First I'll direct you over to SuperFiancee's excellent 9/11 tribute post today. If you haven't read it yet, please hit the link. Unlike the fuming diatribe you're about to read here, hers is an entirely compassionate piece, void of anger or finger pointing, a simple remembrance of a day of mourning for a nation, and one person in particular who died on this day five years ago.
Me, I can't rise above it as well as she does.
When I read, on her site or anywhere else, about a particular person who was lost that day, I am filled with sickening rage. I was at work on September 11, 2001, in the Tampa City Clerk's office. A quick check of the PC's calendar function tells me it was a Tuesday, a detail I otherwise would never have remembered. This means it was a pretty slow day in the City Clerk's office; Council meetings were on Thursdays (for all I know, they still are) and there was always a lot of activity then, but Tuesdays were often quiet.
I remember the woman at the desk next to mine, who always seemed to spend most of her day on personal phone calls (which I didn't mind, I felt it amply justified me spending most of my day working on whatever personal writing project I was typing at that day instead of the City Council minutes I was supposed to be transcribing at any given moment). She put down the phone and went to our Deputy City Clerk (the actual City Clerk at that time, Janett Martin, was either already dead of cancer, or busy at home fighting a losing battle against it, I can't remember which, but I do remember Janett was a strong, smart, capable woman and I'm sure the City of Tampa is much the worse without her) and said "My mom just mentioned something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center... okay if I turn the TV on?" She got the okay, and flipped on the set, and that was how it was that, however many minutes later, we all saw the second jet, in a blur of unthinkable velocity, impact the other tower of the WTC.
And, again, however many minutes later it was, that was how we all saw the WTC go slumping, in what seemed like horribly accelerating slow motion, to the ground.
I think we all walked around in shock, feeling strange and fragile and distant, for the rest of the day. I remember someone poking their head into the office and advising us we could leave around 1 o'clock. I remember going home and turning on my TV and watching for the rest of the day. I remember, in succeeding days, cutting a paper American flag out of my local paper and hanging it from my balcony. I remember drawing a cartoon tribute to the valiant passengers on Flight 93, and I remember sending angry emails and posting angry posts about how badly I wanted to see the perpetrators punished, and specifically, how badly I wanted those goddam dancing Arab kids and that goddam dancing Arab woman in the stupid fucking glasses that all the news channels showed a clip of singing and celebrating in the streets, to be bombed back into their component atoms.
And I also remember thinking, and even talking about with a few other people via email, how it would be so obvious that the 9/11 attack was a ploy on the part of Bush, Cheney, the Republican party, the conservative movement, and the international corporations pulling the strings on all of that -- given just how much Bush's otherwise poisoned Presidency was going to benefit from this, given how easy 9/11 was going to make it to move our country towards the kind of totalitarian, permanently militarized police state that all fascists dream of running -- well, you couldn't help but think "maybe they set this up". Or even if they didn't, "maybe they let it happen". Because, you know, when you ask the oldest question in the world in such things -- "who benefits?" -- the answer is, again, obvious.
I thought that, but then dismissed it, because it was, well, unthinkable to me, just as it's unthinkable to all of you few people who read this blog. I believed Bush and Cheney were unprincipled, opportunistic men who put their own interests, and the interests of the companies they worked for and their stock portfolios, ahead of the interests of the people they supposedly represented. I believed they stole the 2000 Presidential election, and I believed they did it through fraud and chicanery and outright thuggery and I believed... I knew... that they were dishonorable and low men of poor character and not at all worthy of the high offices they had bamboozled their ways into. I believed that... yet I could not believe that they were actively mass-murderous, that they could be knowingly complicit in the cold blooded murder of 3,000 of the people whose safety and wellbeing they were charged with.
Or, to put it more exactly, I did not want to believe it and I refused to believe it, exactly the way all of you do. If Cheney and Bush and Rumsfield and Ashcroft et al had conspired in the execution of 9/11, or known about it and refused to take any steps to stop it, they were far worse than simply corrupt politicians. They were monsters; ghoulish mass murderers conniving at atrocity for their own personal gain. I could not believe that; I did not want to live in a world where that was true. It would be like waking up one day and discovering that the President, Vice President, Supreme Court, and Congress of the United States were entirely populated with Satan worshipping vampires.
Nowadays... well, I am not so naive. Nowadays, I believe that Cheney and Bush and Rumsfield and Ashcroft and I cannot even begin to list how many other members of the government, and the shadowy power structure behind our government, did indeed know that 9/11 was being planned, and not only did nothing about it, but actively enabled it. I believe they did it exactly for political gain. I believe that people working within our government brought the two towers down, and killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens as they went about their daily workday lives, simply so they could start a war they had been planning since the 1980s and get rid of the Constitution and funnel trillions of dollars in tax dollars into their own pockets. I believe it because I have read things like this, and this and this and this and this, and even this.
But even when you believe this monstrosity, you still can't get your head fully around it. I and millions of other people like me -- billions, maybe -- sat there and watched the planes hit the towers and the towers and the people in them burn and fall, resulting in thousands of deaths, THOUSANDS. And you can accept that the people in power in our government cooked an election, and you can accept that they are corrupt, and you can accept that they will do anything to move their terrifyingly totalitarian agenda forward -- but, at worst and last, you cannot really accept that they would do anything because, Jesus Christ, they could not really have possibly known about 9/11 months in advance and done nothing, could they? They could not really have actively squelched investigations and buried warnings, could they? They could not actively have even planted explosive devices to bring down the towers if the plane impacts themselves weren't sufficient, could they?
No, no, no. They're bastards, and scum sucking pricks, and lying assholes, but... my God... deep down inside they are good decent patriotic American citizens, right?
You see the insane disconnect right in the middle of that sentence, but, like me, you cannot help but succumb to it. Otherwise, you are living in the world where the people who run our government actually own us, and they are drinking our blood. And who wants that? Who can stand it?
I used to have a fall back position, though. I used to argue against these traitorous, treasonous, blasphemous thoughts with one simple, irrefutable line of reasoning -- they could never get away with anything that big. You can't cover up something that big. It would leak and the media would have a field day with it and it would be the trial of the century.
Almost charming, isn't it, to think I still had that much faith in our media, only five years ago?
I believe the government of the United States of America actively conspired to kill 3,000 or more of its citizens 5 years ago this day. I believe that this government has reaped enormous benefits from this monstrous act, and they continue to milk this atrocity for every drop of advantage they can get to this day. I take some solace in the undeniable fact that this government is an illegal government, an outlaw government, an unelected government that sits in the high places of American power by no right but the fiat of unbridled corruption... but even that solace is limited, because if we Americans had risen up as one six years ago, the way the people of Ukraine did in 2004, none of this would have happened, and the world would not today be so dark a place.
So part of my rage is for me. And for you. And for all of us. But most of it is for the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rumsfields and the Ashcrofts of this world, who are happy to let a few thousand people die, if it means they get to remake America into a social and political landscape more to their liking.
Happy September 11. It sure is for the people in power.