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Proof that the 9/11 Commission Didn't Do Its Job and Evidence It Doesn't Care

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Proof the Commission Didn't Do Its Job

I do not know what the truth is about 9/11. I don't know whether the official version of events is substantially correct or whether it's full of holes, whether it was basically an honest job or was a cover-up. I've studied the matter enough to know some subtantial points on both sides, but I lack the knowledge and the expertise that would be required to draw any hard-and-fast conclusions.

But now I do know something. I know that the 9/11 Commission has failed to do its job, and that it is not acting responsibly in view of that fact.

The job of a commission like that appointed to study and to report to the nation on the events of 9/11 is two-fold. First, it is to investigate the events and to draw valid conclusions about what happened. Second, it is to enable the American people to come to a common understanding about an important and sensitive part of our history.

Such consensus is vital because disagreements and suspicions about such national traumas are potentially poisonous to the body politic. (In Germany after World War I, for example, the belief that their defeat was due not to events on the battlefield against the enemy but to a "stab in the back" from parts of the German society helped to lay the foundations for the coming to power of the Nazis, and for all the nightmares that followed from that.) And the Commission certainly understood full well the centrality of this consensus-creating function.

Whether or not the 9/11 Commission fulfilled the first function --to establish what happened-- some recent poll data prove indisputably that it has failed with respect to the second. A Zogby poll shows that more than 40% of Americans believe there has been a cover-up.

When nearly half of the population of the United States does not trust the truthfulness of the 9/11 Commission's Report, the Commission clearly has failed to do its job.

Evidence that the Commission Doesn't Care

The Zogby poll data presented, as I saw it, an opportunity. And I took steps to see if that opportunity could be seized.

What I thought the poll data might help to occur would be to have a real debate --fair and rigorous-- between strong advocates of both the Commission's explanation of 9/11 and of the skeptics and challengers to that position.

That seemed to me important for the nation because up till now there has not been any such confrontation between the different positions, and such a confrontation would be the best way to get the truth to emerge. Just as in a courtroom procedure, different propositions can get clarified and tested, so also in a well-conducted debate.

I contacted some of the more prominent challengers to the official version and found them eager to participate in such a debate. They also indicated doubts that the people associated with the Commission would be willing to join in such a process, because they'd found those people unresponsive to previous invitations to engage with them.

But I hoped that, with the poll data indicating clearly that the Commission had failed pretty seriously to achieve the goal of resolving the uncertainties of the American people, the moment was propitious to try to enlist their participation in such a debate. So I wrote the following letter to members of the Commission, as well as (with slight variations) to others with technical knowledge who'd been associated with the Report.

Dear [Name],

As you probably know, a recent poll (conducted by Zogby in May) discovered that a substantial portion of Americans quite skeptical about the report of the 9/11 Commission, on which you served [or "to whose work you contributed"].

From Wikinews: "Forty-five percent of American adults surveyed in a Zogby poll think that the September 11, 2001 attacks should be investigated anew. Poll results indicated that 42% believe that there has been a cover up (with 10% unsure)..."

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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