Personal effects of September 11

Essay by BrthrbruceUniversity, Bachelor's January 2003

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"After September 11, we will never be the same."

This statement may prove impossible to evaluate in any pragmatic sense and should indeed elicit various contrasting responses from different people. Therein, I suppose, lies the point of this exercise and I have no doubt this quote will stimulate heated discussion for years to come. The answer, of course, is "true"; and the answer, of course, is "false". The effects of September 11 might be properly evaluated on a number of levels- physical, psychological, political.

The wake of 9/11 has seen the growth of new institutions such as Homeland Security and the modification of old ones (such as the FBI, CIA, customs & immigration, defense, airlines, etc...). These adaptations may be perceived as either entirely new in nature or simply the result of heightened evolutionary processes in American institutions. This, of course, is a question of perception.

Another question to be addressed in evaluating this statement deals with the American psyche.

Have the citizens of the United States undergone a psychological shift, whether subtle or profound, in coping with the events of September 11? Honestly, I can't point to any specific cognitive changes in American ideology. One could, I suppose, evaluate the emotional and psychological aftermath based on the reactions of the 'average citizen,' or perhaps based on accumulated results. My intuition tells me, however, that the emotional pulse of the U.S. remains similar to that of September 10.

When considering long-term changes in the United States, one might hypothesize that American politics and foreign policy will soon take a new turn. Evidence of governmental evolution is found in interventionist policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and possibly North Korea. Perhaps the US will move into a more multi-lateralist position (though that doesn't now seem to be the case). Whatever...