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  • It's now 2011, ten years after the world as we knew it was changed by the attacks on 9/11. We've all seen endless news footage, documentaries, even Hollywood dramatizations of different elements of the tragedy and the subsequent "War On Terror." I was deeply affected by what I saw on 9/11 and have read and viewed a great deal about it since then as a result, so for me to say that this 2-part DVD is probably the best, and most comprehensive, of its kind is significant.

    "War On America" gives exhaustive background into the long history between the US and much of the Middle East, focusing particularly on the last couple of decades and what went into the pressure cooker from both sides to make it explode in the way that it has. The documentary spends ample time explaining in detail how the American government came to have involvement with Osama bin Laden long before many of us had ever heard his now infamous name. The conflict of differing values between America and countries including the likes of Afghanistan and Pakistan is shown to us step by step, from its modern-day inception as we know it through the battles on the soil of both sides (the impact the Gulf War had on how America was perceived in the Middle East; the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre; the attack on the USS Cole; etc.). It gives us an excellent groundwork upon which we can begin to understand what factors were at work when 9/11 took place. "War On America" is approximately 105 minutes focusing on this very modern history, and it held information that I'd not come across elsewhere.

    "Zero Hour" revisits elements of 9/11 with which most of us are more familiar: it takes us step by step through what each of the terrorists did in the time leading up to boarding those planes, shows us what incredible luck they had on their side to have slipped the noose so many times in order to pull off bin Laden's "masterpiece," and includes interviews with everyone from Intel to survivors to ticket agents who were at the airport the morning of the attacks. It, too, runs about 105 minutes, and in the end it feels as though you've looked at the tragic day from nearly all possible viewpoints.

    If you want to watch just one examination of all of the known mechanics behind 9/11, National Geographic's "Inside" is the one you're looking for. It balances what is known with what is not, and manages to paint the fullest picture I've yet to see all in one place.
  • National Geographic's "Inside 911" and United 93 are without a doubt, the best DVD's on the Arab Islamic Terrorist attack on the United States. But while United 93 was narrowly banded, Inside 911 was far more comprehensive.

    In spite of being a documentary, Inside 911's DVD is incredibly gripping. It will keep you at the edge of your seat. This is particularly true of disk 2 entitled "zero hour." A unique reality of this documentary is that it reveals the heroic actions of civilians who risked and sacrificed their lives to save others. It wasn't their "job," but it became their self-appointed mission. This is perhaps the most elevated level of heroism of all.

    Realistically, police efforts are downgraded because they were far less directly involved. The firemen's actions were exemplary and they made extreme sacrifices. But again, more lives were saved by civilians working in the towers than any other group.

    Unfortunately, we live in a society that lauds civil servants and diminishes the heroism of people wearing suits and ties. This is very sad because what happened in response to the terrorism of September 11th showed American citizens at their best.

    It is also a pity that actions of the new terror-Nazis of the world have subsequently been twisted by the pathology of left-wing denial and conspiratorial driven mental illness.
  • Kudos to National Geographic; it's not easy making a four-hour show so gripping, so entertaining you can't keep your eyes off the screen. That's what they did here, breaking the program into two segments and having a minimum of commercial interruptions.

    When it was all over, one had a nice feel of heroes who sacrificed their lives, such as firemen going back in the Twin Towers in order to rescue more trapped people, or the heroes on United Flight 93 who prevented their hijacked plane to crash into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, or the Pentagon workers whose heroism ranked up with those firemen in New York City.

    The most fascinating part, to me, was the first two hours which had a lot of material many people probably don't know: the background of the terrorists and how they got to the day of 9-11-01. Not only how they pulled it off, but the mindset behind their actions - absolutely riveting stuff put "on a clock" giving you a chronological history of this historical tragedy from start to finish.

    The Towers disaster pictures, of course, we'll all seen although there might have been a couple of new scenes for some watching this. The worst part are the falling bodies and the descriptions of that from a couple of TV reporters on the street.

    There are things in this informative show which make your blood boil, from our side such as an airport security person allowing one of the terrorists through even though the guy had a knife sticking out of his back pocket, which we could see! That, and ineptitude by aviation people monitoring the hijackings, just being clueless about everything.

    What I couldn't help though, was being amazed how these terrorists pulled it off, which is detailed in this program. Amazing material. Don't this miss.
  • I sat down to watch this documentary with an open mind, but after about 20 minutes I realised that this wasn't truly an exploration of the subject in depth. The language was highly coloured with obvious intentions to lead the audience to a conclusion very lacking in nuance. Whenever there were said anything about for example American support of the Afghan rebels, it was highly toned down and reduced to a matter of weapons supply. The complexity of the subject was very badly handled, and the documentary is presenting a very one sided Eurocentric pro American view. For example the documentary does not explore the motivation behind the horrendous act of terrorism on 9/11, but are more intent on labelling the Muslims as the problem. The reasoning is reduced to a share wish to commit harm on anything none Muslim without any other rational then the religion itself. This is very much in tune with the rather simplistic notion the Bush administration propound on the subject, of this being about them hating western freedom rather then a revolt against western involvement in Muslim nations.

    One also does get a very limited understanding of the Muslim world, which easily can lead the audience to think Muslim equals terrorist. That imams around the world announced fatwa against terrorist activity wasn't even discussed, leaving us to believe the problem is the Muslim religion rather then extremist factions who uses the religion to fuel intolerance towards everything western. These factions consider this religious warfare, but it is not thereby said that all Muslims subscribe to this idea. That there might be a spreading distrust to the west among Muslims does not imply that large portions of the Muslim population are denunciatory to commit terrorist acts in the name of Allah. By conveniently choosing to limit the scope of the subject to a simple evil vs. good, the documentary ends up as more of a proponent of a rather oversimplified perception then a source for enlightenment. I can easily see this documentary fuelling hatred towards Muslims rather then providing greater knowledge about how and why 9/11 happened.

    If you wish to believe that 9/11 happened just because of evil people, who committed evil deed merely because they are evil by nature, then this documentary will be a pleasant watch for you. Though, if you want a more in depth understanding of how these extreme ideologies leading to terrorism works, this documentary will be a rather frustrating watch. I can understand how slogan driven American neoconservatives might love this film, but it is by far a well researched piece and one might easily suspect it for strategically ignoring anything that might reflect badly on America. I got the impression the documentary was attempting to establish the Muslim world as the new Soviet threat to American liberty, and thereby being more of a piece of political propaganda then a source of enlightenment.

    The only reason I give the documentary 3 stars is because it is well edited and structured despite the lack in content and scope.
  • I'm not sure if it's because they had a lot of information to include and left out things they thought may confuse people, like Ronald Regan calling people from all over to come and support his friends in Afghanistan, the Mujahedin, (Operation Cyclone 1979-1989), then... American policy having moved on, renaming them the Taliban (now the enemy), sounds like the plot of "1984", or it's just people making a 'documentary' about something they know nothing about and doing a quick wiki search, but this is a very uninformed work, which I'm not sure I would categorise as a documentary.

    If you want to watch something which will give you a balanced view of world events and help you have an informed position, then I suggest watching something by 3 times Bafta Winner, Adam Curtis, of the BBC, such as "Bitter Lake" or "The Power of Nightmares" Or something by another award winner, John Pilger, such as; "The War You Don't See" The above are considered works, which have taken many months or even years to develop, by renowned journalists, not just a hodge podge of a 3rd hand story some producer/director is doing as a quick job.

    Don't waste your time on this, as I did, tutting all the way through at the incomplete information and very blinkered view, or perhaps ignorance of the makers.

    I'm giving this 1/10 as it calls itself a documentary, and therefore implies it is a well researched piece of work, which you can reply upon to help develop an informed position, but falls far short of that, not to mention the trivialization of, or blindness to, what would now be classified an Hate Crime, or at least a racially motivated crime, the throwing of the shoes of Muslim Students into a lake while they were at prayers, as a 'practical joke'.

    Use your time well and watch; Anything by Adam Curtis of the BBC, such as "Bitter Lake" or "The Power of Nightmares" Or John Pilger "The War You Don't See"

    Perhaps with a little more understanding of one another's cultures and people being better informed and holding their governments to greater account, so they don't keep making the same 'mistakes' over and over, on our behalf, we may eventually have a more peaceful world.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I think my biggest problem with the documentary was that it left out the collapse of Building 7 in NYC. How can a 47-story building that houses major US Government Departments and Records collapse without any of the "causes" that were attributed to the structural failures of the twin towers? At least mention the fact that this building collapse was left out of the 911 Commission report too.

    It left out all the government sponsored training exercises that were going on that day to prepare for this exact scenario, yet our president was on TV saying that they never could have suspected that something like this would happen.

    The facts that it covered it did a good job of, but not enough emphasis on how the scene and evidence was handled poorly. Osama Bin Laden isn't even wanted by FBI for this crime (check the website) because there is no evidence that he actually planned or took part in it.
  • nelliebell-129 October 2008
    There is much to look at and perhaps like the 9-11 commission report much to learn.I felt upon looking at the sequences of events, as events unfolded on the "Zero Day" disk that there was next to no ability to get the right information into the right hands.There was a real inability to place the in earnest taunts made by terrorist ring leaders and as well the indignity to learn that free enterprise was not very freedom like,perhaps at all.The shame is that the human race seems to be the goal of the likes of such a purpose and what exactly is this purpose?It is for acceptance as a pre-requisite to saturation.The need to succumb humanity to a margin is part of the need to use as well to own even the very skin of the human kind.It is a veiled conceit of global conquest.The requirement to make humanity a virtual hostage in this global attempt of saturation has provided the kind of witness that this picture discusses on a most held holiday in a "Christmas Holiday".It is hereby suggested that the need for such influence as a prerequisite to acceptance was likened to a "spearhead" in a military campaign.This campaign though is likened as well to a dangerous poison that is airborne.It is something of the hidden,perhaps invisible but most certainly not ordinarily thought of as the source of inspiration.It is the very nature of this attempt at some global consideration and that is the technology is in fact the "spearhead" as to this suggested attempt.Certainly a bunch of desert rats do not really add up to a hill of beans but failure as to candor has allowed that very real disaster to materialize.The failure that such arrogance suggests is that the greater global community does not do very well under the authority of any power and most importantly such a power whereby the message is an attempt of the very make-up of humanity.From behavior models to actual designs of the very construct of society,this violation has taken the place of honest candid repore with such Laws as to be unrecognizable.If there is anything that foreign lands provide it is the kind of witness whereby not only are you not what you seem but you are not even a natural presence.In you there is the witness as to you but also you are the system that brought you here to begin with.That is a problem whereby this world is not known however it is also not what it seems.This agent of a foreign power is the underpinning to its success and even ultimately its success is a more greater care because there are some very dangerous days ahead.This is where this super power has occurred whereby now we need a convincer and the force ultimately aligned with supporting such an inconstant position steps in to quell an uprising.America is that way and its very unwelcomed purpose is at the source of the outgrowth of terrorism.The rise of the terrorist networks it was suggested were a result of a foreign power with undue influence.National Geographic wanted to suggest and perhaps did suggest something that maybe true.That we do not wish to believe that such evil as this comment suggests such evil exists actually in fact does exist.I'am of the opinion that it matters little who is to be a martyr,even what race of people because the cause is a cause that has been around for a very long time.The instrument as to its place this time is the advent of the 20th Century and the rise of a foreign power in a un-natural and unseen presence.Tela-communications is taken from the Greek in an act of Telapathy.Is it merely this or merely that,it is in fact more than as suggested by the 1010 Wins broadcast,it is more than merely one single event it is to be certain as yet to be dealt with as a messenger is a messenger of death,a purpose indeed foreign.This event was as much a failure as it was an act of terror.The purpose of one side it seems is not so foreign as the other but more importantly and this is indeed on the increased knowledge idea there is a need here to know better of who and how this world works.It is a terrible slight to humanity to be picked for such a purpose but such a purpose is as suggested been around for a long time.The having of power over another,the using of others for an unethical purpose,the inability to determine a position without something of an irrational encroachment occurring and indeed the taking advantage of peoples foreign or domestic whereby nothing is natural nor even responsible in a subversive and suggestive hysteria that such an overseer provides.It, these arguments and like circumstances were written about some time ago and they were part and parcel of a Fascist politic which also reveled in hysteria.Television,like radio,like news services become only the central point from which this influence comes from and from where much association is adjoined.The terrorist is the one that talks to you in the night with no strings and no radio no television but as yet such an ability is no more foreign than in hearing voices as both are true and both are very legitimate complaints as to the rise of this foreign power looking very much like a Fascist conceit.It is no different this conceit anymore than it was foreign to begin with.The Networked World is merely the equal to a flying carpet and indeed in a very short order a magnitude of 10 escalates to a hard to recognize state.We have a very real and terrifying problem and that this problem has been as a result of what we are not rather than of who we are.