Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The “War on Terror” is said to have begun on September11, 2001. But is it possible that the war began beforethis date? Some people point to U.S. governmentcomplicity in the events of 9/11, either by not doing enoughto prevent it, or—more ominously—by actively planningfor it. Whatever the truth may be, there is plenty of conjecturethat what happened on that day doesn’t add up to thepopular version of the events.What is not in dispute is that public support for the Waron Terror was far greater after these attacks than it wouldhave been on September 10, 2001. Could it be that the attackswere allowed to happen to create public clamor for awar that would otherwise have been inconceivable? Manypeople have pointed to the possibility that 9/11 was a cloneof Pearl Harbor, an attack on the U.S. that was deliberatelyallowed to take place in order to further the war aims of apresident. But a more sinister comparison has been madeby those skeptical of the motives of the Bush administration.They claim that what happened was more akin to AdolfHitler’s burning of the Reichstag, the German Republic’sparliament, on February 27, 1933. Hitler blamed the fire onCommunists plotting against the state. But historians widelyaccept the view that a member of the Prussian interiorministry set fire to the building deliberately, on Hitler’sorders. Immediately after the fire Hitler announced anemergency decree which suspended the normal civilianrights and liberties of citizens and gave the governmentenormous authority to impose order. This was the beginningof the end for democratic values and the rise of Nazidictatorship.On October 3, 2001 Congress approved Bush’s PatriotAct, a similar bill which reduced the civil liberties ofAmericans and allowed the detention without trial of anyonethe government deemed a potential “security threat.”Furthermore, the public and political pressure for retaliationfor the attacks was intense, and neatly tied into theagenda of the “Project for a New American Century.” Thiswas a strategic document put forward by a group of neoconservativesin September 2000 outlining a new strategyfor American global dominance in the twenty-first century.This think tank included Dick Cheney, the vice president;Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense; Paul Wolfowitz,his deputy; Jeb Bush, brother of George and governor ofFlorida; and Lewis Libby, the leader of Bush’s 2000 electioncampaign team now working in the White House.The most intriguing part of the document concerns thereadjustment of American forces across the globe. The reportstates that only an incremental approach can be takento this radical restructuring owing to political and publicconstraints, unless there was “some catastrophic and catalyzingevent like a new Pearl Harbor.”Despite all this, however, there is still the question ofhow such an elaborate attack could have been prepared andexecuted by the government and its agencies without themedia becoming deeply suspicious. The most likely explanationis that the attacks were planned by Osama binLaden and Al Qaeda but that U.S. intelligence agencies didnot act upon the information they received to adequatelyprevent them. Evidence of their failure, whether deliberate or through incompetence, has been widespread followingCongressional investigations but without any smoking gun.Furthermore, the CIA and New York City counterterrorismoffices were based in Building 7 of the World Trade Centerand were therefore destroyed, along with any potentiallyincriminating evidence.The suspicions about intelligence are just part of thegrowing mistrust about the events that day, which reverberatedright around the world. On the day of the attacks geologicalsurveys in NewYork recorded the greatest amountof seismic activity as occurring immediately before the TwinTowers collapsed, and not when they hit the ground. Thishas led many people to the conclusion that the towers wereblown up with explosives underneath the building and notby the enormous volume of fuel that ignited after the twoairliners exploded; a belief reinforced by the way the towersimploded inwards instead of collapsing sideways.The evidence at the Pentagon also raises profound questions.Why was the Pentagon hit on the one side of thebuilding that happened to be empty on the day of the attacksowing to refurbishment? Why was there no visibleevidence of a destroyed airliner among the debris? Whywere no fighter jets scrambled to intercept the hijacked aircraftuntil after the third plane had hit the Pentagon, despiteit being a legal requirement in the U.S. for fighter jetsto be scrambled whenever a commercial airliner veers significantlyoff its flight path? How was so much informationknown about the hijackers and released to the media by theFBI so soon after the attacks, including details on a passportmiraculously found among the rubble of the TwinTowers?These question marks raise serious doubts about the officialversion of what happened on September 11. Manyare cynical of the report published only a year prior to thatdate; a report which would revolutionize America’s role inthe world toward ultimate military, political and socialhegemony, but one which would require a catastrophicevent. These cynics cannot accept that the occurrence of just such an event can be no more than coincidence. Can italso be mere coincidence that those who authored the reportare responsible for failing to prevent the attack and forcoordinating their desired global response?