Thursday, calling on all Americans to fly the national flag.”

nosroPC (1:20:45 PM): what?! what kind of resolution is that?

nosroPC (1:20:55 PM): will it be against the law not to fly a flag?

Therem (1:22:11 PM): investigating… my hunch is that it is a meaningless gesture.

nosroPC (1:24:08 PM): sounds it. thanks for wasting time, guys

Therem (1:24:57 PM): I know.

Therem (1:25:17 PM): the response of Congress seems to be pretty damn stupid and knee-jerk so far.

Therem (1:26:08 PM): much is being made of how the Democrats and Republicans are undivided in their response. too bad that means that both parties are foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs.

Therem (1:26:40 PM):

“I say, bomb the hell out of them,” Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., said Wednesday. “If there’s collateral damage, so be it. They certainly found our civilians to be expendable.”

Therem (1:27:04 PM):

“There is no such thing as a measured response to this horrific attack,” said Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. “This act of war will be avenged.”

Therem (1:27:26 PM):

“Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, added that a war declaration would move the United States away from a criminal investigation footing with regard to the attacks to one geared more specifically to military action. “I believe that is the way the American people want to go,” he said.”

Therem (1:27:51 PM): all quoted from

nosroPC (1:28:04 PM): any words from our illustrious congressmen?

Therem (1:28:30 PM): I haven’t seen any yet.

Therem (1:30:25 PM): by the way, bin Laden has finally said something — he says he had nothing to do with the attacks. though he obviously approves of
them. he called them the retribution of Allah, or something to that effect.

nosroPC (1:33:26 PM): I just have no idea who it is… your Israel theory is interesting

Therem (1:41:33 PM): I didn’t know this:

“Despite the fact that they shelter bin Laden, just four months ago the Taliban received $43 million from the United States to reward it for condemning opium growing as anti-Islamic.”

nosroPC (1:43:28 PM): bizarre!

Therem (1:43:41 PM): yep.

nosroPC (1:43:45 PM): so many connections…

Therem (1:43:51 PM): indeed.

Therem (1:45:36 PM): full story is here.

Therem (1:53:21 PM): weird. Bill Clinton was in Australia on Tuesday.

Therem (1:59:50 PM): you know, I think it would be a good idea to call the offices of our representatives and ask them to be calm and constructive.

nosroPC (2:00:29 PM): hmmm, yeah or email?

Therem (2:00:44 PM): I don’t know which is most effective.


Therem (2:35:03 PM): Bernie on the terrorist attacks:

“While we grieve for the terrible loss of life that we suffered yesterday, and while we pledge to capture and punish the perpetrators of this despicable deed, we must be calm and focused and thinking long-term on how we defeat this terrible evil. We must also be thinking about how we can work better and more effectively with law-abiding people throughout the world to accomplish this goal, remembering that terrorism is an international plague.”

Therem (2:41:18 PM): I have more concerns about Leahy:

“We will not lose our commitment to the rule of law, no matter how much the provocation, because that rule of law has protected us throughout the centuries. It has created our democracy. It has made us what we are in history. We are a just and good nation. We will remain a just and good nation, but we are a nation capable of a terrible fury, and our enemies must know that. Madam President, our enemies will know that.”

Therem (2:42:29 PM): Jeffords’ site hasn’t been updated, so I don’t know what he’s saying.

nosroPC (2:44:43 PM): Madam President?

Therem (2:44:58 PM): I don’t know who that is referring to.

nosroPC (2:45:38 PM): bizarre political standing… can’t tell what Leahy is saying – we will or won

nosroPC (2:45:43 PM): ‘t uphold a rule of law

nosroPC (2:48:06 PM): aw hell. Israel is becoming more and more aggressive

nosroPC (2:48:51 PM): US will probably be totally hands off, now

Therem (2:51:18 PM): huh? what are you talking about?

Therem (2:52:29 PM): Leahy’s speech basically seemed over-emotional, like he was barely holding back the sort of hyper-rage that other senators were expressing.

nosroPC (2:53:39 PM): I just read about Israel attacking Jericho

nosroPC (2:53:49 PM): in the Guardian

Therem (2:53:55 PM): oh dear.

Therem (2:57:39 PM): reading story.

Therem (2:57:54 PM): they attacked Jenin as well. but hasn’t that been going on for weeks?

Therem (2:58:21 PM): what’s more disturbing is Ariel Sharon saying that “Arafat is our Bin Laden.”

Therem (2:58:37 PM): talk about exaggeration!

nosroPC (2:59:16 PM): maybe it has… I haven’t been aware of the details

nosroPC (2:59:36 PM): but I feel the American diplomatic view of the situation has probably changed

nosroPC (2:59:43 PM): brb bathrrom

Therem (3:01:46 PM): good peep. I fear this is going to turn into a latter-day Crusade.

Therem (3:03:48 PM): all the talk of people “praying” for loved ones. and the entire Congress singing “God Bless America” yesterday.

Therem (3:03:50 PM): yikes.

nosroPC (3:06:49 PM): isn’t that one of the ways that we put down terrorist cultures – they are “mindless religious fanatics”

Therem (3:07:10 PM): yep.

Therem (3:13:45 PM): did you see the Guardian story about the lack of evacuation procedures at the WTC?

Therem (3:14:21 PM):

“KD Srinivasan, a technician at Deutsche Bank asset management, had been allowed to enter his office in Canal Street at 9am on Tuesday, almost 15 minutes after the first explosion. Soon after taking his coat off, colleagues started talking about seeing bodies. ‘Then we heard the explosion and the building started to shake. I just didn’t want to stay there. Nobody told us to leave.’ “

nosroPC (3:15:34 PM): πŸ™

nosroPC (3:20:12 PM): There was a story of a police officer so confused he was hearding people toward instead of away from the explosion!

Therem (3:21:19 PM): πŸ™

Therem (3:21:33 PM): but they escaped?

Therem (3:21:59 PM): from the Guardian:

“Already US airports have announced that all knives, whether plastic or metal, will be banned from airport complexes. Cafes and restaurants have been asked to remove them from service.”

Therem (3:22:17 PM): PLASTIC knives?

Therem (3:22:32 PM): what about forks? they have those pointy tines.

Therem (3:22:53 PM): and I’m sure spoons have their deadly uses.

nosroPC (3:30:40 PM): how about pens?

Therem (3:31:06 PM): no mention of them so far.

Therem (3:40:07 PM): turns out those guys at the Westin Copley hotel have already been let go. apparently they had nothing to do with the hijackings.

Therem (3:49:49 PM): someone decided they were suspicious simply because they were Arabs and trying to rent a car.

nosroPC (3:52:38 PM): FBI is being heavy handed

nosroPC (3:55:25 PM): the pressure on this investigation must be enormous

Therem (3:55:55 PM): yes indeed.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2001

Therem (10:01:54 AM): what do you think about this letter?

Therem (10:02:04 AM):

Dear Senator Leahy:

I am writing to urge you to be calm, constructive and practical in the weeks that lie ahead. As I write this, Congress and the President are conferring about whether or not to declare war and what powers the President will be granted to pursue it. I am very concerned that, in the rush to do something, anything, to discharge the anger of United States citizens, our country will charge into an ill-defined conflict that will, like Viet Nam, result in years of atrocities and useless deaths, and in the end accomplish nothing.

Please, in the coming weeks, be moderate. I worry about a bipartisan “unity” that could prove, once and for all, how ugly Americans can be.

Thank you.

Nosro (10:09:05 AM): that’s very good!

Therem (10:09:39 AM): you don’t think the final bit is too inflammatory?

Nosro (10:11:11 AM): hmmm, I suppose you could finish the sentence differently. I think the point that this “bipartisan unity” is not politically important is
worth making.

Nosro (10:12:14 AM): not politically important to you as a voter, I mean

Therem (10:12:26 AM): right.

Nosro (10:12:56 AM): i think that would be really tempting for a representative… perception that it is good for the politicians to finally be working together.

Therem (10:13:17 AM): right.

Therem (10:20:01 AM): how about this:

“I worry about a bipartisan “unity” that gives free rein to thoughtless, vengeful thinking and allows our country to further blacken its name with the rest of the world.”

Nosro (10:20:20 AM): I have been surprised to discover which of my friends was most affected by this disaster

Therem (10:20:27 AM): oh?

Nosro (10:20:38 AM): Olivier just wrote me back. His company lost 350 people in the WTC!

Therem (10:20:45 AM): oh no!

Therem (10:22:06 AM): did he know any of them?

Nosro (10:23:17 AM): He didn’t say. Here is their company announcement:

Nosro (10:23:23 AM):

Nosro (10:25:35 AM): He wrote acrimoniously that most of the upper management escaped somehow, and the list of missing were mostly clerical office workers.

Therem (10:32:34 AM): ah. I think I’ve got it. how’s this:

“I worry about a bipartisan “unity” that could give free rein to thoughtless, vengeful action and divert our national attention from what is really important: rescuing, healing, and discovering the facts.”

Nosro (10:33:16 AM): that is constructive!

Therem (10:33:24 AM): I think I will send it now.

Nosro (10:33:46 AM): now what could I write? I could sign my name to yours as a kind of petition

Nosro (10:34:05 AM): could you put my name and phone number on there, too?

Therem (10:34:09 AM): ok.

Therem (10:34:20 AM): and replace I with we?

Nosro (10:34:43 AM): ok

Nosro (10:37:42 AM): thanks. I’m pleased to have my name attached to your good words

Therem (10:37:54 AM): πŸ™‚

Therem (10:38:42 AM): I will send one to Jeffords, too.

Nosro (10:39:14 AM): k

Therem (10:47:26 AM): messages sent.

Therem (11:02:12 AM): I just sent you a copy.

Therem (11:08:33 AM): scanning news items.

Therem (11:08:55 AM): this one is suspicious:

“The U.S. Coast Guard boarded a Carnival Cruise Line ship off the coast of Miami early Friday and detained two people who authorities determined have a ‘history of hijacking.’ “

Therem (11:09:25 AM): what the frell?! if they had a history of hijacking, and the Coast Guard knew where they were, why hadn’t they already been arrested?

Nosro (11:10:08 AM): maybe they had already done their time?+

Therem (11:10:19 AM): hm.

Therem (11:10:55 AM): possible, I suppose.

Therem (11:11:56 AM): CNN has changed their tagline from “Attack on America” to “America’s New War.”

Nosro (11:13:09 AM): I’ve got one! how about “America Uber Alles”

Therem (11:13:36 AM): seems appropriate.

Therem (11:15:19 AM): the Senate has overwhelmingly approved two resolutions:
1) a $40 billion bankroll for disaster relief and military action; 2) use of force.

Therem (11:15:38 AM): not one “Nay” vote for either.

Therem (11:15:58 AM): though some people appear to have abstained.

Therem (11:22:29 AM): I found a list
of tenants
of the WTC on

Therem (11:23:33 AM): Olivier’s company was the second biggest tenant of Tower 1.

Nosro (11:36:21 AM): wow! I skimmed the list of tenants but didn’t see them

Therem (11:38:57 AM): they are near the bottom: Marsh USA.

Therem (12:09:03 PM): my legs really hurt from yesterday.

Therem (12:16:51 PM): a thought-provoking essay by Phil Agre: Imagining
the Next War

Nosro (12:40:06 PM): this is an excellent essay!

Therem (12:40:19 PM): yes.

Nosro (12:40:24 PM): my thoughts about war and democracy are changing

Therem (12:40:30 PM): oh?

Nosro (12:43:10 PM): I hadn’t thought about the enlarged scope of the concept of war

Therem (12:43:43 PM): I had thought about it some, but not to the extent he has.

Therem (12:44:52 PM): I briefly considered putting into my letter to the senators something to the effect of “terrorism is an abstraction. we cannot fight a war against an abstraction. we’ve already seen this in our pointless ‘war against drugs’.”

Therem (12:45:21 PM): but I couldn’t formulate my thoughts well enough, so I left it out.

Nosro (12:48:35 PM): I feel the same way about much of this… my proto-ideas have been developed here

Nosro (12:50:34 PM): I like the description of Democratic vs Conservative philsophic tenets

Therem (12:50:59 PM): I have my reservations about those… seems like he is overgeneralizing.

Therem (12:54:07 PM): there are people who describe themselves as being conservatives who don’t fit the pattern he has described. he seems to be putting words into people’s mouths to a certain extent.

Nosro (12:54:22 PM): hmmm i haven’t finished it yet

Therem (12:54:33 PM): but I agree with much of what he says.

Therem (12:55:01 PM): I need to have some lunch. should I visit you?

Nosro (12:56:13 PM): sure! can you bring me some food?

Nosro (12:56:27 PM): I haven’t eaten, yet

Therem (12:56:33 PM): yes. I can make the usual trip to Fresh Market.

Nosro (12:56:41 PM): yum yum yum

Therem (12:57:09 PM): ok. see you soon.

Nosro (12:58:48 PM): k

Auto response from Therem (12:58:48 PM): I am consuming mass quantities. Leave a message and I will get back to you when I return.

Therem (2:42:40 PM): back.

Therem (2:49:54 PM): not sure what Olivier is saying either.

Therem (2:52:28 PM): he seems to be saying that possible “staging grounds” for a war, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, will be thrown into confusion as a result and become areas of opportunity for extremists like bin Laden?

Nosro (2:54:43 PM): here was the short first message Olivier sent… I forgot to attach it

Therem (2:54:52 PM): oh.

Nosro (2:54:58 PM):

I’m glad you’re all OK.

Now I understand why you like Vermont so much.

I hope this email will reach you. Our corporate mail system has not been

working well these da

Nosro (2:55:11 PM): that’s it.

Therem (2:55:15 PM): *laugh*

Therem (2:56:16 PM): there is truth to his comment about Vermont. it is reassuring to me to think that we are so small and out of the way that no one will care about bombing us.

Therem (2:56:37 PM): at least they are less likely to care about us.

Nosro (2:56:39 PM): and also we have distanced ourselves politically

Nosro (2:56:54 PM): although most wouldn’t notice that

Therem (2:57:13 PM): right.

Therem (2:59:16 PM): when I came back from lunch someone had affixed big plastic bows in American colors to the canopy over the front door.

Therem (3:04:17 PM): I envision an enormous marketing effort over the next few months.

Therem (3:04:42 PM): sellers of US flags must already be raking in huge amounts of cash.

Nosro (3:06:40 PM): good lord!

Nosro (3:06:59 PM): now for some entertaining diversion: visit the onion

Nosro (3:07:13 PM): I haven’t been there in ages and had some great laughs

Therem (3:07:26 PM): oh good. I need some laughs.

Therem (3:11:01 PM): heh heh. “Eldercare Residents Long For Agonizing ‘Funtime’ To End”

Therem (3:15:02 PM): hey, their “good citizenship tips” mention Vermont.

Nosro (3:17:36 PM): I’ll have to read that one

Therem (3:17:49 PM): “It’s been almost two years since the auto accident, but you know what? I don’t miss my arms at all!”

Nosro (3:19:58 PM): lol

About the author

Janice Dawley

Outdoorsy TV addict, artistic computer geek, loner who loves people.

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