has there been a display of unanimity such as the universal
hissing that greeted Henry
Kissinger's appointment as chairman of the "National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States."
Dowd's reliably b*tchy response – "Who better to
investigate an unwarranted attack on America than the man
who used to instigate America's unwarranted attacks?"
– to the even b*tchier but less articulate Glenn Reynolds
absurd for words" – on the neocon Right, the cry
goes up: "The fix is in!"
For a country supposedly so divided along ideological lines,
the amount of agreement on this one point is truly remarkable.
Birch Society, the Green
Party, the right-wing Newsmax,
Corn, anti-abortion activists,
Hitchens – whose fatwa against Kissinger is well-known
and right-neocon Jonah Goldberg all agree. As
Goldberg put it on CNN, that the "[he] just doesn't
seem to me to be the right guy at the right time."
Which is quite a turnaround for Goldberg, who was
heard to remark the other day that he had a "no brainer
prediction," to wit:
Kissinger's been tapped to head up the 9/11 investigation.
Within 24 hours we will see Arab and homegrown conspiracy
nuts saying this was done to assure that the role of the Israelis
will never see the light. Of course, I think this is idiotic,
but that hasn't stopped these people before."
Goldberg joined the ranks of the "conspiracy nuts"?
If those nasty Ay-rabs and the native Tin Foil brigade are
"idiotic" to oppose Kissinger, why isn't it equally
idiotic for Goldberg to take the same position? Well, you
see, lots of people foreigners, mostly don't
seem to like Kissinger very much. Oh, and another thing, says
Jonah: he is prone to "subterfuge" and "weird
last is really the key to the opposition coming from the neoconservative
Right. It is well-known that Kissinger's private clients include
the very Arab states that the neocons want us to conquer and
occupy, most notably the Saudis: Goldberg and his militantly
anti-Saudi friends are unlikely to be assuaged by the
divestment of all such financial interests by commission
members. Kissinger is likely to make short shrift of the rather
tenuous alleged "connections" between the wife of
the Saudi ambassador and two of the 9/11 hijackers, and will
no doubt consign the neocon-far left-Forbidden
Truth theory of a worldwide Saudi conspiracy against
America to the trash-can – where it belongs.
Kissinger is unlikely to entertain evidence that in any way
implicates a U.S. ally as being complicit, even passively,
in the worst terrorist attack in American history, and Goldberg
is certainly correct that this includes Israel. What the neocons
are up in arms about is that their own pet conspiracy
theories are likely to be just as rudely disregarded. Kissinger
is likely to turn out to be an equal-opportunity suppressor
of evidence both real
making sure the investigation steers a narrow path
between the sensitivities of our Arab allies and the political
realities of the President's need to appease Israel.
The job called for a detective, someone trained to go after
the truth, and President Bush appointed a diplomat, whose
job consists mostly of finessing the truth. But why the widespread
idea that this phony commission was ever meant to solve the
many mysteries surrounding 9/11 is ludicrous. To begin with,
the idea of political appointees investigating their own government
is, shall we say, counterintuitive – unless one posits a preordained
cover-up. We are supposed to believe that the appointees are
all "private citizens," but it's no accident, as
the Marxists used to say, that most of the leading candidates
are ex-government officials.
in this particular case, the whole scheme was cooked up by
Joe Lieberman and John McCain as a
political maneuver to embarrass the White House and give
their own presidential ambitions some much-needed momentum.
With the invasion of Iraq already bogged down in the quagmire
of UN inspections, and the GOP right-wing engaged in a
running debate with the White House over the nature of
Islam, the neocons are predictably enraged by the Kissinger
appointment. It is the clearest indication yet that the White
House is not going along with neocon program that sees
Riyadh as the new Kremlin in a new cold war.
I never expected an "official" commission to uncover
the truth about 9/11, and so I'm not at all disappointed by
the Kissinger appointment. It is a political masterstroke
that can only inspire awe, and perhaps some speculation that
resurrecting figures out of our somewhat dubious recent past
is a recurring theme of this administration, a new and novel
kind of retro-chic. First John
Poindexter, then Kissinger – can Ollie North be far behind?
The task of the 9/11 commission is one that, in a free society,
should have been taken up by journalists. That it has been
co-opted by a quasi-governmental organ – without a peep of
protest from the Fourth
Estate – is a sad indication of the degeneration of a
once-proud profession. In the age of the omnipotent state,
the idea that all answers lie with the government is an illusion
that many find comforting. That the concept of an "official"
truth is an oxymoron
seems lost on these people, along with the irony of the idea.
It has been fourteen months and the U.S. government
is just now beginning its official public investigation into
the worst terrorist atrocity on our soil – that should
tell us all we need to know about their eagerness to reveal
Let the lefties whine about the Pinochet "coup"
and the martyrdom of the Commie Allende, who might, but for
Kissinger, have become another Castro. Let ranting
neocons like smear-artist
Schwartz rail about the International
Wahabist Conspiracy – and echo
their former brethren on the Left in denouncing the pernicious
influence of "big oil" – all they want. Since
the 9/11 commission has been a diversion and a political device
from the beginning, its sandbagging by the President is a
positive development in that, at least, the commission won't
lead us down the wrong path.
McCain, and their neocon allies hoped the 9/11 commission
would amount to the post-9/11 equivalent of the Moscow
Trials, in which "Wahabism" and the Saudi regime
in particular would be targeted as the progenitors of a Vast
Conspiracy, but that tiresome prospect has now been effectively
derailed. My own response to that, given my jaundiced view
of the commission's original purpose, can only be: "Hail
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