Saturday, September 09, 2006

Revisiting 9/11 with Fr. Schall, SJ

As usual, Fr. James V. Schall, SJ, has written a powerful and meaty essay, this one on 9/11 and how things look five years after that unforgettable day: "9/11 Revisited."

The fifth anniversary of the wanton destruction of the World Trade Center Towers is upon us. We ask ourselves: "Were the three thousand people killed somehow 'legitimate' targets?" and, "What was this attack about?" On the accuracy and clarity of our responses everything depends, including the purpose of reason itself. Yet, we are perplexed by the myriad of conflicting and contradictory explanations for the central cause of this day, now called, without further reference, "9/11."

The best anyone can do in these circumstances, it seems, is to provide a solid and well-considered opinion. This is what I shall try to do here. An "opinion" is an informed judgment based on suitable and available evidence concerning possible actions or explanations. The opinion on which one acts could be wrong, but we always act with some lack of clarity. We are irresponsible in many crucial instances, moreover, if we do not seek to find a plausible and accurate opinion about human events, about what they mean.

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