Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

No 9/11 column here, but 2 questions: Where are the memorable 9/11 movies? And did we suffer a national panic?

I’m already sick of the 9/11 coverage and it isn’t even September 11th yet. This anniversary is worth noting, perhaps with a day of quiet reflection, if you like that sort of thing. Mainly I find myself thinking right now about friends and colleagues who aren’t with us anymore. I think of these people as ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

I'm already sick of the 9/11 coverage and it isn't even September 11th yet. This anniversary is worth noting, perhaps with a day of quiet reflection, if you like that sort of thing. Mainly I find myself thinking right now about friends and colleagues who aren't with us anymore. I think of these people as friendly ghosts. I don't mind having them around at all.

But just because 10 years have passed does not mean that the day is particularly newsworthy. I'm seeing a lot of dutiful reporters writing 9/11 stories because their editors expect it, not because something new happened to write about. (Here's FP's Joshua Keating with a good overview of the blathering. And here's FP's summary of the TV shows.)

Rebecca (of "War Dog of the Week" fame) asked me tother day if there is a list to be done of 9/11-related movies. The odd thing I really can't think of a good movie about 9/11 -- my measure being whether the movie sticks with me. Even the documentaries I watched, and there were several, struck me as weak.

I’m already sick of the 9/11 coverage and it isn’t even September 11th yet. This anniversary is worth noting, perhaps with a day of quiet reflection, if you like that sort of thing. Mainly I find myself thinking right now about friends and colleagues who aren’t with us anymore. I think of these people as friendly ghosts. I don’t mind having them around at all.

But just because 10 years have passed does not mean that the day is particularly newsworthy. I’m seeing a lot of dutiful reporters writing 9/11 stories because their editors expect it, not because something new happened to write about. (Here’s FP’s Joshua Keating with a good overview of the blathering. And here’s FP‘s summary of the TV shows.)

Rebecca (of "War Dog of the Week" fame) asked me tother day if there is a list to be done of 9/11-related movies. The odd thing I really can’t think of a good movie about 9/11 — my measure being whether the movie sticks with me. Even the documentaries I watched, and there were several, struck me as weak.

So where are the memorable 9/11 movies? Is it that not enough time has passed? I can remember back in the 1970s when people were asking the same about the Vietnam war movies, and then a bunch came along, including Apocalypse Now, which is great but flawed, like many of the most interesting works of art.  

The other question, politically more important, is whether we underwent a national panic after 9/11. I think we did. But it probably is too early to tell.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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