Pearl Harbor vs. 9/11

(Piece originally written by Dave Martin in 2014) When asked the question, “What impresses you more about George W. Bush and Barack Obama, their absence of intelligence or their absence of integrity,” a ready answer comes to mind, and it is clearly not the same for each. But in the case of Bush’s first Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, I think you will have to agree that it’s a tough call. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw in the pages of The New York Times that Rumsfeld had essayed a comparison between the momentous events in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and in New York City, Arlington, VA, and Shanksville, PA, on September…

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9/11, the Discreet Charm of the Japanese, and the Alchemy of Narrative

A year and a half ago, I wrote a little piece about 9/11 flight attendant Betty Ong. While I have been certain for some time that Betty Ong never existed, and also reasoned that if one found one such fake, there were bound to be some others, I still assumed that most of the nearly 3,000 victims were real people who really did die that day. It is only recently that I have come to the conclusion that there was, in fact, nothing particularly special about Betty Ong, and if I had chosen any other random victim of that day, I would have almost certainly come to the same conclusions as I did about Betty Ong. This conjecture was put to the test…

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The Illustrated 9/11 Commission Report: It’s not a comic book! It’s a graphic adaptation!

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby! Over recent days, as yet another 9/11 anniversary has come and gone, I have been trying to trace back how my thinking has evolved since that murky event. Two decades is quite a big chunk of anybody’s life and one’s thinking is bound to evolve. Mine certainly did. Not just about 9/11, mind you, but making sense of that event definitely played a huge role. Eighteen years ago, my thinking about politics and history was really quite conventional. That is surely why it took me so long to question what we were told. Well, to be clear, I did question things, in particular the so-called “War on Terror”, right from the very start. I…

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Revisiting 9/11, Betty Ong, and the Mystery of “Black Betty”

♫ Je vous parle d’un temps ♫ ♫ Que les moins de vingt ans ♫ ♫ Ne peuvent pas connaître ♫ Charles Aznavour I recall how, as a child, in my teens, and as a much younger man than now, people of the older generation would reminisce nostalgically about where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. When such conversations arose, naturally, people of my generation would feel kind of left out. On the day in question, 11/22/1963, I myself was not yet born. In fact, I did not exist at all, since I was conceived about 4 months after that. It occurred to me recently that now, with 9/11, things have come full…

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