The anti-war movement has proven impotent to stop the war in Iraq despite the fact that the war was initiated on the basis of lies and deception. The anti-war movement stands helpless to prevent President Bush from attacking Iran or any other country that he might demonize for harboring a future 9/11 threat.
September 11 enabled Bush to take America to war and to keep America at war even though the government’s explanation of the events of September 11 is mired in controversy and disbelieved by a large percentage of the population.
Although the news media’s investigative arm has withered, other entities and individuals continue to struggle with unanswered questions. In the six years since 9/11, numerous distinguished scientists, engineers, architects, intelligence officers, pilots, military officers, air traffic controllers, and foreign dignitaries have raised serious and unanswered questions about the official story line.
Recognition of the inadequacy of the official account of the collapse of the twin towers is widespread in the scientific and technical community. One of the most glaring failures in the official account is the lack of an explanation of the near free-fall speed at which the buildings failed once the process began. Some scientists and engineers have attempted to bolster the official account with explanations of how this might happen in the absence of explosives used in controlled demolitions.
One recent example is the work of Cambridge University engineer, Dr. Keith Seffen, published in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics and reported by the BBC on September 11, 2007. Dr. Seffen constructed a mathematical model that concludes that once initiation of failure had begun, progressive collapse of the structures would be rapid.
Another example is the work of retired government scientist Dr. Manuel Garcia, commissioned by CounterPunch to fill the gaping void in the official report. Garcia concludes, as does Seffen, that explosives are not necessary to explain the near free-fall speed at which the WTC buildings collapsed.
Seffen and Garcia each offer a speculative hypothesis about what could have happened. Their accounts are not definitive explanations based on evidence of what did happen. Thus, Seffen and Garcia bring us to the crux of the matter: To understand the buildings’ failures, we must rely on theoretical speculative models, because the forensic evidence was not examined. Their explanations thus have no more validity than a speculative hypothesis that explains the failure of the buildings as a result of explosives.
To rationally choose between the hypotheses, we would need to see how well each fits with the evidence, but most of the evidence was quickly dispersed and destroyed by federal authorities. Most of the evidence that remains consists largely of human testimony: the hundred witnesses who were inside the two towers and who report hearing and experiencing explosions and the televised statement of Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the WTC properties, who clearly said that the decision was made “to pull” WTC 7.
Today, six years after 9/11, money, ideologies, accumulated resentments, and political careers are all allied with the official story line on 9/11. Anyone on a Republican mailing list or a conservative activist list, such as Young Americans for Freedom, knows that fundraising appeals seldom fail to evoke the 9/11 attack on America. The 9/11 attacks gave neoconservatives their “new Pearl Harbor” that enabled them to implement their hegemonic agenda in the Middle East. The 9/11 attacks gave Americans boiling with accumulated frustrations a foe upon whom to vent their rage. Politicians, even Democrats, could show that they stood tall for America. George W. Bush has invested two presidential terms in “fighting terror” by invading countries in the Middle East.
September 11 doubters are a threat to the legitimacy of these massive material and emotional interests. That is why they are shouted down as “conspiracy theorists.” But if the government’s story has to be improved by outside experts in order to be plausible, then it is not irrational or kooky to doubt the official explanation.
Elements of the American left-wing are also frustrated by 9/11 doubters. CounterPunch, for example, views 9/11 as blowback from an immoral US foreign policy and as retribution for America’s past sins in the Middle East. Manuel Garcia shares this viewpoint. In the September 12, 2007, CounterPunch, Garcia writes that “rationalists and realists” are people who see 9/11 “as blowback from decades of inhuman US foreign policy.” Viewing 9/11 as a government conspiracy lets US foreign policy off the hook.
This is a legitimate point of view. But it has a downside. September 11 was the excuse for committing yet more inhuman deeds by initiating open-ended wars on both Muslims and US civil liberties. Defending the government’s account, instead of pressing the government for accountability, was liberating for the Bush administration.
Even in the official account, the story is one of massive failures: the failures of US intelligence services, the failures of airport security, the failures to intercept the hijacked airliners, the failures to preserve evidence. If a common front had taken the Bush administration to task both for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks and for an explanation of 9/11 so inadequate that its plausibility depends on outside experts, Bush could not have so easily shifted the blame to Afghanistan and Iraq. Most 9/11 doubters do not insist on the US government’s complicity in the deed. Failure to protect, or incompetence, is a sufficient charge to deter an administration from war by turning it against itself with demands for accountability.
But no one was held accountable for 9/11 except Muslim countries. This is the reason the anti-war movement is impotent.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.
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