Five years after that dreadful day, we explored how it might be viewed in 25 years, how freedom can triumph in the Middle East and why many Americans don't think 9/11 was actually the work of terrorists. Readers argued over what's been done, what's left to do and what to believe from those in authority
Niall Ferguson's vision of 9/11 from the perspective of 25 years hence was fascinating [Sept. 11]. He was wise to note that elections are not a panacea for the problems of the Islamic world. Ferguson's vision of the U.S. restored to relevance by old-fashioned economic transformation was compelling. We face the challenge of combatting Islamic terrorism while creating a sustainable world economy. We must be able to meet current needs while preserving adequate resources and the environment for our grandchildren. Our economic goals may seem less urgent, but failing to meet them could be disastrous and create more problems than would losing the war on terrorism.
Chester, Virginia, U.S.
"No question, 9/11 was an act of war," said Ferguson. Actually, 9/11 was mass murder, and it should have been treated as mainly a challenge for the police and intelligence services. Interpreting the 9/11 attacks as an act of war demanding military reprisal has only helped up the ante of violence throughout the world.
The idea that the U.D. could help the development of democracy in Muslim countries by sending troops in, as it did in Iraq, sounds like a strategy Stalin would have used. But after World War II, it was the economic support provided by the U.S. through the Marshall Plan that saved countries like Italy from becoming communist states. Bolstering the economies of Muslim countries striving for democracy would have been a better response than exporting war.
Five years after 9/11, our nation ought to be as united as it was on that tragic day. We should have held on to the outpouring of global goodwill and support we received then. We should have remained laser-focused on rooting out and bringing to justice those responsible for the attacks. We should have remained committed to making our homeland more secure. After 9/11 our nation should have rededicated itself to the Constitution, the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights. Like most Americans, I remember 9/11 with sadness, a sadness that deepens when I think of what our country could have been five years after the day when we were all one.
Dorian de Wind
Austin, Texas, U.S.
"The nation that fell to earth" was helpfully provocative. Ferguson reminded us that geopolitical landscapes evolve through the interaction of many seemingly unrelated factors. Although it is impossible to predict the ultimate influence of 9/11 on the balance of international power, the article reminded us that, if the U.S. is to remain politically and economically strong, it must focus on more than fighting global terrorism. My only disappointment with Ferguson's article was in his dismissal of the problem of climate change. Global warming has the potential to reshape the geopolitical landscape and cannot be ignored.
Katherine Richardson Christensen