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About a generation and a half elapsed between November 22, 1963, to September 11, 2001: thirty-seven years, nine months, and twenty days. If you were born the day Kennedy died, your children would be youngsters on 9/11, as I was on November 22, 1963. We let something terrible happen in 1963: criminals murdered our president, and we did not raise holy hell when they lied about what they had done. A little over thirty-seven years later, the instititutional children of those criminals struck again, and we did the same thing. We let them get away with it.

After long, careful and thorough research, we have good evidence now that we permitted a coup in 1963. A long time passed – more than forty years – before many of us understood or believed that. We don’t know yet what occurred on September 11, 2001. The events of that day present more complications than does delivery of a bullet to a leader’s head. Complex or not, we do not have fifty years to grasp the significance of 9/11. To save our republic, we have to face what happened that day as soon as possible.

Newspaper report published Thursday, September 13, 2001, in Dawson Springs, Kentucky.

To undertake this project of understanding, we should recall that the desire to discover what happened on 9/11 does not originate with a group of extremists who see a government conspiracy behind every horrible event. Efforts to learn the truth about 9/11 originate with victims’ families. Family members lost wives and husbands, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They lost the people they loved most without warning, in circumstances that called for explanation. These were not natural deaths: victims died at the scene of an enormous crime. When that happens, you want to know who murdered them. How and why the murderers committed the crime is also on your mind.

Each person in the towers walked into the front door of the building that sunny September morning, ready to work one more day. They took the elevator to the floor where they would meet their friends, sit at their desks, place phone calls, type messages to colleagues. Everything seemed like every other morning. Thirty minutes later, they are saying goodbye to their spouses on their cell phones, or standing at a shattered window to decide whether they ought to jump. Most of the people who died that morning had loved ones at home, in school, in cities nearby. Those family members had dinner that night with an empty space at the table, went to sleep that night with an empty space in the bed. They knew the empty space would not be filled again.

A woman places her hand on a name etched in the wall of one of the pools at the 9/11 memorial plaza in the World Trade Center site in New York Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, on the first day that the memorial was opened to the public. (AP Photo/Mike Segar, Pool)

9/11 Memorial

When something like that happens to your family, you want to know why. Your grief won’t permit you to forget. You press for an investigation, but you find quickly enough that the officials you ask are too busy for you. They tell you politely, with well-practiced indirection, we have better things to do. They tell you to go away: we’ll give you money if you go away. They tell you we already know everything we can find out. They tell you things you know cannot be true. You come to understand that they snow you and avoid you compulsively: they act under implicit orders to do so. You cannot trust them with even the simplest request or task.

The 9/11 truth movement began with family members who dealt with officials like that: dilatory officials who were dishonest, unforthcoming, deceptive, unresponsive and, in the end, unsympathetic. When the victims’ families would not give up, the president chartered the 9/11 Commission more than fourteen months after the attacks. The Commission submitted its final report nearly three years after September 11, in 2004. To show his level of support for the body he formed, the president would not speak with the Commission for the record. He did not give a reason. Anything he had to say would be privileged and private. If the president would not cooperate with the Commission, who else in the government would? By his example, the president told everyone in government to treat the Commission the same way they had treated the victims’ families. If you find out the truth, you didn’t hear it from us.

Today the 9/11 truth movement continues to comprise men and women who just want to know what happened, not extremists who pose a threat to our fair country. They pose a threat only to people in government who are complicit in government’s crimes. Cass Sunstein, a well intentioned law professor who happened upon a position of responsibility serving this group of organized criminals, called people in the movement epistemological cripples: people so unbalanced and dangerous that government law enforcement agencies should infiltrate their groups to destroy cohesion, spread rumors and lies, sow conflict, and disrupt their effectiveness. That is how a government official responds to people who just want to know how their dad or their mom wound up buried under a thousand tons of rubble, with molten steel flowing around their bodies. Sunstein ridicules parents who reject lies and excuses when they ask simple questions about why their sons and daughters died. He devises deceitful, aggressive strategies to derogate and destroy spouses who simply want to know what happened to their wives and husbands.

Instead of honest, soundly researched answers, we have a Commission report so poorly assembled that no sixth grade science student would turn it in. The difference between Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush on the matter of investigations is that Johnson launched the Warren Commission right away. If it had been up to George W. Bush, we would have had no 9/11 Commission at all. He persistently opposed any investigation, and only authorized one after Congress passed the required legislation and sent it to the White House for his signature. Since he did not explain why he resisted an investigation for so long, we can only guess. Vice-President Cheney pleaded that an investigation would distract from the administration’s Global War on Terror.

Richard Cheney

That’s an amazing excuse, when you look at it. It says, “We don’t want to find out who attacked us, because that would distract us from the people we’re attacking right now. If it turns out that we’re attacking the wrong people, that’s our bad. Meantime, we want you to go away. Don’t bother us anymore. We’ve already told you what we’re going to tell you. You already know what you need to know.”

When the vice-president, who speaks for the president, gives you an excuse like that, you know it’s a snow job. You know something is wrong.