Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
9/11 and the War on Terror

9/11 and the War on Terror

David Holloway
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 208
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    9/11 and the War on Terror
    Book Description:

    This interdisciplinary study of how 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’ were represented during the Bush era, shows how culture often functioned as a vital resource, for citizens attempting to make sense of momentous historical events that frequently seemed beyond their influence or control. Illustrated throughout, the book discusses representation of 9/11 and the war on terror in Hollywood film, the 9/11 novel, mass media, visual art and photography, political discourse, and revisionist historical accounts of American ‘empire,’ between the September 11 attacks and the Congressional midterm elections in 2006. As well as prompting an international security crisis, and a crisis in international governance and law, David Holloway suggests the culture of the time also points to a ‘crisis’ unfolding in the institutions and processes of republican democracy in the United States. His book offers a cultural and ideological history of the period, showing how culture was used by contemporaries to debate, legitimise, qualify, contest, or repress discussion, about the causes, consequences and broader meanings of 9/11 and the war on terror.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3241-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. Series Editors’ Preface
    (pp. viii-ix)
    Tim Woods and Helena Grice
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Introduction Continuity and Crisis
    (pp. 1-6)

    When Islamist insurgents hijacked four commercial airliners on September 11 2001 and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, destroying the Trade Center and killing almost 3,000 people, the attacks were widely described as a moment of historical rupture, an epochal event that drew a clear line through world history, dividing what came after 9/11 from what went before (Figures I.1 and I.2). Yet in many ways the feeling that everything changed on 9/11 was an illusion. Even in the United States, life for many continued much as it always had....

  7. 1 History From the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ to ‘New Empire Revisionism’
    (pp. 7-30)

    American citizens looking to the historiography and intellectual history of the early war on terror for evidence that 9/11 was a moment of historical rupture may have been disappointed by what they found. While the post-9/11 period prompted new nuances in existing historio - graphies and intellectual traditions, some of them surprising, a more obvious trend was the revitalisation of established approaches and traditions that had languished since the end of the Cold War either below the radar of mass public exposure or beyond the bounds of political and intellectual ‘respectability’. The result was an immediate and almost seamless blending...

  8. 2 Politics ‘Crisis’ in the Republic. The Unitary Executive, the Bush Doctrine and Adversarial Review
    (pp. 31-57)

    One of the more dramatic political spectacles of the early war on terror was provided by the president’s anti-terrorism ‘czar’, Richard A. Clarke, who resigned from his post in March 2003, then wrote a flamboyant book explaining why (Figure 2.1). Clarke’s Against All Enemies (2004) described how the White House had ignored intelligence warnings about al-Qaeda before 9/11 and had hijacked the attacks to wage a wholly unrelated war on Iraq, fooling the American people into believing that the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was implicated in 9/11. Clarke argued that the conduct of the president and senior figures in...

  9. 3 Mass Media Throttling the Life from the Republican Fourth Estate
    (pp. 58-80)

    There’s a lovely moment in an early Bob Dylan song where Dylan, playing the role of the hobo troubadour in the style of Woody Guthrie, is talking about the freezing winter weather. The New York Times, so the song goes, said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years. Having heard that from the Times, Dylan’s character drolly observes, he no longer felt so cold.

    The old adage about not believing what’s printed in the New York Times was revived during the war on terror, not least by the spectacle of the Times itself publicly apologising, in May 2004, for...

  10. 4 Cinema ‘Allegory Lite’, and the movie Hollywood Refused to Make
    (pp. 81-106)

    One of several remakes of classic Cold War Hollywood films after 9/11 The Manchurian Candidate (2004) presented American audiences with what it called ‘regime change in our country’. Jonathan Demme’s remake of one of the most famous political allegories in Hollywood history replaced the original’s fable about communist subversion and McCarthyism in the 1950s with a narrative in which the ‘enemy within’ became corporate capitalism, whose brainwashed stooge, ex-Gulf War serviceman Raymond Shaw, secures a vice presidential nomination on the back of a military record falsified by his controllers, a sinister transnational corporation called Manchurian Global.

    In a notable deviation...

  11. 5 Literature The 9/11 Novel
    (pp. 107-128)

    Classifying a literary genre, particularly a new or emergent one, can be a fraught process. Genres are hardly ever watertight things. They spill over into and borrow from other genres and may contain multiple ‘subgenres’. Some generic examples may contain some generic elements but not others. Readers themselves may be unfamiliar with the genre that is assumed to guide their reading of a given generic text. They may disagree among themselves on the elements that count as generic, or may read through a prism that has little to do with genre as such. Yet even with these reservations, and with...

  12. 6 Photography and Visual Art ‘Convulsions of empire’ and ‘adventures in cubism’. Visualising republican culture after 9/11
    (pp. 129-153)

    On 9/11 the pioneering internet artist Wolfgang Staehle recorded the attacks on the World Trade Center by mistake, as part of a live webcam art exhibit at the Postmasters Gallery, New York. Staehle pointed ‘live’ web-cameras at three locations around the world, one of which showed a panoramic view of lower Manhattan, and displayed the feeds as bigscreen video projections. By the beginning of the end of the ‘republican crisis’ in 2006 (see Chapter 2), Staehle’s accidental engagement with 9/11 looked like an increasingly persuasive metaphor for artworld responses to the attacks. If one notable trend in non-cinematic visual culture...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 154-158)

    One of the more remarkable early representations of 9/11 was an independent portmanteau film, 11’09’’01 (2002) – a film comprising eleven segments by eleven different directors, from Iran, France, Egypt, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Britain, Mexico, Israel, India, the US and Japan, sequenced in that order. Five of the films, including the American submission directed by Sean Penn, were set wholly or partly in New York, with the rest set in diverse locations around the world. The film’s publicity materials emphasised that every director had enjoyed complete freedom of expression to explore what 9/11 meant to them in the contexts of...

  14. Appendix A: Timeline
    (pp. 159-166)
  15. Appendix B: Synoptic Biographies
    (pp. 167-171)
  16. Annotated bibliography of further reading and texts cited
    (pp. 172-187)
  17. Index
    (pp. 188-198)