Slate writers responded to the Sept. 11 attacks with discussions of everything from Islamic culture to civil liberties, from journalistic ethics to architecture and memory. Here are a few memorable pieces, from last fall’s immediate reactions to the year’s ongoing coverage.
Our editor, Jacob Weisberg, was in his Tribeca apartment, six blocks from the World Trade Center, when the planes hit. “I can hardly describe the shock of that sight, as if someone had blown a hole in the sky itself,” he wrote that day; the following morning he described returning to his devastated neighborhood. Meanwhile, Bryan Curtis and David Plotz reported on the mood in the capital. Firefighter Zac Unger sent us three dispatches (1, 2, and 3) on the search for survivors at Ground Zero. William Saletan assessed the risks of adjusting our foreign policy in response to the terrorists’ hatred, and Timothy Noah disputed labeling the terrorists “cowards.”
David Plotz analyzed theories of networks to understand why no one at Slateknew anyone killed in the World Trade Center. Anne Applebaum predicted (accurately) that the aftermath of Sept. 11 would give Russia increased diplomatic leverage. Jon Cohen explained why the anthrax vaccine isn’t available to the public. Michael Kinsley argued (here and here) that it’s important to define terrorism narrowly, and he encouraged us all to ignore our inner Ashcroft and continue to speak freely in wartime. Robert Wright explained why economic progress will eventually win out over religious intolerance.
Dahlia Lithwick reported extensively from the trials of John Walker Lindh and Zacarias Moussaoui (here and, in a multi-part piece, here). David Greenberg traced the history of Arab Anti-Semitism and of American military tribunals, while Scott Shuger parsed the ethical conflicts faced by journalists in war zones. Laurie Kerr explained how the World Trade Center’s architect, Minoru Yamasaki, was influenced by Islamic art. The architect of “Tribute in Light” argued that it’s too soon for a permanent World Trade Center memorial, and Christopher Hawthorne critiqued New York’s six proposals for the site.