(2 PM – promoted by TheMomCat)
Effectively, the end of the USA occurred on 9/11/01. Two major forces collided that day. The first was a group of oligarchs who wanted to institute authoritarian rule on an unruly and increasingly (form their POV) immoral nation. The second group was the majority of citizens in the American Republic who were basking in the glow of vast technological change that was providing them with an enormous playground full of toys and cheap baubles who had lost practically all interest in the responsibilities of citizenship–who wanted, in short, a blue pill. During the course of the day many reports came in, no one knew what was happening. Buildings collapsed that were designed to withstand plane crashes at near free-fall speed, explosions were heard and recorded before those collapses. Commentators noted that the collapse of WTC 1 and 2 were eerily similar to controlled demolitions. People like me, who knew Washington DC very well, were stunned at the plane crash into the Pentagon knowing that the building was surrounded by anti-aircraft and anti-missile missiles confusion reigned. Then somehow the government let it be known that Al-Qaida was responsible and that was the explanation.
I was surprised by several things during the weeks that followed the attacks. First was that in the few days following the attacks I was monitoring C-span radio and the odd call-in shows and one heard, often, “what did we do to these people that made them so angry?” suddenly within a few days these comments stopped and a flood of patriotic, jingoistic crap started flowing out of people. Journalists stated their willingness to take part in this “war” and to their duty–not their duty to us as citizens but their duty as part of the military operations that were to follow. I saw a glee, a joy in the eyes of mainstream journalists that now they too could be part of a “greatest generation” and undergo the trials and tribulations of “wartime.” The feeling of national exhileration over this tragedy was astonishing–people all over from all walks of life were flying flags on their cars–even on of my very liberal Harvard educated friends put a flag on his car. People delighted in this sense of unity and the events of 9/11 bonded a nation–we were all fellow Americans engaged in one common struggle against evil–comic books were coming to life!
About two years earlier I had shared an office with a Chinese academic who had been, in fact, sent to the Mongolian labor camp for his middle and high school years during the Cultural Revolution because his family had been, for generations, scholars. It turned out he was quite nationalistic in his way and believed that the U.S. was all bluster in its dealings and that Americans were too soft to respond aggressively to threats. I warned him that this was a big mistakes. Americans would react hysterically to any attack or major threat in ways that would involve massive overreaction. Americans were, I told, him on a hair-trigger of anger. Indeed what is, on the surface series of massive terrorists acts that ought by non-state actors should, rationally speaking, been handled as primarily a criminal act was instead a causus belli against the entire world. Suddenly we found our selves joyous warriors who were fighting not only against a few hundred largely Arab terrorists but “terror” itself. In that cause we were willing to trash not only the Constitution, rule-of-law but the very basis of English common law–habeas corpus in the virtual blink of the eye. We, as a country, were no longer bound to international treaties, no longer bound to any laws or normal procedures–note that none of the normal procedures to investigate the plane crashes or building collapses were followed–in fact it took over a year of intense lobbying to get the government to agree to an investigation of the events. And even that “investigation” focused, not on the events, but on the immediate government response which was whitewashed in the most obvious way possible. I saw some of the hearings and, as a veteran of the world of Washington DC, I recognized the winks and nudges that are de rigeur at hearings were questioner and witness are in basic agreement on the fundamental story and were just going through a pro-forma procedure to please the peasants.
Americans wanted to believe the story the government told them. The story provided a beautiful and heroic mythological framework that allowed people to feel good about themselves–people envied our success and wanted to destroy us but, instead, we would destroy them! Ha! They’ll see might of American weaponry and rue the day they envied us. We’ll make them pay and make them love it. That was the general attitude across the political spectrum. There were reservations on the left that maybe general war wan’t a good idea–but let’s be clear here: the official left–the Amy Goodmans, Chomsky’s, Alex Cockburns and most of the rest of them (with a half a handful of notable exceptions) fiercely attacked anyone doubting the official story in the least bit. Not even a sliver of doubt was allowed other than a few tepid questions introduced by Michael Moore in his movie concerning the events. But no one outside the world of “conspiracy theorists” entertained doubts. This kind of created a big question mark over my head that lasted at least a year. The events stunned me, the reaction to events stunned me but when I began looking into the facts I found that there were none to back up the official story. I remember channeling Church Lady on 9/11–“how conveeeeennnieeeent” but beyond that I didn’t care to look too deeply. When I did look into it I was stunned by how obvious it was that the government was involved. It seemed to me that looking at the sum-total of the events from the fighter jets no scrambling through the strange building collapses, through the impossibility of the flight that hit the Pentagon that there were too many discrepancies and eventually the truth would come out. What shocked me was how little cover-up there was. The fraud was perpetrated in plane (heh) sight! Any reasonable person looking at the facts couldn’t accept the official story. Yet, any mention of evidence to the contrary of the official story was met with universal anger and derision. If you get a chance you should read Alex Cockburn’s vicious attacks on those who were “conspiracy nuts” the whole piece was a cartoon version of one of Donald Ducks temper-tantrums without a shred of fact only diatribe and vague speculations: for example, why did the towers fall at near free-fall speed? Well, obviously, the mafia which controlled the construction trades at the time made use of inferior steel (quite a conspiracy theory itself). It was then and there that I began to have an idea that the left in America was rotten to the core and worse than useless the equivalent of the Stasi-opposition–meaning a fake (for show) opposition if not in fact at least virtually.
Thus, it was no surprise that, in the end, the left in America proved to be as insubstantial a any opium dream. Without a coherent left the right would run wild and it did. We now live in a authoritarian state with many elements of fascism but perhaps more elements of neo-feudalism. Regardless, by any reasonable measure we are not living any longer in a Constitutional Republic with democratic institutions. We have had a decade of questionable elections (Florida 2000, Georgia 2002, Ohio and Florida 2004) such that maybe there is no need any longer to have questionable elections. Just give candidates “offers they can’t refuse” if and when they get into office and you, if you are an oligarch, get most of what you want no matter who wins. The oligarchs need nothing more–just a more supine and compliant public that will, eventually, even offer voluntarily their first born children as sex-slaves to their masters. We could, through collective effort slow this movement or even reverse it to some extent–but we can never return to Constitutional rule. I see no reasonable course to that except one. And that one course open to us and it is, clearly, the ONLY course is to have an independent evidence-based investigation of 9/11. It is the only possible form of opposition that might be worth pursuing if any of yo are serious about being in opposition. Any other course is easily checkmated by the authorities as Occupy clearly and graphically proved.