Where next? Jittery US prepares for fresh attacks

As the first anniversary of 11 September approaches, Americans are wrestling with different emotions. No one argues that the day should go unmarked. But many wish it were already past. They feel overloaded by media images of that awful day. And now, some will feel nervous too.

So shattered were the nerves of this country after the Pentagon was torn open and New York'stwin towers turned to dust, anxiety that some fresh attack could occur is never far away – and many, including the federal government, believe that 11 September is the day that terrorists may want to strike again.

The news from Sweden, where a man of Tunisian origin was arrested on Thursday with a pistol in his luggage, is helping to stoke the unease.

While the investigation into the Ryanair passenger continues, one fact is certain to unsettle ordinary citizens in this country. Officials have discovered that he took pilot training at a flying school in the United States of the type that gave the September 11 terrorists the skills to take control of four passenger jets and turn them into deadly missiles with human passengers as their warheads.

No wonder officials expect many ordinary Americans to stay at home on Wednesday week. Some schools in Manhattan will be closed. Commuters will be loath to board crowded trains and buses. Travellers will surely stay away from aeroplanes.

One US carrier, Spirit Airlines, has already declared that all tickets on its routes that day will be free. It is partly a gesture to the heroes of last September, partly recognition that without the give-away, the seats on their planes would remain largely empty. Other airlines are slashing their schedules.

In a surprising blunder, the Pentagon fuelled the public disquiet last week by announcing plans to ban international airlines from flying in and out of the New York City and Washington DC areas on the anniversary, as well as in airspace above Pennsylvania, where a fourth airliner crashed en route to an as yet unknown target.

The White House scotched the idea when foreign airlines arose as one in a chorus of irritation: the government feared such a ban would shake America's confidence all over again. But the damage was done.

The memories of 9/11 prompt a feeling that that day, followed as it was by recession, financial scandals and stock market collapse, ushered in a dark period in modern US history. Not even the unexpected resolution on Friday of the baseball dispute has done much to raise national spirits.

The initial tide of patriotism unleashed by the attacks, culminating in the glorious 2001 World Series, has ebbed. The forest of US flags that sprouted from homes, gardens, cars and office buildings has largely withered.

Many people secretly plead for restraint in marking the anniversary, arguing that the scenes are etched on everyone's minds, and that endless repeats of them will amount to a pornography of horror. But covert or overt, American commercialism will out.

Alarmism, meanwhile, has been fuelled by the scaremongering of an administration terrified that it might ever be accused of not being alert to the perils facing the country. Hence the stream of warnings of attacks against nuclear power stations banks, hospital buildings – all of which have proved groundless.

Last week, Newark's airport was renamed Liberty International – Flight UA93 took off from Newark on 11 September before being hijacked over Ohio and aimed at Washington. The heroism of its passengers caused it to crash in rural Pennsylvania, preventing a direct hit on the White House or the Capitol.

Meanwhile the arrests of six people in Detroit and rural Oregon for suspected links with al-Qa'ida has only confirmed the belief that terrorist cells still exist within the US, and a leaked United Nations report asserts that al-Qa'ida still has more than enough financial resources to carry out its deadly work.

Given the precautions being taken here, attacks against US targets, staged to coincide with the anniversary, are more likely abroad.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's pic YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain