September 11 Attacks, series of coordinated suicide attacks on the United States that will forever stand as a lesson to the entire world about how we view religion, or rather how we view religions specific to the Middle East, or perhaps as a lesson that has nothing to do with those things and instead was related to homeland security. Planned and carried out by the militant Islamic group al-Qaeda, the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93 conveyed a deep, universal truth to every living human being about the difference between those who are free and those who are oppressed. There was also a lesson about oil consumption. And certainly also about religious fanaticism. Or was it evil? Was the lesson of 9/11 something about evil? Evildoers? Or was it about torture and the balance between security and freedom? Or are those last two lessons learned in the aftermath of 9/11 as opposed to the main lesson of 9/11, which was about encouraging tolerance and discourse? It may, in retrospect, have actually been a lesson about civil liberties and the media. Hmm. Anyway, the lesson learned from September 11 was definitely the biggest lesson the world has ever learned.

AFTERMATH OF SEPTEMBER 11

TORTURE

Pre-9/11: Use of extreme pain to extract information from a third party. As a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, the United States does not torture.

Post-9/11: Use of extreme pain to extract information from a third party. As a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, the United States does not officially torture.

WATERBOARDING

Pre-9/11: Not sure what it is, but sounds like fun.

Post-9/11: Know what it is. Not fun.

“LET ’S ROLL ”

Pre-9/11: Stupid phrase uttered while jingling car keys to encourage friends to move asses.

Post-9/11: Stupid patriotic phrase uttered as a battle cry by high school football teams before taking on local rival.

KID KICKING THE BACK OF YOUR CHAIR DURING FLIGHT

Pre-9/11: Cute child excited about going to Disney World.

Post-9/11: The terrorists are making their move.

PEARL HARBOR

Pre-9/11: The largest coordinated attack on American soil.

Post-9/11: Something to put the word “since” before.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.

Pre-9/11: An amazing player who could run, throw, cover a ton of ground in the outfield, and hit for both power and average.

Post-9/11: Definitely past his prime, but he could still hit the long ball and sometimes showed flashes of his former brilliance in center.

FLYING JET AIRCRAFT INTO SKYSCRAPERS

Pre-9/11: Most exciting thing one can possibly do in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Post-9/11: Horrific image that can never be erased from your mind.

THE U.S. OCCUPATION OF IRAQ

Pre-9/11: An idea thought up by the Project for a New American Century in 1997, based on ideas by Dick Cheney from 1992.

Post-9/11: An emergency response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

From The Onion Book Of Known Knowledge