Pardon my grammar, maybe. And pardon me if I might offend any or all of you with this bit that I have not yet written.
I am a story teller, officially a historian by training now…but back in the day I was more than the photographer I had finally become twenty years after deciding at fifteen that I would join the Army to be in 1972. I have some clues but no real proof to support my claims of being raised by the military industrial complex, AKA the mob or, as Neil Stephenson might have called “The Mobility”. For most of my life they were almost everyone that I knew, these people who looked just like you and me.
Who, you may ask is they, as in the They who planned and executed the destruction of those buildings on that beautiful Tuesday morning that I cannot forget, any more than I can forget the 1993 attack that failed to knock a single building down or secure them from future attack, apparently. I cannot forget these events, my childhood, and the major portion of my adult life that they crafted for us with the billions of dollars that the government gave them every single year to develop the tools and personal projected as possibly necessary to command and control an empire that they guessed might survive a cold war that they milked for all that they possibly could while it lasted.
Perhaps it should be that the popular narrative of 911 remain uncontested if for nothing else than to put it behind us….but alas I can do neither. Yes, I understand getting over 911 might be easier for those who did and perhaps do not have a dog in the fight, not that I approve or condone dog fighting, bear baiting, or even the killing of ants that my wife does on a regular basis. I try to talk them out of the house…and then hide in shame as she brings out the traps.
As almost a Buddhist, I ask myself under what conditions is one permitted to use force. How much incoming should one take before hitting the red button? I can say but cannot prove that I had no problem hitting the red button when the smoke started coming through the vents of my cell. I passed that test in 1993 just months after the first trade center attack, which had occurred just after the Clinton’s New Democrats out foxed the last of the WWII era republican skullduggery diehards to take the gold ring as far away the cold warriors toward a newer new world order, with them and their global network of corporate sponsors at the helm.
Yes, the world had changed much in those years between WTC attacks, for one thing the internet that Al Gore invented was connecting the world in ways never before imagined, but it was so much more than that; too much for this little 911 remembrance. I was not yet a professional historian but I had seen too much too close to that real estate to underestimate them who had so adeptly squeezed those hundreds of billions worth of treasure from the best and brightest products Academia had produced to keep an eye on.
Who are the heroes and who are the villains? I am a professional historian, but I believe that violence is the best evidence of systemic failure. Terrorism does not originate in a vacuum. Whipping up fervor costs money. I never stop my wife from bringing out those ant traps. She orders them on Amazon, and they get delivered by UPS, usually in a day or two at most.
Some suggest that 911 signified the beginning of the end of the American Empire. I have never been a fan of empires, American or otherwise. I believe strongly in the endless pursuit of the more perfect Union, and do not think ruling the world is part of that equation, indeed, I feel that anyone who believes that the US should rule the world is just plain old nuts.
Are They them that want to rule the world, or is They them that wanted to save it? I have my own ideas which differ greatly from the popular narrative. The first rule in this business is that things are seldom what they seem. My mind is not made up. My They is them that raised me, in the very heart of the military industrial complex. There are always plans being made and executed at their command that is what they do.
I have been to the Freedom Tower and memorial. As a child I watched the twin towers appear in the distance, and grew up in the trash and effluent that was barged or flushed into our environment. I still recall the brown haze that hung over the Island before unleaded gas. I was no fan of the city or of the people who thought so little of us. I saw the mustard colored haze and dense smoke that emitted from where the towers had been just after they collapsed from my side of the bay on September 11.
We had practically battled the Port Authority, the owner of the center, over dumping issues. In the decades prior to 911 we had achieved some major victories and witnessed a steady improvement. They had sent over a thousand counter protesters down to my county to disrupt a public hearing in early 2000, at which their leader called our congressman “small potatoes”. Their principal tactic was intimidation, but we were well aware that they did not stop there. I personally had witnessed a public hearing where a person giving testimony was shouted down from the audience. When we looked north we saw those towers and knew we were small potatoes.
And so now where do we stand? Storms batter our coasts and fires burn out of control as our government seeks to take from us all we have fought for. I was shocked and awed that day in 2001 when I stood looking north at a reshaped skyline. I recall thinking that it could have been so much worse, so much worse. I hope they get it, I thought, and maybe then they did, but now they seem to have forgotten.