19th November 2010: New York Terrorist Attack (2001)

A Foreign Correspondent special broadcast by the ABC on 19th September 2001 about the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

Reporter Jennifer Byrne opens with a montage: missing people, ‘the hole’ of the WTC site, and 14 dead firemen from Lafayette Fire Station, amongst 300 missing. Newsday‘s Jimmy Bresline reflects on the plane collisions. Lieutenant Brian Smith: “These maniacs . . . these subhuman animals who would orchestrate this.” Breslin reflects on who to target for the attacks. Byrne: “battlefield New York . . . disaster zone.” Further shots of missing people and patriotic images. Sister Cindy Katherine: “Zealouts out there, that want to kill people.” Byrne notes the early estimates of 5,000 people dead. Breslin: “Working people.”

Mark Cochrane reports on Pakistan’s grasroots support for Bin Laden and the Taliban, and the military leadership of General Pervez Musharraf. The focus is already on madrassas as a recruiting ground. Ahmed Rashid speaks about the recruitment of Pakistan’s army officer corps into political Islam as a ‘way of war’, and the ISI’s early support of the Taliban. Discussion of Kashmir as a flashpoint between Pakistan Islamic fighters and Hindu Indian nationalists.

Akbar Ahmed interview via satellite with Jennifer Byrne: fears of war with Islam, founded on Samuel P. Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis. Discussion of Al Qaeda’ bombings of US embassies in Kenya and tanzania (1998), the USS Cole (2000), and September 11 now as an ideological battle.  Ahmed suggests Muslim leadership has failed to come to terms with midernity: some ‘terrorism’ is terrorism whilst other attacks are protests against socio-economic conditions in the Middle East. He suggests that socio-economic and political conditions are drivers of suicide bombings – not Islam. The short-term view of “unleashing the dogs of war” in retaliation and revenge must be counterbalanced by a more long-term view.