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What If America Happened To Forget The September 11th Attacks?


What If America Happened To Forget The September 11th Attacks?

Kevin Gosztola

The United States will never forget the September 11th attacks. It is interwoven into the fabric of the nation. Its identity is partially defined by remembering the horror that unfolded that day, but that is part of why a provocative question must be asked: What if America happened to forget the attacks?


Indeed, it's embarrassing how much we choose to forget in remembering this one attack, as Rep. Maloney put it, "'on our values and way of life.'” Just that phrase captures our willful ignorance. What were the buildings attacked? The Pentagon? Does that represent our greatest values? A pair of phalluses titled the center of world trade? Our way of life is world domination? Not mine, thank you. Not the values that have been the way of my life. No, I will never forget that day, but it's not because of the "values and way of life" represented by those buildings.

Though I lived on the edge of the New York metropolis then and do now, and in fact had been in midtown Manhattan the day before the attacks, I know only the names of the direct victims of the attacks. I am sorry for their families, especially the families of the unnamed, the undocumented, those who worked for poor hourly wages. I choose to remember them first, along with the people who had flown on airplanes from Boston that were weaponized, and the people, some of whom I had occasion to interview, who were traumatized in other ways by observing the attacks, or who carried such trauma from other experiences that even direct observation of 9/11 USA hardly registered by comparison. I mourn that we are so focused on recovery and identification of remains, that knowledge of death is not enough, we have to touch it and idolize it and let others ruin their health to gather it to us. I remember those still dying from their work in the "pit."

As a people, our focus on "never forgetting" 9/11 has allowed us to forget, among other things,
* domestic terrorism, such as Oklahoma City in the past and Mother Emanuel since,
* when "Ground Zero" referred to the testing and use of nuclear weapons,
* the ravages of prolonged war suffered on others' home ground, including that caused by the US and its allies in Dresden, in the war we caused by giving occupation of North Korea to the Soviets, when we took over the Vietnamese war of independence, and of course from all the wars we started or prolonged in the Middle East since 2001.

A culture of enmity and victimhood is self-destructive, and we have fallen into it wholeheartedly. Those around the world who know real destruction of their way of life, sometimes at US hands, shake their heads at our whimpering. There's a new World Trade Center risen from the ruins and capped by a tower that has nothing to do with freedom but a word assigned by arrogance. We needn't forget, but we need to give up the idolatry of our victimhood. We need to have larger, and longer memories.


imo, if 9-11 is proven to be an inside job, it would be a huge story that helps people see the truth, but it would still be a small story in the long run compared to the disgraceful way the country responded to 9-11. Responding in such as way that guarantees a terrorist 'war' to continue indefintely, by causing massive death and destruction on innocents.


This article is on the money.

Granted, I'll preface by saying that yes, it's right to remember. It's right to hold onto your own and remember those that have passed away, in memorial. It's right to recognize and remember a potent event in the nation's history for what it is.

However, the calls to "never forget" inherently tie a specific context to the tragedy, and in not forgetting, people are also constraining themselves not to seek a better perspective.

If one could separate the mourning and honoring of the lost from the horror of the attacks, one would better serve their memories, while at the same time more easily dispensing of the fear encapsulated within the attacks.

If one could distance themselves from the idea of a group of crazy jihadis bend on slaughtering thousands of innocent, unsuspecting Americans in a single day, one could perhaps find a more sensible, less frightening, and more easy to resolve bigger picture, and one might even be able to grasp some of the common concerns which might have ultimately drove the attackers to act.

If one could pay tribute the tragedy without being forced to confront the notion of mass murder, one wouldn't be caught up in an endless, self-perpetuating cycle of retribution.

If one could set aside the shock of being attacked for your freedoms in favor of a more neutral search for context, one wouldn't be stuck with a caricatured outlook of the rest of the world, and would be less fearful and more prepared to act in an adult manner.

If one could disassociate the innocents that suffered from the war on terror brand that arose from it, it would be much easier to toss respond in a competent, responsible way, and to toss aside the regime of ignorance and corruption which has profited from the attacks, as well as the hardwired political system designed to circumvent issues.


Very eloquent way of summarizing the essence of my post. Really appreciate your comment. Thanks for reading.


The proof is there, and it isn't reported.


I agree. The idolatry of our victimhood in our memorials is very troubling. We need to broaden our memories and ensure the memory is not merely an expression of our unswerving commitment to stand up to those who would attack us.

On 9/11, we "never forget" the attacks on WTC and the Pentagon, but we always ignore the CIA-sponsored assassination of Salvador Allende in Chile. That had hugely devastating consequences on a country, making it possible for Augusto Pinochet to take power and brutally rule through murder, torture, and other forms of brutality.

Yes, we need larger and longer memories.


Never forget the consequences

Never recall the cause


Interesting essay. However, I would direct the author's attention to that Day Of Infamy, December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the US entered WW2. The vast majority of Americans who were alive on that day are now dead. Each day the number of those with any memory of the horror, loss, grief and connection is rapidly dwindling almost to the point of vanishing from this earth. WW1 was supposed to be the war to end all wars. WW2 was the direct and proximate result of WW1 and the continuation of Monarchical Capitalism and its horrid effect upon the lives of multitudes of European common folks. Tojo of Japan saw an opportunity to join the Axis and continue Japan's pillaging and plundering of China and other Asian countries. Of course war always produces unintended, unexpected and foreseen consequences beyond the control of any one nation or cabal of individuals and their for profit proxy wars. In a decade or two school kids will be saying "Osama bin Laden who" just like many of you might be thinking: Tojo? That is our nature.

All wars are started either by either murderous psychopaths or sociopaths comfortable in the many luxuries that power provides them. See Iraq War and The Psychopath behind the Sociopathic Puppet. Of course there must be the Politicians who ratify the Insanity Of War. As the world is today no one can see a change in our behavior. As a Vietnam Veteran I also personally know the horrors of war and do not want to see them visited upon anyone anywhere. Unfortunately, war is a Twenty Four/Seven undertaking. Beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt War is the favorite Pastime Of The Rulers Peoplekind and we become the bleeding pieces upon its constantly morphing board of play.

My hope for all of us is that Climate Change will at last break us loose of the chains of the current paradigm of The Strong/Psychopaths Rule The Weak/99% that has probably existed since our ancient ancestors formed tribes. Besides, 60 years from now, unless one is a descendent of or related to someone murdered by the terrorist very few will remember 9-11 much less mark the occasion with solemn ceremony. That is our nature in that we live in a present that is often influenced by the past but in the vast majority of us that influence has to be in our personal past.


All excellent points and you portray well the bigger picture. As a veteran, are you aware of Maj.Gen. Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket" and his subsequent role in Foiling the Business Coup when Prescott Bush et alia tried to depose FDR? Bush and his fellow bankers financed the Nazis and supplied Franco in Spain. It is all about profit. FDR was persuaded to join WWII despite his isolationist promises to the electorate; he needed to somehow get the Japanese to attack America. This he did by carefully following Captain McCollum's 8 point plan written long before Pearl Harbor thus the Day of Infamy has a double meaning. When Ash Carter, Zelikow and Deutz wrote "Catastrophic Terrorism" in 1998, this is the exact parallel to the McCollum Memo. Indeed, the paper echoes the 'need' for another Pearl Harbor, to make the nation accepting of both war and restrictions to domestic rights (as in the Patriot Act). Patently, 9/11 was an inside job and we all know this but most people cower before bullies. Only the truth can set you free, but don't imagine it will be easy. They tend to crucify those who challenge the status quo.


Thank you very much. This is how it feels every time I hear someone talking about 9-11 on T.V or in person, if you don't respond properly there's something wrong with you.
To my mind 9-11 was a false flag to get us into this perpetual war and bring about a world much as we see it today. So I'm a bit bitter about having to pay homage to this cynical, evil plan to disrupt life all over the planet.


Not to worry. The plutocracy will never allow us to forget.


Gosztola forgot that we did have "700 to 1100 military bases around the world" in 2000. Forgetting 9/11 would only mean the military-industrial complex would have to employ journalists to make up new creative excuses. Some U.S. military effort is directed toward terrorism but much of it is not. Before 2001 the U.S. aimed some military effort at terrorists. The September 11 attacks are not a root cause of American militarism. Americans like to forget the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air. The flags have been there for awhile.


Never forget: who did it; why it was done; and who benefited.


Thank goodness the Germans have "forgotten" or at least forgiven the terror bombing of Dresden. Thank goodness we Brits have "forgotten" or at least forgiven the terror bombing of London by the Germans. Thank goodness the Vietnamese have "forgotten" or forgiven the 2.7 million tonnes of bombs dropped by the USA on Vietnam, not to mention that Laotians forgetting that they were the most heavily bombed country in the world not that long ago. And the Cambodians have forgotten or forgiven the USA's invasion of neutral Cambodia in 1969 accompanied by what was by deliberate terror bombing which killed an estimate 150 000 civilians. Ah well, the USA is exceptional; lest we forget.


Agreed. Corporate American can proudly proclaim: The Business of War Is The Business Of America since 1861!

A deep bass baritone voice then says:

We are the Davos 62 and we approved this message.


Thank You! Every 9/11 I find myself wondering how the number who died that day (around 3000) adds up against the numbers who've died in Iraq and other places we chose to punish to ease our pain. This does not mean that those who died in or trying to save the people in the towers is meaningless. It may mean that it is less clear cut, in the long view, as to that meaning.


A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.

SEE Killing Hope

The bombing list

Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)--NEVER FORGET
Guatemala 1954 NEVER FORGET
Indonesia 1958 NEVER FORGET
Cuba 1959-1961 NEVER FORGET
Guatemala 1960 NEVER FORGET
Laos 1964-73 NEVER FORGET
Vietnam 1961-73 NEVER FORGET
Cambodia 1969-70 NEVER FORGET
Guatemala 1967-69 NEVER FORGET
Grenada 1983 NEVER FORGET
Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets) NEVER FORGET
El Salvador 1980s NEVER FORGET
Nicaragua 1980s NEVER FORGET
Panama 1989 NEVER FORGET
Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War) NEVER FORGET
Kuwait 1991 NEVER FORGET
Somalia 1993 NEVER FORGET
Bosnia 1994, 1995 NEVER FORGET
Afghanistan 1998 NEVER FORGET
Yugoslavia 1999 NEVER FORGET
Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular basis) NEVER FORGET
Iraq 2003-2015 NEVER FORGET
Afghanistan 2001-2015 NEVER FORGET
Pakistan 2007-2015 NEVER FORGET
Somalia 2007-8, 2011 NEVER FORGET
Yemen 2009, 2011 NEVER FORGET
Libya 2011, 2015 NEVER FORGET
Syria 2014-2015 NEVER FORGET

Iran, April 2003 – hit by US missiles during bombing of Iraq, killing at least one person

Pakistan, 2002-03 – bombed by US planes several times as part of combat against the Taliban and other opponents of the US occupation of Afghanistan

China, 1999 – its heavily bombed embassy in Belgrade is legally Chinese territory, and it appears rather certain that the bombing was no accident (see chapter 25 of Rogue State)

France, 1986 – After the French government refused the use of its air space to US warplanes headed for a bombing raid on Libya, the planes were forced to take another, longer route; when they reached Libya they bombed so close to the French embassy that the building was damaged and all communication links knocked out.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 13, 1985 – A bomb dropped by a police helicopter burned down an entire block, some 60 homes destroyed, 11 dead, including several small children. The police, the mayor’s office, and the FBI were all involved in this effort to evict a black organization called MOVE from the house they lived in.


Like Peter Ustinov said, "Terrorism is the war of the poor, and warfare is the terrorism of the rich."

Or as Brother Ali rapped:

"Terrorism is the war of the poor
Hold up a mirror so the script get flipped
Cause when it’s in reverse it ain’t wrong no more
Warfare’s the terrorism of the rich"


Ah, but stefan, here's the sentence:

It would not be a country that felt it was crucial to have 700-1000 military bases around the world. It would be a less fearful nation.

Does it indicate ignorance of the state of U.S. empire in 2000? Or does it merely suggest that 9/11—and our "War on Terrorism" born out of the ashes—makes many, many citizens believe we need 700-1000 bases throughout the world to "protect" us?