Camelot to Crawford
April 18, 2002
By warren pease
is easier to believe: That the laws of physics which have
governed objects in motion since the big bang were suspended
for a few seconds on a single afternoon in Dallas 39 years
ago to allow a single, mediocre marksman to kill a president?
Or that there was another rifleman?
Last week Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D - Courage) broke
the code. In a radio interview, she asked the forbidden question
concerning Sept. 11: Why is the Bush administration stonewalling,
and why has it asked Senate investigators to back off? In
short, is Bush Inc. trying to hide something? If so, what
did they know and when did they know it?
In a statement intended to clarify her statements and call
off the dogs, McKinney said, "We hold thorough public inquiries
into rail disasters, plane crashes and even natural disasters.
Why then does the administration remain steadfast in its opposition
to an investigation into the biggest terrorism attack in history?"
She added that international news organizations have been
reporting for months of indications that the Bush administration
had received warnings about the attacks and failed to act
on them. Naturally, she's being savaged by the right, the
center and the left. Paul Begala, the latest Democratic white
knight to turn yellow from the toxic after-effects of radical
spine-ectomy, even did a ritual dive under the table on Crossfire
to symbolically distance himself from McKinney's comments.
It was a gesture so perfect as a metaphor for media harlotry
that it was impossible to see it without assuming that Paul
gave co-host and right-wing fop Tucker Carlson's thigh a couple
of quick squeezes and whispered salacious promises involving
champagne and chains and mirrors in a posh hotel later that
The grassy knoll
Ari Fleischer, presidential spokesdork and owner of the second
best smirk in the western world, dismissed McKinney and those
who share her point of view as members of "the grassy knoll
society." This refers to an area flanking Elm Street in Dallas
from which an alleged second shooter opened fire on John F.
Kennedy in 1963. Although many witnesses to the assassination
say they heard shots coming from the grassy knoll -- even
some Dallas cops charged in that direction looking for the
shooter -- the official story pins the blame on a single rifleman
firing from a sixth floor window of the old Texas Schoolbook
Depository. Ironically, the building now serves as a museum
dedicated to advancing the official story.
But here's the thing. Playing the "conspiracy nut" card is
a time-honored way to discredit the unofficial points of view.
Unfortunately, there are any number of nuts who do, in fact,
give serious conspiracy investigators a bad name. There are
also a lot of very sane profiteers, such as Art Bell, who
are making a ton of money peddling conspiracy theories. But
just because these nuts and shysters exist doesn't mean there
are no conspiracies.
While most conspiracy theories -- notably those involving
Area 51, Roswell, or alien abduction -- are viewed by officialdom
as merely bread and circuses for today's gullible junk science
consumers, those that challenge important official truths
are dealt with harshly.
One of those official truths is that conspiracies only happen
in far-away places and that, in America, politics is characterized
by reasonable actions taken by reasonable men elected to office
by reasonable voters. There are no conspiracies to remove
elected officials in America, and therefore any political
assassinations must be planned and carried out by single,
mentally unbalanced individual with a grudge and a fixation
-- usually called the "one lone nut" theory.
Famous lone nuts include a bunch of guys with three names
and another with one name squared: Lee Harvey Oswald, James
Earl Ray, John Wilkes Booth, Sirhan Sirhan.
The single-bullet theory
It 1963, it was deemed necessary to preserve the fiction
that, in America, conspiracies don't kill politicians, lone
nuts do. And when the facts in the Kennedy case failed to
support this essential construct, a new theory was invented
to fit the facts.
So Arlen Specter, then a young lawyer working for the Warren
Commission and now a US Senator from Pennsylvania, devised
a scenario so ridiculous that it required complete suspension
of the laws of physics, along with even the barest modicum
of logic and skepticism.
To fit the official story, Oswald had to have acted alone.
But a man named Abraham Zapruder had filmed the assassination
with his home movie camera and, in the process, established
a precise time frame for the sequence of events. Investigators
proved it was physically impossible to get off more than three
shots with the alleged assassination weapon -- a cheap, mail-order
bolt-action rifle. The first shot missed and the third blew
Kennedy's head apart.
Therefore, to account for multiple wounds to the president
and Texas Governor John Connolly, seated just in front of
Kennedy, the second shot must have passed through Kennedy,
hung motionless in the air for a bit, zigged and zagged, entered
Connolly's shoulder, bounced around his rib cage, exited,
zigged again, and lodged in his wrist, shattering bone and
cartilage. And after this miraculous journey, it finally showed
up on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital in nearly pristine
condition. The "single bullet" in Specter's single bullet
theory. Needless to say, scores of proficient marksmen have
never been able to replicate this feat. Not even close.
But that's not considered crazy; it's the official story
signed by all members of the Warren Commission and passed
into the US historical record, irreproducible results notwithstanding.
Not coincidentally, this same country relies on the trappings
of legality to explain the events of December 2000, which
in any country not called America would have been described
by an American administration and press as an obvious and
shameful overthrow of the democratic process, and would be
And so when Cynthia McKinney attempts to force this very
same fraudulent administration to apply the same level of
official scrutiny that would attend any high-profile kidnapping,
a missing child or yet another in the endless series of multiple
murder-suicides that plague a country wracked by economic
depression and infested with advanced weaponry -- when McKinney
attempts to force an official inquiry into the events of Sept.
11 that may ask uncomfortable questions of high-ranking officials
in various intelligence agencies and administration positions,
Ari Fleischer has the epic effrontery to, in essence, accuse
her of being a couple of cans short of a case.
This administration is nearly a million votes short of legitimacy
and its chief apologist has the unmitigated gall to suggest
that anyone who questions its official pronouncements a conspiracy
Never mind that the only entity that seems to have benefited
from 9-11 is the Bush administration itself, which was in
its customary disarray and tanking quickly in the polls by
late August 2001. Now, capitalizing on an unprecedented wave
of hyper-patriotism fueled by the ceaseless cheerleading of
irrepressible bliss ninnies in mainstream media, Bush has
shamelessly used the corpses of about 3,000 American civilians
as springboards to advance his political agenda.
So is he the luckiest bastard ever to tread the American
political stage, or did he make his own luck? Who knows? And
without the kind of thorough investigation McKinney is calling
for, those questions can never be answered and the events
surrounding Sept. 11 will simply pass into American folk lore
along with the grassy knoll.
Which is easier to believe: That the world's mightiest
military power, along with an unparalleled national security
and intelligence apparatus, failed to predict, interdict or
even put up a decent fight against the most deadly attack
in this country's modern history? Or that people in high places
put out the word to stand down and let it happen?
The author would much rather there were no need for a Grassy
Knoll Society, and that we lived in a country in which government
had earned our trust. Sadly, this is George W. Bush's America.
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