1,776 Feet


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Mo says:

    This hits one of my pet peeves. The height of buildings should be based on the ceiling of the highest floor that can be occupied, not the height of towers or spires. I don’t suddenly become 6’4″ if I’m wearing a top hat or grow out a sweet fro.Report

  2. Avatar Kimsie says:

    I was promised Windmills!Report

  3. Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

    They might as well paint a target on that thing…Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    Here here. Back to the 9/10 mindset on many things!Report

  5. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Rightly: New York has rebuilt, and are taller and better than before. The new building is 49 feet taller than the taller spire on the old ones. It’s a proud day.

    Maybe I’m a bad person, but I just can’t feel that. If another tall building was the best use for the site, then good, they’ve made the best use of the site. But really I just can’t get into the whole, “see, we rebuilt, shows you what we got” concept. And if that concept does matter, the fact that it’s a few feet taller than the old ones doesn’t, to me, seem to overcome the fact that there were two buildings and we rebuilt one. But mostly, it doesn’t bring back the 2600 dead, and it doesn’t change the fact that the terrorists won by persuading us that we needed to allow our government more police-state powers.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to James Hanley says:

      But it’s taller. And it has electrolytes.Report

    • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to James Hanley says:

      I had almost this exact same response when I read this earlier (when there were no comments), Mr. Hanley.

      It also doesn’t bring back the many other non-American non-White thousands killed by Americans in retribution and deceit.

      It is an amazing monument to the terrorists winning, though many see it as the inverse, which allows them to convince themselves that their war is just and thank their God for the better sleep they enjoy after this process of grotesque self-deception.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

        I’m not sure I follow your logic. I’m pretty sure London isn’t an expansive monument to the Luftwaffe, and modern Berlin and Tokyo aren’t celebrations of the US Air Force.Report

      • I’m not sure I follow the logic of the New WTC being a monument to the terrorists winning.

        I disagree with the notion that we’ve only built one building. The new WTC-7 is also pretty cool-looking.Report

        • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Well, I’ve always thought that the terrorists wanted us to destroy us, our way of life. One might even say they wanted to destroy our freedom and liberty. Our nation of laws.

          The terrorists succeeded in that, for the events caused us to begin (continue?) to destroy our nation of laws at an accelerated pace. We have continued that destruction ever since.

          This tower celebrates us winning by rebuilding the tower (our laws) bigger (more restrictive) and better (more secret). It’s “America! 1776 feet, Mother Fisher!! Mission Accomplished! Fish Yeah!!!”

          Us winning looks a lot different than this. This is just America being America. Alas, for I expect much better than this from us.Report

          • Ah, so we’re starting from a different place and seeing the symbology differently. This is why I blog — to see other points of view.

            My assumption has been for a decade or more now that the “the terrorists,” meaning Al-Qaeda under the guidance of the late, unmourned-in-the-West Osama bin Laden, was to use the USA as a catspaw so as to coalesce Muslims into a modern-day Caliphate. Didn’t happen. But as for hating us and hating our freedoms, that was secondary. Mainly they were looking for a Big Bad against whom they could fight.

            I share your concern that fear makes us willing to destroy who we are; alternatively phrased, it makes us willing to become something further away from our ideals than we were when we started.

            The reference to the year 1776 is a good one, in my opinion, because it has a layer more complex and deeper than just “America, Fish Yeah!” When someone mentions the year 1776, of course the Revolution had been underway since the previous spring, and the standout event of that year is the Declaration of Independence. Which is something I’ve actually read and understand to be a profound political commitment to the notions of due process.Report

            • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Burt Likko says:

              I can understand where you’re coming from, Mr. Likko.

              I don’t have the same good thoughts about the Declaration as you do, I suppose. I always get hung up on this part:

              We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

              We still don’t treat all humans equally. Nor do our laws.

              But, it is a good ideal to aspire to. That much is true, I think.

              Regarding the point of terrorism, I think you are correct that some (all?) terrorists thought/think as you describe – looking for a Big Bad Guy. However, I think that deep down they (some of them) understand that all they can do is cause terror, which could lead to us damaging ourselves in ways much greater than they can. The few pebbles can cause the avalanche, after all (I’m reading The Two Towers with my son right now).Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                I think this is one of the problems I have in discussions, sometimes, with libertarians: they want to talk about the “Rights” and “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” parts, while I’m still stuck at “all [humans] are created equal” part.

                I struggle with this mightily at the League, sometimes.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Burt Likko says:

              Ok, may e the terrorists didn’t win. Americans just lost.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

        It also doesn’t bring back the many other non-American non-White thousands killed by Americans in retribution and deceit.

        Oh, but it’s not even supposed to commemorate them! /snark

        Good add, JHG. And if my snark made you gag, well, it made me gag, too.Report

      • JHG,

        I’m very sympathetic to what you (and James) say here, and my only quasi-major disagreement is that, at least as I see it, it’s less that the terrorists won, than that we did most of this to ourselves. (The royal we, of course, although I certainly don’t remember myself being all that vocal for rights and liberties during the reaction to 9/11.)Report

        • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

          it’s less that the terrorists won, than that we did most of this to ourselves.

          You see, I always thought that this was the point of terrorism, for I couldn’t imagine any other thing that could happen. The point is to create the avalanche, in the hopes that something will be destroyed that you (the terrorist) want destroyed, to be the fly that stings and causes the disease which kills the host, to play on fear and watch humans devolve before your eyes and destroy that which they hold most dear. It’s what we do best.

          This is what I thought in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and I haven’t seen anything to convince me otherwise. Yet. YMMV.Report

          • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

            You know, Al Qaeda isn’t a group of insanely clever political scientists with immense insight into the American pysche. They’re just a bunch of fanatics with no qualms about killing innocents. There’s isn’t a one of them who understood why the Bill of Rights is so important to us, much less one who could concoct a devious plan to undermine it.Report

            • Except the point here is that after reading what folks like Zawahiri were writing in things like Warriors Under the Prophet’s Banner, they actually seem to have had certain ideas in mind and taking advantage of the fact that they were much weaker in terms of hard power by inviting American overreaction was part of their overall strategy.Report

            • Avatar trumwill in reply to MikeSchilling says:

              I think they understand people being afraid. I think they understand Americans or Israelis complicating our lives in the name of security as being indicative of the fear. I don’t think you have to understand the Bill of Rights to understand that.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to trumwill says:

                Right. They understood that American people would be afraid and demand that their government make war on someone afterwards. They could then say to their own target audience — Muslims in African and Asian nations, mainly — “See how the Americans hate your religion! See how they make war on all of Islam! Only by standing together can we defend the honor of our faith!” IIRC, those appeals were made. The appeal simply failed to resonate with all but the most radicalized of Muslims.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Burt Likko says:

                They understood that American people would be afraid and demand that their government make war on someone afterwards.

                Funny thing about that.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Burt Likko says:

                They understood that American people would be afraid and demand that their government make war on someone afterwards.

                That much, certainly. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they expected exploitable pogroms against American Muslims, because they have no insight into how Americans really behave. But illegal wiretaps, extraordinary rendition, and the rest of the abuses of the Constitution they neither could have predicted nor care about.Report

              • Again.

                Zawahiri saw a lot of this coming. He explicitly writes that this is part of their tactics.

                That they weren’t then able to turn it around and make it into a global conflict between Islam and the Rest suggests though, that their blinders were more engaged on other things.Report

            • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to MikeSchilling says:

              I think everything you write is correct.

              I also think that terrorists understand human behavior more than we give them credit for, and that understanding is all that is required.

              For example, my 4-year-old son knows enough about human behavior to get his 10-year-old brother in trouble when he feels like he is being treated badly/unfairly (similar to taking a flop in basketball). And he certainly doesn’t understand very much about the American psyche, the Bill of Rights, or politics. But, he already knows enough about human behavior that he can manipulate feelings and emotions in others for a specific purpose, and he does this without thinking about it very much. I think most people develop in a similar way.Report

      • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

        which allows them to convince themselves that their war is just and thank their God for the better sleep they enjoy after this process of grotesque self-deception.

        *I should tag this part as coming from Mark Twain, with some pronouns slightly altered. I have not the clarity of word that he commanded.Report

  6. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Modern architecture. Ugh.

    from that awful day in 2001 will be to shed the wars and wartime mentality that came afterwards. Violence was done to our people and our iconic infrastructure by those who wished America harm for their own purposes, which failed to manifest. The violence we’ve done to our Constitution in their wake was self-inflicted, and the purposes for which we’ve done it have failed to manifest as well.

    There has been no ‘wartime mentality’. The Army and the Marines were at war. The rest of America was at the mall. Sorry roving wiretaps and airport security theater have got you down.

    When you are done chewing over that, you might consider some real divergences from the printed-on-the-page Constitution. Disregarded provisions like

    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. or the implications of everything between

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes…


    …To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

    and this provision, appended in December 1791

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


    While we are at it, we might ask if all the protections in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments are any good when contesting a criminal charge by insisting on that ‘speedy and public trial’ you are due leaves you $400,000 in debt; and when prosecutors are immune from any kind of civil liability for the most egregious conduct.

    Did you ever wonder how Lewis Libby acquired a seven-figure sum in legal bills, or why it took his Patrick FitzGerald 3.5 years to investigate and prosecute him when FitzGerald learned at the beginning of the investigation he was not the offender, or why a busy man whose memory about something not very important differs from that of other people’s whose in turn differ from each other is guilty of a felony process crime (which it cost him a seven figure sum in legal bills)?

    How much you want to bet Bruce Ivins committed suicide on the advice of his lawyer?

    Whatever did happen to Hollinger International?

    But how can we think about this when Bradley Manning is sleeping in the buff?


  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    From the spire’s point of viewReport

  8. Avatar Damon says:

    “Time to move on. Time to move forward. Time to move up. Let’s get back to business as usual, America.”

    Sure, when’s that Patriot Act and all that other stuff that arised from this action, going to get ended? THEN we can move on.Report