Do you remember? Like most, I remember precisely what I was doing that morning six years ago. Very routine, nothing sensational.
I had just sat down in front of the computer with a cup of hot coffee to read the morning paper (no delivered newsprint since 1998..Gore would be proud). I was not working that day.
For some reason I clicked on one of my many vast right wing conspiracy sites--Newsmax--first. Normally my practice was to hit CNN or Drudge. After seeing the jaw-dropping headlines my first thought was "it's a hoax, they've been hacked". After successive clicks on Drudge and CNN followed by turning on NBC TV it was obvious. Like most, the TV stayed on constantly for a while thereafter.
Since this blog deals a lot with terrorism issues I felt compelled to write a post on the 9/11 anniversary but nothing substantive was coming to mind. I decided to just search around on the net for ideas. There are some rather disturbing videos out there showing the helpless people trapped in the towers or falling/jumping from windows. Hard to watch. There are videos showing the staging firefighters beneath the towers many of whom were seeing their last fire. Also hard to watch.
But what jumped out more was the sheer number of conspiratorial images/videos/audios available on the first few pages of the search engines. If someone were to emerge from a seven year coma today and begin trying to catch up with history they might be pretty confused about 9/11.
That's why I decided to post the picture above. To my knowledge it's never been fully explained. It certainly looks conspiratorial. Did Saddam commission it? Was some enterprising Iraqi trying to score brownie points with the big guy? Maybe the Butcher was trying to steal credit as a way to keep the fundamentalist radical mobs at bay. He fashioned himself as the new Saladin, after all. Or maybe it was something else. There were other similar paintings found.
To my knowledge there aren't any truther sites run by college professors trying to get to the bottom of this. It's not Hollywood chic to 'entertain' such an idea. It doesn't fall into any preferred categories of 'the truth', most of which center around America bringing the attacks upon ourselves due to our own actions.
All the uncertainty has perhaps forever eroded the espirit de corps so prevalent after the attacks. Because of the events in Iraq we've been told our image around the world has been tarnished, the latest coming from former Gulf War hero Colin Powell. Our country is suffering culturally, which they say is mirror of our collective soul. People remark, "if only Bush had stayed the course in Afghanistan the world would still be with us". Polls say things are worse than before.
It's time for strong leadership, but the Democratic presidential candidates have given up on even addressing the issue. Most are running solely on domestic platforms with a foreign policy plank of withdrawal from Iraq, as if it has nothing to do with anything. We even have a Republican candidate essentially running on a platform of "let's pretend it doesn't exist and maybe it will go away". With a public so uncertain about the truth it might be impossible for the other Republicans to win by staying the course.
Thanks for reading if you've made it thus far. Like the 9/11 truthers I also fear for the future of this nation. Melodramatic? Well OK--surely auto accidents are more concerning to the average citizen and certainly life on the mean streets poses more danger. But that stuff can't bring down an entire nation. Loss of patriotism, trust, faith and pride in our institutions while an enemy nips our heels surely can.