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9-11 was a national job

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September 1, 2011


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By Philip Kraske

Ten years on, let's dispense with the gnarled arguments, the nitpicking, the straw men raised and wrecked. Let's bypass the dreary crazies, nod at the outraged, and shrug off the naive who state with the simplicity of a theorem that Our Government Would Never Do a Thing Like That. Enough of them.

After ten years of investigations, let's invoke the commonest of common sense and say what is clear: the destruction of the Twin Towers resulted from the acutely-timed detonations of pre-placed explosives. Nothing else explains the instant and utter pulverizing of 220 floors of foot-thick concrete. Nothing else explains the searing heat of the dust clouds that gushed through Manhattan. Nothing else explains the near free-fall speed of the towers' plunges, each of a thousand steel beams shearing and snapping on cue with no more resistance than air offers to a falling stone. If the Twin Towers were rigged beforehand, then so was the entire attack. Let's begin there.

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The culprits are unknown; they always are in these cases. Mohammed Atta and his colleagues, who by every account had more in common with the Keystone Kops than James Bond, may be safely disqualified: they barely had the skills to fly jetliners, much less pull off a demolition operation. Their role, as they sneaked around to meetings and flight-training classes, thinking themselves secret and clever, was to serve as scapegoats.

Who then? Michael Ruppert, in a complicated argument, accuses Vice President Cheney of being at the helm that day. Alan Sabrosky points at the swift, infallible Israelis. The diligent young men who produced Loose Change say it was the neocons. The rabble's chant has it that "9-11 was an inside job," as if the fighter pilots around Washington had been called together a week in advance and advised that, come next Tuesday, table tennis in the lounge would really be the better part of valor.

Yet we only need to look the packaging of the event and its gargantuan aims to discover the guilty. Terror, as John le Carre' reminds us, is theater. It wasn't enough to ram the buildings with jetliners, counting on the quick reflexes of cameramen who might or might not catch the moment, and even then out of focus and poorly framed. And smoking skyscrapers, secretaries waving hankies from the windows -- what is that but the merest police-beat story? And afterwards, the fires put out, the buildings would have been repaired and businesses re-started.

No, airliners hitting buildings was not enough. For the aim was to give the tectonic plates of history a good old country shove and move America into a new era of fear at home and conquest abroad. Even at the terrible risk of detection, the buildings had to be destroyed, come crashing down live and in color, with fifty cameras rolling. That's theater. That's shoving history.

So if we want to look for culprits, let's ask: Who could combine such Hollywood showmanship with such Shakespearean ambition? Only the high mandarins of American foreign policy, many of them bitterly impatient in the late 90s with Bill Clinton's reluctance to take superpowerdom out of the garage and onto the open road. Who could recruit the right people, open the right doors, and quietly distribute the millions necessary? Only the most well-connected folks in the land. Who had the means, the organization, the local knowledge? The military and the security services. And that, sad to say, is as close as we'll ever get to naming 9-11's "intellectual authors."

But in a certain sense, it doesn't matter much. The guilt of 9-11 spreads across the entire nation, though certainly thicker in some places than others. As Vaclav Havel said at his inauguration as president of Czechoslovakia, "When I talk about the contaminated moral atmosphere...I am talking about all of us. We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it. In other words, we are all - though naturally to differing extents - responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery. None of us is just its victim. We are all also its co-creators...We have to accept this legacy as a sin we committed against ourselves."

Yes, the weasels of 9-11 -- a fitting name; let's use it -- have retired by now, protected by steel and electronics and, most important of all, the silence of their enablers. Some of the latter stay mum out of a dire patriotism -- "The nation needs to heal, sir." -- but surely most of them out of fear. I'm talking first about the guys who quietly wired the buildings, the guys who let them in and then went back to the sports report, the other guys who equipped them, and the accountants who noticed the missing stock and figured it must have been mice who ate it. Everyone kept their head down.

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I'm also talking about diplomats who noticed odd meetings, forensic specialists who fudged reports, air-traffic controllers who knuckled under to gag orders, airline officials who quietly rescheduled a few assignments, the government employees warned off flights, intelligence officials who made sure that local agents stayed off the trail of the hijackers -- the list is long. And nobody talked. 9-11 was not an inside job -- not in the least. It was a home-grown, true-blue national effort.

It has to be said, of course, that a few brave people, such as Susan Lindauer, have tried to get the word out about the irregularities they witnessed. But compared to the hundreds of individuals who must hold greater or lesser pieces of the jigsaw, they are a tiny fraction.

So let's give the weasels their due: they've won. They pulled off a huge and complex secret operation in plain view, and ten years on, the official legend of 9-11 is intact: Bin Laden, suicide pilots, box cutters, weakened beams, dust clouds, Ground Zero. The weasels have kept the whole 9-11 controversy out of the public mind and on the Internet, where it has faded into a curiosity, like Area 51 or sightings of Elvis.

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I was born in Detroit in 1959, though I lived my formative years in Stillwater, Minnesota, a town just south of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, or at least one of the villages he based it on. I graduated from Stillwater High in 1977 and from the (more...)

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