a clarification, eighteen years later

I was at work, in the LRB office, when I first watched the first plane fly into the first tower: like half the planet, we’d turned the television on as soon as we heard the news. And then, at some point as we watched, a thought suddenly hit me with a physical force: a kind of punch in the gut that made me shout out an involuntary ‘Jesus!’ One of my colleagues turned to me and asked the question so many people were asking: ‘Oh no, do you know someone who’s there?’ I didn’t, but I didn’t want to explain what it was that had made me yell, and I never did. The thought was this: if someone had done this to America, what will the mightiest warrior nation on earth do back?

Daniel Soar. It seems to me quite characteristic of the LRB political sensibilities that, after all these years, Soar feels the need to insist that his emotional response to the destruction of the Twin Towers was in no way contaminated by compassion for the people who died in those buildings.