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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Five years later: a house divided

    David Franciscolumnist
    David Francis
    columnist

    Five years have now passed since Sept. 11, 2001, and thankfully not too many things have changed around this country of ours. Much to the chagrin of the terrorists, we as Americans still work and play just like we did before that second “”Day of Infamy.”” Some of us worship just like we did before the attacks, others never worshipped in the first place. Fortunately, the America of 2006 is not much different from the America of Sept. 10, 2001: Despite heightened awareness of the threats we face, American culture seems pretty healthy – or is it?ÿ

    New evidence shows that an outrageous number of Americans might be losing hold of their senses: According to Time Magazine, a recent poll indicates that 36 percent of Americans consider it “”very likely”” or “”somewhat likely”” that our own government is responsible (either directly or indirectly) for what happened on 9/11.ÿ

    Granted, conspiracy theories and those who perpetuate them have been around forever, but 36 percent of Americans is an astounding number of people who think that poor old Osama bin Laden is unfairly getting the blame.

    Of course, the Internet has been the main vehicle for the propagation of this shameful lunacy. One of the most prominent 9/11 conspiracy sites is Letsroll911.org, which

    Remember that we are in a war on terror, and when at war, we cannot remain so polarized and divided that many of us believe our own government is worse than our true enemies.

    has logged over 3 million visits since its creation in March 2003. A quick look over some of the site’s assertions proves just how daft these conspiracy theorists really are.ÿ

    For instance, the site points to a grainy photograph of one of the planes taken just before it hit the second tower of the World Trade Center. Though the photo is of low quality, the site’s designers are bold enough to point out a small pod-shaped object that appears to be attached to the bottom of the Boeing 767. They lead us to believe that the pod doesn’t belong there and therefore might have served some dastardly purpose. To prove that such a piece of equipment does not belong on a Boeing 767, they present the podless underside of a cheap toy model Boeing 767. Unbelievable.ÿ

    Later, the site claims that it is unlikely that the Pentagon was struck by a commercial airliner because the scale of damage done to the Pentagon is not consistent with an airplane that measured 145 feet from wingtip to wingtip. Perhaps they expected a cartoon-style silhouette of a Boeing 757 to be cut out from the wall of the Pentagon – despite the fact that thin aluminum wings, which make up most of the width of the airplane, would have a hard time punching a hole into a thick concrete wall.

    There are too many 9/11 myths to mention in this column, but you get the picture. With a just a bit of ordinary brainpower, they are easy to debunk.ÿ

    So, why are Americans so ready to embrace such conspiracies as truth? According to UA political science professor James W. Clarke, “”Americans have always entertained some degree of cynicism about the honesty and competence of their elected officials. Given the record of incompetence and deceit in the Bush/Cheney administration, it is not surprising that official explanations, even when truthful, are doubted by growing numbers of people.””

    So, more than one-third of Americans believe that the Bush administration caused the attacks on Sept. 11 simply because they think Bush is a bad president. Is that fair? Is that sensible?

    The answer to both questions is a resounding “”no.”” Throughout the course of our nation’s history, there have been many controversial presidents, yet never has an administration been accused of perpetrating an attack on its own citizens. You may disagree with his politics, but think twice before you accuse the man of treason. Those who make harebrained accusations need a good, hard reality check: Bush is not the enemy.ÿ

    Remember that our enemies are those who cheered at the news of the Twin Towers’ collapse and the thousands of deaths that followed. Remember that we are in a war on terror, and when at war, we cannot remain so polarized and divided that many of us believe our own government is worse than our true enemies.

    The pervading belief that our own government might be responsible for 9/11 is symptomatic of the kind of political division that can cripple a nation. This war is winnable, but we must keep in mind the advice of one of our greatest forefathers, Abraham Lincoln: In this time or any other, “”A house divided … cannot stand.”” ÿ

    David Francis is a pre-business sophomore. He can be reached atletters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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