Thursday, September 11, 2008

.81818, -2, or 11

First let me get the following out of the way: I lost people in the attacks on the World Trade Center. I also lost my former office in the World Financial Center when the debris from the falling towers was shoved through the windows. For years I commuted through the World Trade Center, spoke at conferences held at Windows on the World on the top floor, and had as a favorite watering hole the bar there since tourists would not pay the going rate for a beer and few locals considered the tourist trap a likely hang out. For my friend Jim and I, it was an easy Thursday place.

Not only did I commute through the Towers and meet up with my wife there on those days we had a chance to commute home together but I did much of my Christmas shopping in the mall below the offices and my wife's engagement ring -- which she wears top this day -- was fashioned at and sold to me from a jewlery store in the basement. One of the bits of paper debris floating about in the subsequent mess may well have been the original receipt for it.

So when the towers fell I was more than a bit affected.

Let me also get the following out of the way: In spite of my Tin Foil Hat and general predisposition to cotton to conspiracy theories, as well as my vehement distrust, dislike and distaste for our government (also called here The Empire), I do not believe that it was an inside job. I do not believe that our government was capable of either carrying it out or of covering it up. There is no way that they are competent enough to do so.

I do, however, believe that they welcomed the attack and the political cover that it provided them to go about and try (though largely fail) to re-create the world in an image they would prefer. They wrote about it years and years earlier. They wanted a "Remember the Maine/Alamo/Tonkin Gulf/Pearl Harbor" moment so badly I can see Cheney high-fiving Wolfowitz (my old boss - such a dick!) over martinis on 9-12.

Is it possible that they had some intel that some form of attack might be in the works? Maybe. And maybe that is one reason that we were unprepared. Might they have considered the Towers as a possible target and rigged it with explosives? This I doubt. It would require too many closed mouths for too long.

But might it not be the case that there was a ring of people -- insiders, outsiders, who knows -- who had prepared the anthrax letters and had plans to mail them in the event of any terrorist attack? This makes more sense to me than the idea that that one lone manic-depressive did it all on his own. Had good old Hatfield (the early person of interest) killed himself rather than suing the government do you not think the FBI would have said "See! We got him! Case closed!"? Of course they would have.

I am more prone to believe that the suicide was a complete cover up.

But my point:

The attacks seven years ago have harmed us in ways that the terrorists never could have envisioned. As a people we resorted to fear rather than resolve. Our government lied us into a war we never should have fought and tricked us into giving away more freedoms that we ever should have traded away. We have made the police state more police-statier, made travel even less appealing than it was when planes were smoking only (no one in the late 90's would have thought such a thing possible), and brought our economy to shambles. The attacks were blowback and we went ahead and blew it. We will have more and they will have been caused by our disastrous policies and ham-fisted diplomacy.

So I weep every time this year. Less and less for what it meant to me, and more and more for what it means, and will mean, for all of us.

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