in America (2003)
By W. David Jenkins III
"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged
your cruelty or your recklessness ... If it were in my power
to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I
like to think I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will
have to come from someone other than me ... sir, at long last,
have you no sense of decency?" - Joseph Welch, Chief Counsel
Army - McCarthy hearings: May 17, 1954
That day in 1954 marked the beginning of the end for Senator
Joseph McCarthy when the special counsel for the Army told
the Wisconsin representative, "If there is a God in heaven,
it [the attack on Welch associate, Frederick G. Fisher Jr.]
will do neither you nor your cause any good."
CBS's Fred Friendly once commented about that day saying
that you could almost see McCarthy having a nervous breakdown
on national television after that verbal exchange. If only
there were the equivalent of a Joseph Welch out there today
to ask of Bush Inc: "Have you no sense of decency?".
The poisoned atmosphere of the 1950s brought on by Senator
McCarthy and other like-minded leaders has made a come-back
in America. Yesterday's McCarran Act is today's Patriot Act.
In more than fifty years we haven't learned from the mistake
of leading and legislating through paranoia. And the self-proclaimed
patriots supporting Bush keep running toward the cliff. Not
exactly what you'd call a fitting tribute to those whose horrifying
deaths enabled such traitorous actions by those who claim
to lead us. In just two short years, the people of power in
the Bush administration have found the perfect whore - and
her name is 9/11.
9/11 has become the ultimate lame excuse for the disastrous
behavior of Bush and his followers. It has been used to excuse
everything from the Bush-induced economic disaster most of
us face to invading countries who supposedly pose an "immediate
threat." The events of that terrible day have been debased
and prostituted to fill the pockets of those in the military
industry as well as other leeches, such as Carlyle and Halliburton.
9/11 has been reduced to little more than a rotten carrot
dangled in front of a population of gullible asses who are
far too complacent in their fears. The same people who can't
seem to connect the most obvious two dots in this whole disgusting
If 9/11 was such an eventful day in our history - a tragic
turning point - then why has Bush done everything possible
to make sure Americans never know what happened on that day
as well as the months leading up to that awful September?
Almost immediately after the Columbia space shuttle disaster,
an investigation was launched. Now, just a little more than
seven months later, we have a pretty good idea what happened
and who was responsible. We know of the many shortcomings
at NASA which contributed to the disaster and we can be that
much more confident that those shortcomings will be addressed.
Twenty-four hours after the Big Blackout, Bush wanted an investigation.
The same cannot be said for the most infamous day in American
Bush wouldn't even allow an independent investigation
until over a year after that day!
This was after the "Bush Knew!" summer of 2002 which forced
him to concede to the establishment of the Department of Homeland
Security - which was conceived by Democrats and which has
already been abused by Tom DeLay. Not to mention, it is still
totally under-funded, thanks to Bush. But, by golly, it
sure got people's minds off the fact that Bush knew a hell
of a lot more about 9/11 than he was letting on.
As of this writing, less than one-tenth of taxpayer
money has been spent on the independent investigation into
9/11 than was spent on investigating President Clinton.
Exactly where are America's priorities?
And on top of all that, Bush felt compelled to remove twenty-eight
pages from the original Senate hearings that looked into intelligence
failures concerning that day. Just what the hell do these
people think they're doing? And, please - all you Bushies
lurking out there - don't give me that tired old "national
security" nonsense. What they really mean is "saving Bush's
It has become quite clear to many of us that the less America
learns about that horrible day - the better it is for the
Bush Administration. And the Bush gang knows that as well.
The power of 9/11 is in its shroud of secrecy.
It is the day that can whip the masses into immeasurable anger
and hostility just by showing those painful images again -
a day referred to in hushed tones and patriotic reverence.
It is the day that cuts the deepest into the heart of every
American. 9/11 is undeniably the darkest day in our short
history and that's just where Bush wants it kept. In the dark.
Americans are being led away from the high ideals this country
was founded on so that the secretive and soulless administration
of George W. Bush can pursue the most unworthy and un-American
desires - among them, absolute global and corporate dominance.
Too many Americans have allowed themselves to be led down
that dark road willingly because they haven't a clue as to
what really happened on that day or what has happened to this
country in the last two years. And, predictably, Bush doesn't
want them to know and far too many people, even those with
the power to do so, refuse to ask or are too afraid to ask
So I will ask you.
Just how does the persistent Bush obstructive secrecy
honor those who perished and those who rose to the challenge
on September 11?
This country has never been as divided as it is right now.
We have more to fear from each other right here at home than
we do from any terrorists. I've read more threats from so-called
"patriots" from my own inbox than I have heard from any televised
terrorist announcement. As it was during the Fifties when
people looked at each other and wondered if they were seeing
a communist, now anyone with un-Caucasian features is viewed
as a possible terrorist. Dissent is now considered an act
of treason by far too many people and yet the behavior is
quietly sanctioned with a smug wink and a nod by the self-serving
leaders in and around the White House. Secret lists of law-abiding
Americans who have committed the crime of exercising free
speech and assembly against this most corrupt administration
have been drawn up and distributed all in the name of the
lie that is national security. Hardworking citizens
of foreign nationality are still being "disappeared,"
abused and deported under the cloak of secrecy by a reckless
zealot posing as attorney general, America's guardian of equal
justice for all.
The very fiber of the flag and the principles it once stood
for are being gnawed away by rats while the masses are conveniently
distracted by the spineless and complacent media on the latest
scare - which always seem to be perpetuated more by our leaders
than any terrorists. And each of these scares and warnings
is always summed up eventually ala SNL's "Emily Litela."
Shameful. This is what America has been reduced to. What a
fitting tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11.
Once again, we are approaching that date on the calendar which
brings silent mourning for some and reckless pomposity, cries
for more war and shameless marketing practices for others.
When I wrote my first Lost
in America piece eight weeks before Thanksgiving Day in
2001, I wanted to point out the real heroes of that day. The
real heroes were the brave men and women who kept on digging
in the hell that was Ground Zero.
We saw TV pictures of them every day for many weeks after
the tragedy. While the news channels felt compelled to show
the twin towers falling to the ground over and over, the real
heroes were still digging.
Those images on TV screens all over the country - all over
the world - stirred emotions in the global community as it
watched in disbelief. From tens and hundreds and even thousands
of miles away, people felt the need to reach out as well as
to search within as the "impossible" unfolded before their
eyes. World-wide headlines the next day proudly proclaimed
"We Are All Americans." And here at home ringing declarations
of "We Are All New Yorkers" poured into that ravaged city
from ocean to ocean. Those sentiments were made manifest in
many ways and we were all united in our hearts and through
our actions - for a brief time anyway.
There were those who came to the borders of New York from
many different states to join with their brothers and sisters
at Ground Zero. They were people who heard the call for help
and felt they had no other choice than to go. No matter what
part of the country they called home - they were all New Yorkers,
at least they did then, and they offered their services proudly
to the city workers and countless volunteers in the shadows
of the towering rubble. And they joined with the firefighters,
police, Port Authority and emergency workers.
They were the people who rushed into the chaos of that day
toward distant screams. They looked up at the smoldering towers
in disbelief, clearly knowing they would be looking Death
in the face when they went into those buildings. Some would
reach the distant screamers and bring them out of the darkness
while others could do no more than try to calm a stranger's
fear before the inevitable would claim him amidst the smoke
and the flame.
These brave men and women had only their bodies to use as
shields against falling debris in an effort to save someone
who couldn't run away fast enough. And these same men and
women watched in helpless horror as the bodies plummeted from
the towers before crashing to the earth. These are the people
who, before the smoke and dust cleared, climbed to the top
of the mountain of crumbled steel, concrete and glass just
to see if they could save one more person. And these are the
people who attended funeral after funeral in the months after
to honor and remember their fallen brothers and sisters.
These are also the same people who are watching today as their
station houses close because folks like Dick Cheney and Ken
Lay wanted a tax break.
And yet, we're told - over and over - how much safer we are.
Then there are people whose stories of heroism on that day
will never be told. The unnamed who reached out to help a
total stranger, to save a life, to bring comfort, to do whatever
they could to ease the feeling of horror and helplessness
that had so many innocent victims held in a near death grip.
Now those anonymous heroes are the anonymous unemployed. No
one will ever know their stories of bravery on that day just
as no one will ever know about the crisis they face right
now. They have just blended into a sea of faceless unfortunates
across this once great land and each one of them has become
only another victim in the war on terrorism - which, like
national security, is another joke.
Don't think so? Let's put one aspect of the "war plan" in
You, American citizen, do not have a job or access to special
programs that you've depended on because we need that money
for our nation's security - which we are currently under-funding
because we gave the rich folks across town a tax cut. And
anytime that you feel you're being cheated, just remember
that terrible day. And shut up!
Every time this administration wants something that turns
out to be, and rightfully so, unpopular it invokes the images
of that day. 9/11 is also used to distract from the bald-faced
lies this administration has told and is still telling the
gullible masses in order to somehow justify the sacrifice
of our young men and women in Iraq for a less than noble cause.
9/11 is also the perfect scapegoat as well. How many times
have we heard Bush and others say that the disastrous tax
cuts of 2001 would have worked miracles if it weren't for
9/11? Okay, fair enough. But if that logic were accurate then
why would one turn around and make the same dumb move again
barely two years later? Especially after a terrorist
attack? It's like putting sour milk back in the refrigerator
because it just might taste better tomorrow! Exactly
how bad do things have to get before people wake up?
"Oh, shut up, Jenkins, we're at war!"
Maybe we are, but the enemy is not who some people think.
The fact that we are being led by people who campaigned on
"trusting the people" but refuse to allow us to know why 9/11
took place should be a big red flag to any thinking person.
Why isn't there an enormous noise from the populace demanding
the right to know what happened? Why, less than two months
after the attack, did Bush put the Reagan, Bush I and Clinton
presidential papers out of reach from the public? Why is Bush
so afraid of investigations into this horrible day?
"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State
can shield the people from the political, economic and/or
military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally
important for the State to use all of its powers to repress
dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and
thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of
the State." - Josef Goebbels
In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt told Americans that they "had
nothing to fear but fear itself." Now, seventy years later
we live in a country where the president not only plays upon
the fears of the grossly uninformed he asks us to imagine
the worst-case scenario in order to justify the damage he
and his people continue to do to this country - without question
and without dissent - in fear of being branded "unpatriotic."
And while they keep many Americans blanketed in fear and
ignorance masked as patriotism, these un-elected traitors
to the flag will continue to profit both financially and politically
from the events of 9/11.
George W. Bush and his people have spent almost two years
whoring the tragedy and in a year, they plan to degrade that
sacred ground with the ultimate insult - the Republican National
Convention - complete with Ground Zero as a backdrop. This
is, without doubt, the grandest and most deplorable display
of hypocrisy imaginable. They are going to spit in the face
of those who survived and, at the same time, desecrate the
memories of those who perished.
Like I said, I truly wish there was a "Joseph Welch" for
"Until this moment, George W. Bush, I think I never really
gauged your cruelty or your recklessness ... If it were in
my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would
do so. I like to think I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness
will have to come from someone other than me ... sir, at long
last, have you no sense of decency?"