Let me begin by saying that I was married at Windows on the World on the 107th floor of the WTC only 17 days before the building went down. I worked less than 10 minutes (in Brooklyn) from the building and have since had the distinct honor of dining in a restaurant, Colors, created by the former workers of Windows on the World. I have clear recollections of going to Windows with my wife to indulge in the tasting menu prior to the wedding. I remember eating far too much to make a sound decision about what to serve for the wedding – and I remember drinking Echelon’s Zinfandel wine. I remember our wedding video and photos (taken by the great Chester Higgins). I remember my anguish and the uncontrollable sobbing of my wife for months and months. I remember the fragility of my sense of personal strength in looking at those images and reliving the uncertainty and danger and powerlessness of that day.
And now, this morning…this blessed day where the sky is as clear as it was on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the New York Times has penned an editorial that is hell bent on obfuscation, confusion and denial. In “Our Porous Air Defenses on 9/11,” the editors conclude, “someone will still have to explain why the military, with far greater resources and more time for investigation, could not come up with the real story until the 9/11 commission forced it to admit the truth.”
The truth is that neither this administration, nor the one headed by William Jefferson Clinton, will be held accountable for its use of resources and its incompetence. We are presently in an environment where a Vice President, with a financial interest in war making, assails the defeat of a Democrat as an opportunity for a “terrorist” network. Meanwhile, the US spends billions of dollars each month fighting a war it has already won. The truth is that 9/11 had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. Moreover, the current war in Iraq is not really about rebuilding that country as a democracy which serves the best interests of Iraqis. The very idea is preposterous. While Iraqi fatalities rise at alarming numbers each day, American GIs have enough free time to plot early morning rape and murder excursions. US troops have done a tremendous job of staying out of harm’s way – for the most part. And, so from the perspective of those beyond these borders, Washington’s desire to insert itself in the region has as much to do with oil and Israel and China as with any silly notions of political freedom.
Is it even possible that an administration which has stolen two successive presidential elections can contemplate authentic political representation? Perhaps more importantly, how much does it matter when the Democrats are so clearly opposed to affirming a position, running electable candidates, or resolving the fundamental contradictions of what is a laughably fractured “party.”
Americans are subsidizing a war predicated on the notion that long-term safety is contingent on a favorable outcome. The voters of this nation were told, before 9/11, that the nation’s best and brightest minds were doing an outstanding job of keeping the nation safe. They were told after 9/11 that, somehow, the best and brightest made a series of recurring, fundamental mistakes that resulted in mixed messages, missed signals and the death of thousands. The Times doesn’t smell a rat. Instead, they’re simply calling for an explanation for the military playing a shell game with facts. One cannot simultaneously claim to be the best and the brightest (at everything, all the time) and also be subject to doing stoopid shit on a regular basis. One can, however, expect the New York Times to look to someone else for an explanation.