discarded lies: friday, february 23, 2018 3:59 pm zst
We can always panic tomorrow.
daily archive: 09/11/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Spiegelman's 9/11
NY Times book review of Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers

''Like some farmer being paid to not grow wheat, I reaped the greater rewards that came from letting my aptitude for combining the two disciplines'' of drawing and writing ''lie fallow,'' Spiegelman recalls in his introduction to the product of his renewed tillage, ''In the Shadow of No Towers.'' It is an odd, thin but robust hybrid of a book -- an intimate memoir of the attacks on the World Trade Center, which Spiegelman witnessed from close range, a rant on their effects on the world at large and within the author, and a monograph on the Sunday newspaper comic strips of the early 20th century, all within 42 oversized pages.

Shaken out of his complacency by Sept. 11, Spiegelman ''made a vow that morning to return to making comix,'' he writes. What he did is something of a return, but also a fresh start in another direction. ''In the Shadow of No Towers'' is a vigorously unorthodox work probably designed to avoid the comparisons with its celebrated predecessor that will hereby ensue.

Subtitled ''A Survivor's Tale,'' Spiegelman's ''Maus'' was for the most part not its author's story but his father's -- an oral-history narrative of how Vladek Spiegelman, a Polish Jew, endured the Holocaust. (This, interspersed with often comical scenes of Art Spiegelman's latter-day efforts to extract memories from his irascible, aged source.) Although Spiegelman rendered the book in the same kind of scratchy, black-ink sketches he had been using in his anarchic underground comix, ''Maus'' is a relatively straightforward work of dramatic nonfiction. He had recorded his father's recollections on cassette tape and altered little except the characters' species. (Jews became mice, Germans cats.)

If Spiegelman was waiting for another monumental historic subject to come along during that decade of exile from comics, he found it three years ago. Spiegelman clearly sees Sept. 11 as his Holocaust (or the nearest thing his generation will have to personal experience with anything remotely correlative), and ''In the Shadow of No Towers'' makes explicit parallels between the events without diminishing the incomparable evil of the death camps. In a set of panels depicting the author in his cartoon-mouse incarnation from ''Maus,'' he recalls: ''I remember my father trying to describe what the smoke in Auschwitz smelled like. The closest he got was to tell me it was . . . 'indescribable.' That's exactly what the air in Lower Manhattan smelled like after Sept. 11.'' Elsewhere in the book, Spiegelman reflects upon how, in the days after the collapse of the twin towers, he began to grow attached to the neighborhood from which he, as a ''rootless cosmopolitan,'' had always felt detached: ''I finally understand why some Jews didn't leave Berlin right after Kristallnacht!'' He shows himself sometimes in conventional caricature (a few wavy brush strokes for what's left of his hair, some dots for his perennial 5 o'clock shadow), at other times as his anthropomorphized ''Maus'' self, and once morphing from human form to mouse, as if to illustrate how the events in this book -- the devastation of Sept. 11 and the Bush administration's exploitation of it -- keep bringing back thoughts of his father's Holocaust experience.

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P.S. I haven't read this book yet. The sentence above, "the devastation of Sept. 11 and the Bush administration's exploitation of it," strikes me as dishonest and naive at best. But I've read "Maus". If you haven't read it, you really should.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
From WSJ, Putin's Terrorism Posturing

Following the terrorist atrocity in Beslan, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated past declarations that Russia is onside with the U.S. in fighting the same "war on terror." But looking at Russian policy, we're not sure the man in the Kremlin has it quite right.

The war on terror involves both targeting the terrorists and the regimes that sponsor them. Two "rogue states" are the Baathist dictatorship in Syria and the theocracy in Iran, both of which hold top spots on the U.S. State Department's annual list of sponsors of terrorism. But Russia enjoys friendly and profitable relations with both.

Iran's mullahs have long been financing and arming terrorist groups worldwide. After the fall of the Taliban, many al Qaeda leaders fled to Iran, which claimed to have "detained" them. Detention has involved allowing them to operate freely in the county and refusing to give U.S. intelligence access to them.

Of even greater concern is Tehran's nuclear weapons program. Despite Western protests, Russia has been one of the major suppliers of nuclear know-how and technology to Iran. The theocracy's regular violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should have long ago been referred to the U.N. Security Council for action, but Moscow continues to be a major obstacle.

Russia also has close ties with terrorist-sponsoring Syria. Damascus hosts the "information centers" of Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and some of the world's other most notorious terrorist groups. In addition Syria provides them with training facilities. Syria is believed to be actively pursuing its own chemical and biological weapons program.

The Baathist dictatorship gives Hezbollah free rein in southern Lebanon -- a once free and democratic country that Syria has occupied and de-facto ruled for the past 28 years. Hezbollah -- founded, and still financed, by Iran -- is the terrorist group that introduced suicide bombing into the Islamist arsenal: In the 1980s it used suicide bombers to kill 251 U.S. marines and 62 French paratroopers in Lebanon. With Syria's blessing, Hezbollah uses Lebanon as a base for its world-wide terrorist activities and weapons smuggling.

Despite his post September 11, 2001 declaration that he was with the U.S. in the fight against global terrorism, Mr. Putin opposed removing Saddam and continued the Soviet-era support for Iran and Syria. Perhaps he felt they were too important economically and geo-politically to Russia to antagonize. Or he was simply pretending to be onside to gain international support for his policies in Chechnya.

(Hat tip: Jim Russell)

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
So this is how it works...
"At present we must endure the familiar slow dance of warnings, denials, speculations, denials, revelations, denials, etc., etc., until the inevitable day when headlines announce the new member of the nuclear club.

The key is how quickly Iran can acquire or produce the highly enriched fuel necessary to produce effective nuclear weapons. It is buying nuclear power plant fuel (enriched 3 to 5 percent with uranium-235) from Russia, but acquiring weapons grade uranium (enriched 20 to 90 percent) is a little more difficult.

But Iran is also working and spending prodigiously to produce enriched uranium on its own. This enrichment program centers on how quickly Iran can build the tens of thousands of centrifuges necessary to separate the rare U-235 isotope from uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6). These centrifuges are costly, complex, precision-made devices incorporating exotic materials such as super strong maraging steel. It takes years to build them in sufficient numbers, test them adequately and marshal them into the precisely plumbed formations (called cascades) that can safely and efficiently produce significant amounts of enriched uranium."

Centrifugal Force

(Hat tip: Jim Russell)
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Twisted Logic
Arabs: Terror War Has Spread Instability

From Egypt to Yemen, Arabs said the world had become less safe during the three years since 19 militants from the Middle East hijacked four passenger planes in the United States and used them to kill more than 2,900 people.

"Sept. 11 was a tragic day in our history because so many innocent people were killed at the hands of militants, who find a fertile ground in our region in view of the biased U.S. policies toward Israel and against Arab causes," said 34-year-old banker Mahmoud Obeid in the Jordanian capital, Amman.


The third anniversary of the attacks was welcomed by some, particularly contributors to militant Islamic Web sites.

"I thank God that He made us see such a day," said one online contributor who identified herself only as Umm Rafida. "Whenever I look to the picture of the tower while its collapsing, tears well in my eyes and I thank God."


In Amman, Jordan, supermarket owner Hamzeh Ghazawi, 26, said the anniversary for him only marks the start of a more dangerous world.

"On this day every year, I remember the beginning of the chaos, the fear and the insecurity which the United States has brought upon the whole world," he said.

Editor's note:

Militant: A fighting, warring, or aggressive person or party.

Murderer: One who kills brutally or inhumanly. The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.

Please make appropriate substitutions in this article.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Falling Man
A continuation of Leftwatch's post, Never Forget

"In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity's divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did—who jumped—appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contrast, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun. Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else—something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man's posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears."

The Falling Man
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Word on the street
This article appeared on Newsweek shortly after 9/11/01.

This week, I went to Brooklyn in search of an “urban myth? about the World Trade Center assault. Was word of the attack on the street before Sept. 11? What I found out was chilling—this story is no myth. A Chilling Tale

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