September 12, 2003
Who Defended the Country

From Christopher Lydon's blog, an interview with Elaine Scarry:

"One key fact, " she writes, "needs to be held on to and stated in a clear sentence: on September 11, the Pentagon could not defend the Pentagon, let alone the rest of the country." The passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, who stormed their hijackers and brought their plane down in a field in Pennsylvania, managed by contrast in only 23 minutes to "gather information, deliberate, vote and act"--knowingly, selflessly, in the public interest, after many loving farewells by cell phone. So Elaine Scarry's not entirely rhetorical question, late in the age of nuclear terror, is whether and how we might agree to "restore within our own country a democratic form of self-defense."

I'm not sure yet how I feel about this, in the middle of debates about repealing the laws on assault weapons and the like. It is, at least, an original perspective on national security and 9/11.

Posted by kevin slavin at September 12, 2003 02:06 AM
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