Monday, August 14, 2006

One Day in September

Just about five years.

That's the answer to a question that's been taking up space in the back of my mind for some time now. It involves a difficult and painful subject -- which as it turns out, is precisely the reason why this particular answer is what it is. Easy topics make for easy discussion -- the stuff of cocktail parties and backyard Bar-BQs; but no one wants to be the one who brings up a dead relative on prom night -- or in this case, 3,000 dead relatives.

The question: how much time has to go by before Americans are willing to debate the official story of 9/11?

Now before you snort dirisively and turn away, assuming that I keep a lovely collection of tin-foil hats in my closet -- you should probably know where I'm going with this somewhat sensitive topic. I refuse to rehash the supposed facts which certain groups claim as proof of a conspiracy (as there are many); I also refuse to rehash the supposed facts which so many others claim as proof that conspiracy theorists are goddamned nuts (as there are just as many). The truth is, I'm not half as interested in the anatomy of an alleged conspiracy as I am in the anatomy of the theory itself.

I suppose however that in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that I think Oswald got off a few very lucky shots. I also think that it probably really was a weather balloon that went down in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. I'm certainly not blind to the possibility that conspiracies exist and that our own government can be involved, but I suppose that I've always been willing to give those in power the benefit of the doubt -- a fact which admittedly doesn't gel very well with my misanthropic nature; in fact, it's far more likely that I simply have bills to pay and a life to lead and don't have the time to concern myself with every little fucking thing.

And yet it's these very facts which have led to a nagging feeling that I can't seem to shake, no matter how much I'd like to.

I realize that there will always be those who will ask questions and doubt the reality of any given situation -- schizophrenics, argumentative assholes, philosophy students etc. -- but for the most part, the population of America is made up of people who trust their eyes and their gut; they'll believe something when it hits them in the face -- or flies into the side of a building. But what happens when events unfold in the aftermath that actually force you to go back and look at that initial moment in an entirely different way? I hate to once again bring up my best friend in the whole wide world, M. Night Shyamalan, but how many people rewatched the first hour-and-a-half of The Sixth Sense once the ending was revealed, simply to observe how deftly that eventual outcome was engineered?

America is now engaged in a war, the aim of which would seem to be to remake the Middle-East. It's a war prosecuted under the guise of protecting America from terrorism -- and by that very definition would be a war without any forseeable or even possible end. It's a war we are unfortunately not winning. It's a war that began on September 11th, 2001, as our president seems practically orgasmic in his desire to remind us. In fact, I'm pretty sure that George W. Bush believes that every time he mentions this in front of a television camera, an angel gets its wings.

The root question at the core of any conspiracy is always the same: who has something to gain?

Believe it or not, when it came time for me to decide whether or not to doubt the government's version of 9/11, this thought barely entered my mind.

Instead, I asked myself another question -- the simple logic of which became inescapable: after everything you've seen, would you believe anything these guys said or did?

Once again, I'm not a conspiracy theorist -- but there's just no denying that this administration has made it astoundingly easy to become one. In the past four years, I've seen more lies, more cover-ups, more dirty tricks, more purposeful fear-mongering, more outright arrogant disregard for the rule of law and basic reason that if Dick Cheney told me what time it was, I'd get a second opinion.

Quite frankly, they've lost the benefit of the doubt that I was formerly so willing to hand over.

There goes the first hurdle to ostensibly questioning my government's story.

The second, as I mentioned, was my desire to simply keep busy living my own life. Awhile back I wrote about the belief that if your entire existence is a lie, then that lie actually becomes the truth. An offshot of that assertion is this: the smaller the lie, the easier it is to see through -- the better it stands out among all those truths. Let me put it another way: I'm actually more inclined to believe that an alleged conspiracy would be behind the deaths of 3,000 people than behind say, 30. The logic is flawless. The larger the act, the less likely it would be questioned -- and the more likely that those who did question it would automatically become pariahs.

To those who insist that there's simply no way that a college kid with a video camera -- or any other average American -- could expose a cover-up so vast (and not be killed by the same shadowy forces behind that cover-up), you're not understanding the beauty of something so perfectly engineered (if in fact it was). The fact that you're unwilling to even consider such a possibility renders the threat from him completely impotent. It's simply beyond the realm of rational thought that our own government could have a role in something so hideous, which is why a conspiracy of this magnitude would create its own impenetrable shield of protection for those involved.

This is all academic though; the fact is that I don't know what I really believe about what happened that day. I know what I saw, and that first impression remains a logical one.

I do know however that it's never a good idea to stop asking questions -- certainly not these days.

(I guess I should take this opportunity to say hello to the nice folks at the NSA. To everyone else, as Bill Hicks used to say -- don't worry, the dick jokes return tomorrow.)


buddha said...

heh heh heh... luckily i'm a canadian citizen so i can say that i think george w bush and the rest of the "elite" where totally behind 9/11 and that there is a whole lot of truth behind all the talks about oil and war mongering for financial gain etc etc... of course that might mean i'm not going to atlantic city to gamble any time soon but there are casinos in canada too i suppose... on a serious note i went to "ground zero" after the attack and was appalled at what i saw... so much destruction and suffering... no one deserves to see let alone feel that...

Chez said...

My first assignment in NY after 9/11 was at the Armory at 25th and Lexington -- which is where they sent the families looking for loved ones. Believe me when I tell you -- that was worse than Ground Zero.

Eric Blade said...

I spent the vast majority of that day staring in total disbelief and utter amazement, alternating between crying and nearly screaming rage.

I still have a hard time believing that any human(s) would have the balls to do that. That anyone could possibly make an effort to kill that many people.

Between the world going nuts, and my life going nuts shortly before that, I was driven to the alcohol. Drunken stupor nearly every night until sometime in 2005.

I'm over all that now (though I am having trouble sleeping again, and did consider a plug from the Absolut bottle, to see if it would help..) but the world is still crazy. In fact, it might even be crazier.

I believed all throughout my childhood, while my peers were growing up afraid of the Russians and Nuclear war, that the leaders of the world wouldn't have got to their positions if they weren't smart enough to realise the consequences.

Unfortunatly, since 2001, I no longer believe that the leaders of at least some parts of the world are that intelligent. I personally believe that there are some who actually would value money or some other form of ... something, i don't even know what... over potentially the existence of humanity.

There are certain people who have no thoughts whatsoever about the consequences of their actions. How they manage to end up in a leadership position, that just makes me very, very, very sad.

Having someone who has no regard to the consequences of their actions being in a position that could affect everyone in the world... just boggles my mind.

We're not even dealing with a war being fought on a battleground anymore, now it's moved onto a propaganda war.

mike m said...

I like the m night reference, but here's the problem with conpiracy theories. It gives too much credit to the ballsy. If these saudis were captured at Logan, they would be in jail now like that first WTC bomber, the guy who wears the santa hat.

Bush and co. occupy the white house for 4-8 years and they close up shop and leave. the military heads retire and go on the book and lecture circuit. Even the top execs. at the military industrial companies turn over fairly quickly. So where's the consisent power figure that pulls this stuff off? If you buy that there's a conspiracy, who is the scary son of a bitch pulling this off ? Old George Bush? Tony Blair? come on.

Like Al Haig tried when his boss got popped by a random nut, you've got this administration trying to capitalize on tragic events with thier spin on how it happened and what we should do about it. no conspiracy, just lunacy.

Robo said...

Follow me down the path for a second...I don't think this is true but I wouldn't put it past them.

9/11 was completely orchestrated to get America behind a war in Iraq which would then move the price of Crude to Record levels. Is is just a coincidence that all 19 douchebags were from Saudi Arabia and the Bush Clan is so close to them? So they start a never ending war in Iraq therefore controlling the #4(I believe) oil producing nation in the world in the middle of the most oil rich part of the world. Also it then provides us with a 'base' to launch an attack at Iran, Syria, and/or Lebanon much more easily to got it....take over their control of oil.

I don't think that Dubya is anywhere near this smart but all the power people pulling his strings are.

Just a thought that I was presented with a few years ago. But like you said Chez...I still have to get up and go to work everyday so it's more fun to think 'what if' then to really believe it.

VOTAR said...

I'm with Mike M on this one. The idea of a Conspiracy behind that event, and the events that evolved from it, is as tiresome and absurd as the plot of the DaVinci Code.

Reaching the conclusion that there is some shadowy Illuminatus pulling the strings of world events is as easy as reading a few articles about "anonymous white vans driven around New York by Mussad agents with video cameras posing as a moving company that closed up shop days after 9/11" (yeah, I saw that blog too), and filling in the gaps between disparate bits of information (each of which may in fact be more or less truthful) with connections that simply aren't there. Et Voila! A plot that would make Dan Brown jealous with envy...well, the average Scooby Doo episode accomplishes that effortlessly.

Yes, SOME (not all) of the 9/11 "douchebags" were Saudis. The mistake commonly made is that this is a matter of nation-states vying for supremacy...the reality is far less sophisticated, and ironically probably far more threatening.

9/11, Jonestown, Helter Skelter, Oklahoma City... all typified by a common element: some really f'ing stupid, impressionable people. This time, they got really, really lucky, while we were all really, really asleep.

The tragedy is how the hawks in this country commandeered the event and -- through a combination of ill-fated opportunism and sheer ineptitude -- plunged the world literally, I believe, to the brink of World War III.

I'm in the very uncomfortable position of having to admit I was a supporter of the idea of invading Iraq. There, I said it. Unlike the majority of people who didn't look past the "weapons of mass destruction" smoke screen, I read and saw what that imbicile Saddam was doing to people over there and said, rightly, "that guy has to go." Then I watched as our leaders did the ostensibly right thing the completely the wrong way at every possible turn.

Now here we are today, with newly-empowered madmen like Ahmedinijad and Nasrali, declaring victory.

Any of you ever play that board game RISK? In college, we used to sit in the student lounge until 4 in the morning huddled around the card table. We'd play for hours because if you get a few really good players at the table, you can play to a perpetual stalemate. But with a novice at the table, the result was always an overwhelming victory for the veteran player.

What we're looking at right now is the last few moves of a game of Risk. The genuinely well-intentioned but dismally ill-informed Newbie who has no business sitting at the table (but who saw his dad play for a while a few years ago, so "how hard could it be?") is up against an opponent who has been playing the game for the last 1,500 years, an opponent willing to wait for generations if necessary for the outcome of a gambit conceived before any of us were even born. The Risk map of the world, washed completely in the color of his game pieces (the green banner of Islam). Allah hu'Akbar.

We're in a war with an enemy that doesn't want land, or money, or the exclusive rights to the Northwest Passage. They want to detonate the Genesis Device...all human life replaced with their new matrix. They will win -- because like Kaiser Soze killing his entire family to demonstrate what Will truly is -- they can do things (like knock over buildings and blow up planes) toward this goal that to us seem individually pointless, if not counter-productive. Little, tiny moves in a much bigger game. But look, they've got us taking off our clothes at the airports now, and they've got the governments of the most advanced nations on earth dancing on the ends of strings being pulled from deep inside a cave in Pakistan.

Bill Mahr was right about two things. They hate us, because we don't even understand why they hate us. And -- the honest, ballsy, TRUE conclusion he tried to help us understand (that got his show cancelled) -- THEY ARE BRAVER THAN WE ARE. Could you fly a plane into a building just to murder some people you don't even know?

Chez said...

Extraordinarily well put.

doctor robert ibach said...


yyz said...

We have become so cynical and jaded we WANT it to be an elaborate conspiracy because it will make us more rightious in our dislike of the Bush era government and take away the realization that even the biggest and best nation in the world is not invulnerable.

Votar nailed it.

Chez said...

I can only speak for myself, but there isn't a chance in hell that I'd want this to be the result of an elaborate conspiracy.

As for feeling righteous in my dislike for this particular administration, believe me, it's done plenty of perfectly conspiculous shit to earn that.

Chez said...

conspicuous too.

Schwa Love said...

The way that this administration has been incompetently galumphing around the last few years, I don't believe that they orchestrated the events behind 9/11, though I don't rule the possibility out either. I just think it's a rather slim possibility. I usually go back and forth between them allowing it to happen hoping it would help advance their cause, and them just being utterly incompetent bumblefucks.

I am however conspiracetarded enough to believe that the war in Iraq is just an early strike against China in what will be a mad scramble for cheap energy over the next few decades.

Eric Blade said...

Bravery, yes. It certainly takes a gigantic pair to attack a country that could, at the drop of a hat, destroy the entire world. Of course, it would take an even bigger pair for the U.S. to actually do that.

Problem is, is that if we use any remotely tiny bit of our own WMD, then who's level have we stooped down to? But I bet if there were to be another attack in teh U.S. in any reasonable amount of memorable history, that had anywhere even resembling the devastation of the Trade Center attack, the majority of our citizenry would be urging the gubmint to turn it all into a giant glass parking lot, or make it Lake Middle East.

And if that were to happen, the other countries in the world just might get a little upset about it.

Back in the early 90's, I used to play a game that was a simulation of being the U.S. President.. I don't remember the name of it, but I had a lot of fun. Of course, any time you pulled out the big guns and nuked someone, their allies would crawl out of the woodwork to retaliate.

I'm not sure exactly what my point is here, except that I am more afraid now than I ever have been that the whole of people, society, whatever, could be destroyed during my lifetime.

I don't let that niggling fear get in my way of daily business, though.

Peter L. Winkler said...

I don't buy the 9/11 conpiracy stuff, and I've heard all the basic bullet points articulated by its proponents on radio shows like George Noori's and several on Pacifica station KPFK. There is no credible evidence behind their assertions.

Just to take one point. The 9/11 conspiracists say the Pentagon wasn't hit by a plane. Then what happened to the plane and its passengers? They have no answer or offer something ludicrous like they're being held incommunicado by the government somewhere.

Conspiracists want us to believe that the Bush & Co. that planned a perfect elaborate conspiracy didn't have the competency to go to war in Iraq with any semblance of a plan for occupying and pacifying the country?

Then we're told it's for control of Iraqi oil. Geez, it would have been easier to let go of sanctions and buy the oil from Saddam, and we would have saved hundreds of billions of dollars to boot.

Anonymous said...

Have you read anything from Project for a New American Century(PNAC)? The Washington think tank.

Chez said...

Yes indeedy -- Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Elliot Abrams' glorious dream of a brave new world. All they needed was a violent catalyst that would unite the country and the perfect empty vessel (or in this case empty-headed vessel) that could be easily manipulated in the aftermath.

Shit's working out real well, wouldn't you say boys? Remaking the world in America's image?

If it didn't have to come at such a catastrophically painful price, it would be almost enjoyable to watch the ludicrous neo-con dream go down the goddamned toilet.

theodicy said...

Back in the days when I was a young, responsible (liar) and a much thinner person, I remember watching the whole 9-11 thing on my big corporation's in-house close circuit TV's. The horror of the event really didn't sink in until I saw the towers collapse...then I was overwhelmed.

I've always had a healthy interest in international politics and military history, and there were a few of us at the big corporation who would often compare notes on the latest events happening around the world.

By 9-12 we were all in agreement that America was going to have to take-out Iraq and Saddam Insane...this well before anyone in the administration was (publically) talking about Iraq in a threatening way. Notice that we all agreed on IRAQ as a target of retaliation, not Afghanistan...which we had no doubt was going to be attacked as well. And we arrived at this conclusion within 24 hours of the attack.

It wasn't due to any sort of inside knowledge into the inner-workings of the vast, right-wing conspiracy that led us to believe we were headed for Gulf War II, just simple common-sense, coupled with an understanding of how governments and the Middle-East work.

But I must say, I truly find it to be the height of stupidity for anyone to think "the Joooooosssss" or President Bush was behind the events of 9-11. Anyone who has been paying any attention to the Mid-East knows that the Arabs hate everyone else who's not an Arab, espeically if they are a Jew.

Remember the parties and celebrations shown on the TV from Palestine? Remember how the Muslims were rejoicing in the streets for all the world to see? That wasn't a scripted celebration orchestrated by Karl Rove, but an honest sentiment of hate expressed by the "oppressed" peoples of the Mid-East. In other words, the events of 9-11 did exactly what their Arab terror masters wanted it to do: embaress the hell out of the United States, and unite the Muslim-Arabs of the Mid-East around their favorite warlord: Osama Bin-Laden.

Remember Ockham's Razor: entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.

Bush had nothing--NOTHING to gain from instigating the events of 9-11, nor did the oil companies or even Saudi Arabia. There's a hell of a lot easier ways to make money than contrive vast conspiracy theories that any moonbat left-wing idiot with a blog can see through in a New York minute.

The only party who had anything to gain from 9-11 is the party who eventually took responsiblity for it: Osama Bin-Laden. And I must say that in his defense, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

I can just seeing him sitting in his lovely cave, in some undisclosed location in Pakistan, reading the Daily Kos, and crying in his couscous because after doing all he could to take credit for the whole affair, the legion of dumb wants to pin the tail on Bush, who isn't smart enough to even properly conceal the conspiracy surrounding the stealing of an election.

What's a guy gotta do to get some attention anyway? Blow up a building? Naaaah, they'll just blame Bush.

BTW...if you think a couple of buildings and a few thousand lives lost is a bad deal, you shoulda been in Dresden Germany on Valentine's Day, 1945...

<>< TM