Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Day After

I didn't want to write about September 11th.

What is it about anniversaries, really? The death of almost 3,000 people in the World Trade Center towers was a tragedy that moved me to tears at the time that it happened. I was particularly affected by media coverage of the unsuccessful searching by survivors for their loved ones. But why commemorate it again and again, on the 1st anniversary, the 3rd, and now the 5th? Does that make their deaths any more meaningful? Will the world someday celebrate the centenary of 9/11?

What upset me yesterday was the thought of all the other people who have died in the aftermath of 9/11, whose deaths have not been memoralized by speechs and photo ops, the deaths of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. When will they have their day in the media? How can I remember the stockbrokers and firemen who perished in the fall of the twin towers and not also think of Rachel Corey, crushed to death by an Israeli tank, or the children maimed by cluster bombs made in the USA and dropped from Israeli planes. It doesn't seem fair.

So my way to mark the anniversary of September 11th was to join over 500 Santa Cruzans at a screening in the Rio Theater of "Loose Change 2nd Edition," the documentary that claims to detail how our government either mishandled or fabricated the so-called "terrorist attack" on New York's symbols of world capitalism five years ago.

Now, conspiracies theories involving the government make me uncomfortable, for two reasons: One, our government is too incompetent (e.g., Iraq, the Katrina debacle) to pull off a conspiracy of great magnitude, whether 9/11, UFOs or the Kennedy assassination. And, secondly, conspiracies involve many people sworn to secrecy; sooner or later one of them will crack and it will all spill out. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me who really shot Kennedy.

Since 9/11, I have been too preoccupied and upset by the very real consequences of the event -- war in Afghanistan and Iraq, unqualified support for Israel and suffering for the Palestinians, the sacrifice of our rights and freedoms for the sake of "security" -- to pay much attention to the new conspiracy theorists. But last nightI got an earfull and an eyefull. I concluded that there are two theories, or perhaps a continuum: On one end are theorists pointing out omissions and lies in the official 9/11 Commission report, and on the other are those who say that 9/11 was an "inside job."

The range of accusations are amazing. The collapse of the towers was not caused by the planes crashing into them and burning fuel but by additional explosives, a "controlled demolition." The Pentagon was not hit by a plane because the hole was too small, and almost everything -- plane parts and bodies -- disappeared. The same lack of physical and human evidence proves that Flight 93 did not crash in Pennsylvania; it was reported as landing in Cleveland. Most mysterious is the collapse of Building 7 which was not touched by the planes or collapsing towers. It fell -- another controlled demolition -- all by itself. Could the fact that offices of the CIA and the Secret Service were there have anything to do with it? And why was there no attempt to shoot down the highjacked planes even though they were identified as such over a half hour before the first crashed?

Even the official theory, put forth by the 9/11 Commission, is a conspiracy theory. In this story, a dedicated band of 19 (or 20) fanatical Muslims, directed and funded by Osama Bin Laden, hijacked four commercial airplanes and flew three of them into their largely symbolic targets, all because, according to El Presidente, they "hate freedom." Theirs was the most successful symbolic gesture in history and its consequences have been more far ranging than the assassination in Sarajevo that started World War I or the firing on U.S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf that legitimized the Vietnam War in 1964.

But wait a minute. That last event in the waters off North Vietnam never happened. It was fabricated by our government to justify the war that killed 50,000 U.S. troops and millions of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. Reagan invaded Granada under false pretexts and the sinking of the Maine in Havana harbor in 1896, which started the Spanish-American war, was probably an inside job to justify America's overseas imperialist ambitions. That supposedly democratic governments lie to guarantee the support of the governed is a foregone conclusion.

David Ray Griffin is a retired professor of theology who was one of the first to write about the lie of 9/11 in his book The New Pearl Harbor, named after a Neocon Republican document in 2000 that says "the process of transformation, even if it brings revoslutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor." Griffin believes that 9/11 was an example of "governmental lawlessness," and that the truth would reveal the danger of the present world system with its "anarchical competition between nation states." The Big Lie, pioneered by the Nazis, has become "sacred myth," says Griffin.

The lobby of the Rio Theater was full of conversation after the film. Good friends assured me that all of the surviving firemen and police in New York now know that the official story was a lie. The fire of true belief burned in their eyes. Fliers were handed out for the next event, another documentary, "9/11: Press for Truth," to be shown in October.

And yesterday, in several solemn events, President Bush claimed "we are safer, but we are not yet safe," and said, despite all common sense as well as evidence, that the "safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad." It is obvious to anyone with their head out of the sand that we are far less safe than we were five years ago, and the danger may be closer to home than the chaos in the Middle East.

1 comment:

ted said...

I finally found the comment button. At this rate, I'll figure out my zipper soon!

Conspiracy theories all have the common ground of considerable complexity and creativity. Taking any event in history such as the Boston Tea Party or bombing of Hiroshima and a creative mind can find amazing tangental information to credit the American Indians or even Oppenheimer.
Consider Roosevelt's desire to see America enter WWII . It's possible he knew Pearl Harbor was about to happen as AFSA had copied messages that the Japenese fleet was on the move. But is it rational to presume Roosevelt had no alternatives but that one?
It seems reality hinges on just as many freaky coincidences as does conspiracies.