John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

As anyone with eyes, ears and a consciousness knows, today is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C., and an innocent field in Pennsylvania.

That last, of course, is a bit of hyperbole and puckish humor. No one is certain where United Airlines Flight 93 was headed before the passengers decided they’d had enough and tried to take over the plane, but most say it, too, was aimed at Washington.

In any event, it was a bad day for the passengers, the nation and the world.

And today (if you’re reading this on Sunday, that is) we honor the fallen and the heroes of the aftermath, vilify the perpetrators and their ilk, and congratulate ourselves on making it for a decade without experiencing a similar attack.

Considerable ink, air time and Internet space has been devoted to the heroic and sublime aspects of the attacks and related matters. I have read some of it, and see no need to repeat it here. I should note that I, too, mourn for those who lost their lives that day, and rejoice in the fact that America, as a nation, came together in its shock and dismay, if only briefly.

But there is another way of looking back at all this, and that is to acknowledge that there remains an incredible amount of uncertainty about how it all came to pass.

Recommended Stories For You

The obvious, of course, remains just that. Four planes were hijacked that day. Two of them were flown into the Twin Towers, one hit the Pentagon, and the fourth went down in a field near Shanksville, Penn.

The rest, however, is much less clear, and the efforts of the Bush administration to keep things murky are interesting to look back on.

Take a glimpse, for example, at the views of former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, who was a member of the 9-11 Commission that investigated the attacks.

In a November, 2003 article in Salon.com’s online magazine, he went after George W. Bush with a vengeance, maintaining that Bush not only resisted the creation of the commission, but fought it every step of the way as it tried to get some answers about our new day of infamy.

Remember, Cleland is a politician from Georgia, a man who lost both legs and one arm in Vietnam, scarcely the kind of guy who’d latch onto wild conspiracy theories about who was really behind the 9-11 attacks.

And he is careful to say he has no idea if Bush and Co. were trying to hide something, or if they were, what it might be.

But he directed his ire, in particular, against Bush’s refusal to grant full access to the commission regarding the Presidential Daily Briefs, which provide every president with a snapshot of national and world affairs every morning he is in office.

Now, why would Bush not want the commission to see those reports? Especially in light of their relevance to such a supreme national tragedy? It’s not like the commission was hunting for political dirt.

Aside from Cleland, there reportedly were other members of the commission who felt they were lied to by administration officials, military brass and a host of others called to testify.

Then, of course, there is the burgeoning number of 9/11 conspiracy theories available to anyone with access to the Internet. Check some of them out, don’t take my word for it.

I’m not saying I believe any of these theories, although I will admit to a healthy skepticism about the official story put out by the military industrial complex that controls our government.

And there is one very telling aspect of all this that I ask you to consider.

George Bush and Co., as is quite clear by now, lied to the nation and the world about their reasons for wanting to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein. There were no weapons of mass destruction there, and they knew it.

OK, they lied to us about that, plunging us into eight years of unnecessary war that cost what is believed to be hundreds of thousands of lives and $3 trillion or so, and is a direct causal factor in our national debt crisis.

So, what would they not lie to us about? Is it possible that a group of lying, power mad maniacs, arrogant to the point of near messianic tendencies, would engineer something as horrible at the 9/11 attacks for some secret, right-wing, strange agenda?

I don’t know. You tell me. I mean, we’re also still not sure who killed JFK!

jcolson@aspentimes.com