Drawing the Lessons of 9-11 (Review of The Hidden History of 9-11-2001)
by Sid Shniad
The Hidden History of 9-11-2001
Research in Political Economy
2006 Volume 23.
Ed. by Paul Zarembka
Governments have long found it useful to manufacture rationale for pursuing war and repression. The sinking of the Battleship Maine at the outset of the Spanish-American-Cuba War is the classic example. When President Harry Truman wanted to offer assistance to anti-Communist forces in Greece and Turkey in 1947, Republican senator Arthur Vandenburg promised his support if Truman would “scare the hell out of the American people.” In 1962, the Pentagon mounted Operation Northwoods, a plan involving false-flag actions, state-sponsored terrorism and the hijacking of planes on U.S. and Cuban soil designed to generate American public support for an invasion of Cuba. Then there was the case of the distraught young Iraqi woman testifying before U.S. Congressional hearings in the run-up to Gulf War I about babies being tossed out of incubators by Saddam Hussein’s soldiers.
The essays included in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 lead to the conclusion that the attack on the World Trade Center may have been the biggest false-flag operation of them all. This 2006 issue of Research in Political Economy examines different aspects of 9-11, which, taken together, provide a serious challenge to those who dismiss the possibility that a government-based conspiracy was behind the events of 9-11.
The first section of the journal debunks the information provided by the U.S. government about the number and identity of the hijackers. Following that, other authors provide evidence indicating that it was impossible for the burning jet fuel from the planes to have caused the collapse of the World Trade Center towers; that a series of military war games taking place on 9-11 caused confusion in military circles and prevented normal emergency response operations to kick in; and that the insider trading in the shares of the airlines that were hijacked that day lays open the possibility that huge sums were made by people who were aware in advance of what was coming. Taken together, these articles provide more than enough reason to reject the Official Story of 9-11.
A personal aside. In the highly charged exchanges that characterize discussion of 9-11, some observers take an additional step, insisting that the destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, a false-flag effort orchestrated by terrorists within the U.S. government. There are even those who argue that 9-11 skeptics should renounce any sense of uncertainty and unite behind the view that the government made it happen. They insist that refusal to embrace this conclusion helps rationalize arguments used by Bush and his cabal to wage the war on terror.
Those who insist that we all embrace the conclusion that 9-11 was an Inside Job are doing so on the grounds that it suits their politics. For me, it is not essential to agree on whether Bush and Cheney were involved in the conspiracy. Regardless of the conclusion we draw on that issue, surely progressives can agree on the need to condemn the manner in which the U.S. government and its allies have exploited 9-11 to launch their open-ended war on terror and to organize against it. Diana Ralph’s superb chapter, “Islamophobia and the ‘War on Terror': The Continuing Pretext for U.S. Imperial Conquest,” makes this point eloquently by tying the strategies pursued by Bush and Cheney since 9-11 to longstanding neocon and Likud designs.
A final comment. Even though I have read a considerable amount on the subject in other sources, I would have benefited from the inclusion of a section tying together the voluminous evidence in a manner that would enable readers to draw solid conclusions about specifically what is and is not known about the conspiracy.