Sunday, April 15, 2007
From the rise of al-Qaeda to the everyday realities of war in Iraq, PBS's new 11-part series views the post-Sept. 11 world from a multitude of vantage points.
Separate teams of journalists produced each of the documentaries. Collectively, the segments address the impact of the 2001 terrorist attacks "on the imagination, as well as on foreign and domestic issues," said series host Robert MacNeil. "My contention is that 9/11 was not only the biggest shock to the American psyche since Pearl Harbor, but probably bigger.
"We have spent billions of dollars all through the Cold War to make us safe," MacNeil said, "and then we were vulnerable right in the heart of our biggest city."
MacNeil said the series raises questions about American foreign policy and the war on terrorism.
"What do we do for our ground forces, stretched almost to the limit by Iraq and Afghanistan? . . . How do we restore for the world the trust, the moral authority that many Americans and foreign friends believe we have lost since 9/11? . . . Those are all on the signpost."
The programs include reports on national security, first-person accounts from U.S. troops on life in Iraq and the experience of Muslims in the United States and abroad.
MacNeil, who introduces and wraps up each program, also narrates the two-hour opening segment and will host a series preview airing Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 26.
PBS is hosting screenings at college campuses and public libraries. The project's Web site (www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads) offers a discussion guide.
-- Kathy Blumenstock
AMERICA AT A CROSSROADS
9-11 p.m., PBSA Closer Look
PBS details the episodes, which begin Sunday:
Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind al Qaeda (Sunday, 9 p.m.): Exploring the ideas and beliefs that inspire modern radical Islamic groups.
Warriors (Monday, 9 p.m.): Profiles Army soldiers filmed in 2005 in some of the most dangerous areas in and around Baghdad.
Writing the Wartime Experience (Monday, 10 p.m.): Troops' firsthand accounts through their own words -- fiction, letters, essays, journals.
Gangs of Iraq (Tuesday, 9 p.m.): Examines whether coalition forces can build a national Iraqi army and police in the midst of a civil war.
The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom (Tuesday, 10 p.m.): Former assistant defense secretary Richard Perle defends the case for an assertive U.S. foreign policy.
Europe's 9/11 (Wednesday, 9 p.m.): The bombings in Madrid; al-Qaeda cell activities in Milan.
The Muslim Americans (Wednesday, 10 p.m.): The diversity of Muslims in America and the Muslim American experience today.
Faith Without Fear (Thursday, 9 p.m.): The journey of Muslim dissident Irshad Manji to help restore humanity and reason to Islam.
Struggle for the Soul of Islam: Inside Indonesia (Thursday, 10 p.m.): An inside look at how a fledgling democracy is struggling to control the rise of religious extremism.
Security Versus Liberty: The Other War (Friday, 9 p.m.): Following Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. government adopted some controversial policies to help prevent terrorism at home.
The Brotherhood (Friday, 10 p.m.): The Muslim Brotherhood is dedicated to the spread of a fundamental form of Islam throughout the world -- but is it also supporting terrorists?