Friday, August 25, 2006

9/11 was staged says -- a Republican

Conspiracy theories abound about the events of September 11, 2001. Many people simply don't believe that the twin towers of the World Trade Centre as well as WTC 7 could have just collapsed like a house of cards without an internal detonation -- although the fact remains they were built using what could politely be called the Patty Stacker construction method. I have wondered, however, whether it was more than just a coincidence that NORAD was supposed to run a military exercise simulating attacks on skyscrapers -- and it just so happened it was on 9/11.

Or the fact that former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was prepared to shoot down a plane that might have been threatening a major Canadian city -- did the South Korean plane really emit an "unfriendly" ping from its transponder because of "pilot error"? Was the little guy feeling just a little trigger happy that day for some reason?

One would think the "inside job" camp was exclusively something on the far extreme fringes of the left. They would not expect a Republican, of all people, would say 9/11 was a hoax. Yet that's what's happened. A challenger to the GOP incumbent for a congressional seat in New Hampshire, Mary Maxwell, says the Bush Administration had a role in 9/11 to deliberately make Americans hate Muslims. In Maxwell's words, the Sept. 11 attacks were meant “to soften us up . . . to make us more willing to have more stringent laws here, which are totally against the Bill of Rights . . . to make us particularly focus on Arabs and Muslims . . . and those strange persons who spend all their time creating little bombs,” giving Americans a reason “to hate them and fear them and, therefore, bomb them in Iraq for other reasons.” (Source: Nashua (NH) Telegraph) She cites the bombing of the Lusitania in 1915 and evidence that it was the British, not the Germans, who killed Americans to get the US to join World War I.

Frankly, most of the conspiracies are just pathetic if not outright laughable. There is no doubt, however, that civil liberties in the United States and other countries in NATO are in peril after the events of 9/11 and that the heads of government see themselves as having unlimited powers -- as opposed to being first among equals. And it's worth thinking about the fact that during his first eight months of office, George W Bush was so adrift that he was losing all moral authority to lead; and just days before 9/11 he was -- according to contemporary reports at the time -- seriously thinking about purging Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft from his cabinet. So did they get to him, and if so how?

For the record, I very seriously doubt there was any collusion between the White House and al-Qaeda re 9/11. I do think, however, it was an opportunity lost. Rather than use the momentum to unite Americans, Bush chose to divide them. Rather than fortify America's defences and create American jobs which would pay taxes back to the US Treasury, he chose instead to go into a war that's already cost the US $300 billion that must be repayed to undemocratic thugs in Saudi Arabia, Mainland China and Singapore. Rather than putting pressure to bear on the President of Pakistan to actually hunt and kill Osama Bin Laden, Bush just took Pervez Musharraf's word for it and OBL is roaming around with impunity and presumably in a different house every night -- just like Yasser Arafat during all the time he was in exile. And signnificantly, the time honoured tradition of habeas corpus -- the violation of which was one of the reasons why the Patriots revolted against the British over 200 years ago -- no longer seems to matter. Bush, unlike his father, seems to think Star Chamber is a more appropriate model for these times.

One doesn't back down from civil liberties when times are tough. They are the times when they must be fortified, to tell those who would attack our way of life that though they might change the world they are not going to change us. Professor Maxwell might be off-base in attacking Dubya about complicity in the events of 9/11, but her assessment of his civil rights violations post 9/11 are spot on.

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