Is American Democracy Too Feeble To Deal With 9/11?
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Alexander Hamilton is often portrayed as an early advocate of strong central government. But even Hamilton understood the danger from government. In the Federalist Papers he wrote:

 "Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free."

I would be more confident of the survival of democracy and civil liberty in the United States if, on this fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a majority of Americans were reading David Ray Griffin's challenging new book, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11.

It is an inexpensive book and available quickly from online booksellers. A person only needs to read the first 56 pages to realize that the official account of the collapse of the three World Trade Center buildings has many problems and that defenders of the official account have no hard evidence upon which to stand.

On pages 57-75, Griffin summarizes the inconsistencies in the 9/11 Commission's incredible tale of flights 11, 175, 77, and 93. The official account is a story of improbable incompetence and failure.

On pages 76-82, Griffin concludes that the failure of the 9/11 Commission Report to produce a believable account or even to acknowledge the most important known facts is itself a conclusive case that the report is a cover-up.

Griffin believes that 9/11 was a false flag operation to provide the neoconservative Bush regime with a "new Pearl Harbor" excuse to launch its imperial ambitions for hegemony in the Middle East and beyond. On pages 85-106, Griffin provides an excellent summary of the neocon agenda and how it was enabled by 9/11.

Griffin expects no further investigation from Congress, official commissions, and government agencies, such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Although Griffin calls on the New York Times to take up the investigation, he does not expect any investigative interest on the part of the media, which has served as a propagandist for the government's story.

Instead, Griffin places his hope in Christian churches. He calls upon the churches to confront the evil that has America in its grip.

Is the hope that Griffin places on Christian churches realistic? Many of the right-wing evangelical churches are fanatical supporters of the Bush Administration and Republican Party. The Rapture churches actually look forward to the Armageddon that they believe Bush is brewing in the Middle East as they think it will bring about their ascent into Heaven.

The attack by conservative Presbyterians on Griffin's publisher, the Presbyterian Westminster John Knox Press, for publishing his book is more indication that the Protestant churches might not be up to the job that Griffin assigns to them. Conservative Presbyterians, who have not read Griffin's book and whose comprehension of events is dependent on right-wing radio talk shows and Fox "News," demanded retribution against the John Knox Press for daring to publish a work so blasphemous as to cast doubt on the motives of President Bush and the U.S. Government.

Scientists tend to believe that facts and analysis can prevail over emotions such as those of the conservative Presbyterians. BYU physics professor Steven Jones is one of those scientists. Jones believed that it was safe for him to point out that there appears to be a large energy deficit in the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings. He is prepared for this question to be settled by scientific inquiry and analysis and has called for an independent panel of experts. Jones overlooked that universities, and especially physics departments, are dependent on government research grants. People dependent on government research grants are not independent. Jones, himself has now been placed on paid leave by BYU.

The message is clear. The debate is over.

Elected Republican officials, both governors and senators, have demanded the firing of every academic who has expressed doubts about the official line on 9/11. And now a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Donald Buswell, is being accused of sending an email message "disloyal to the United States". Apparently, Buswell is guilty of expressing doubts that the airliners alleged to have hit the Pentagon and to have crashed in Pennsylvania would have been vaporized by the impacts.

It should scare all Americans that reaching a logical conclusion is an act disloyal to the U.S. government.

It has always been the case that the untutored emotions of ignorant people are material that enable evil deeds. Recognizing that emotion is a powerful shield against facts and that American disbelief in their government's bad behavior is the government's best protection when it behaves badly, Griffin opens his book with a short history of well known false-flag operations, both by the US and other countries. It is a sobering account.

So much factual information about 9/11 has been kept from the public that we owe it to ourselves and to our country to read Griffin's brief presentation. I find the facts against the official story of the buildings' collapse more compelling than the case that has been made in behalf of the official story. I would like to see the issue debated by independent scientists and engineers, if such people exist.

Few Americans understand that an enormous amount of energy was required to produce such a total collapse of the buildings and to pulverize so many tons of concrete, furniture, and office equipment into fine dust. What was the source of this energy, and how did it act so suddenly? The damage to the buildings from airliners was asymmetrical and the fires were scattered. WTC 7 was not hit by an airliner. Yet, all three buildings collapsed symmetrically as if there was no resistance and all structural support crumbled almost instantly.

The function of government commissions is to reassure the public. The fact that the 9/11 Commission came up with a story that is not well supported by the evidence might simply reflect the over-riding political need to reassure the public.

I think that we can accept Griffin's conclusion that the evidence does not fit the Commission's story. A real investigation is needed to find an explanation consistent with the evidence, even if it doesn't reassure the public. But I don't think this will happen. Even Internet sites that are anti-war, anti-Bush, and independent of the mainstream media, such as and CounterPunch refuse to post objective reporting about the 9/11 skeptics' arguments. BYU has closed down the seminars that Jones was holding for his academic peers where his views could be tested by competent authorities. I suspect that other credible skeptics will find pressures brought against them as well.

All of this suggests to me that there is something to hide. If Professor Jones, for example, is wrong about there being insufficient energy in the official account to explain the destruction of the buildings, discussions and debates with his academic peers would bring this out. There is no justification for the university Administration to intervene in a matter of scientific inquiry, or for people who know nothing about science to serve as gatekeepers for neoconservative ideologues by branding skeptics "conspiracy theorists". "Conspiracy theorist" is used to suppress debate about 9/11 just as "anti-Semite" is used to suppress debate about Israel's policies.

Of course, Jones and Griffin were not allowed to express their doubts of the official story without being pressed to offer their explanations. Jones offered the hypothesis that explosives were used and called for the testing of any surviving evidence.

Griffin went further and threw down the gauntlet. He accuses the Bush Administration of the deed.

My role in this is as a reporter. I do believe that 9/11 was used by the Bush Administration to launch aggressive wars in the Middle East and that it is not the Administration's intent to end the aggression in Iraq.

Whether 9/11 was merely convenient for the Administration or whether the Administration had a hand in it, I do not know.

I am reconciled to the fact that our free democratic society is incapable of producing an inquiry that can arrive at the truth about 9/11.


Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington;  Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

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