Off the bookshelf
If you want to know how the country dealt with the events of September 11th in the year that followed this is the definitive book on the topic. If follows dozens of individuals through that year from victims’ families, business owners both small(the owner of a shoe repair shop in NYC) to large (the owner of the twin towers), to those in affected industries (the manager of the Minneapolis airport) to those in government including John Ashcroft and Senator Charles Schumer. It covers both the positives and negatives of issues that arose whether it be how vicitms were being identified, to the changes in views on civil liberties, to victim compensation to insurance. (The question of whether or not the planes striking the World Trade Center was a “single occurrence” or two “events.” There was a $3.55 billion difference between those two concepts.) At a whopping 723 pages I finished this book in six days and highly recommend it to everyone.
Here’s just one small bit I though was worth sharing:
One of Ashcroft’s closest aids was asked by the author a few days later what protection any American had if someone like Padilla could be arrested on American soil and held secretly just on the government’s say so.
After first correcting his questioner for not using Padilla’s Muslim name, he answered, “Well, I guess his family could speak out if he’s missing, and if that creates a political furor, the Pesident would be accountable at the next election.”
Was that the only protection?
“That and the good faith of the people who hold these offices,” he replied.