By Philip Kraske
We are mid-way through the 9-11 tenth anniversary week of syrupy, pornographic, pseudo-religious breast-beating in America -- one of those weeks, as with the O.J. verdict and Michael Jackson's death, when I'm particularly glad to live in Spain.
I need all those words to describe the thoroughness of the campaign, of which I've had several tastes on CNN and mainstream news websites. "Syrupy" refers to the stories of the victims' loved ones, "pornographic" to the footage of the planes hitting the towers, shown again and again, for that thrill is never gone; "pseudo-religious" for the closed eyes and determined expressions as dignitaries lead the masses in communing with their Maker. "Breast-beating" connotes that slithering undercurrent of self-pity: why oh why do they hate us so much?
It would be a pleasure to write "introspective" to describe the commemoration of 9-11. And if the major media had done their job and investigated the not-all-that-abstruse loose ends and oddities of the event -- if, for example, they had looked into the serious allegations by serious people that Al Qaeda's plot was widely known in American intelligence circles -- they might have exposed the cruel ambition of our leaders; whose names and party affiliations have by now changed, of course, even if the change is only -- no racism intended -- skin-deep. If the media had done their job, America might have thrown off the yoke of plutocracy, jailed the many who deserved it, and gone a long way to renewing itself as a republic.
But the media took its cue from government and told the tale it was supposed to, and today we have what we have: syrup, porn, pseudo-religion, and breast-beating.
The media's neglected duty was necessarily taken up by average citizens. David Ray Griffin , for example, who has published several books about 9-11, is a theologian.
Politicians and the infamous 9-11 Commission were also remiss, so instead of real subpoenas and laws and trials, citizens must resort to those bluntest of democratic instruments: the hopeful referendum, the earnest petition. The former percolate through many states, and petitions for a new investigation are multitudinous. The architects have one, the firemen have one, lawyers have another, and so do prominent Americans .
Well, they all have fine intentions. The trouble is that, short of a Soviet Union-style revolution in America that lets us rifle the files of the CIA, neither referendums nor petitions will ever go anywhere. Because 9-11 is nothing less than the breach in the wall of the citadel. Through it a great deal could be brought to light about the political class's malevolent deeds and future plans. So the breach is guarded carefully by all those who have found the good life under the auspices of the nation's leaders.
For not just the leaders could find themselves on the business end of the accusing finger, but many of the country's institutions. The media, as I've said, assiduously dodged their reponsibilities. The military and security services are guilty for at least some level of participation in 9-11 and later coverup. Hundreds and hundreds of Americans, from government accountants who noticed odd expenses to diplomats who observed strange meetings, all of whom have come to realize they hold pieces of the 9-11 story, have not come forward; justice will have to wait till the mortgage is paid. And especially, average Americans cling fast to their Civics-class view of the country, unwilling to take a chance on seeing it proven wrong. The guilt of 9-11 actually spreads from coast to coast.
No, where 9-11 is concerned, few Americans hold any truck with Thomas Jefferson's observation that "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." Hence both petitions and referendums are doomed. No real investigation will ever come to light outside the electronic flickering of the Internet.
Which brings us back to our National Patriotic Splurge Week. It has a very clear purpose. As the nation "comes together in mourning" amidst the daily fare of 9-11 footage, the subtext is pounded home, especially to those Civics-class Americans: America is strong and democratic and on the side of good. The real question is the future: are we ready for the next attack? The important thing is to "move on."
And move on we will. Dwelling on problems is not in any case a terribly American thing to do. Just as in Spain, where the present accounting of the massacres committed by General Franco's forces in the 1936-39 Civil War has had to wait till the death of the dictator, in 1975, plus 35 years, and only then on the insistence of judges rather than the government, the 9-11 truth movement will have to wait many decades for even the most basic accounting of the event.
Short of revolution, that is. And if the American political class doesn't wake up and start caring for the nation and the people, they just might get it.