The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Remembering 9/11

I was working that day, in an office. Everything ground to a halt, and management gave up and opened an auditorium with a large screen playing the events as they happened.

After it was all clear, I turned to a co-worker and said “Jesus, I hope they don’t attack the wrong people.” He thought the idea was absurd.

Well, we all know how it turned out.

Most of the attackers were Saudi citizens, and it still smells to me like a Saudi operation. Certainly, if any country was going to be attacked, it should have been Saudi Arabia, the source of the poison which has corrupted Islam throughout the world.

As for the US, its soul was always rotten, but after everything Bush Jr. did–his re-election in 2004 was sickening– Americans knew, and enough of them were OK with it.

The US did change after 9/11, however; the Patriot Act was vile, evil, authoritarian, and almost no one voted against it. The war in Iraq was a simple war crime, and every senior person involved in it is guilty of the same crime that most of the Nazis were hung for at Nuremburg. I’d include everyone who voted for the enabling act, myself.

If the 2000 election theft hadn’t happened, 9/11 likely wouldn’t have happened, and even if it had, the aftermath wouldn’t have been as bad. Plus, Gore would have worked on climate change.

It’s all a clusterfuck, and it started with Bush v. Gore and 9/11.

Oh, and Bin Laden won. He got the US to do things that weakened it badly. That’s what he wanted.

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Brief Notes on the Democratic Primaries


  1. Herman

    9/11 was a product of American support for the worst Islamist elements in the Muslim world as part of a policy of undermining nationalist and socialist regimes in Muslim nations. Once the USSR collapsed it was inevitable that the jihadists would turn on America and bite the hand that fed them.

    In addition to the negative ways in which 9/11 changed America, the Greater Middle East is certainly worse off now, although this is not entirely a product of 9/11 itself but goes back further. Compare socialist Afghanistan to the reactionary nightmare that is modern Afghanistan, or even Saddams’s Iraq to modern Iraq.

    This is not to condone the terrible things that happened under socialist or nationalist regimes but I think it is pretty clear that most people in the Greater Middle East (particularly women and ethnic/religious minorities) were better off in the past, especially before the 1980s. I see the 1970s as the last truly progressive decade in history, even if cracks were beginning to show even then.

  2. Chickens roost. Though I’m not sure I entirely buy the nineteen cavemen armed only with boxcutters hijacking aircraft over the most heavily armed airspace in the known universe and crashing them into recently heavily re-insured iconic structures designed to withstand just such impacts and imploding them into their own footprints schtick. Either/or, chickens roost.

    No disrespect to the collateral damage – my brother was blocks away.

  3. Eric Anderson

    I was in Seattle rigging a crab boat to head out for the snow crab season in the Bering Sea. I too remember, with a shrug of my shoulders, thinking that we would respond in the most inappropriate manner ever imaginable.

    My imagination fell short.

  4. Marcus

    I was in freshman year in college, scampering around my dormitory (possibly in boxer shorts) with my other other pothead friends when there was this thing on TV. It seemed oddly distant and at the same time kind of close. We quickly learned one of my friends’ girlfriends lost her brother in the towers. Overall, I didn’t think the whole spectacle mattered so long as I could keep getting weed while earning my elite degree and thus a nice place in the establishment, an establishment that surely wasn’t going to topple from a few bad eggs who got their hands on airliners.

  5. Ché Pasa

    I was in Seattle, sleeping in a hotel room near the central library that was under demolition/reconstruction. Sirens in the street awakened me at about 6:00 am. I washed up, started some in-room coffee and turned on the TeeVee to the sight of live news covering the burning WTC tower, soon to be joined by the second burning tower. It was mystifying. Surreal. I called the office as soon as I figured there was someone there and asked what the plan was for the day. “Come on in. Keep your schedule. We’ll figure out what to do here when they get it figured out in DC.” The Pentagon was aflame.

    So. There I was an hour later in the office, watching the mystery unfold on the office TeeVee, calls going back and forth with HQ (not really in DC but close enough) panic rising and falling as the day wore on, learning that all flights were grounded so it would be a challenge getting home, watched the towers fall before I got there, wondering what madness was behind this and wondering how many people now were mist and dust in the ruins. It’s still unbelievable almost 20 years on. The shock to the system has never abated.

    And to be sure Our Rulers took full advantage of the crisis — as they continue to do. The Patriot Act was ready to go — how long had it been sitting on the shelf waiting for an event like this? Everyone in Congress voted for it, didn’t they? Well, almost everyone. They knew. They were prepared. And they knew just where and what an attack on the “homeland” would lead to. We’re there. We’ve been there. Those who rule us want it this way. If they didn’t, it would be different, wouldn’t it?

    They knew what to do when the inevitable financial collapse came after the disastrous invasions and endless wars. Feed the rich, and keep right on feeding them. Beggar the lowly. And keep right on.

    There were many futile protests against what was to come. Huge protest marches against the invasion of Iraq were ignored just like the smaller but equally determined protests against the invasion of Afghanistan were ignored just like the protests against the elevation of GWB and his evil familiar Cheney were ignored in 2000 and 2001.

    Some of us laid odds about how long it would be after Bush was inaugurated before the US would be embroiled in a war. I said 6 months. It took 9, but jeebus. What a cock-up. Yes, the shock of war was inevitable once Bush-Cheney were installed in the White House. I was convinced that’s specifically what they were put in office to do.

    Of course they fucked it up. Our Rulers just aren’t very bright, are they? We’ve been in a ridiculous shock-spiral ever since, And no one who might do anything about it has a clue.

    Millions are coming into adulthood having known nothing but this monstrousness on the part of the high and the mighty. Shock, bewilderment, cynicism and sense of powerlessness in the face of grotesque misrule. That’s what they’ve seen and experienced all their lives.

    The revolution hasn’t come yet, but when it does, woe betide the ruling classes. The guillotine will seem merciful compared to what they’ll face.

  6. nihil obstet

    The political aftermath of 9/11 was to remove virtually all restrictions against government surveillance of persons. The rulers dropped any pretense that U.S. citizens have rights of dissent. To combat terrorism, we must not allow citizens any secrecy, but must impose secrecy for the rulers.

    I have to keep reminding myself that most people are too busy with jobs, families, and the incredibly time-consuming daily requirements of living to pay adequate attention to politics.

  7. Dan Lynch

    In 2000 Gore ran to the right of Bush on foreign policy. After Gore exited politics he moved to the left, claims to care about the environment, etc.. But Al Gore the politician was a Clintonite who supported the Democratic party’s foreign wars of choice, and there is no reason to believe that a President Gore would have governed any differently than Hillary or Obama.

    So no, Ian, the American people never had much of a choice. To the extent that we had a choice in 2000, we voted for the candidate who claimed to be an anti-interventionist. We were lied to, but in 2004 our choice was between known neocon/neoliberal #1 and known neocon/neoliberal #2. Kerry’s sorry performance as Sec. of State did nothing to make me wish he had won in 2004.

    Until such time as we have public referendums on wars, stop blaming the American public. We’re not a real democracy, and even if we were, the American people are too brainwashed by billionaire-owned media to cast informed votes.

  8. Stirling S Newberry

    In the Fourth Republic, the government cannot be trusted.

    Just days ago, he sent down a message the NOAA foresters could be fired from the top. I sent an e-mail on that, too. Perhaps someone should start a mail-in on that.

  9. Willy

    It was in around 2001 that I was becoming reacquainted with the amazing flexibility of most peoples notions of “evil”. Even the great and mighty I couldn’t clearly spot or define evil.

    Had I not passed all of my history, psychology, religious and humanities classes? Had those classes not taught me how cunning, manipulative and duplicitous large scale evil could be?

    Maybe there needs to be a science of evil. Not sure what a Doctor of Evil might earn, out in the real world. Even federal judges can be pretty biased one way or another, so I’m guessing that Doctors of Evil could be paysuaded to bless this factory then not bless that news organization by some PTB.

    Maybe the Pope will know. We’re off to see the Wizard of Rome!

  10. nihil obstet

    Even federal judges can be pretty biased one way or another

    Oh, no, NO! (Clutches pearls, collapses onto fainting couch). Not the people who except for a brief period after WWII have stopped democratic reforms that limited the power of the rich dead in their tracks!

    We need to address the issue of the federal judiciary. An early step is to delegitimise the unfounded respect that too many people give them. Bush v. Gore did help a lot there — the Supreme Court should have been impeached for a clearly unconstitutional political ruling, or if not impeached, simply ignored. “We don’t have time in the next few months to count votes”? Even though I think the 9/11 attacks would have been prevented in a Gore administration, the ruling fell short of a coup simply because it was about personnel decisions, not legal issues.

  11. Hugh

    I remember when I first heard a plane had hit one of the Towers, I thought it was like a Cessna. Then I got more of the story and I knew it was one of those moments like the assassinations of JFK and King where the country was changed, and not for the better. What felt really spooky though in the following days was the absence of aircraft and contrails in the sky. I hadn’t noticed how much they filled up the skies until they were gone.

    For both Albert Gore and Hillary Clinton, the election was theirs to lose and they lost it because they ran unbelievably dreadful campaigns.

    Agree with nihil obstet, that the American judiciary and SCOTUS in particular have been anti-us through most of its and our history.

  12. Bill Hicks

    I was in DC on 9/11, but given what’s happened since I’ve come to think of it as American Commuppance Day, when were final given a taste of our own medicine. No doubt, the ultimate result of 9/11 and America’s subsequent imperial overreach will be full blown Soviet style collapse. That day draws ever closer, and will likely be here by 2030.

  13. Stirling S Newberry

    Why did no one get what was going on? It was completely obvious.

  14. Willy

    Ryan Leaf was the biggest draft bust in NFL history. It makes sense that we don’t see him giving his opinions commentating on ESPN. Nobody cares about his heroic stories of utter failure.

    Yet we see Bill Kristol, Iraq War bust extraordinaire, on MSNBC all the time. And not as an example of what to ever be, but being taken as a serious commentator.

  15. someofparts

    When 9/11 happened I was at a ratty temp job during a year when I was laid off from my regular job. I took on an appalling mountain of debt to keep paying for the house I had just bought, only to lose it eventually anyway. That was in the middle of nearly twenty years of working two full-time jobs, only to be robbed of most of what I earned by the Great Housing Swindle.

    I always wondered why anyone bothered to attack us at all. I saw what the New Deal did for my parents as well as how grim my grandparents’ lives had been without it. By the time 9/11 happened, I had already figured out that the New Deal was over and this country was on a glide path to collapse. So attacking us seemed redundant to me. I always figured that people outside of the country were not able to see the truth about us because the miasma of propaganda we live in had blinded them too.

  16. mago

    It\’s like the old \”Where were you when Kennedy died?\” recollection–assuming one is that old. I was on my mountain deck talking with a friend in NJ who was witnessing it all. In a later phone call with my young sous chef, I remarked that it was all wrong–that Pentagon wing under construction, the Pennsylvania drama–all smelled like smoke.
    Shrub and others famously remarked, \”I smell an opportunity here.\”
    Si senor.

  17. Charlie

    How many remember the entire attack (the Twin Tower part) happening live on TV? I was out of work trying to get used to the fact that I had recently developed Type I diabetes, and turned on the TODAY show. Matt Lauer was opening with a live shot outside, and watched the first plane fly into the first tower in real time. Imagine the shock that comes expecting a typical morning that becomes far too atypical.

    After thinking about it for a few minutes, my mother calls and asks if I saw the news. My first answer was yes and to batten down the hatches, it going to get rough, as this was exactly what the powers wanted. I didn’t trust what wealthy people said even then, but my mother did, so she got quite upset. Believe me when I say I was more correct than I wanted to be.

  18. cripes

    As a kid I often rode my trusty Peugot 10-speed from 96th Street down to the Trade Center construction site and back, just to see the iron workers raise the frame. Like most New Yorkers, I thought it was ugly and lopsided. I had heard about David Rockefeller’s plan to get brother Nelson in Albany to use Port Authority’s public monies to fund his pet scheme: a grand revival of the sclerotic Wall Street District where he had much invested and so much to lose. Better that working stiffs foot the bill and pay off 30 years of bonds than the brothers lose a nickel. Of course, city services had to be slashed because budget crisis!

    Fast forward to 9/11/2001, running late for work, I’m jogging down a Chicago Redline stairway to see a large, too-quiet crowd gaping at a TV screen in the convenience store. It took me three seconds to figure out they were watching NFL-style replays of the first tower getting hit over and over. I had a dizzy feeling and then a sick feeling: this is not what we’ll be told to think. I remembered the Reichstag Fire. Whoever you think responsible for the attack the spectre of 9/11 has been exploited to similar ends; wanton destruction of people who had nothing to do with it and repression here.

    I stood at the back, apart from the crowd who were pressing forward to see the broadcast when I noticed an old Yasser Arafat impersonator in Palestinian keffiyah scarf standing next to me. He turns to me with a tilt of his head towards the TV and says: “That? That’s nothing” and after a few seconds strolls away.

    I still don’t know how he meant it.
    Because we’ll see worse in the future?
    Or because his people already have?

    Or both.

  19. Olivier

    “9/11 likely wouldn’t have happened, and even if it had, the aftermath wouldn’t have been as bad. Plus, Gore would have worked on climate change.”

    Ian, I think you are delusional. The reason the Patriot Act could be rammed through Congress as swiftly as it was it because the Bush administration found a draft of it in the leftovers of the Clinton administration. And have you already forgotten the Clipper Chip hullabaloo, too? The Clinton administration was no friend of liberties. Thus on the domestic front at least little would have been different under a Gore administration.

  20. cripes

    Yes to that.

    Democratic presidential candidates have always run as hawks accusing republicans of being soft on…Germans, communists, terriorists, then governed as belligerents in countless foreign war crimes (Truman, Johnson, Clintoon, O’bomber).

    Carter was in part an exception, mainly becuase the timing of Vietnam war ending, but opened the door to 2 generations of fundamentalist islamic regime change wars with his buddy Bresinski.

    Gore would have made some nice noises about LBGT rights or climate or whatever seemed fashionable at the moment, so there’s that.

  21. ttu

    A brief personal recollection:
    The weather was, without exaggeration, perfect. Walking south on Amsterdam Avenue in the 70s for a doctor’s appointment, I stopped to look at a glassed-in exercise room to look at the people looking at the TV. From a distance I saw a gash in one of the WTC towers but saw and heard nothing else. For hours, that image would be all I knew of what was happening that day. At the doctor’s office, I ignorantly opined, based upon reading John McPhee’s explanation of the WTC’s design, that this aviation accident would not cause the tower to fall. (Yes, to this day this recollection makes me cringe.)

    After the appointment and still clueless, I walked a block and got on a southbound subway. The train took a long time, pausing between stations. While we were between stations, a man sitting across from me said something I did not then understand. Making a face that looked like a combination of grimace and bemusement he looked straight ahead and said to no one in particular, “Today is our day to be Rome.”

    The train eventually arrived at Times Square, which had now become the last stop. The station seemed oddly deserted but with the usual incuriousness of the subway rider I walked through it to the shuttle train. When that train arrived at Grand Central we were told to leave. Apparently I walked off in a different direction from everyone else, and within a moment or two walked through a side door into the main waiting room of Grand Central Terminal. Apart from two or three policemen across the room, there was no one there. I mean no one. No one waiting for a train. No railroad employees. No one at the ticket counters. No one at the information booth. Apart from the police doing whatever it was they were doing, I was alone, in that space, in the middle of a weekday morning. I assumed that perhaps there was a power problem, so when a policeman came up to me I did not ask any questions. Somewhat surprisingly, he did not bark at me. With a silent and subdued manner he asked me how I’d come in, and after I had told him we returned there. I left, and he locked the door behind me. Much later I realized I had been the last passenger to leave the Times Square station and the last civilian to leave Grand Central.

  22. A1

    Okay Stirling, enlighten us. Can you do it in either clear concise English or under 20,000 words?

  23. different clue


    There is something which claims to be a “science of evil” or a “scientific discipline for the study of evil” which calls itself “ponerology”.

    and other sites.

  24. different clue

    I have mentioned before a Canadian journalist-novelist and one-time political blogger named Jeff Wells who had a blog ( still up though not growing any more) called Rigorous Intuition and ten Rigorous Intuition 2.0.

    One of the categories of blogposts he wrote was about 9/11, and he called it ” 9/11″ and anyone visiting his blog can find it and all the blogposts which are categorized under it. Here is the list of all the titled blog-posts under the heading of ” 9/11″ . . .

    It’s the Real Thing
    A Dot Too Far
    No Guru, No Teacher, No Method
    That Body Snatchers Moment
    Secret Agent Man
    Inside, Outside
    Area 9/11
    If I Only Had a Plane
    Flight of Capital
    That Bill Hicks Moment
    Money doesn’t talk
    Springtime for Atta
    Back to Black
    Plan 9 from Saudi Arabia
    The trouble with normal
    Don’t get used to it
    The sound of one-hand slapping
    Cynical, sophisticated and subtle
    Let me put it this way
    The guns of 9/11
    The difference it makes
    Sibel’s Way
    Oh, the Places You Go (When You Follow the Money)
    Do You Know this Woman?
    9/11 in the Courts. Sort of
    Michael Chertoff and the Sabotage of the Ptech Investigation
    Ten Things We Learned in 2004 about 9/11
    Rumsfeld Goes off Message
    “Give Me a Good Reason”
    TIA Was Ready Before 9/11
    Another “Timely Alert”
    Binge, Purge and Repeat
    Report: WTC Black Boxes Were Recovered
    Bushthink, and the Strength of Venezuelan Steel
    9/11 Truth or Consequences
    The Riddle of the Transponders
    The Flying Wedge
    Remembering September 10
    Dick Cheney, Terrorism Czar
    “Where Drugs, Arms and Oil Intersect”
    The Coincidence Theorist’s Guide to 9/11

    * * * * * * *

    Here is a link to the very top-most of those 9/11 blogposts, to make it very easy to link to and read and see if one cares to read any more of them below that very top one.

    ( There is one thing that bothers me about so many retrospective analyses of why the Congress voted for the Patriot Act. And that is that all those analyses overlook the anthrax attacks every single time, even though people remind the analysts about the anthrax attacks over and over and over again. So let me remind everyone here about the anthrax attacks yet again. The first attack was against the editor of a paper in Florida which had posted pictures of one of Dubya Bush’s drugged-up daughters being arrested for violating the “don’t use illegal drugs” condition of her parole. The Bush family had that editor assassinated with anthrax for family vengeance reasons and also to make the point that the Deep State can kill anyone it wants to with military quality anthrax from Deep State Supply. Deep State anthrax was then sent to various offices around Washington DC, including several Senators’ offices, to remind the Senators that the Deep State (maybe including the Bush Family) could kill any Senator or Senator’s family member, anytime, anywhere, with any method, and get away with it. It was a highly credible death threat sent to Congress to instruct the Congressmembers to vote for the Patriot Act or else they risked Deep State Assassination for themselves and/or their families and other loved ones.
    People should remember that when they wonder “why the US Congress would vote for such an Act”.

  25. different clue


    Stirling still hasn’t enlightened me about why he said that ” the Cambodians chose their own bombing” during the Nixon period. He hasn’t, and he won’t.

    And he won’t bother to enlighten you about anything either. He can’t be bothered with little people like us.

  26. Mike Barry

    An old Democratic Underground thread delves into the anthrax attacks, and concludes that the Bush family had a personal interest:×3740790

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