Monday, September 14, 2009

This moment was the apotheosis of the postmodern era — the era of images and perceptions

I forgot to write something about 9-11, which wasn't all that strange since I was travelling on the date in question.

9-11 to me is the Kennedy assassination of our generation. Everyone in my parents' generation tend to remember where they were when they heard Kennedy had been shot, and most people I know can tell you how and where they found out that the planes had hit WTC.

I was at work. At the place I worked then there was always a TV on, up in one corner of the room. Often muted, sometimes with the sound on. No one had really explained what it was doing there, and I'm not sure anyone knew. I heard someone say that a plane had crashed into WTC, so I got up from my desk and walked over to see if I could get details. At the time I thought it was a one-engine Cessna or something, some rookie or suicidal pilot.

As I walked over I looked up at the TV, and watched live on CNN as the second plane hit the South Tower. That image of the plane hitting the tower, the ball of fire, debris spraying out in all directions, has etched itself into my mind.

I've read a lot of the conspiracy theories around 9-11. I've also read stuff that while not spelling out suspected government involvement in 9-11 at least hints at it. My standpoint is that I just don't know. I find it hard to believe that any government could murder so many of its citizens to justify, for example, the privatization of the military.

In September of 2000, The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a non-profit organisation released the report Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, explaining their view on how America should develop their armed forces. In it, they write that "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor". Jeremy Scahill writes about this in "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" (scary but necessary reading), and points out, like many others have, that the presence of private security companies within US armed forces increased significantly after 9-11.

I don't believe the conspiracy theorists that tells us that the events of 9-11 was engineered specifically for this purpose. That Erik Prince and other madmen were somehow involved. But you have to realise that a lot of these organisations, be they PNAC or Xe Services LLC (formerly known as Blackwater) or others, have some troubling ties to the Bush administration (check out this list), extremist Christian groups and other people whose opinions in no way, shape or form should be able to influence how the world works. Undoubtedly they have had a say in how more and more of America's defense budget is funneled into private military companies.

It would be nice if, as we've become quote more civilised unquote, the world has become a better place over the years, if we're talking about war and hidden agendas. After all, the Internet allows us unprecedented access to information and news, from a variety of sources, so we should be able to see through any subterfuge on that scale. The control of the news flow is no longer in the hands of the few.

However, it seems to have become worse and worse. I'm not really interested in politics, which to me is sort of a weakness, since it would give me at least the semblance of a grasp on How Things Work, but I know enough to know that a lot people are in it for themselves, regardless of whether its on a private or national scale. I have yet to meet or see a single politican that I trust. And this is in Sweden, where we don't bother with concepts like war or terrorism. I can't imagine what it must be like to live in the US and have opinions outside of the party line, so to speak.

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