Desperately Seeking Answers

Arriving at the airport for my flight home after a long weekend in Nor Cal yesterday, I learned I’d have to either ditch my shampoo, face cream and half-dozen or so other personal care products women find essential for travel, or check my bag. Then, because my luggage had been checked onto my scheduled flight, I had to either pass up an available seat on an earlier flight or wait for my luggage at the other end. As I sat in the airport munching tacos, I reminisced about how much fun air travel used to be. You’d show up at the gate at the latest possible moment and race to catch your flight. You didn’t have to strip off half your garments or have someone pat you down or paw through your belongings. Plane travel was exhilarating.

Airport inconvenience is only one tiny repercussion of what we’ve come to know as “The War on Terror.” It started with the events of 9/11, but this latest incident in London, which has Americans once again trembling like deer in the headlights, has made it that much worse. Used to be I had to leave my Swiss Army Knife behind; now it’s my deodorant!

Was it just coincidence that this came to a head only days after the first vote confirming a change in American public sentiment? In the Connecticut primary, Dem. Joseph Lieberman was voted out by his own party in favor of an anti-war rookie, signaling trouble to the conservative agenda for November elections. If I were a PR person, I’d say it was a good time to rev up the terror alert. (Has anybody seen the film Wag the Dog?)

I was as devastated as the rest of the world by 9/11. How could this have happened? Later, I questioned how it was that two giant monoliths could collapse so quickly and in such a contained way. I had lived in NY for years and seen a number of buildings burn, yet they never went down like this. And what of Building 7, which wasn’t hit by a plane or falling rubble? And how could a hijacker’s passport miraculously survive—”intact!—the fireball that surely consumed the plane he was piloting? Still later, I wondered why we were attacking Iraq when nobody from Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.

I eagerly awaited the results of the 9/11 Commission, hoping it would resolve some confusion. It didn’t. The explanations seemed flimsy and never even mentioned some of my concerns. Like Building 7. How could a 47-story building disappear without even being mentioned, especially since it was said to house branches of the Secret Service, the Department of Defense, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, the Internal Revenue Service Regional Council and the CIA? Although the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has conducted a three-year, $24 million investigation into the structural failure and collapse of several WTC structures, including Building 7, their results have yet to be released.

Then there is the curious matter of the Pentagon. Did anyone actually see a Boeing hit the Pentagon, or wreckage of a crash?

Like 9/11 researcher Dr. David Ray Griffin, I was slow to accept the fact that we may not have gotten the full story in the 9/11 Commission Report, but then I started to notice what has transpired as a result: The US got a pipeline through Afghanistan; we invaded and continue to occupy Iraq, securing the planet’s dwindling oil supply; the Patriot Act passed with barely a murmur and the American people began to say yes to everything. Do you know the old proverb about the frog? If you put a frog into boiling water, he’ll jump out. But put a frog into cold water and turn up the heat gradually, and he’ll boil to death.

By the evening of the spirited Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert July 30, when Neil Young exhorted his enthusiastic listeners to end the war and “impeach the president for lying,” 2576 American soldiers had died in Iraq. Another 19,000 troops have been wounded, and more than 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. By December of this year, the US will have been at war in Iraq longer than we were involved in World War II. Shouldn’t we be trying to figure out why “staying the course” isn’t making the world safer for democracy?

From my inquisitive mind,
Abigail Lewis

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