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A great deal of 9/11 research to this point has concentrated on the problem of what happened. Credible research by people with integrity, like David Ray Griffin, demonstrates that the government’s account of what happened is false. Government officials responded to the research, at the time and since, with “So what?”

President Bush responded the same way when people challenged him about going to war against Iraq, a nation that did not actually have weapons of mass destruction and therefore did not threaten the United States. He said, “So what?” So what on the playground means, “What difference does it make?” War planners aim to shut you up with this retort. Cheney and other vulcans would add, “I’m engaged in important work here. Don’t bother me.”

Post-9/11 triumvirate: Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense; George W. Bush, President; Richard Cheney, Vice-President.

Yet you cannot lightly dismiss evidence that shows official accounts of 9/11 to be false, nor can you rely on a playground challenge to make the implications of those lies go away. When you get caught in an affair, saying “What difference does it make?” to your spouse does not repair the relationship. In a way, it is not a response at all. It just deflects reality. In the case of 9/11, it deflects the question of who committed the crime, and who assisted the criminals.

Suppose we address the so what question, rather than let it silence us. Self-important tough guys crave intimidation. They cannot act without it. In return, we cannot let dismissive officials who front for criminals have the last word, especially when their mindless response means, “Go away.” Someone has to say, pointedly, “That expedient will not do.” You do not say so what to a true accusation unless you consider a real response beneath you. After you demonstrate that kind of contempt, what more does a made man need to say?

Someone has to engage the official position at this point. Engagement in this case means flat rejection. “Debunking the debunkers” is a confusing and ineffectual way to characterize what the conflict requires. Yes, we want to find the truth about what happened, but we already know what is not the truth. We do not need to mount new efforts to disprove or discredit official accounts. That work is done. The pertinent problem becomes, what now? What do we do when our servants betray us, then treat us with contempt?

Related books

Infamy: November 22, September 11

The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11