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Lost in America (2003)
September 5, 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 charade.

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 history.

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 behind."

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 "why?"

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."

"Oooh!..........never mind."

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.

Remember them?

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.

Remember them?

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 plain English.

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 our times.

"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?"

Send any comments to Special thanks to "Root" for her help with this article.
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