United we stand
I have a very simple approach to the questions about the attacks of September 11, 2001. George W. Bush was a criminal before he was governor of Texas, while he was governor of Texas, in his selection as President in 2011, in his invasion of Iraq, and in his election in 2004. Criminal involvement in the September 11 attacks would be entirely consistent with his criminality before and after the attacks. The question, as far as I am concerned, is not his culpability, but of what can be done about it, and how to be about it.
Like the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, we may never know for sure who and what were behind the attacks of September 11. We don’t have an institutional structure that has room for that level of truth and knowledge. We can assume there are nefarious forces at work in this country at all times, cooking up plots, schemes, best laid plans, and conspiracies to control the universe, hah, hah, hah, hah!, and enslave mankind. The temptation of power is just too strong for some people.
Before exploring what to do about this predicament, we first must ask the question of how to be about it. This question is not "on the radar" in our national dialogue. As far as "leftists," "liberals," and "progressives" are concerned, the Bush gang is a bunch of "right wingers," or "neo-cons," and, of course, "racists," and they should be defeated, brought to justice, and replaced by "leftists," "liberals," and "progressives."
It would be nice if it were that simple. As much as I would like to see what I call a sustainable, distributive system of economy and governance, I am very uneasy about trusting such a system to "leftists," "liberals," and "progressives." The reason I say this is because many of the "leftists," "liberals," and "progressives" I know are some of the most arrogant, narrow-minded, ego-driven, paranoid, and self-congratulating people I have encountered anywhere. Especially since the era of George W. Bush has been with us, I have found "LLPs" difficult to engage in conversation. In varying degrees of intensity they will go through a litany of what they know about how bad Bush and his administration are, or I will get what I call the "I was there when…" syndrome. "I was there when the Dow riots happened," "I was there when the Miffland riots happened," "I was there when Leonard Peltier spoke at …" One guy I know does both of these routines on a daily basis, whenever he gets the chance, which in Madison is often. It's almost like a Vaudeville act. He has nothing to offer, no solutions, no positive vision of the future, no ideas. At least none that I have ever heard offered, and I have heard his song-and-dance many, many times.
I don’t want to make too much of a generalization about this because there are plenty of people here and elsewhere who are working very hard to advance peace and reconciliation in places like Central America, Israel/Palestine, Colombia, East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places. There are people establishing fair trade relationships with farmers and craftsmen and women in poor countries. There are people working on issues of fair housing, living wage, local currency, economic democracy, food quality and independence, transportation, protecting the environment, and myriads of other issues.
The difficulty I have is with the talkers, the pretenders to knowledge, the jibber-jabberers, the peer group status campaigners. An easy example for me is in writing this blog. No one I know who has read it has anything to say about it, other than "Did you really do all that stuff?" It doesn’t fit within the limits of "leftist," "liberal," "progressive" thought and interaction. The ideas and experiences expressed do not make for easy jibber-jabber, and do not provide much inspiration for peer group status promotion. What I write does not invite point-scoring, one-upping, Bush bashing, or slogan repeating. I don't promote the idea of an "us" opposed to a "them."
If human society is to survive and advance, then we all have to do better. We have to realize that the problem we face is not as simple as "us" versus "them," that ego-centeredness will destroy us, and that the conspiracies that arise to undermine our civilization exist in a context. The difference between the criminals who facilitated the September 11 attacks and anyone else in this society is not great. Indeed, they came out of this society, full-fledged members. Even if completely exposed, these evildoers will find much support in this country. Condoleeza Rice has already admitted on nationwide TV that the warning "Bin Laden determined to attack within the United States" was not just ignored, but rejected, opposed. She got a promotion. The Republican Party has become a party of criminals. The Democrats have consistently gone along with them (though that seems to be changing a bit). The supposed "religious right" supports the criminality of the Bush Administration, and is more concerned with power than with the values of love and kindness that Jesus advocated. A good many of them are criminals themselves, and inciters of criminality.
This theme will continue as I write this blog. As long as one self-appointed "us" looks down on another designated "them," our civilization will continue in its certain slide to disaster. We can wake up, as a society, to the criminality of our money-power elite, and take the necessary steps to make our civilization sane and sustainable. We just have to do it together. It won’t be easy, and at this point it doesn’t seem likely. If left to the ego-point-scorers that I know, we’re sunk.