5 years later, the big fiction of 9/11

5 years after 9/11, conspiracy theories abound about what really happened on that day.  Did two jet planes REALLY bring down the WTC?  Did a missile hit the Pentagon?  Was the flight 93 shot down?  Though the Loose Change videos are the best example of these questions, and some speculative answers to them, this article isn’t about any of that.  Whether or not the official version of the day is true (and I tend to think it is more true than false, though it is neither one, nor the other in totality), there is a larger, deeper fiction about 9/11 that we continue to tell ourselves without question.

There were at least 2 specific targets that day, the Pentagon, The WTC.  Its been speculated, pretty convincingly, that flight 93 was headed for the Capitol Building, so we can add that as target #3.  There’s very little question what the function of the Pentagon is … it is the nerve centre of the US military industry, its “head office” if you will.  There’s no doubt that it represents a military target of the highest order.  The Capitol Building is the nerve centre of the law-making branch of the US government … again, the head office of the the legislative branch.  Its hard to imagine under what context it can be called a civilian target … it may not be an operational military facility, but there’s little doubt of its strategic value to decision and policy making, plus national direction.

The final target is the one that gets the most attention, and rightly so given the horrendous death toll.  The WTC is also the one that looks most like a civilian target … it was, after all, full of every day people, going about their normal days in America.  And viewed from that perspective, its easy to see how it can be passed off as a strictly civilian target.  In reality though, the WTC was the symbolic centre of business and enterprise in America, and more than that, the ‘head office’ of American-style economics globally.

War is a multi-faceted thing.  It takes policy to execute, and money to execute that policy.  In WWII, both the political offices of the Nazi’s, as well as the economic and industrial engines that powered the Reich, were legitimate military targets.  In all war, concentrations of troops, and operational military bases are only a part of the ‘enemy forces’ … a larger part of that enemy effort are the political and economic masters who pull the military strings.  The targets of 9/11 were chosen strategically, militarily, to strike at the head of the dragon, so to speak.

This is not to minimize the brutality of the attacks, nor is it to justify them.  Lets be clear here … the attacks of 9/11 represent the height of brutality.  Lets further be clear, by choosing commercial airliners as their main weapons, the perpetrators guaranteed the label terrorist would be appropriately applied to them.  But none of that makes the Pentagon any less of a military target.  None of that makes the Capitol Building any less the centre of the legislative branch of American politics.  None of that changes the WTC’s position as the pre-eminent symbol of American-style capitalism in the world today.  To say the targets were chosen for reasons of terrorism is to ignore the reality of which buildings were hit on that day.

There were certainly innocent, civilian casualties from ALL the attacks.  Sometimes, people die in military attacks, and sometimes there is collateral damage.  That’s how Isaraeli’s speak of the dead Lebanese civilians of the past few months, who had the misfortune to live, and work, near ‘military targets’ and that’s how the dead from the Pentagon, and the WTC should be viewed … their deaths are tragic, even more-so because of their innocence in many cases, but they were collateral damage in attacks on military targets.

Farsi and Arabic is often a ‘flowery’ language by English standards, given to wild metaphors and similes … often, it is this ‘flowery-ness’ that is the cause of misunderstandings with other cultures, IMO.  Those who attacked America on 9/11 might describe the threat they see as a three-headed hydra of global hegemony.  American military, political, and economic dominance forms a three-headed attack on cultures that, for instance, view all interest collection as usury.  To people in that world, the WTC, the US Capitol Building, the Pentagon are the three heads of the hydra, and 9/11 was strategically planned as a strike at each head simultaneously.

I mourn the people who died on 9/11, as I mourn all war deaths.  But as long as we continue to repeat the fiction that the targets of the day were chosen for terror reasons, we will continue to fight a foe we don’t understand.  Its time to start addressing the real reasons that 9/11 happened … that doesn’t diminish the memory of those who died that day.  To the contrary, recognizing the true reasons the buildings they were in were targeted finally begins to honour their memories with truth.


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