I drove to New York City for a friend's wedding
the Saturday after September 11.
I stared in disbelief at the smoke rising from
the ashes of the World Trade Center as I crossed
the George Washington bridge.
I am still haunted by the images of people
hurtling to their deaths, flying down the outside
of the Tower to escape some worse fate inside.
From watching the towers slowly ride their way
into the ground over and over again, killing at
that point an unknown thousands of individuals.
I was struck by how normal things seemed that
Saturday just a few miles north of Ground Zero,
as people rollerbladed and carried their NY Times
past the makeshift memorials in front of loved
one's apartments. It is amazing how some people
were able to so quickly recover, to move on with
To follow President Bush's suggestion that we go
shopping at the malls while he took care of
I was not one of them.
The daily pain has receded after three years. The
anger has not.
Much of my anger comes from the manipulation of
9/11 by politicians and the media while both
groups refuse to seek the truth to 9/11.
I am mad the 9/11 became an excuse to unleash
American military forces in pursuit of a global
American empire in support of corporate
globalization, rather than as an opportunity to
strengthen the rule of international law and
promote a different vision of the world, one
dedicated to peace and justice.
I am mad that the dark forces within the Bush
administration used 9/11 to increase their power
while the Democrats stood and cheered.
I am mad that so little effort has been made to
hold accountable those who helped kill so many
innocent people on 9/11.
A poll released by Zogby International last week
found that half of New York City resident - and
more than 40% statewide - believed that the Bush
administration knew about the 9/11 terrorist
threats beforehand but failed to take action to
The real question is not whether the Bush
administration allowed 9/11 to happen, but why?
Was it criminal negligence? Stupidity?
We know that the neoconservatives in the national
security team around Cheney and Rumsfeld were
looking for another Pearl Harbor to provide an
excuse to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Did they
seriously underestimate how much damage a
terrorist attack in America by al-Qaida could
I understand why President Bush has done every
thing he can to prevent a true, independent,
nonpartisan investigation into 9/11. He only
agreed to the bipartisan cursory examination of
9/11 because of the relentless moral pressure
from the family members of the victims. Even then
he had the gall to appoint Henry Kissinger as the
Chair of the Commission. Kissinger had presided
over America's own 9/11 terrorist attack, the
killing of Presidential Allende and his
government thirty years previously.
I guess that the Democrats think it is more
important to preserve the foreign policy
apparatus than to force Bush to come clean on
9/11. It seems that their foreign policy
disagreements with Bush isn't over creating a
global America empire, it has to do with how to
consult Europe and Japan. The commissioners that
finally were chosen were all career members of
the foreign policy establishment who fulfilled
their mission of avoiding the tough questions
One question that the Commission in their final
report said was unimportant was who actually paid
for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Their rationale
was that since al Qaida is so well funded -
largely from the wealth of Saudi Arabia's ruling
clan - it made little difference who actually
paid the bill for 9/11. I thought about this as I
watched Governor Pataki hold a press conference
to condemn two Albany Muslims as "terrorists" -
for allegedly participating in a money laundering
scheme initiated by the FBI. I wondered why
Pataki and the media weren't asking about the
money laundering scheme for 9/11? For instance,
why did the Pakistani Intelligence Service wire
$100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the "lead" hijacker?
Why create fake terrorist schemes when we know so
little about the real one? Where is the 9/11
hijackers support network?
A recent AP story said that Pataki often does
three media events a week highlighting 9/11. Why
has he never demanded to know who killed 3,000
people in NYC three years ago? He loves to attack
local prosecutors when they decline to pursue the
death penalty. Why doesn't he attack the failure
of the Manhattan District Attorney to prosecute
the 9/11 case? Why hasn't he put together a New
York State committee to investigate 9/11?
Some hope that the courts will finally help
uncover the truth about 9/11. Last week, the
financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald who lost more
than 300 employees in the World Trade Center
murders sued the Saudi Arabia government for
billions for their role in 9/11. At least one
other such lawsuit has been filed by other family
members. But can they find judges that will be
willing to stand up to Bush and Congress?
The other big mystery of 9/11 is why does the
American media not pursue the truth? The media
banged the drums for war loudly on 9/11 and the
following days. Perhaps they felt it was their
patriotic duty but it was chilling to witness.
The American media has repeatedly refused to
pursue obviously lines of questioning about 9/11.
There are a few exceptions of course - most
notably Amy Goodman and Jim Ridgeway. The easiest
answer is the increasing corporate ownership of
the media, starting with companies that are part
of the military-industrial complex, like GE and
Westinghouse which own two of the major national
networks. But I sense the answer goes deeper.
Perhaps they are afraid of the answers - or what
the pursuit of the truth will do to their
careers. The treatment of late night talk show
host Bill Maher after his 9/11 comments sent a
The Bush administration was recently forced to
rewrite their annual report to admit that
terrorism has increased in the world, not
decreased. And it is clear that Bush diverted
forces from pursuing al Qaeda and other
terrorists in order to invade Iraq to increase
American control of the world's dwindling oil
The war on terrorism has been a disaster. And the
dangers of such a war is shown in the recent
horrific murders of hundreds of children,
teachers and parents in Russia. These murders and
callous disregard of life were the unfortunate
but easily foreseen byproduct of a decade of
Russian bombing into obliteration of their
opponents in Chechnya. Russia and Chechnya are
our future under Bush. Ruthless behavior only
prompts one's opponent to more war and violence,
as the ties to civilized behavior are destroyed
on all sides.
It is not too late for America to follow a
different response to 9/11. The American people
can still demand that their leaders use 9/11 as
opportunity to create a world based on our best
values, not our worse ones based on greed, fear
Mark Dunlea is the author of Madame President: The Unauthorized Biography of the First Green President, which imagines what would have happened if a Green was president on 9/11