Reflections on 9/11 and American Patriotism


The 9/11 remembrances and memorials seem to have come and gone very quickly this year, except to the extent that the GOP/Tea-Party led campaign for Islamophobia had gained strength and will continue on, to what ends and endings no one at this point can say with certainty.
But the 9/11 controversy has not gone away, that is the controversy over what were the real causes of the disaster.  It will not, at least until there is another investigation of the tragedy, bringing in many more witnesses and testifiers from many different points of view and perspectives, with an opportunity to raise so many questions that have yet to be answered and to offer for consideration scientific evidence about cause and effect that was not considered in the first investigation.

What we know for sure is that the tragedy was caused by a group of conspirators working closely together, operating at a level of secrecy that few of their kind have been able to achieve in mounting an attack of such large proportions.  And it was the result of a conspiracy, that is, for example, according to the World English Dictionary, “a secret plan or agreement to carry out an illegal or harmful act, esp. with political motivation; plot.”  Cass Sunstein to the contrary notwithstanding, yes this awful event was the result of a conspiracy. 

The question is whose conspiracy was it and who were the conspirators.  At the beginning the finger pointed at Osama bin Laden.  After all, President Bush had been warned by the CIA on August 5 that Osama was determined to carry out an attack in the United States.  So, that conspiracy theory goes, bin Laden pulled together 20 Muslims, mainly Saudis, who were willing to die for the cause (pre-determined casualties).  They then managed to get themselves trained to do some kinds of flying in large, complicated airliners, and you know the rest. 

But then there are a bunch of other conspiracy theories. 

  • The Israelis did it. 

  • Bush and Cheney managed it. 

  • Cheney managed it without involving Bush. 

  • Some Neocon grouping that no one has ever heard of, before or since, managed somehow to create the “New Pearl Harbor” that their Project for the New American Century was already calling/hoping for publicly in the 1990s. 

  • The Twin Towers were brought down not by the aircraft that hit them but by explosives pre-planted by — well, you name them. 

  • Building 7, not hit at all, came down in a free-fall caused by, well you name it. 

So it’s not really that there’s one “set of facts” and then a bunch of conspiracy theories.  In fact, every possible cause would be the result of one conspiracy or another.  But somehow, on the GOP/Tea-Party/Right, stated loud and clear during the 9/11 remembrances and in particular during the Campaign for Islamophobia, anyone who didn’t support the Bush/Cheney/9-11 Commission conspiracy theory was “not a patriot.”  We’ll come back to this point.

Further, until very recently not one voice has been raised in the mainstream media or the Fox Propaganda Channel to challenge the official conspiracy theory.  It is quite notable then, as Michael Carmichael, Chairman of Planetary, has recently pointed out, Geraldo Rivera, believe it or not, of the Fox Propaganda Channel itself  has recently converted from a believer in the official account of 9/11 to a skeptic. 

A recent advertising campaign in the NYC media market that features compelling testimony of family members of victims of 9/11 is beginning to create awareness of a growing lack of public confidence in the official account that emanates from New York and is now spreading across the United States.  A fascinating video  presents the statement of Larry Silverstein, owner of the WTC, that Building 7 was deliberately, “pulled” — i.e. a controlled explosive demolition brought down the building in its own footprint, in 2.5 seconds.  It happens that three buildings collapsed into their own footprints on 9/11, the Twin Towers and  “Building 7.”  The latter was not struck by an airplane.

The government’s 9/11 Commission concluded that fire from the Towers caused Building 7 to collapse.  However, the video shows the owner of the three buildings, Larry Silverstein, stating on television in the first minute: “They were not sure that they would be able to contain the fire.  And I said, you know, we’ve had such terrible loss of life I think the smartest thing to do is to pull it.”  And they made that decision to pull.  (In builder’s jargon, “pulling” means the use of a controlled explosive demolition.) 

In this case, as ordered by Mr. Silverstein, as noted the building was brought down in its own footprint in 2.5 seconds. That means that,  unless explosives experts were able to place their charges, which would have had to have been precisely located in order to bring the building straight down, in a burning building within a few minutes, they had already been placed.  One question that arises (and there are many others) is, if they had been placed in Building 7 might not they have also been placed in the Twin Towers? Whether Rivera’s conversion to the 9/11 Truth Movement will translate to the vast right-wing audience of the Fox Propaganda Channel is unclear at this time. What is also unclear is why Rivera’s producer/editors allowed him to go with this story at this time. 

I published my first columns on the subject of 9/11 on the old “The Political” on June 3 and 24, 2004.  In them I speculated that the WTC attack would be for the Bush Administration what the Reichstag Fire had been for Hitler and the Nazis.  Among other things, I noted that

  1. The Republicans knew that their man didn’t really win, and further, is a minority President (a fact the media have completely ignored). 

  2. Their guy is a weakling (just like Hindenburg was). 

  3. There is a recession underway. 

  4. They have lost control of the Congress through the defection of Jeffords. 

Since that happened, none of their programs, from energy/environmental policy to more tax-cuts for the wealthy and the large corporations, are going through.  What to do?  Meet their needs, of course.  At what cost?  At whatever cost, just as long the whole thing is kept secret.  The needs to be met included the following:

  1. Replacing a weak chief executive with a strong one, either literally or functionally. 

  2. Finding an excuse for the recession, so that this doesn’t get blamed on this Bush and the Republicans, as was the last one. 

  3. Bypassing or having a compliant Congress on important measures (since they couldn’t possibly win votes on stuff like invading Afghanistan to secure a route for the oil pipeline from the Caspian to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan, or securing major, retroactive tax cuts for the large corporations, or trashing the environment on their own). 

  4. Being able to ignore the judiciary (which, despite their efforts since the Reagan years, still has some judges who know what the Constitution is, e.g., the one who has put a stay on Ashcroft’s repeal-by-decree of the Oregon law permitting people control over the end of their lives). 

  5. Eliminating Constitutional rights by Presidential decree, but even more important,    establishing that the President could commit such a revolutionary act by decree.

  6. Giving the President the possibility of presiding over a “permanent war” against terrorism. 

Hmm.  Some motivations to, “do something, no?”

So, tons of questions about the officially accepted conspiracy theory have been raised.  I will not go through all of them here.  I will just raise a few of my favorites (none of which have anything to do with pre-set explosives; the physicists and engineers can deal very well with those), in no particular order of importance. 

  • Why has there never been an investigation of  Pentagon bombing? 

  • What about that 16 ft. in diameter symmetrical hole in an interior Pentagon wall with no surrounding wreckage of which there is (or at least was) photographic evidence? According to the official conspiracy theory it was made by a hollow aluminum tube that managed to penetrate not just one Pentagon wall but two. 

  • Why did the scrambled  jets not attack like the protocols provide for in suspected high-jackings? 

  • What was Bush thinking for the famous seven minutes that he continued to sit in front of the class to whom he had been reading a story?  “Ohmigod, they never told me being President meant having to deal with this kind of thing.”  “Ohmigod, Osama hinted at stuff and we knew it, but he never let on that he had something like this in mind?”  “Ohmigod, how did Cheney manage this one?”  

  • Whatever he was thinking, why did Bush label it a “terrorist” attack right away, after the first plane hit, before there was scrap of real evidence that it was? 

  • Why were the bin Ladens flown out of the country during the three-day period when US airspace was totally shut down, without being questioned by the FBI? 

  • Why were Bush and Cheney not interviewed separately by the Commission and why not under oath?

  • Why did Bush oppose the establishment of any Commission so vigorously?  Why was the WTC wreckage removed by the direct order of New York City Mayor Giuliani before forensic examination of it could occur? 

As to folks much more important than I am who have raised their own serious questions, the list includes credible authorities who have all raised serious questions about the official conspiracy theory, as have many other current and former intelligence and law enforcement operatives. Here is a partial listing:

  • 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton,

  • 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer,

  • 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland (who resigned from the Commission),

  • 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey, 

  • Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer),

  • Daniel Ellsberg, 

  • 27-year CIA veteran, Raymond McGovern (who handled National Intelligence Estimates), 

  • 29-year CIA veteran, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis William Bill Christison,

  • CIA Operations Officer Lynne Larkin,

  • Decorated 20-year CIA veteran Robert Baer,

  • Division Chief of the CIA’s Office of Soviet Affairs Melvin Goodman,

  • Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham,

  • Senator Patrick Leahy,

  • Republican Congressman Ron Paul,

  • Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich,

  • Republican Congressman Jason Chafetz, 

  • Former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel,

  • Former Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee,

  • Former U.S. Democratic Congressman Dan Hamburg, and

  • Former U.S. Republican Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Curt Weldon.

Ah, but there’s the GOP/Tea-Party/Right telling us that anyone who challenges in any way the official Bush/Cheney 9/11 Commission conspiracy theory is not a patriot.  Patriotism can be defined as love of country and devotion to its best interests.  Would not one think that THE patriotic thing to do is to answer all of these questions. 

Hey, maybe the official conspiracy theory is the correct one.  But shouldn’t that be proven to just about everyone’s satisfaction?  Isn’t it unpatriotic not to and let the suspicions fester, on and on?  Well, to this old-fashioned patriot the answer to that question is, “Yes.”  And, maybe someday there will be some true patriots in high enough places to get at those answers.

Dr. Steven Jonas is a distinguished academic and acclaimed author who is a native New Yorker and lifetime resident of New York City.

Articles by: Prof. Steve Jonas

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