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Analysis: 9/11 anniversary — the attacks forged an age of political turmoil

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Twenty years on, it is at war with itself, its democracy threatened from within in a way Osama bin Laden never managed.

In the moment, the 9/11 attacks that came from a blue sky on a crisp, clear morning stretched credulity in their horror and dastardly conception and proved that vast oceans could no longer shield the US from the terror of the outside world.

But for a few weeks at least, everyone — liberal, conservative, no matter the race or creed — was as one in mourning nearly 3,000 dead and fearing more strikes.

In hindsight, however, the attacks heralded the dawn of an era of political trauma and turbulence that snuffed out a brief period when a prosperous US had basked in a post-Cold War glow of peace, standing as a lone superpower.

History gives events clarity that they lacked in real time. But it cannot record the pain, panic and disorientation of those terrible, aching days after 9/11 that drove the decisions of political leaders. In…

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