Newspapers are looking for dates they could use as pegs to do special stories. A decade after, 9/11 falls on a Sunday, making our job easier; we at TNS don’t have to look around for ideas. Here’s a week when half the work — looking for an idea — is done for us.
But wait a minute. Is this just a coincidence that benefits us as much as all Sunday papers all over the world? To say this would be an understatement of the decade.
9/11 is one single date that has surpassed all others in significance. Other than the birth and death anniversaries of people who mattered, history has remained focused on processes, be they wars or fall of the Berlin Wall. Never before has one incident or set of incidents in one day affected or changed the world like 9/11. The day and its aftermath have led to more deaths than the world wars put together. It has destroyed countries and reconstructed them. It has fuelled and drained economies. It has launched an unending war against an unnamed enemy. It has inspired books, it has generated films. It has made people poorer. It has enriched them too. It has orphaned and widowed people and snatched children from parents.
Close to home looks the strangest sight: mostly unsightly; the state with an ambiguous posture; the society bearing ambiguous effects.
Most of it, we admit, has been attempted. Actually done to death. A decade after 9/11 is the top story for newspapers and television the world over. So is it for us. Even if it seems that everything that had to be said has been said.
Whether the current crisis will lead to a restoration of a crude version of European (and Muslim) nationalism or will it lead to the possibility of an inclusive and just future, is a subjective question
By Ammar Ali Jan
The 9/11 tragedy marked the end of “The End of History” phase in world politics that had begun with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dismemberment of the Soviet Union. The post-Cold War era was welcomed by ideologues of the free market as a conflict free era where the antagonisms of the two hundred years of modernity had finally been overcome and where humanity had integrated into a homogeneous whole.
This brief interregnum was violently disrupted by the terrorist atrocities on 9/11. These attacks revealed that there existed increasing fault lines within the global order and the world had not been turned into a ‘post-conflict’ society. Ironically, it was the cynical calculations of supporting religious extremism, long flushed out from US public memory, that came back to haunt the only existing Super Power.
There was a long list of victims in the Third World as a result of the disastrous proxy wars during the Cold War. By supporting tyrannical regimes and violent non-state actors in the Muslim world, the US intervention aided in heightening the antagonisms that existed in these societies. Despite its tragic nature, 9/11 did throw up some important questions: Was it worth it to support dictatorial governments to satisfy geo-political interests? Was it justified to support extremist groups from around the Muslim World? Can the US critically reflect on its own role in exacerbating dangerous trends in the Muslim World and envision a different model of relations with peripheral regions?
Yet, this opportunity for self-reflexivity was lost in the rhetoric of machismo and mindless flag-waving. In the popular narrative emanating from government sources and the media, the US had been a victim because of its freedom i.e. it was simply an attack on the freedom of the US. This uncomplicated understanding of the event neatly fitted into George Bush’s declaration that One is ‘either with us or against us.’ Thus, there was no need for the US to reconsider any of its policies since it was precisely attacked for its greatness. The transformation had to be one way: Those who disagreed with the US had to change and become part of the uniformity whose contours were being laid out by the Emperor in Washington. Or else one had to prepare to face the wrath of the Empire!
Such a jingoistic environment facilitated the return of the civilizational discourse amongst public intellectuals in the US. The Muslim World was behind on the linear time-scale that defined the position of the civilization in the world order. In this narrative, the Muslim world, despite centuries of Western benevolence in the shape of colonial and neo-colonialism, had failed to catch up with the West. What was required was not a critique of the history of imperialism around the world, but the regret that the West was not imperialistic enough in forcing the Muslim World to change dramatically. Hence, the White Man’s Burden had to be revoked: Muslims were incapable of bringing or accepting democracy; they had to be bombed into submitting to freedom!
Thus, this new civilizational worldview replaced the paradigms of the Cold War in order to legitimise intervention in the name of the ‘War on Terror.’ Writing in the early twentieth century, British intellectual John Hobson analysed how British imperialism abroad was hindering democracy at home. He gave two broad reasons for his observations. One, he argued that interventions all around the world meant that the government had become hostage to ‘Area Experts’ (equivalent to think tanks and lobbyists in the modern US) who came to exert disproportionate influence on the federal government. Second, the jingoism necessarily arising from imperialism enabled the government to silence voices of dissent in the name of patriotism and national security. Thus, according to Hobson, the crimes committed by a country abroad must come to haunt the domestic population with increasing surveillance and disciplining mechanisms.
As the US went to war in Afghanistan, and later in Iraq on ludicrous grounds, there was a heightened sense of anxiety within the country. Laws such as the Patriot Act that gave monstrous control to the state to place all citizens under its watchful gaze burst the bubble out of the ‘Free World’ that was to be realised after the Cold War. Instances of racial profiling, embedded informants for surveillance and a host of other mechanisms were designed to keep an eye on ‘dangerous’ elements in society. Such mechanisms were not restricted to Muslims alone: In 2006, when there was squeeze in the job market, Mexican immigrants were blamed for putting the job market in crisis. The similar rhetoric of civilization and security was utilised to frame the ‘immigrant problem’ thus silencing those who had legitimate reasons to protest government discrimination.
Both across Europe and the US, a new discourse of assimilation gained popularity amongst right-wing nationalist groups. Muslim minorities were seen as an impurity in the national body and proposals were made to integrate them into ‘Europe’ or to take steps to permanently exclude them. Of course such a project also entailed shifting definitions of what was meant by Europe (we don’t cover our faces, we are not violent, we love freedom etc.)
Apart from the obvious hypocrisy of former colonial powers (who continue to support dictatorial regimes in the Muslim world) on moralising about their superiority, there was something essentially wrong with the ostensible benign demand for assimilation. This one-sided transformation necessarily means that one must accept the legal and political contours set by right-wing governments such as those of Bush, Sarkozy or Berlusconi. If a Muslim citizen is genuinely concerned about the criminal policies of such governments, and dares to express his opinion, s/he will be charged for having failed to integrate into the national project. What such an understanding ignores is that modern nation-states are by definition an arbitrary phenomena that constantly remain fractured and incomplete.
The extreme version of this discontent with difference and this drive for homogeneity is the European idea of fascism which was the systematic attempt of obliterating all differences to create a pure citizenry. Yet, the increasing anxieties of the ‘immigrant problem’ in the US and Europe has seen us return to a discourse of civilization and national purity. It is not surprising then that in recent years we have seen a constant rise in right-wing nationalism in the Western world.
Yet, there are some spaces of hope. Coalitions have sprung up throughout the Western world to fight for civil liberties and to build bridges amongst marginalised sections. Muslims, particularly the youth, have taken part in this process as issues of racism against Muslims have built solidarity with Mexican immigrants or labour unions.
With the financial crisis affecting millions of lives around the planet, unemployment has replaced the ‘war on terror’ as the number one issue for President Obama, an issue that could see him lose his position of power. Externally, the Arab Spring has demonstrated that Muslims are capable of fighting for greater freedom at a time of immense pessimism amongst citizens in the Western world against their own governments. In the process, the Arab Spring has managed to embarrass many Westerners who see their own governments on the wrong side of every conflict between tyranny and freedom currently taking place in the Arab world!
Yet, crises do not necessarily produce progressive politics. Indeed, fascism was made possible by a severe economic downturn in the 1920s and 1930s. Whether the current crisis will lead to a restoration of a crude version of European (and Muslim) nationalism or will it lead to the possibility of an inclusive and just future, is a subjective question that will be decided through the struggle of competing interest groups. It is the resolution of this question that will decide when we move beyond the post 9/11 moment.
It has not been a war against any country; it is not even a war against an ideology. It has been classified as a war against terror
By Sarwat Ali
The end of the Cold War saw drastic changes in the international scenario. The Washington Consensus ushered in a new period of international economic configuration which superseded the previous Bretton Woods Agreement that was indemnified by the compulsions of the Cold War and the division of the world into two definite camps.
Though there had been talks and speculation about other centres of power emerging and the focus on the intellectual level at least was of shifting to a multipolar world with the European Union and China being cited as the two other centres of power to equalize the dominant influence of the United States and Soviet Union, a decisive break with the system put in place after the World War two only came with the demise of the Soviet Union. The geographical and political map of the world changed as indeed did the balance of power. Actually, in the conventional sense, there was no balance of power. A vacuum was redefined as an asymmetrical balance of power where one dominant superpower was pitched against many regions and countries not strong enough to take on the challenge upfront.
But the first major fracture in the system had actually appeared in Iran. Analysts wondered over the nature of change there, recalling the similarities with the French Revolution in terms of it being indigenous and sustaining itself on its own spontaneity but the similarities stopped there. Was it really the middle classes that were taking over the power; if so it needed to be defined in more accurate terms? Or was it something else that defied a standardised analysis? From its liberal middle class face the power slipped to the most organised and perhaps the more powerful faction in the struggle, the Iranian clergy.
It was the height of the Soviet power. With the feather of Vietnam in its cap, a defensive and apologetic United States it drove with great impunity into Afghanistan and had to withdraw without achieving its objectives after about ten years of stalemate. The first manifestation of the new reality was the war in the Balkans .The ethnic and religious divisions which had been glossed over by the compulsions of the ideological divide of the Cold War started to unhinge. The Balkans again needed a change of its geographical frontiers in accordance with its ethnic and religious complexities. NATO, an alliance meant specifically for Communist states especially the Warsaw Pact, redefined its role and made intervention in the Balkans. So decisive and overwhelming was the presence both in military terms and in times of peacemaking that the situation stabilised at least on the surface.
But the second area of trouble was Afghanistan where the battle against the Soviet Empire had been fought. It also simmered, enmeshing itself in a civil war with a very shaky government in Kabul which facilitated the entry of al-Qaeda into the country and it became a centre or a power base for the new kind of asymmetrical military power arrangement that the world was to experience for the next decade.
And the instability was perceived as a threat especially after 9/11 and Afghanistan was attacked by an alliance of forces led by the United States under the cover of a Security Council Resolution.
It has not been a war against any country; it is not even a war against an ideology, if an ideology is not about dismantling a system rather than building an alternative one. It has been classified as a war against terror. In contrast to the well laid down ideological structures that had framed the rules of engagement after World War it has been a ragtag negative ideological mix that was being touted as an ideology. The war on terror had no geographical boundaries but has escaped the boundaries and can be anywhere it was dislocated from its geographical fixity to become amorphous. The battleground has been anywhere and everywhere even in the countries that are waging wars against terror. It has been difficult to pinpoint the enemy — it could be wherever, faceless and nameless. The only definition culled has been force being used to destabilise the system, or that the old guerrilla tactics being used to subvert the order.
Apparently, there were no nation states that were takers of this war on terror; some countries are suspected of doing so but they have denounced it on public platforms. Iraq never publicly supported the war on terror neither has Iran though both became the targets as have some other countries from the previous order like Libya and Syria.
And it was left to the non-state actors to get into the mould of guerrilla warfare and unleash its impact through acts of terror. These were working against the hegemony of the international system and also against the elite of the nation states that were part of that system. These states too may have adopted a more duplicitous relationship with this organisation — supporting them at one level while also using force to get rid of them. Or supporting them to facilitate the acts of terror outside its geographical frontiers.
These non-state actors are everywhere. They are in Afghanistan, they could be in Saudi Arabia, they could pop up anywhere from the United States to France, England to Russia, Indonesia to China.
But they still needed a physical location — their warfare had not become totally virtual and as the space narrowed on them it became clear that the strip between Afghanistan and Pakistan was the area that they were physically housed in and operated their facilities from. If these are attacked and dismantled as it moved from Afghanistan into Pakistan it could move to another physical location.
It was not clear whether they operated independently of the state or had some links with them that changed with the dynamics of the situation. It is not clear whether the state is intimidated by them or that the state exploits this situation for its own advantage. The movement is transnational, it recognises no frontiers and has hitched itself on an ideology that too is transnational and works against the living organism of the nation state. The twitter, the internet and the mobile are only devices that fortify this translational outreach.
Pakistani society has been living under fear ever since, changing its social and cultural outlook
By Mazhar Khan Jadoon
It was an October evening in 2010, around 8pm, when we drove into Peshawar from Lahore. It was Thursday. The GT Road that snakes through the city and ends up as Jamrud Road at Hayatabad was deserted with eerie stillness all around. This road is normally choked with all kinds of traffic and buzzes with people all the time busy doing businesses and carrying out daily chores.
I asked the friend who lives in Peshawar and was accompanying me: where have all the people gone? Why is there so much silence, such darkness? A few people seen walking along the road looked scared and in unexplained hurry. Something was terribly wrong as we drove through ‘the ghost town’. “It is Thursday today,” my friend, who was driving the car, murmured softly as if trying to keep the silence around intact. “Yes it is Thursday,” I retorted angrily as it made no sense to me. My friend clarified and explained, “Tomorrow is Friday and something bad will happen in the city. As happens routinely, there will be a blast somewhere — in a market, school, mosque or some official building. Suicide bombers prefer Friday for their missions as they think Fridays are auspicious days to kill and die.”
Next morning the scared and adamant Peshawarites are waiting for the moment to happen. Hospitals and medical staff are on standby and ambulances are revving up. DSNG (Digital System of News Gathering) vehicles with all the news crew are ready to cover the event live. Police personnel are gearing up to meet the eventuality. The whole city is bracing for the inevitable to happen.
Boom! Our Friday fear came true. I almost dropped my cup of tea as the windows of the room I was staying in were shattered by the shockwave of a suicide bombing nearby. Then follows what has become a routine for people — blood, bodies, ambulances and rescue operation with political rhetoric and official condolences. Our TV channels make sure that every single gory detail is beamed to the desensitised audience that has somehow developed a taste for all the real drama. It was unlike Peshawar — hostility had taken over hospitality. Strangers are no more welcome as respectable guests; rather they are looked upon as potential terrorists ready to explode themselves.
The war on terror and the reactionary bombing have changed the entire social and cultural outlook of Peshawar. The ultraconservative society has further recoiled into a state of social isolation just to survive. People no more take their kids along for Friday prayers — a voluntary reversal of old traditions. Wedding gatherings are confined to indoors, while in some parts of the country where Taliban hold sway fun celebrations are replaced with religious rituals. The culture of cinema and theatre has changed and artists and musicians are forced to change their professions as they keep facing threats by the moral vigilantes. The only place in Peshawar where you could have full view of a woman was the billboards atop cinemas along the GT Road, but these images have also been ‘Islamised’ to avoid the wrath of those averse to music and films.
This phenomenon is not Peshawar-specific — almost all major cities in the country have gone through a decade of social changes prompted by sheer fear. 9/11 has not only reshaped the world, it has also changed philosophies and poisoned mindsets around the world. Perhaps no one living in major cities would have missed the bang of a bomb or scenes of devastation caused by these bombs. Those missing the chance would have their share of gory visuals with natural sound from our hyperactive TV channels whose camera crews bend over backwards to cover it live.
America’s display of ‘shock and awe’ may have secured its citizens, but it has played havoc with Pakistan, changing the entire social fabric of the society. The war on terror and the consequent spree of suicide bombings have changed the way people live and think. The war has created different social phobias stealing the joy out of social gatherings and meetings. These phobias affect many people who tend to get very anxious in crowds as they start imagining ghosts of suicide bombers lurking behind.
Another casualty of the post-9/11 world is the right to free movement due to mushrooming growth of barricades of concrete blocs and barbed wires on every road and street of Lahore — and it has become part of our life though it instills fear rather than security.
Peshawar and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are no exceptions where one stumbles on every step over security checkposts manned by ready-to fire security personnel. Open places are shrinking while walls are growing taller and thicker. The growing number of concrete walls also symbolize the divide the society is beginning to see — a divide between the extreme forces of liberalism and religious fundamentalism. The new ideologies (extreme left and extreme right) have pitted Qadris and Taseers of this land against each other and rest of the population has started aligning itself with these two extremes. Again the victims are those toeing the middle path, the moderates, who are caught between the crossfire. They are forced to be ‘with us or with them’.
The post-9/11 destruction has come at a heavy price. “The cost of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan are estimated at 225,000 lives and up to $4trillion in US spending,” estimate scholars with the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies in a new report. The group’s “Costs of War” project has released new figures for a range of human and economic costs associated with the US military response to the 9/11 attacks. The Brown project says the wars have created more than 7.8 million refugees among Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis.
America has chased out al-Qaeda and its Taliban protectors into Pakistan, creating a new danger for the Pakistani society being taken over by militants. A decade after September 11, 2001, skepticism about the events of that day still persists among Muslim publics. In all of the Muslim countries polled recently by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, majorities still refuse to believe that the perpetrators of September 11 were Muslims. Pew finds that the Muslim world and the West still see the other as fanatical and violent. In Pakistan attitudes have moved to the extreme level — the percentage of Pakistani Muslims saying that Westerners are greedy, immoral, selfish and fanatical has increased by double-digits over the last five years.
“Among most of the Muslim publics polled, Muslims tend to identify with their religion, rather than their nationality. This is particularly true in Pakistan, where 94 per cent people think of themselves primarily as Muslim instead of Pakistani,” the finding says.
A rethinking of the Pakistani state and what constitutes it may help us in the next ten years
By Farah Zia
Prior to the infamous warning regarding being bombed back into stone-age, Pakistani state was thick with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and was in fact one of the three countries to have recognised it. The much-discussed Musharraf’s U-turn or volte face was an existential response. Or at least this was how he sold it to his cabinet colleagues who accepted his reasoning a little half-heartedly and to the military top brass or the corps commanders who did not at all take it too kindly.
The military leadership feared what would happen to the ‘strategic depth’ doctrine it had been pursuing against India by supporting the Pashtun Taliban regime. This was a key pillar of the state, a cornerstone of its foreign policy.
So what exactly was it that the then president Musharraf was made to consent to. These were the same demands that were earlier given to General Mahmood Ahmed, the chief of ISI, who happened to be in Washington on September 11, 2001. The pro-Taliban General had readily accepted them, apparently, without even consulting the president. “I know the president’s mind,” he is reported to have said.
They were seven points in all: stop al-Qaeda operations on the Pakistani border, intercept arms shipments through Pakistan and all logistical support for bin Laden; blanket over-flight and landing rights for US planes; access to Pakistan’s naval bases, air bases and borders; immediate intelligence and immigration information; curb all domestic expression of support for terrorism against the United States, its friends and allies; cut off fuel supply to the Taliban and stop Pakistani volunteers going into Afghanistan to join the Taliban; Pakistan to break diplomatic relations with the Taliban and assist the US in destroying bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.
Conceding to these demands was an admission the Pakistani state was indeed involved in acts that made the world unsafe. What was internally seen and criticised as Musharraf’s turnaround was later perceived as double-game by the outsiders; the events that followed only proved the outsiders right.
In these ten years, Pakistan as the perpetrator of terrorism or a victim is what the discussion has focused on, as the cities and markets and security targets have been bombed into rubbles full of dead bodies, instilling a sense of fear that pale the 9/11 attacks in comparison. What is missing from the discussion is the fact that the war on terror the Pakistani state was a part of, willing or unwilling, came at the cost of democracy in this country. It gave the dictator a new lease of life and the double game that he was accused of was equally played for his political survival. Hence the coming together of MMA (the alliance of religious right wing groups) as a winning electoral arrangement in the provinces bordering Afghanistan was not a coincidence.
MMA, pitched as a bulwark against the PPP and the PML-N, was crucial in indemnifying Musharraf’s coup — reminding of another war and another religious group coming to the aid of another dictator in a not too distant past.
As Hasan Askari Rizvi writes in a recent article, the Islamists in the shape of MMA “were allowed to propogate Islamic-Jihadist perspective and pursue accommodating disposition towards the Taliban”.
The ten years have been tumultuous for this country but the way it is still looked at by the outside world — “so fearful of India, distrustful of America and protective of its traditional influence over Afghanistan as a counterweight to Indian power” — it doesn’t appear the ideological moorings of the state have shaken one bit. Here is a state that is prone to conspiracy theories; where majority believes September 11 was an insider’s work and America “is in cahoots with India and Israel to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the Muslim world”.
An analysis affirmed by Ahmed Rashid in an article he wrote for the New Republic, “The wave of intolerance sweeping the country is also due substantially to the conspiracy theories put about by the ruling establishment and their allies in the media.”
The fact of the matter is that the world’s most wanted terrorists have all been found and captured from the cities in Pakistan including the man who ordered the 9/11 attacks from right under the military’s nose. Interestingly, the state response was less about why or how was Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and more about the violation of its territorial sovereignty. What is more, all global terrorist plots in these ten years have involved people that had some connection with Pakistan.
There is a sense that the Pakistani state has not stopped sponsoring militant groups even after 9/11 to pursue its foreign policy aims in Afghanistan and Kashmir. There is also a sense that despite the tactical alliance between the CIA and ISI, the larger goals of the Pakistani state remain the same. There is no genuine effort to bring about a change in the education system that breeds intolerance and extremism. Beyond the material and human losses, it is this brutalisation of society that the state must be warned against.
9/11 may not have been a direct consequence of the doings of Pakistani state but it did play a part. The consequences of 9/11 for Pakistan have been far worse. A rethinking of the Pakistani state and what constitutes it may help us in the next ten years.
9/11 Hollywood has finally pushed the point of view out of the window and has wholeheartedly kept elusiveness close to its chest
By Ali Sultan
Thousands and thousands of men, dirty, wearing colourful tunics and headbands, their faces brown and filled up with beards, look across the screen towards Damascus. There is a moment of silence and tremendous tension. Then there is close-up, to white skin and white tunic, also dirty, and the bluest of blue eyes as Peter O Toole playing Lawrence of Arabia quivers between ecstasy and about a hundred unreadable expressions in a few seconds and shouts “No prisoners! Take no prisoners!” as he leads an army of Arabs to conquer the city of Damascus.
This almost sacrilegious scene and indeed all of Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is one of the most classic propagandist takes in British-American cinema. The post-colonist glory of the white man rescuing the uncivilized nation out of damnation is so ever-popular that its last incarnation was the record breaking hit Avatar in 2009.
Propaganda truly hit its stride in 1935 when the German director Leni Riefenstahl made Triumph of the Will which not only contained moving cameras, the use of long focus lenses to create a distorted perspective, aerial photography, and revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography but also portions of speeches by Hitler which cemented his role as Germany’s true leader. And we all know what happened after that.
Propaganda and films, however, have had a very mysterious relationship. The most successful ones have been subtle and till the Vietnam War even had an opposing point of view. We see a significant change in how propaganda manifested itself in Hollywood films after Vietnam; it became elusive. The two most important examples to the subject of elusiveness spring out as The Deer Hunter (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979). Both are problematic, both deal with the Vietnam War, both are highly acclaimed (and there is, no doubt, much to that statement) but the problem is that neither of them show if there’s any other point of view other than the protagonist’s (read American). And even while both of them tackled some very difficult areas such as the morality of war itself, the enemy, the victim of the war had totally disappeared from the screen. This shift seems so extreme that a Vietnamese voice only came into being in 1993, when Oliver Stone released Heaven & Earth; 38 years after the war had ended.
The sword-and-sandal epic 300 (1998), where 300 “civilised” Spartans fight a full-flung army of “monstrous, barbaric, and demonic” Persians seems in retrospect to be the perfect predecessor to how propaganda would play out in the movies after the twin towers fell come 9/11.
And here is the major difference between today’s uncivilised demon terrorist and the Hollywood canon after the Second World War. Take any of them, The Great Escape, The Bridge on River Kwai, Khartoum, The Desert Fox and even Lawrence of Arabia all of them populated by three-dimensional Germans, Japanese and Arabs, evil yes but with a point of view, a window into understanding what a certain conflict was about, and the understanding that the screenwriter, the director and the actors did make an effort of some sort to understand the enemy.
Surprisingly there are about 5 or 6 movies including Fahrenheit 9/11 that directly refer to the event specifically but over ten years there have been dozens of films and documentaries which deal with the aftermath, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and terrorism. In films like Black Hawk Down (2001) and Body of Lies (2008), American troops and spies stand courageous and glorified while the enemies are either senselessly violent Somalians or shady Arabs who are only shown whispering either in shadows or mercilessly taking the hero’s nail out.
The critically acclaimed and Oscar winner The Hurt Locker (2009) was applauded in the American press, one critic even calling it as “the best American feature film yet made about the war in Iraq.” What, however, anyone failed to mention was that The Hurt Locker might have been an intense action movie, but it didn’t say much about the Iraq War itself except the fact that a squad of three American bomb detonators saved an Iraqi child.
Even the documentary Restrepo (2010) which follows an American platoon in Afghanistan, shows a very intimate picture of men of war, but almost nothing of the people they are invading.
9/11 Hollywood finally seemed to have pushed the point of view out of the window and has wholeheartedly kept elusiveness close to its chest.