Charlie Sheen: 'Challenge Me On the Facts.'
first response since media firestorm over his radical 9/11 comments. (Story Below)
I heard his diatribe. I'm an AWS welding inspector. I've studied metallurgy and those were
not planned implosions. sorry sheen you are whacked outta your little pea brain. been smoke'n that dope again buddy.
the planes did look like planes and I saw the same film. I think he fails to understand the concept
of melting points of steel girders when hit with flaming jet fuel. Not only was the building framework compromised
by the impact of the jets, but the fuel load was immense and heated quickly thereby weakening the steel beams and thus the
entire buildings came crashing down.
any engineer can tell you, that was not a planned implosion. And no I don't think for a second that
anyone from the gov't was involved.
typical moonbat conspiracy theorists. and I don't buy this 82% of the American public believe it was staged
I'd love to see him take on Shawn Hannity or Bill O'Reilly with his crappy theory! LOL
Heck throw in Ann Coulter for fun.
Grab life by the throttle...and don't look back.
Work like you don't need the money.
like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.
Sing like nobody's listening.
Live like it's Heaven on
"Life is not a journey to the grave with
the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body.....but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used
up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW -- What a Ride!"
NEW YORK POST ARTICLE -
CHARLIE SHEEN: WHAT 9/11 HIJACKERS?
Moussaoui Says He Was to Hijack 5th Plane
By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press Writer
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Laying out a stunning new version of his terrorist mission, al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui testified
Monday that he was supposed to hijack a fifth jetliner on Sept. 11, 2001, with would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid and fly it
into the White House.
But the jury also heard the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, now in U.S. custody, repeatedly
state that Moussaoui was to be a part of a second wave of attacks unrelated to Sept. 11. In a 58-page statement read to jurors,
Shaikh Mohammed said that he only wanted Middle Easterners for Sept. 11 so that Europeans like Moussaoui stood a better chance
of mounting a subsequent attack after security was increased.
Testifying against the advice of his court-appointed lawyers, Moussaoui shocked the courtroom. Jurors who will decide whether
he is executed or imprisoned for life were almost motionless during his nearly three hours on the stand. They didn't look
down to take notes; all eyes locked on the bearded 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent — the only person charged
in this country in connection with Sept. 11.
His testimony started in familiar territory. He denied he was supposed to be the so-called missing 20th hijacker of Sept.
11. He testified he was not intended to be a fifth terrorist on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed into a Pennsylvania
field — the only plane hijacked by four instead of five terrorists.
Then came the shock.
Defense attorney Gerald Zerkin: "Before your arrest, were you scheduled to pilot a plane as part of the 9/11 operation?"
Moussaoui: "Yes. I was supposed to pilot a plane to hit the White House."
He said he didn't know details of the other hijackings set for that day except that planes were to be flown into the twin
towers of the World Trade Center.
Zerkin asked if he knew who else would be on his plane.
"Richard Reid. The other crew members were not definite," Moussaoui replied, referring to a man he had met in the 1990s
at London's Finsbury Park mosque, where Islamic fundamentalists recruited followers.
On Dec. 22, 2001, Reid was subdued by passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami when he attempted
to detonate a bomb in his shoe. That plane landed safely in Boston. Reid later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in
This account by Moussaoui diverged sharply from his previous statements, including his confession when pleading guilty
last April. For three years, he has said he had no involvement in the Sept. 11 plot. Instead, he has said he was taking pilot
lessons in Minnesota to fly a 747 jetliner into the White House at a later date if the United States refused to release a
radical Egyptian sheik imprisoned for separate terrorist convictions.
Former federal prosecutor Preston Burton said in an interview that Moussaoui was admitting "far more individual involvement
than he had made before." Now in private practice in Washington, Burton called it "a stunning revelation that would help prosecutors
rather than him."
On cross-examination, prosecutor Rob Spencer underlined that Moussaoui was now saying his attack was to be part of the
Sept. 11 plot.
Spencer: " Osama bin Laden put you back in as the pilot of the fifth plane?"
Moussaoui: "That's correct."
Moussaoui had explained earlier Monday that at one point he was excluded from pre-hijacking operations because he had gotten
in trouble with his al-Qaida superiors on a 2000 trip to Malaysia. He had rejected flight training they tried to arrange for
him there and had been floating ill-conceived bombing and robbery plots to the local al-Qaida affiliate that was putting him
Moussaoui said he was summoned back to Afghanistan by Shaikh Mohammed. "My position was, like you say, under review," Moussaoui testified. It was only after he acknowledged
to Osama bin Laden that he had gone wrong in Malaysia that bin Laden restored him to the plot, he added.
Moussaoui told the court he knew the World Trade Center attack was coming and had lied to investigators when arrested in
August 2001 because he wanted the operation to continue.
Prosecutor Spencer asked: "You knew on Aug. 16 that other al-Qaida members were in the United States?"
"That's correct," Moussaoui replied.
Spencer: "You knew there was a pending plot?"
Spencer: "You lied because you wanted to conceal that you were a member of al-Qaida?"
"You lied so the plan could go forward?"
To get a death penalty, the government must show that an action of Moussaoui's led directly to at least one of the nearly
3,000 deaths on Sept. 11. Prosecutors have said the act was his lying to the FBI after his Aug. 16, 2001, arrest, lies that they contend prevented the FBI and
Federal Aviation Administration from detecting the plot and saving at least one life.
Before Moussaoui testified, his attorneys took one last stab to keep him off the stand. Zerkin argued that his client would
not be a competent witness because he recognizes only Islamic law, not American law, and believes it's permissible to lie
to further holy war.
But when Moussaoui balked at the witness oath, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema asked him directly if he would tell
the truth and he said he would.
Spencer tried but failed to counter one of the defense's opening day arguments. Defense attorney Edward MacMahon had told
the jury Moussaoui wanted martyrdom and the only way he could achieve that would be if the jury gave him the death penalty.
"Don't make him a hero," MacMahon pleaded.
Three times, Spencer asked Moussaoui a version of "If you get the death penalty, you are not a martyr?"
"It's more complex," Moussaoui protested. "It depends."
Spencer: "Depends on what?"
"If you have fought to the best of your ability," Moussaoui said.
Former federal prosecutor Lee Rubin, now in private practice in Palo Alto, Calif., said prosecutors need to be careful
how they play up Moussaoui's testimony with the jury. "The first question is, Is it truthful? Or is he committing suicide,
"Rather than rotting in a jail, he might consider the ultimate martyrdom to be being put to death by the American infidels,"
In testimony read by a public defender, Shaikh Mohammed said he wasn't aware that Moussaoui was in custody until after
Sept. 11, and that Moussaoui's arrest on Aug. 16 would have disrupted Sept. 11 plans if he were a part of the operation.
Shaikh Mohammed also said he wanted all the second-wave hijackers to be Europeans or Asians who might face less scrutiny
in a post-Sept. 11 world. But that attack never materialized, he said, because he did not anticipate the ferocity of the U.S.
response to Sept. 11 and the only other pilot backed out.
Shaikh Mohammed considered Moussaoui too self-confident and too talkative. He instructed Sept. 11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh
to cut off contact with Moussaoui in early August 2001 for fear that Moussaoui would get Binalshibh caught.
Defense attorneys had wanted to call Khalid Mohammed to the courtroom, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled
his testimony could be submitted in writing for security reasons.
Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat and Toni Locy contributed to this report
According to an article below, the 9-11 Commission Must Have Been Totally Wrong...
This is enough already. Is America turning to the sick thought of wackos?
The American Left, the American News Media, Bush-haters, some Democrats, most of Hollywood, etc. are
getting really desperate in their attempt to bring down President Bush (our country).
The trailer for the new Flight 93 movie is out. It looks fine, and we very much like the way
it ends, with one of the passengers saying - with respect to their impending bull-rush on the terrorists, "We have to do it
now, because we know what happens if we just sit here and do nothing."
Before you begin shedding tears of joy over a potentially sober film from Hollywood about 9/11,
however, we always have this type of thing to deal with: Charlie Sheen now thinks we flew the planes into the Towers!
According to WENN:
"Actor Charlie Sheen refuses to accept the official explanation
behind the terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001, and believes the U.S. government covered up what really happened. Conspiracy
theorist Sheen claims New York City's Twin Towers fell as the result of a "controlled demolition."
"Talking on U.S. radio program 'The Alex Jones Show' on the GGN network, he said, 'It seems to
me like 19 amateurs with box-cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels
like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions. A couple of years ago, it was severely unpopular to talk about any
of this. It feels like from the people I talk to, and the research I've done and around my circles, it feels like the worm
Indeed the "worm" is turning, and you are apparently the worm,
The Ground Zero Grassy Knoll
A new generation of conspiracy theorists is at work on a secret history of New York’s most terrible day.
: The speed at which the towers came down—they were
almost in free fall—suggests controlled demolition rather than catastrophic collapse.
1. 11/22 and 9/11
They keep telling us 9/11 changed everything. But even in this Photoshopped
age of unreliable narrators, much remains the same. The assassination of President John Kennedy, the Crime of the Last Century,
occurred in plain sight, in front of thousands—yet exactly what happened remains in dispute. The Warren Commission found
that Lee Harvey Oswald, fellow traveler of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, shot Kennedy with a cheap Mannlicher-Carcano
rifle from a sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. The commission found that Oswald, who two days later
would be murdered by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, acted alone.
Yet, as with so many such events, there is the sanctioned history and the secret history—players hidden from view.
In the Kennedy murder, the involvement of shadowy organizations like the Mafia and the CIA came into question. This way of
thinking came to challenge the official narrative put forth by the Warren Commission. It is not exactly clear when the grassy
knoll supplanted the sixth-floor window in the popular mind-set. But now, four decades after Dallas, it is difficult to find
anyone who believes Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.
But if Oswald didn’t kill the president, who did? So 11/22 remains an open case, an open wound.
Now here we are again, contemplating the seemingly unthinkable events of September 11. An official explanation has been
offered up: The nation was attacked by the forces of radical Islam led by Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda jihadists. Again,
this narrative has been accepted by many.
But not all.
2.War Without End
“Just your average wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth conspiracy
nuts,” Father Frank Morales told me as he surveyed the 200 or so graying beatniks and neighborhood anarchist punks sporting
IS IT FASCISM YET? buttons who had assembled in the basement of St. Mark’s Church for the weekly Sunday-night meeting
of the New York 9/11 Truth Movement to hear a lecture by Webster Tarpley, author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA.
Saying he was in New York “to debunk the outrageous myth . . . the absurd fairy tale” that the tragic events
of September 11, 2001, were the work of nineteen fanatics with box cutters sent by a bearded man in a cave, the 60-year-old
Tarpley projected a slide designated “State-Sponsored False Flag Terrorism,” depicting a Venn diagram of three
Circle one was labeled patsies, comprising “dupes,” “useful idiots,” “fanatics,”
“provocateurs,” and “Oswalds.” Included here were the demonized bin Laden and alleged lead hijacker
Mohammad Atta. The second ring, marked MOLES, contained “government officials loyal to the invisible government,”
such as Paul Wolfowitz, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and, of course, George W. Bush. The third circle, PROFESSIONAL
KILLERS, encompassed “technicians,” “CIA special forces,” “old boys”—the unnamed
ones who did the dirty work and kept their mouths shut.
September 11 was the true face of corporatized terror, said Tarpley, graduate of Flushing High School, class of 1962
(also Princeton), and author of an “unauthorized” biography of George Herbert Walker Bush. The book paints the
Bush-family patriarch, Senator Prescott Bush, as knowingly profiting from Hitler’s Third Reich in his role as a director
of the Union Banking Corporation, where, Tarpley’s book says, the Nazis kept their money.
According to Tarpley, this, roughly, is how it went down on September 11: Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the Pet Goat–engrossed
president played their assigned roles enabling the strange events of the day, including the wholesale “stand-down”
of the multi-trillion-dollar American air-defense system. Cued by fellow mole Richard Clarke, the main players made sure the
CIA-owned-and-operated Osama and his alleged 72-virgin-craving crew got the blame, the towers collapsing not from fire, as
reported by the brainwashed mainstream media, but thanks to a well-planned “controlled demolition.”
Laying out his scenario, Tarpley touched on many of the “unanswered questions” that make up the core of the
9/11 Truth critique of the so-called Official Story.
Like: How, if no steel-frame building had ever collapsed from fire, did three such edifices fall that day, including
7 World Trade Center, which was not hit by any airplane?
And why, if hydrocarbon-fueled fire maxes out at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and steel melts at 2,700 degrees, did the towers
weaken sufficiently to fall in such a short time—only 56 minutes in the case of the South Tower?
And why, if the impact destroyed the planes’ supposedly crash-proof flight-recorder black boxes, was the FBI able
to find, in perfect condition, the passport of Satam al Suqami, one of the alleged American Airlines Flight 11 hijackers?
And how to explain the nonperformance of the FAA and NORAD?
How could they, an hour after the first World Trade Center crash, allow an obviously hostile airplane to smash into the
Pentagon, headquarters of the entire military-industrial complex, for chrissakes? And why did the Defense Department choose
to stage an extraordinary number of military exercises on 9/11—occupying matériel and spreading confusion about who
was who on that day?
: The fact that Bush spent much of 9/11 in the air while
Cheney was in de facto control in the White House leads some to suggest the VP was ringleader.
And why was it so important, as decreed by Mayor Giuliani, to clear away the debris, before all the bodies were recovered?
And what about the short-selling spree on American and United airlines stock in the days before the attacks? Betting
on the stocks to go down—was this real sicko Wall Street insider trading?
There were so many questions. But when it came to the big “why” of 9/11, there was only the classic conspiratorial
query: “Who benefits?”
For Tarpley and others, this was a slam dunk: September 11 was a holocaust-as-ordered by the neocon cabal Project for
the New American Century, which, like its Svengali, Leo Strauss, recognized the U.S. masses to be meth-addled, postliterate,
post-logical lard-asses, a race of “sheeple” that would never rise to inherit the mantle of post–Cold War
world-dominators without “some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” In other words,
a new Pearl Harbor like the old Pearl Harbor, which Roosevelt was supposed to have known about and used as an excuse to get
us into World War II.
Pearl Harbor, the Reichstag fire, take your pick. What mattered was that 3,000 human beings were dead, freeing Manchurian
Candidate Bush to decree his fraudulent War on Terror, a Social Darwinian/Hobbesian/with-us-or-against-us struggle to corner
the planet’s dwindling bounty—a global conflict without end in which only the strong, the white, and the Republican
3.Your “HOP” Level
In his paper “What Is Your ‘HOP’ Level?”
Nick Levis, who co-coordinates the N.Y. 9/11 Truth meetings with Father Morales and Les Jamieson, categorizes the basic narrative
theories about September 11. The options essentially boil down to four.
(A) The Official Story (a.k.a. “The Official Conspiracy Theory”). The received Bushian line: Osama, nineteen
freedom-haters with box cutters, etc. As White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, there was “no warning.”
(B) The Incompetence Theory (also the Stupidity, Arrogance, “Reno Wall” Theory). Accepts the Official Story,
adds failure by the White House, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. to heed ample warnings. This line was advanced, with much ass-covering
compensation, in The 9/11 Commission Report.
(C) LIHOP (or “Let It Happen on Purpose”). Many variations, but primarily that elements of the U.S. government
and the private sector were aware of the hijackers’ plans and, recognizing that 9/11 suited their policy goals, did
nothing to stop it.
(D) MIHOP (“Made It Happen on Purpose”). The U.S. government or private forces planned and executed the attacks.
Tarpley’s conception of a far-flung, supragovernmental alliance of intelligence agencies (he reserves a key spot
for Britain’s MI6) and military forces is only one of many MIHOPs floating around 9/11 Truth circles. Popular are various
configurations of a Cheney-Bush MIHOP, with most asserting that the vice-president, who appeared to be in charge on 9/11,
was the main actor in the plot. Also ambient is the ecodoomsday Peak Oil MIHOP, the idea that the “peaking” of
petroleum reserves required a false provocation to start an “oil war” in the Middle East.
More controversial is Mossad MIHOP: the conjecture that Israeli intelligence (and kowtowing by the U.S. to the “Israel
lobby”) played a crucial role, attempting to draw the U.S. into a prolonged struggle with Israel’s enemies. Notable
in this is the “white van” story: Five men observed filming the attacks from Liberty State Park were later pulled
over by cops near Giants Stadium. One man was found to have $4,700 in his sock. “We are Israelis,” the men reportedly
told the cops. “We are not your problem.” The men were quickly deported to Israel, after which the Forward
claimed that the company that owned the van, Urban Moving Systems, was a Mossad front.
Mossad MIHOP dovetails with the baseless rumor, widely believed in Arab countries, that 4,000 Jewish World Trade Center
workers were told to stay home that day, showing that conspiracy theory can be tricky terrain. Mossad MIHOP easily morphs
into Zionist MIHOP or Jewish MIHOP, leading to the charges of anti-Semitism that have dogged the 9/11 Truth movement. “Do
I believe Israel has undue influence over U.S. foreign policy?” asks one activist. “Absolutely. But there are
people in this movement who are fucking Nazis. You have to draw the line at Holocaust denial.”
Deeper into late-night-talk-radio, Da Vinci Code territory are numerous incarnations of the New World Order MIHOP,
defined by Nick Levis as the work of “a global ruling elite seeking greater control of the world Zeitgeist.” Ever
elastic, NWO MIHOPs often date back to secret societies like the Knights Templar, founded in 1118 during the First Crusade.
(Bush’s alleged slip of calling the terror war a “crusade” was a key hint to the real, if surreal, agenda.)
The continuity is clear to any student of the hidden history. The Templars begat the Freemasons (look at the pyramid-meeting-the-eye
on every dollar in your pocket, fool!), from whom emerged the nefarious Illuminati, and onward to current standard-bearers
like Yale’s Skull and Bones society (both Bushes are Bonesmen; John Kerry, too), the Council on Foreign Relations, and
the blue-helmeted armies of the United Nations.
: Fundamental to the theorists’ worldview is that bin
Laden, living in primitive conditions half a world away, could not have orchestrated such a complex plot.
Less-cited scenarios include Sino MIHOP, claiming the attack was a first strike in the inevitable conflict between China
and the West. Scientologists have suggested a Shrink MIHOP, imagining evil Thetan psychologists as culprits. In the postmodern
battle of paranoid narratives, we get to choose our terror dream, identify our own evil genius.
“For me, MIHOP was inevitable, because the more you know,
the more you know,” says Les Jamieson, a friendly, eminently reasonable 51-year-old from Brooklyn who remembers the
moment the scales of Official Story hallucination fell from his eyes.
“I read a story in Newsweek, which said these generals were told earlier that week not to fly. Obviously,
someone knew. My reaction was, ‘Holy shit.’ This process has been one holy shit after another.”
Father Frank Morales’s conversion was more dramatic. Raised in the Jacob Riis Projects, Morales, who if not for
his priest collar could be mistaken for an East Village hipster, is a longtime Lower East Side hero, primarily for his work
with local squatter communities. The day after 9/11, the diocese asked if he’d go to ground zero to perform last rites.
“They said be prepared, because ‘we’re not talking bodies, Frank, we’re talking body parts.’
“I could feel myself getting madder and madder, not the way a priest is supposed to feel,” says Morales.
Sitting with a fireman, Morales called out, “If I had somebody in this mess, I’d wanna get those motherfuckers.”
It was then, Morales says, that the fireman whispered, “Hey, that’s not it. You wanna know something? Bush and
bin Laden have the same banker.”
It was everything that happened afterward, the Patriot Act and Iraq, that turned him into a 9/11 Truth activist, says
Morales, who likewise sees little alternative to MIHOP.
“To me,” Morales says, “this is about history. History and truth, the nature of truth in a not particularly
“We’re like the minutemen of Revolutionary times, prosecutors in the discovery phase for a trial that is
sure to come,” says Jamieson, who on Saturday afternoons can often be found at ground zero holding up a banner proclaiming
that 9/11 was AN INSIDE JOB.
As 9/11 Truth advocates know well, the veracity they seek is unlikely to meet the ontological standards of Saint Anselm.
They’ve got people on their side like the “WebFairy,” who runs a site “proving” the towers were
not hit by planes but holograms, or “ghost planes.” Still, the truth movement wields one irrefutably puissant
weapon in its struggle. As Nick Levis says, “Would you believe anything George W. Bush told you?”
5.A Fast-Moving Meme
Google “911 conspiracy” and the bytes bury you. The
first great conspiracy theory of the Internet Age—imagine JFK assassinationology with the Web!—9/11 Truth is a
fast-moving meme. The thicket of “truth” sites is myriad. There is “911truth.org,” 911forthetruth.com,”
“911truthla.org,” “nakedfor911truth.com,” “911truthemergence.com,” “911citizenswatch.org,”
“911research.wtc7.net,” “911review.com,” and hundreds more.
It can be argued that a whole new kind of politics is being waged in the 9/11 Truth assault. Apocalyptical survivalists
and extreme Bush-haters are equally attracted to the movement’s blanket J’accuse. Be you a Starbucks-window
breaker or John Bircher, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way Thomas L. Friedman and his globalist windbaggery
This is not a movement that takes its Nagra tape recorders to document Dealey Plaza acoustics to ascertain which bullet
came from what angle. When 9/11 Truth “researchers” cite “the physical evidence,” they usually mean
the referred reality of photographs or videos posted on the Net. Paul Thompson, whose 9/11 timeline has become the undisputed
gold standard of Truth research, does all his work on the Net. “I don’t have to be any particular place to do
this,” says Thompson, who for a while moved to New Zealand so it would be easier for him to concentrate.
Yet it is difficult to deny the allure of this movement. The conspiracist has always relied on a degree of magical thinking.
As Marshall McLuhan would swear if he weren’t dead, there has never been a more conspiracy-ready medium than the Net.
It is an exhilarating serendipity that every surfer has felt: the glorious synchronicity in the way one link handshakes the
next, the sensation of not knowing how you got there but being sure this is the right place. Such miraculous methodology cannot
simply be random. For the moment, it feels like Truth.
Coincidences are rife. What is to be made of reports that prior to September 11, parties unknown purchased the domain
names “nycterrorstrike.com,” “horrorinnewyork.com,” and “tradetowerstrike.com.” Was this
Mohammad Atta’s idea of a cyberjoke?
Consider Pammy Wynant, protagonist of the novel Players, by Don DeLillo. Published in 1977, the book describes
how Pammy, working for a firm called Grief Management Council, which has its offices in the World Trade Center, at first thought
the WTC was “an unlikely headquarters for an outfit such as this. But she changed her mind as time passed. Where else
would you stack all this grief?” Later, DeLillo writes, “to Pammy the towers didn’t seem permanent. They
remained concepts, no less transient for all their bulk than some routine distortion of light.”
: The plane that hit the Pentagon isn’t seen in
any photographs. Some ask if it existed at all.
Even dismissing numerological smut—like how 9+1+1=11 and there are eleven letters in both George W. Bush and The
Pentagon, for which ground was broken September 11, 1941, exactly 155 (=11) years after the Masonic-dominated Founding Fathers
opened the Constitutional Convention on September 11, 1786, not to mention, for CIA MIHOP fans, that Kissinger and the Langley
boys chose September 11, 1973, to overthrow Chilean socialist president Salvador Allende—we appear to have entered the
realm of the precognitively strange.
Does it matter that the pilot for the conspiracy-themed Lone Gunmen (a short-lived Fox knockoff of The X-Files),
which aired on March 4, 2001, tells the story of a U.S. government agency’s plot to crash a remote-controlled 727 into
the World Trade Center as an excuse to raise the military budget and then blame the attack on a “tin-pot dictator”
who was “begging to be smart-bombed”?
And why does every 9-year-old know how to fold a $20 bill so it forms a likeness of the burning Pentagon on one side
and the Trade Center on the back? (See clydelewis.com/twenty.html.)
German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen may have been roundly chastised for calling 9/11 “the greatest work of art
ever.” Yet what is the conspiracist’s obsessive attempt to make sense where there is no sense but a kind of (paranoid)
art? No wonder Jungian shrinks, who churn out copious papers on the topic, are so crazy about 9/11. It’s got so much
archetype. Perhaps one of these learned men will pen a monograph on mandala-like smoke patterns (wwnet.fi/users/veijone/satan.htm)
in the burning South Tower, which seem to form a likeness of Lucifer?
6.Inside the Truth
“People are always coming up with stuff about holograms and planes shooting pods. That’s what happens
when the truth is systematically suppressed,” says Monica Gabrielle, whose husband, Richard, was killed in the attacks.
Monica, who describes herself as being “a completely normal housewife paying my taxes, raising my children”
before 9/11 and who now lives on Long Island “with my dog, my alarm, and some plants,” testified before the 9/11
Commission. She ended her statement saying she hoped “this commission understands the need to leave a legacy of truth,
accountability, and reform as a tribute to all of the innocent victims . . . We look to you for leadership.”
Asked if she ever expected to get a “legacy of truth,” Monica, who manifests an endearingly New Yorkish manner,
laughs. “I must be an idiot because, yeah, I did. I was brought up to believe in things like the U.S. government. But
we got screwed. The commission was whitewash, a stonewall. Maybe 3,000 people dead wasn’t enough to do the right thing.
Did they need 5,000, or 10,000?
“They had these people come in, made them promise to do better next time, and gave them medals. Rich was dead,
and nobody was at fault. To me, that’s a sin . . . With them, everything is fake. The government gave out ceremonial
urns to the victims’ families. It had beach sand inside. From Coney Island or somewhere. They could have at least used
the dust from the Trade Center. Something real.”
Asked about 9/11 Truth, Monica laughs again. “You want tinfoil-hat-wearing nutters? I get these e-mails from this
woman. She’s nice, supportive. Then she says to be careful because ‘our thoughts, feelings, and bodily functions
are being controlled 100,000 percent by electromagnetic waves.’ But I write back. I know she means well. Everyone needs
“Conspiracy theories,” says Lorie Van Auken with a sigh. She’s one of the “Jersey girls”
who pushed the Bush administration to convene the 9/11 Commission. Her husband, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, was killed in
the North Tower. She says, “That’s why we demanded the commission, so there wouldn’t be any conspiracy theories.
“Now, when I hear Philip Zelikow [the 9/11 Commission’s executive director] wrote a book with Condi Rice
or was seen with Karl Rove, it drives me crazy. I feel like I’m trapped in a truth vacuum.”
One thing that has changed over Lorie’s “career as a 9/11 widow” is that she’s come to appreciate
“these conspiracy nuts, or whatever you want to call them.
“At first, we widows didn’t want to be seen with conspiracy people. But they kept showing up. They cared
more than those supposedly doing the investigating. If you ask me, they’re just Americans, looking for the truth, which
is supposed to be our right.”
7.Why 7 WTC Fell
Talking to these women was not unlike watching the Zapruder film,
I thought. The famous 8-mm. movie shot by ladies’-garment manufacturer Abraham Zapruder has been used to justify any
number of Kennedy-assassination theories. Think the driver of the limo was the actual shooter, as a few nutbags have postulated?
It’s in the Zapruder film, if you’re stoned and squint enough.
: The fact that people, like the woman in this picture, could
survive near the impact zone suggests the fires weren’t hot enough to melt structural steel.
However, you always get to the part where the president’s head explodes in a flash and shower of blood. It remains
a horrible, frozen moment. One look and I am back in geometry class at Francis Lewis High School, the principal’s voice
on the loudspeaker saying that the president had been shot, that he was “dead.”
Speaking with the widows, or simply walking by a firehouse, was a teleportation back to the raw unspun brutality of the
Day. This isn’t as much of a stretch as it sounds, since I was there on September 11.
I’d just walked right into what would come to be called ground zero. No one stopped me. I knew the towers had fallen,
seen it on TV. Still, I didn’t expect things that big to totally disappear, as if the ground had swallowed them up.
“Where are the towers?” I asked a fireman. “Under your foot” was the reply.
Hours later, I sat down beside another, impossibly weary firefighter. Covered with dust, he was drinking a bottle of
Poland Spring water. Half his squad was missing. They’d gone into the South Tower and never come out. Then, almost as
a non sequitur, the fireman indicated the building in front of us, maybe 400 yards away.
“That building is coming down,” he said with a drained casualness.
“Really?” I asked. At 47 stories, it would be a skyscraper in most cities, centerpiece of the horizon. But
in New York, it was nothing but a nondescript box with fire coming out of the windows. “When?”
“Tonight . . . Maybe tomorrow morning.”
This was around 5:15 p.m. I know because five minutes later, at 5:20, the building, 7 World Trade Center, crumbled.
“Shit!” I screamed, unsure which way to run, because who knows which way these things fall. As it turned
out, I wasn’t in any danger, since 7 WTC appeared to drop straight down. I still have dreams about the moment. Even
then, the event is oddly undramatic, just a building falling.
Now the 9/11 Truth movement tells me I saw much more. According to Jim Hoffman, a software engineer and physicist from
Alameda, California, where he authors the site 911research.wtc7.net, what I saw was a “classic controlled demolition.”
This was why, Hoffman contends, 7 WTC dropped so rapidly (in about 6.6 seconds, or almost at the speed of a free-falling object)
and so neatly, into its “own footprint.”
For 7 WTC to collapse unaided at that speed, Hoffman says, would mean “its 58 perimeter columns and 25 central
columns of structural steel would have to have been shattered at almost the same instant, so unlikely as to be impossible.”
What happened at 7 WTC might be the key to the entire mystery of September 11, contends Hoffman. The $500 million insurance
profit made by Larry Silverstein is a garden-variety motive, but the list of 7 WTC tenants sets conspiracy heads spinning.
To wit: The IRS, the Department of Defense, and the CIA kept offices on the 25th floor. The Secret Service occupied the
ninth and tenth. The Securities and Exchange Commission (home to vast records of bank transactions) was on floors 11 through
13. The 23rd floor was home to Rudy Giuliani’s Office of Emergency Management, his crisis center. If this wasn’t
enough, the mortgage of 7 WTC was held by the Blackstone Group, headed by Pete Peterson, chairman of the Council on Foreign
Relations, stalwart players in any NWO MIHOP.
In the 9/11 Truth cosmology, the destruction of 7 World Trade Center is akin to Jack Ruby’s shooting Lee Harvey
Oswald. Seven WTC was the home of secrets. It had to go. Central to the scenario is a comment made by Silverstein in a 2002
“We’ve had such a terrible loss of life,” he quotes himself as saying on 9/11. “Maybe the smartest
thing to do is pull it.”
“Pull it,” as Truth people never tire of repeating, is the term usually used for controlled demolition.
These were vexing questions, especially since 7 WTC is not even mentioned in The 9/11 Commission Report. Nor is
the building given much shrift in the subsequent “Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Towers,”
compiled by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
And there I was, thinking all I saw was a building falling down.
8.The Magician and the Expert
A few days after the St. Mark’s meeting, I went
to a Community Board No. 1 forum where the NIST report would be discussed. The meeting was in the Woolworth Building, the
world’s tallest structure when it was completed in 1913. Since it was still standing, it seemed a good place to talk
about the only former world’s tallest building(s) to fall down. I was with William Rodriguez, who, as he always does,
brought along his video camera, “so they know I’m watching them.”
: Could this puff of smoke be evidence of an internal explosion
consistent with controlled demolition?
As a boy shining shoes in Puerto Rico, William dreamed of being wrapped in a straitjacket and suspended upside down from
a flaming rope. “That was going to be my big trick. It was my goal to become a magician, the greatest illusionist in
the Caribbean basin.”
Later, Rodriguez met James Randi, a.k.a. the Amazing Randi, the magician best known as a debunker of supernatural claims,
offering the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge to anyone able to demonstrate verifiable evidence of psychic powers.
“Randi was my mentor,” said William. “I admired him for his tricks but also because he never said they
were anything but tricks. He separated the truth from the phony.”
William moved to New York, but beyond some gigs at Mostly Magic, his career did not take off. He started working for
a cleaning company in the World Trade Center. He’d stay there twenty years.
On 9/11, William was late. Instead of mopping the stairwells on the 110th floor, where he almost certainly would have
died, he was chatting with the maintenance crew on level B-1 in the basement. “I heard this massive explosion below,
on level B-2 or 3. I saw this guy come up the stairs. The skin on his arms was peeled away . . . hanging. Then I heard another
explosion, from above. That was the first plane, hitting the building.”
In possession of one of the few master keys in the building, William led firemen up the stairwells. He was responsible
for getting at least a dozen people out of the towers. Trying to escape as the North Tower fell, he found himself beneath
a half-buried fire engine.
“I told myself this is going to be a slow death, but I should make it last as long as I could. My training as an
escape artist helped me. I knew to be calm. They found me just in time. I understood my whole life had been pointing to this
Acclaimed as “the last man pulled from the rubble,” William became a hero of 9/11. “I was at the White
House. They took my picture with President Bush.”
Four years later, after repeatedly being rebuffed in his attempts to tell officials his story about the basement explosion,
William is suing the U.S. government under the rico statute, legislation drafted to prosecute Mafia families. The suit reads
like an Air America wet dream, with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft, George Tenet, Karl Rove, and
others (the Diebold Company is thrown in for good measure) listed as defendants.
“They say I’m a conspiracy theorist; I call them conspirators, too,” William says.
“It is like Randi said. There’s reality, and there’s illusion. When illusion becomes reality, that’s
a problem. Nine-eleven is a giant illusion. Besides, what can they do to me? I’m a national hero, Bush told me so himself.”
“That’s him, the NIST guy,” William said, indicating Dr. S. Shyam Sunder, head of the institute’s
Trade Center report.
An elegantly attired man in his fifties, Dr. Sunder, holder of degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi
and MIT, took his seat beside Carl Galioto, a partner at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, architects of the new $700 million
replacement for 7 WTC. Behind them was a slide of “the new downtown skyline,” dominated by another Skidmore project,
the Freedom Tower, which, at an iconic 1,776 feet, is next in line to be the world’s tallest building. Like the new
7 WTC, which Galioto said featured a “two-foot-thick vertical core encasing the elevators, utility infrastructure, and
exit stairs,” the Freedom Tower will be “among the safest buildings ever built.” This was important, the
architect said, because “constantly building and rebuilding” was what New York was all about.
After Dr. Sunder’s presentation (planes and fire did it), a woman from N.Y. 9/11 Truth stood up and said she hadn’t
been able “to sleep at night” since her best friend had died at the WTC. She had hoped NIST would clear up doubts,
but this was not the case. “I have here a report which contradicts much of what you say.”
The woman put a paper by Steven E. Jones, a physics professor from Brigham Young University, in front of Dr. Sunder.
Jones makes the case for controlled demolition, claiming the persistence of “molten metal” at ground zero indicates
the likely presence of “high-temperature cutter-charges . . . routinely used to melt/cut/demolish steel.”
“I hope you read this; perhaps it will enable you to see things a different way,” the woman said.
“Actually, I have read it,” Dr. Sunder said with a sigh.
Later, asked if such outbursts were common, Dr. Sunder said, “Yes. I am sympathetic. But our report . . . it is
extensive. We consulted 80 public-sector experts and 125 private-sector experts. It is a Who’s Who of experts. People
look for other solutions. As scientists, we can’t worry about that. Facts are facts.”
: One of many eerie 9/11 coincidences is that Marvin Bush,
the president’s brother, worked for a firm that handled security for the WTC, and United and American airlines.
I asked Dr. Sunder about 7 WTC. Why was the fate of the building barely mentioned in the final report?
This was a matter of staffing and budget, Sunder said. He hoped to release something on 7 WTC by the end of the year.
NIST did have some “preliminary hypotheses” on 7 WTC, Dr. Sunder said. “We are studying the horizontal
movement east to west, internal to the structure, on the fifth to seventh floors.”
Then Dr. Sunder paused. “But truthfully, I don’t really know. We’ve had trouble getting a handle on
building No. 7.”
9.Can 49.3 Percent of the People Be Crazy?
Late in the summer of 2004, as the Republicans
in Madison Square Garden extolled George Bush’s staunch protection of the homeland, a Zogby poll asked New Yorkers if
they believed that “some of our leaders knew in advance attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and consciously
failed to act.”
Of city residents, 49.3 percent said yes.
A year and a half later, doubt had increased, at least according to my own informal canvassing. Per Nick Levis’s
“HOP” paper, I offered four choices: (A) the Official Story; (B) the Official Story plus incompetence; (C) LIHOP;
Of the 56 respondents, 28 said C, 23 picked B, with 4 (including two Muslim cabdrivers) opting for MIHOP.
Almost every white person with a straight job said B. Many disliked Bush but said they couldn’t bring themselves
to believe the U.S. government would take part in the death of 3,000 of its countrymen.
Typical was the opinion offered by an investment banker at a downtown bar. “I can see them wishing it would
happen, secretly happy it did. But on purpose? Look at the way they’ve managed Iraq. They’re boobs. They couldn’t
have pulled off 9/11 without getting caught. Not possible.”
Uptown, responses were different. “Yeah, they knew,” said a retired transit worker on 116th Street, one of
the 17 of 22 black people questioned who picked C. He said he’d heard Marvin Bush, the president’s younger brother,
was a director of Securacom, a firm that on 9/11 was in charge of security not only at the World Trade Center but also for
United and American airlines as well as at Dulles airport, where Flight 77 took off.
“That true?” he asked.
Yeah, I said. That’s what I heard.
“There anywhere he ain’t got no brother?”
“Bush’s cousin, Wirt Walker III, worked there, too.”
“Wirt? The third? You’re shitting me.”
This was pretty much the opinion. If Katrina proved the government was willing to let people die, right there on TV,
why should 9/11 have been any different? Only one person picked A, the official story. This was a fireman, who was smoking
a cigarette outside a downtown engine company. Truth be told, I wasn’t keen on quizzing firemen about 9/11 Truth, but
I knew the guy’s brother from high school.
“Not answering that,” he said, warning not to ask others in the company, which had lost men on 9/11. This
didn’t mean he wasn’t of the opinion that if he lived to be a million he’d never “see anything as
corrupt, bullshit, and sad as what happened at the WTC.
“They got their gold and shipped us to Fresh Kills,” he said. Call it one more conspiracy theory, but many
uniformed firefighters believe the powers that be cared more about finding the gold reserves held in vaults beneath the Trade
Center than the bodies of their fallen brothers.
Still, the fireman said, if he had to pick a letter in my poll, it would be A.
“Osama fucking bin Laden, like Bush says. If I thought it was someone else, then I’d have to do something
about it. And I don’t want to think about what I’d do.”
It weighs on you, thinking about 9/11, the day and the unremitting
aftermath. Being a supposedly unflappable New Yorker offers little solace. The wound remains unhealed, emotions close to the
Certainly there was an urgency as activists gathered at the Veselka restaurant after the Tarpley meeting.
With all the saber-rattling about Iran, this was no time to decrease vigilance, said Nick Levis, proposing a toast: “That
in 2006, we will crack the Official Story so we can stop being 9/11-heads and return to normality.” A classically hermetic
New York conversation ensued, quickly moving from snickers about bin Laden’s supposed CIA code name, “Tim Osmond
. . . as in Donny and Marie,” to speculation about the role of Jerry Hauer, Giuliani’s former OEM guy, in the
post-9/11 anthrax threats.
Talk came to a halt, however, with the mention of whether it was American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon on
Broached in 2002 by Thierry Meyssan in his French best-seller L’Effroyable Imposture (The Appalling Fraud),
the idea that the Pentagon was struck by a missile instead of a 757 is the most controversial tenet of 9/11 Truth–iana.
The claim is based on Meyssan’s reading of photographs (“Hunt the Boeing” at asile.org/citoyens/numero13/pentagone/erreurs_en.htm)
supposedly showing the hole in the building to be no more than fifteen to eighteen feet wide—far too small to fit a
plane with a 125-foot wingspan.
But there are problems, such as the many eyewitnesses who saw a plane flying low near the Pentagon shortly before impact.
Disputing the no-crash theory, Jim Hoffman has argued, “This is just the sort of wackiness defenders of the Official
Story harp on to show how gullible and incompetent we conspiracy theorists are supposed to be.” In other words, Meyssan
and other no-plane believers were either wrong, unknowing dupes or spreaders of disinformation.
The D-word is nothing to take lightly in conspiracy circles. For, as Thomas Pynchon notes in his “Proverbs for
Paranoids,” if they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.
At Veselka, the question was, if Flight 77 did not crash, what happened to the 56 people on the plane? This query did
not sit well with Nico Haupt, a thin, black-clad man from Cologne, Germany, compiler of the 9/11 Encyclopedia (911review.org/Wiki/Sept11Topics.shtml).
“Gassed,” he hissed. “Have you ever heard of gassing? It is very easy. You open the door of the plane,
and it spreads.”
“You think they gassed them?” Would even the Illuminati stoop this low?
Haupt cast a withering look. “That, or some other method of murder. Assholes!”
“Nico, calm down,” said Tarpley. “This is tactics. There’s no reason to make an enormous moral
issue out of everything.”
But Haupt was past consoling. “You are motherfuckers. Stupid motherfuckers.” Slamming the tabletop, he gathered
his things and stormed out.
“Nico is so emotional,” said one activist, returning to her plate of pierogi.
11. 250 Greenwich Street
After dinner, I stopped at ground zero. Before the towers
were built, my father took me here when the area was called Radio Row and sold tubes cheap. After 9/11, I spent many nights
watching the great plume of water, shining in the vapor lamps, raining onto the smoking pit.
Now I was in front of the replacement for 7 WTC, Silverstein’s $700 million baby, a nifty parallelogram with a
stainless-steel finish like a Viking stove in a Soho loft. According to the Web brochure, 7 WTC collapsed “probably”
as a result of “the ignition of Con Edison diesel stored in the base.” To “avoid this hazard in the new
building, the diesel is stored under the new plaza across from the reopened Greenwich Street.”
Another change is the offering of an alternative address, 250 Greenwich Street. Apparently, Silverstein felt this would
play better in “the trendy Tribeca neighborhood.” Call it real-estate MIHOP.
When the new 7 WTC opens, N.Y. 9/11 Truth plans a demonstration here. Now, however, it being late Sunday night, the place
looked like a neutron-bomb landscape, lights on in the finished lobby, gleaming card-reading security gates in place, but
no sign of humanity anywhere.
A giant LCD screen scrolled various alphabetical fonts, one after another. It was numbing watching this, thinking that
time was moving on, new fortunes would be made here, and like 11/22, it would never be known who did what on 9/11.
A cop car pulled up. They wanted me to move on. Cops always want you to move on. Not that I was in any hurry. Larry Silverstein
didn’t own the sidewalk. I had as much right to the disaster as anyone.
Then I remembered one more factoid. David Cohen, who headed the CIA office at 7 WTC on September 11, was the same guy
hired by Ray Kelly as deputy commissioner of Intelligence. It was Cohen who instituted the subway bag search, one more chimera
of security in the post-9/11 world. Who knew what a guy like that might be up to? So I moved on. Can’t trust anyone
The Plane Truth
9/11 conspiracy theories, from nuts to soup.
Mossad Did It
A common theory, especially in the Arab world, holds that Israel orchestrated the attacks in
order to bring the U.S. into conflict with Israel’s enemies. Evidence cited ranges from the arly spurious and deeply
anti-Semitic (the oft-heard, oft-refuted canard that Jews were told to leave the towers before the attacks) to the apparently
true but unexplainable. (Five men who were seen filming the attacks in Liberty Park were later apprehended and found by
the Forward to have ties to Mossad.)
Oilmen Did It
A theory based on the idea that worldwide oil production, having reached its peak, is beginning
a long decline, leading to surging energy prices and global economic collapse. The 9/11 attacks, goes this scenario,
were orchestrated by Cheney, Bush, and their friends in the oil industry and government, in order to begin a process that
would secure further reserves in Iraq and increase the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf.
Bush and Cheney Did it
The most basic of conspiracy theories. Bush and Cheney orchestrated the attacks,
for much the same reason Roosevelt was sometimes said to have orchestrated Pearl Harbor: in order to begin the conflict that
would allow them to realize their global ambitions.
The New World Order Did It
After winning a long struggle against the old Kissingerian pragmatists and balance-of-power
devotees, neocon idealists centered at the Council on Foreign Relations initiated the conflict in order to establish
the United States as the sole global power.
A Rogue Network Did It
A secret government used Bush and Cheney as patsies in carrying out the attacks. Bush
was kept on the run in Air Force One (code-named “Angel”) by an anonymous call saying, “Angel is next.”
Bin Laden and his henchmen were CIA plants and double agents. Britain’s MI6 intelligence service was involved.
The towers were blown up from inside, by teams of secret government assassins. Even Bush and Cheney are in the dark
about why the attacks took place.
Shrinks Did It
Scientologists believe that psychiatry (through a mechanism that remains murky) helped
give birth to the suicide attackers “through drugs and psycho-political methods.”
SOME DEMOCRATS WANT TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH
In 2005 and 2006, Hurricane Katrina - Although we continue to hear it is Bush's fault, the blame
should be spread over federal, states, and cities' governments... and especially our mother-earth.
Storms that size, man will never be able to prepare for.
In 2006, President Bush's selling of our ports. It turned out that this practice started under President
Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton is so involved, he's a paid spokesperson for the Arab Nations. Yet, the
American Left, Bush-haters, some Democrats, the American News Media, most of Hollywood, etc. still insist
this is yet another problem of President Bush.
In 2006, it is preventing a civil war in Iraq. Personally, I do not believe there will be a civil
war in Iraq.
However, if the American Left, Bush-haters, some Democrats, the American News Media, most of Hollywood,
etc. would continue to wave the flames of civil war, it will cost more in U.S. troops lives...
The math (logic) is extremely simple.
It motivates the terrorists to kill more civilians too.
The more innocent people killed means that President George Bush made a bigger mistake in sending our troops to Iraq.
this Iraq War, the American Left, the American News Media, Bush-haters, some Democrats, most of
Hollywood, etc. admit that the terrorists are doing the killing, but they insist that President George Bush
is more at fault! I guess the more innocent Iraqis who
get killed, the more the president is at fault.
Personally, I not only feel this is actually supporting the terrorists,
but worse of all, it encourages the terrorists to kill even more Iraqis.
The more innocent Iraqis who get killed, the more the president is at fault.
Now, many of these people are coming together to attack President Bush on national security. In
one hand, they are screaming that our ports, cities, etc. are not secure enough, but on
the other hand, they condemn him for wiretapping suspected terrorists.
Please write your federal politicians and
tell them to stop playing politics and become part of America's solutions.
DEMOCRATS WANT TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT
Stop Bush's War
"By some estimates," according to a recent article in Foreign Affairs, "the number of Iraqis who have died as a result
of the [U.S.] invasion has reached six figures — vastly more than have been killed by all international terrorists in
all of history. Sanctions on Iraq probably were a necessary cause of death for an even greater number of Iraqis, most of them
Not everyone agrees that Iraqi deaths have reached six figures. President Bush gave an estimate of 30,000 not too long
ago. That's probably low, but horrendous nevertheless. In any event, there is broad agreement that the number of Iraqis slaughtered
has reached into the tens of thousands. An ocean of blood has been shed in Mr. Bush's mindless war, and there is no end to
this tragic flow in sight.
Jeffrey Gettleman of The Times gave us the following chilling paragraphs in Tuesday's paper:
"In Sadr City, the Shiite section in Baghdad where the [four] terrorist suspects were executed, government forces have
vanished. The streets are ruled by aggressive teenagers with shiny soccer jerseys and machine guns.
"They set up roadblocks and poke their heads into cars and detain whomever they want. Mosques blare warnings on loudspeakers
for American troops to stay out. Increasingly, the Americans have been doing just that."
Everyone who thought this war was a good idea was wrong and ought to admit it. Those who still think it's a good idea
should get therapy.
Last Friday and Saturday, a conference titled "Vietnam and the Presidency" was held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential
Library and Museum in Boston. Discussions about the lessons we failed to learn from Vietnam, and thus failed to apply to Iraq,
Some of the lessons seemed embarrassingly basic. Jack Valenti, who served as a special assistant to Lyndon Johnson, reminded
us how difficult it is to "impress democracy" on other countries. And he noted something that the public and the politicians
seem to forget each time the glow of a brand-new war is upon us: that wars are "inhumane, brutal, callous and full of depravity."
Think Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Think suicide bombers and death squads and roadside bombs. Think of the formerly healthy
men and women who have come back to the United States from Iraq paralyzed, or without their arms or legs or eyes, or the full
use of their minds. Think of the many thousands dead.
Most of the people who thought this war was a good idea also thought that the best way to fight it was with other people's
children. That in itself is a form of depravity.
Among those who played a key role in the conference was David Halberstam, the author of "The Best and the Brightest,"
which is not just the best book about America's involvement in Vietnam, but a book that grows more essential with each passing
year. If you read it in the 70's or 80's, read it again. We can all use a refresher course on the link between folly and madness
at the highest levels of government, and the all-but-unimaginable suffering it can unleash.
In the book's epilogue, Mr. Halberstam wrote that, among other things, President Johnson "and the men around him wanted
to be defined as being strong and tough; but strength and toughness and courage were exterior qualities which would be demonstrated
by going to a clean and hopefully antiseptic war with a small nation, rather than the interior and more lonely kind of strength
and courage of telling the truth to America and perhaps incurring a good deal of domestic political risk."
That latter kind of toughness is what's needed now. Invading Iraq was a disastrous move by the Bush administration, and
there is no satisfactory solution forthcoming. The White House should be working cooperatively with members of both parties
in Congress to figure out the best way to bring the curtain down on U.S. involvement.
Before that can begin to happen, the administration will have to rid itself of the delusion that things are somehow going
well in Iraq. The democracy that was supposed to flower in the Iraqi desert and then spread throughout the Middle East was
as much a mirage as the weapons of mass destruction.
President Bush continues to assert that our goal in Iraq is "victory." Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, recently told Tim Russert that things were going "very, very well" in Iraq.
They are still crawling toward the mirage. It's time to give reality a chance.