Turning Point 9-11 and The War on Terror
Terrorism has existed definitely before recorded history. On September 11, 2001, two hijacked aircraft hit the World Trade Center and changed the fate of a cloudless and calm day in New York City and the lives of thousands of US nationals and immigrants for years to come. What’s changed in this millennium is the easy access of weapons of mass destruction, globalization of commerce, retaliation by receiving societies, misinformed and manipulated mass media, hunger and poverty in the third world countries, and revenge and sustenance of power in the first world countries.
“Turning point: 9/11 and the war on terror”” is a docu-series on Netflix that was released 20 years after the US military invasion in Afghanistan. The last episode seems to be rushed in an attempt to release it as quickly as possible after the US troops left Afghanistan earlier this year. Several political and conspiracy theories seemed to have clung to the show even before its release. People believe that one of the major motives was to clear the image of America and justify its decision to leave Afghanistan.
This show is not for the faint-hearted. In the first episode, you’ll see people jumping to their death off of the World Trade Centre in an attempt to save themselves from the possibility of burning to death otherwise, pictures showing those who escaped with charred skin coughing soot, videos of escaped civilians, and first response workers running from the gigantic high-rise falling to bits as the narrow streets of New York get engulfed in a ball of thick black smoke.
“For the Millenials, this show could be somewhat of a history documentary with correct timelines of events. The show starts with calm shots of New York, then some bits of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to get a brief understanding of where it all started, thenceforward the disturbing images and videos of American Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower followed by United Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower. That’s where one is hooked to the show, and Director Brian Knappenberger decides to leave you with what you just watched as food for thought while the title track plays.
One can be sure to see some brutally honest and insightful interviews of Officials from multiple US Presidential Administrations, Former CIA Members, Taliban Commanders, Aghan War Lords, Journalists, US Military Veterans, Afghan National Army, and US and Afghan Civilians. Some of whom have never spoken on camera before
You get to see how the roles of pivotal public figures of the time had changed the course of events for many years to come. The President of The United States was under a lot of pressure to get back at Afghanistan for the sake of the several lives lost. Some of his actions were justified and some were perceived as irrational and impulsive even by the men who held high positions in his office at the time.
“There are some unsettling videos of how possible terrorists were treated and tortured in prison. Even civilians of color and various religions were fighting for their constitutional rights but you get to see FBI agents of the time confess that the Eighth Amendment that is supposed to protect prisoners and the Geneva Convention which is supposed to protect prisoners of war from cruel and unusual punishment was manipulated to get the detainees to talk to prevent future attacks on The US, by not calling them “”prisoners”” at all. Episode 3 shows the dark side of how possible members of the Al-Qaeda were treated Karen Greenberg (Director, Center of National Security Fordham Law) quotes the word that came from the Pentagon was, “”No matter what you do, do not call them prisoners, because if we call them prisoners then we have to treat them under the Geneva Conventions that protect prisoners of war, so that’s why we have detainees, not prisoners.”” The fact that The President’s Administration denied basic human rights, access to a lawyer, and habeas corpus is also well established in this episode.” “The final episode starts with a detailed description of how the highly efficient US Military helicopters strategically attacked Osama Bin Laden’s haven in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Where he was found and killed, the desired result of the longest war in American history. Some strong female leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan speak up about the undeniable collateral damage caused by the United States, and for which they never apologized.
“When the US troops returned from Afghanistan, the Taliban seized one city at a time and regained control of the country. Some disturbing footage of how the women are being treated now and how the Afghan Army is striving to survive will leave you to think about what would’ve been better for the future of the country.
Overall the series is binge-worthy and very well-researched. The interviews are extremely detailed and a couple of episodes end with a cliffhanger. In real life, only time can tell how The United States’ decision will pan out for Afghanistan as a country.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.