Sometimes you have to lie to others to buy time to deal with a problem.
But never lie to yourself. –Lt. Gen Bernard C. “Mick” Trainor, USMC (Ret.)
I have cited my late friend “Mick” Trainor’s words elsewhere, and kept them in mind since he said them to me in the late 1980s.They ought to be graven in granite in the minds of everyone of good heart in public life. They are also an indictment of the “9/11 Truth” movement as a whole, which tried to speak the truth about this atrocity to the people as well as to those in power, but increasingly lied to itself about the effect it was having. It finally ended in complete failure, lacking only a decent funeral oration.
It gives me no pleasure at all to write these words. I personally came to the movement late in 2009, then met many excellent people and worked with many fine editors at a time when overt censorship was still minimal. The best of the “Truthers” shared one thing in common: they were right that the US Government explanation of the 9/11 attacks was singularly flawed, in whole and in all its major parts. But they – and I include myself here – were never able to convey that message in a politically significant way to enough of the American public to matter.
The net effect is that despite innumerable articles, speeches, seminars, videos, protests and the like by tens of thousands of activists, the 20th anniversary of 9/11 came and went with barely a whimper. It was preceded by the collapse of the 9/11 lawyers effort in New York City on which so many had staked their hopes, and the dismissal of Richard Gage – the founder of the seminal “Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth” – from his own organization by his own board. It is tragic enough when evil triumphs, which is what the real planners and perpetrators of 9/11 did. It is even worse when the collapse of the efforts to expose them and to bring them to justice ends in farce.
So Why Did We Fail?
Even posing this question is certain to prompt some – perhaps many – to assert that they are still fighting, and as long as they do, they have not yet lost. This assumes that effort without effect matters, and perhaps in a metaphysical sense, it does.
But nothing we have done to date has produced a corresponding result. We went from Bush to Obama to Trump to Biden, and each administration saw a continuous growth in Jewish influence within the government and in Israeli power (which was a major goal of 9/11, after all). Trump was easily the most pro-Israel president in my long (80 years) memory, which took some doing, and Biden’s administration is cast in the same mould. None ever called into question the essential elements of the original US Government case on 9/11. None even hinted in the most oblique manner that Israel abroad and the assorted mostly Jewish neo-conservatives at home had any part to play in that event and what ensued. How could they? Many of those responsible were or still are in the government.
Countering the official narrative on the 9/11 attacks and exposing the real culprits was admittedly a daunting task from the beginning. The real perpetrators – not the handful of hapless named Arabs including pilots who could not fly the type of aircraft hijacked, but the ones who wired three buildings at the World Trade Center for controlled demolition, arranged for the attack on the Pentagon which conveniently wiped out the team auditing the missing $2.3 trillion in Pentagon funds, and orchestrated the US Government support and protection apparatus for them – held all the aces. Not just what the US Government itself could and did marshal on their behalf, but virtually all of the mainstream media increasingly echoed the official 9/11 narrative. Hollywood and country music (CMT has the same type of owners as Hollywood and the networks) combined to produce movies and music reinforcing the official narrative. The wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq as part of the illusory “war on terror” both nailed that down, and later shifted focus away from 9/11 to the wars themselves – not coincidentally, another major goal of the 9/11 attacks.
So where did it all go wrong, given the mountain of evidence and analyses on the side of the “Truthers” – enough to make the mountain of evidence about actual fraud in the 2020 elections seem like a molehill? First of all, we were out-thought. We knew what we were against: the US Government case on 9/11. But we did not know how to present that case to the public in a coherent way that mattered to them – there were many (I would say too many) ideas, but no strategy. Think of the 9/11 Truth movement as a variant of China’s “Hundred Flowers” campaign in Mao Zedong’s early years in power. That one’s slogan was “let a hundred flowers bloom, let a thousand thoughts contend.” And when those thoughts did contend, after a while the Chinese government cut them down. It hasn’t been that gruesome (yet) for 9/11 Truthers, but the sheer number of contending – and often contradictory or mutually exclusive – ideas presented, some sensible but many not, without any overarching design meant a good deal of activity with little or no practical effect.
Our opponents, in contrast, seized the initiative from the outset, and never lost it. (I would love to meet with whoever devised their plan, and I do not mean the 1990s PNAC document on “A New American Century” – it was masterful.) Their strategy was simple: name an enemy, attack at once while people are still stunned (the long-standing “rally around the flag” syndrome), take the war home (the misbegotten “Patriot Act” and its bastard offspring, the “War on Terror”), keep reminding people of it (e.g. TSA at airports), and never ever let people forget any of the above.
To safeguard the narrative, any who question what is being done (the “Truthers”) are dismissed as quacks, derided as fools, or treated as handmaidens to the terrorists. Governance by fear is not in theory the best form of governing, but it keeps most people from rethinking just why in the hell are we doing this? And it worked – forget what happened to the “9/11 Truth” movement, which never really found an effective response – just look at how quickly the corresponding peace movement faded into insignificance.
Second, we were out-bought. It is an old saying that when money talks, everything else walks, and I expect that has been true throughout history. It certainly determined the course of the 9/11 Truth movement, and all but dictated its failure. For all their efforts individually and collectively, the Truthers were never able to garner the support of even one major individual, non-profit or corporate donor. Not one. Financing of our efforts was done on a literal shoestring, via monetizing videos or Patreon or similar pay-per-view efforts – IF they were permitted, and increasingly they were demonetized. None of the conservative billionaires or foundations supported our efforts, with anything more than a pittance – and that only rarely. Nor did Arab-Americans – especially Palestinian-Americans – step forward in support, even though they ought to have understood that pinning 9/11 on Israel and its supporters would inevitably work to their own benefit.
So why was this the case? I expect insofar as American donors were concerned, almost all – no matter which political party they preferred – supported Israel by 2001. And the more perceptive of them (or their program directors) knew, suspected or feared that a close examination of the evidentiary trail to 9/11 would lead directly or indirectly to Israel and its supporters in the United States – which would mean the wrath of the American people, would be visited on both. This they did not want. As for Arab-Americans and especially Palestinian-Americans, those I knew simply did not want to be bothered – they were safe, their investments were prospering, and that was enough.
The 9/11 planners and perpetrators, on the other hand, had a much easier task financially. The US Government and its immense resources were at their beck and call. Billionaires and multi-billion dollar individuals, foundations and corporations funded their activities and those of the organizations which supported them. The American Jewish lobby – yes, it does exist – look at the website of the “Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations” which has 51 member organizations (of which AIPAC and ADL are but two) and 3 adjunct organizations plus the SPLC – threw all of its considerable political and monetary support into the balance against the Truthers. Incidental Patreon payouts and occasional YouTube proceeds didn’t much matter against those odds. And not surprisingly, they prevailed.
Third, we were out-fought. We fought the war for 9/11 Truth as badly as the US fought the wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, and like the US in those places, absent a coherent strategy, we lost. The movement was infiltrated from the outset, those of us who fought the good fight knew it, but lacking any organization, any strategy, or any monetary resources, were powerless to excise or even counter them. Many Truthers seemed in all too many instances to have spent as much effort attacking or criticizing one another as we did pursuing the supposed goal of undermining the government case.
Moreover, most of us – and I am a prime transgressor here – misunderstood the proper focus of our criticism. I and many others focused on the WTC – especially WTC7 – because it was so blatantly obvious that the three towers were brought down by controlled demolitions, with the impacting planes (or whatever) serving merely as gruesome distractions from that fact. But we forgot that even if we had convinced people that this did happen, they had no way to organize and do anything about it, given the near-total subservience of the mainstream media and increasingly the social media to Israel. The proper focus should have been the Pentagon attack – convince the military then of what had happened and who had done it, and they had the means to do something about it. Today, it is probably too late: means or not, the will is mostly gone.
In contrast to this haphazard and misguided approach to working through 9/11, the “bad guys and gals” did well. We Truthers (to reuse an apt analogy applicable here] were like a thousand or more people standing in a circle, shooting arrows in all directions (and sometimes at one another) with no attention to impact or effectiveness. We told ourselves that we were firing arrows, and that more people understood why we were doing it. That we hit little or nothing never seemed to register. But our opponents were like that same number of archers in a circle shooting collectively into the center: they were on target, largely did no damage to one another – and at least marginalized the 9/11 Truth movement, and ultimately made it irrelevant. If there is anything worse than fighting and failing, it is fighting and being meaningless.
So where do we go from here? It ought to be abundantly clear that simply refilling our quivers, doing more podcasts or articles or whatever, won’t work. More of the same when that same has failed in the past is never smart. Nor are we going to alter the financial framework much, and the political situation is grim: We have an America that is on the verge of social and economic collapse, overlaid by an impending Democrat party dominance of the political system for the foreseeable future. If we are lucky, there’ll be a civil war that precludes that outcome. If not, worrying about who did 9/11 and what it means will be the least of our problems.
From my point of view, anyone who wishes to pursue 9/11 Truth, should reorient their focus to the Pentagon attack. Stop this nonsense about whether the 757 really hit: the plane simply doesn’t fit, the visual damage doesn’t support such a plane impacting the building, and onsite witnesses an hour after the attack found nothing to support a that happening. Don’t waste time arguing about what it was: Simply point out that a 757 did not hit, that the named pilot who could not fly a propeller-driven Cessna could not possibly have flown a 757 if it had been there, and use that as the point of departure. That woke pansy of a Chairman JCS aside, there are still some officers who lost friends there and who still have a sense of professionalism – they are your proper target audience.
For my part, doing what I can to try and stave off the coming train wreck that is the United States is far more important. Our country, our society, our very culture is being eroded from within. Anyone who does not see impending disaster is living in a dream world. It may well be too late to avert catastrophe: 2020 was the time to do it, and faced with the choice of standing up and fighting – and I mean fighting with weapons, not words – conservative patriots did nothing. If the ship of state wrecks on the rocks and shoals, do not blame the Left – or those who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks – look into a mirror. It was our fault – not others, but ours – and none other. If you want to do better, put 9/11 on the back burner and save the country – 9/11 will still be there when the smoke clears if we win, and if we lose, it won’t matter.
Alan Ned Sabrosky (PhD, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran. He served two tours in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division and is a graduate of the US Army War College.