Icons are "theology in color"; that is, they depict scenes and personages from the Bible, exactly as they are portrayed in the Bible. Their purpose was, and is, to teach Christianity to the unlettered, to act as points of meditation, prayer, and enlightenment. Therefore, images not conforming to that fundamental requirement are not icons. An image of God as an old man with a white beard--the Ancient of Days--for example, is not a theologically-correct icon. Most Orthodox, myself included, consider it to be blasphemous. The main rationale for accepting images into the Church is the fact that it confirms that God manifested Himself as Jesus Christ, a human being---seen and known by all---an essential belief of the Church. No one has ever seen God, the Father; to take it upon one's self to represent Him and thus make Him smaller than He is, is absurd.
An icon can not be any darned thing we may want it to be. The 9/11 picture is a picture---not an icon. The person who painted it has not been well catechized and should talk to his priest to clear up their---serious--- misconceptions. Creating icons is not an act of self-expression; it is a theological ministry of the Church. The icon is not a vehicle for promoting political statements or any other worldly messages. Its purpose is strictly theological. This guy is imposing his own sentimental perspective on icons.
A lot of rotten and theologically unsound "icons" were produced in the 19th century. It's called "decadence." That's no reason for us to abandon the canons of the craft.