While in the military during the Vietnam war my life was dramatically changed after reading the Pentagon Papers, the government’s own secret account of how they had fabricated the pretext to enter the war. Coming from a military and Republican family all my patriotic illusions were shattered.
A couple of years ago, while watching CNN on TV, they interrupted programming to say that a private plane carrying the golfer Payne Stewart had taken off from Florida and had lost contact with ground control. CNN reported that the military had immediately scrambled two jets, as they routinely do in circumstances where planes lose contact with the control tower they informed us, and that the military pilots had seen Stewart and his pilot slumped over the cockpit controls. It was theorized that their on-board oxygen had malfunctioned and they had died. The plane would now crash, and the military jets were to escort the plane to its final crash site and only shoot it down if it was to pose any threat to a population center. CNN stayed with the story and tracked the progress of the declining plane until it crashed into an open field somewhere in the empty countryside of a southern state. On 9-11 four planes, full of people were hijacked and none of this happened.
The day after 9-11 I went to my world atlas and look up the countries in Central Asia because I admittedly did not know much about them. What I found is now common knowledge, they have some of the largest deposits of oil and natural gas in the world. George W. Bush now tells us that our new bases in that region will be there a long, long time – fighting terrorism.
Five days after 9-11, I boarded a very empty airplane in Gainesville, Florida to fly to Cleveland in order to speak about space to a Rotary Club in a Republican neighborhood. While reading the Gainesville Sun newspaper on the plane, an AP story jumped out at me. The piece
quoted an “unidentified” Pentagon spokesman who said, “We’ve been planning this war for the last three years.” Of course the Pentagon spokesman was referring to the almost immediate discussion that the U.S. had to respond to 9-11 by bombing and invading Afghanistan. Memories of reading the Pentagon Papers flashed through my mind.
I have found just too many questions surrounding 9-11 that have yet to be addressed or answered by the “commission” that has just concluded their hearings. I believe that the only way we will ever get any real answers is when the citizenry takes on the process questioning and engaging in the debate. That is why I am pleased to say that I think the peace movement should become part of this growing “citizens inquiry” movement.
At the end of almost every speech I have made since 9-11 someone asks me if I think the government was at some level involved in 9-11. I can say with confidence that people in the peace movement are thinking about this issue and waiting for someone to step out and show leadership. Howard Zinn and Ed Asner have done so by calling on us to engage in the 9-11 debate. I agree with them. Please drop by www.911Truth.org, study up and do what you can.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
globalnet (at) mindspring.com