Saturday, September 09, 2006

Denial is comfortable, II

On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, the residents of Kitsap, Washington, will gather at their public library to avoid discussing 9/11. Library spokeswoman Audrey Newell explains "We’re not going to show footage of the attacks. We didn’t think that would really help anyone." So to help their residents cope with 9/11, the library decided on a series of performances centering on immigration. On why they chose that subject, Newell says "The last thing we need is something else to divide us We figure this is the best way to bring us together."

By contrast, the American public is not in denial: by 56%-33%, Americans think that the 9/11 attack is historically "more significant" than Pearl Harbor, according to a Quinnipiac poll. These results could be dismissed as evidence that (1) the American public has a short attention span, (2) Pearl Harbor was long ago, and (3) schools do a poor job of teaching history. But, as discussed by the Sanity Squad in a podcast, it may not be that simple. The Islamist's non-conventional style of warfare is a new an unfamiliar threat to which we still don't know how to respond. Further, it is hard to imagine a deadlier threat than the combination of (1) a large number of fanatics happy to die as long as they also kill as many innocents as possible, and (2) Iranian nuclear bombs

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