Sunday, September 11, 2016

Boldt Words & Images: On the anniversary of 9/11

The first airplane hit 15 year ago, at precisely 8:46:40 a.m.

By Bob Boldt

I went back over my archives and found the piece below, which I wrote on Sept, 20th, 2001.
    Looking back with 20/20 wisdom on my naive ramblings of fifteen years ago, I am amazed at the transformation that has occurred both within my own consciousness and in the consciousness of our country. For one thing, I have become more intolerant of the neoliberals as being nearly as irrational as the neocons and ISIS. I hope I might be excused for not suspecting, at the time, that 9/11 might have actually been an inside job by an administration so monstrously devious, so monumentally corrupt, and so unrelentingly incompetent that it finds almost no analog in past history. Even if the hands of our president have been washed clean of direct responsibility for the attacks, there is no doubt that this event was callously exploited solely for partisan political advantage, in order that the greed-heads could spy on their opposition, and mount a war for no other purpose than to make their cronies rich. In mounting this exploitation, these people were willing to place the lives, the fortunes, and the honor of the people of this county at risk.
    Here then is my essay:

The end of the world

Archibald MacLeish wrote:
Quite unexpectedly as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe
And Ralph the Lion was engaged in biting

The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb –
Quite unexpectedly the top blew off.

And there, there overhead, there, there, hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark, the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness, the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing – nothing at all.
    MacLeish’s metaphor of a circus tent rent to reveal the black void of night was dwarfed on September eleventh as a million eyes revealed a truth so horrid and inconceivable that it was as if madness were the only truth.
If a God had made the world, might would always be right, that would be so wise, we’d be spared so much suffering. But we made the world – out of our smallness and weakness. Our lives are awkward and fragile and we have only one thing to keep us sane: pity, and the man without pity is mad. Edward Bond, Lear
    Is our faith merely a rag we stuff into the maw of death – a veil with a beautifully rendered portrait of Christ, Muhammad, Abraham, or Buddha on it that covers the unnamable void of chaos?

It seems to me that the present crisis presents possibly an unparalleled opportunity for leaders of all the world’s religions to meet in an ecumenical conference to attempt to assess the situation of the world at the present time and to make recommendations to the world governments as to what is the most sane and survivable course we must take.
    One of the most important issues we must face is that of religious fundamentalism. Too long the mainstream religious leaders have stood by while the zealots in our midst preach their “gospels” of intolerance and hate. We see it in this country most recently in the remarks of the Rev. Falwell. I do not want to get into an argument or name names, but the modern world is no longer a place where religions can proclaim their exclusive inside track to the Almighty and treat other peoples only as souls to be saved or dammed.
    Actually the Rev. Falwell was instrumental in showing me a valuable lesson. A lot of people on the left are saying that we brought this on ourselves. It is a compelling argument based on everything from our historic treatment of the Indigenous tribes of North America during conquest all the way up to our knee-jerk support for Israel over the Palestinians. Even though these are issues that need addressing, blaming the atrocities of September 11, 2001 on the United States rings as hollow as saying that God had lifted his protection from us because we have not persecuted Pagans, homosexuals, and abortionists.

    The truth is: hateful people destroyed countless, precious lives, including their own, in order to express some perverted idea of divine vengeance. Yes, everyone connected with the plot should be brought to justice. And yes, it may take a measure of sanctioned violence to bring them to that justice. But it should not be done with hatred and rage. I know that is easier said than done. We are a culture of law, a people who are capable of behaving rationally. What did Jesus mean when he said “Turn the other cheek,” if not this? There is a purpose here besides merely telling our people, who are justifiably enraged, that they should not lust after the blood of the aggressor. That purpose must be spoken from every mosque, church, and temple in the world: That the Human Race has finally run out of options. We must all love each other or die. And that is roughly why I believe the world religious and spiritual leaders should as soon as possible convene a conference of unity to address these issues. Many may say that unity is impossible, that factionalism and theological divisions lie too deep. I say that we must try. No other voice can still the too long unchallenged cries of religious fundamentalism with their terror and willingness to shed human blood. At the very least, the leaders could let them know that these fanatics can no longer call on the name of Christ, Muhammad, or Abraham to legitimize their causes.

We can and probably will eventually bring many of those responsible for this atrocity to justice. But that will not end the issues here. We must apply our intelligence to search deeper for the causes behind the events and issues. What most people in the U.S. really don’t seem to get is just how much we are hated in certain parts of the world. Some of it is based on envy, and some of it is based on true cause. The people who worked on the 100th floor of the south tower didn’t think that Henry Kissinger ordered the coup in Chile. They had pictures of their children and wives on their desks that they were looking at when the building fell. The firemen who were dashing up the stairs did not have time to think, even for a second, about the hungry children in the decimated villages of Afghanistan. One of them was even saying his rosary to take his mind off the pain of his exertions as he moved higher and higher.
    Why do all these people hate us? They must be mad. We are good people. We love our families and pay our taxes. Look how we are capable of coming to each other’s aid in time of crisis. Not thinking of ourselves, sometimes even unto death.
    Not on our soil. We now have a small idea of how almost every other country on earth has felt at some point in its history: the feeling of complete vulnerability, the fear of the annihilation of our cities, and the possibility that our lives could be taken from us at the whim of someone half a world away. We need to use this feeling, this vulnerability, this fear of annihilation to allow us to finally understand what it must be like to live under brutal dictatorships in certain parts of South America. Perhaps we may even start calling ourselves Americans and mean, for once, that we belong to a hemisphere, not just to a country. This feeling could lead us to question a diplomat who flippantly refers to “collateral damage” in justifiable terms. This feeling could help us to understand that all our hearts are buried at Wounded Knee. This feeling may even help us to speak with the real authority of those who have suffered at the tables of power. In short, this feeling could make us true peacemakers.

And yet it is not enough to have feelings. We must go back to our history to study our original mission to the world. We must rediscover our own country and the experiment of independence and really hear the words “with liberty and justice for all” for the first time. We must also have the virtues of humility, courage, and love for the struggle ahead. We must become involved in the life around us: Our neighbors next door and at the end of the World Wide Web on the other side of the world. We may even want to leave the TV off. And yet this is only a preparation for the action that will be the fruit of all this present pain and preparation.
    First, we must make the life and care of our children the most important consideration of our lives. Not just our children, although that is a good place to start, but the world’s children. We must make it a goal that no child anywhere on earth should be hungry, unloved, hurt, or in any way subjected to violence of any kind, including war. The restored section of the Pentagon should have offices in it whose mission should be dedicated to the study of the effects of armed conflict on children and how it might be possible to minimize the effects of war on these little ones.
    Second, we must find ways to turn around the head-long rush we seem to be making to destroy what is left of the planet. I don’t care whose statistic you use – it is not going to be possible for every Chinese, Russian, Afghani, Indian, Mexican (add whoever you want to add to the list) to have an SUV, a TV/DVD, an air conditioner, internet access, garbage pick-up every Tuesday, and two packs of cigarettes a day for life. We have taught the people of the world well and they all want exactly what we want. I cannot see how there is any hope for the survival of the human race under these circumstances, unless we (meaning the U.S.) also begin to practice a level of conservation that clearly the overwhelming majority of the people in this country seem unwilling to do. Of course, there is always technology, like creating a virus to eliminate half the world’s population, or sending them to live on Mars.
    Third, there must be some way to deal with the universal scourge of religious fundamentalism. To anyone who has applied their energies to a spiritual discipline, you know that it is difficult enough to keep on that path, to live a truly devout life, and to overcome one’s own hate, selfishness, and pride. How people who profess to be some of the most devout followers of Avatars of peace, love, and light can spout such hatred and perform acts of such fiendish cruelty causes me to wonder. The prayer I use to make my way through the world these days is often: “God, save me from people who know they are right.” I know what Jesus said about “No man cometh to the Father but by me.” Yet I find it impossible to believe that he could ever bless the Catholic/Spanish incursion into the “New World” or the decimation of Native cultures everywhere by the American Missionary movement.
    I do not need to be exclusively harsh on the Christians. Muhammad and the children of Abraham have plenty of blood on their hands as well. It seems almost like a pathology that, as soon as a person begins to follow a holy one whose simple message is to love God and your neighbor, to quote one example, he suddenly starts to feel that the path that he is on is the only one – indeed, the only true one.
    Of course, it is never enough for this person to merely follow this path to see where it leads, treading modestly in the footsteps of the Master. This person must tell others about it. Some whom he tells are moved by the beauty and simplicity of the message and are among the first followers. Others are not impressed and tell this person, in so many words, to mind his own business. These are the first infidels. The followers, instead of simply and beautifully following on their own way, now start to wonder about these infidels. The possibility that there might be other paths and other ways does not occur to them – they are so full of the spirit and the beauty of the way, etc. “No,” they say, “we cannot be wrong on this. Everyone knows there is only one God and only one Prophet to show mankind the way.” Suddenly these beatific practitioners of the simple path of love are sharpening knives and preparing instruments of torture. Soon there are the sounds of battle. The sacred books are no longer consulted for their inner paths but for helpful strategies in waging war. And dead bodies are now counted as devoutly as holy beads once were.

I wish that were a quaint fable from the 15th or 16th centuries, but unfortunately it is not. It seems that those same old struggles that misguided academics would like to have relegated to the dustbin of history are more alive and virulent than ever. Remember, William Jennings Bryant won the Scopes Trial, and most Fundamentalist Christians see no reason to change that decision. Let us not even try to follow the logic of the Taliban or the Ultra Orthodox Jews. Does that mean that we have to abandon the central beliefs of the major monotheistic religions?
    That is probably not necessary in most cases. The reason the fundamentalists almost universally decry modern society is precisely because of its diversity. We may need to impress on the less militant of our religious followers the necessity of reigning in the more violent and intolerant of their factions. This may be an impossible task. It may be that the desire to be right and the resulting intolerance of our brothers and sisters is hard-wired into the human nervous system. Even if this is true, we still must try. The alternative is unthinkable.

Copyright © 2016 by Bob Boldt


  1. It happened that I was nearing the end of Elizabeth Strout's latest novel, My Name Is Lucy Barton, a couple of days ago, when I was startled to read:

    There was a day, late one summer, when I was at their father's place. He had gone to work and I was there to see Becca, who was staying, as she always did, with him. He was not yet married to the woman who had brought the girls to the hospital and who had no children of her own.
        I went to the corner store – it was early morning – and saw on the small television above the counter that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
        Quickly I returned to the apartment and turned on the television, and Becca sat watching. And I went into the kitchen to drop off whatever I had bought, and I heard Becca cry out: "Mommie!"
        The second plane had gone into the second tower, and when I ran to answer her cry, her look was so stricken.
        I think always of that moment. I think, this was the end of her childhood – the deaths, the smoke, the fear throughout the city and the country, the horrendous things that have happened in the world since then. Privately, I think only of my daughter on that day. Never have I heard before or since that particular cry of her voice. "Mommie!"

  2. And, of course, I remember precisely where I was 15 years ago to the hour: in the mail room at UNC General Administration in Chapel Hill. John Neville was there sorting mail, and he asked me whether I had heard about the attack in New York. Until that moment, I had not.

  3. Looking back at what he wrote fifteen years ago, Bob Boldt is "amazed at the transformation that has occurred both within my own consciousness and in the consciousness of our country." A day to remember and reflect on transformations in all our consciousnesses.

  4. I had left New York a few days before that fateful day At the moment this happened I was with a group of OBGYN Consultants having lunch and my daughter rang to tell me to get to a TV quick Shocking news which hasn't diminished through the years.

  5. It is important to remember our stories of that day and resist others who would make of it other unseemly exploitations that has only brought us war abroad and betrayal at home.

    For me it is of no small significance that Green Party candidate, Jill Stein has embraced the cultural and political third rail by last Friday calling for a re-opening of the 9/11 investigation--this time not by reassembling the compromised, self-serving, and brow-beaten original commission but by a new, powerful, unbiased panel with real subpoena power and the ability to call even US presidents, past, present, and future, to present sworn testimony.

    In spite of the greatest smokescreens in US history since the Kennedy Assassination in Dallas, a significant number of Americans still do not believe the Official 9/11 report in many of their most critical assessments.

    Please remember is is not disloyal or unpatriotic to question official narratives. Questioning authority does no disservice to the victims. In fact it honors those who perished in the tragic events of that day.

  6. Very informative video. I was already familiar with part of what is presented here, but much of it is news to me. All of it is very compelling and as far as I am concerned, it proves that 9/11 was an "inside job." One of the leading organizations calling for a new investigation into the collapses of the three high rises that day is The evidence that these people have presented is in my view irrefutable. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are afraid to debate them in an open forum. Check them out.

    1. Thank you, Roger. I look forward to viewing ae911truth tomorrow. I'm too tired to try to do so this evening.These waning days, even a short day seems long to me.
          I'm delighted, and I know that you and Bob are too, that this anniversary is fomenting good disclosure about what seems really to have happened on 9/11/2001.

  7. I hope you all take the time to read this moving remembrance of New Yorker Michael Winship.

    It is a real account of only one of the countless traumatic experiences so many went through that day. I was further saddened to read how such an apparently intelligent, sensitive man would continue to cling to such a strange conspiracy theory, especially in light of so many recent revelations. It prompted the following response from me.

    Dear Mr. Winship,
    I would in no way minimize or demean the trauma that my New York friends experienced that day and the days following.

    That said, I find the whole obscene national hysteria that is annually whipped up by Democrats, Republicans and other Jingocrats, completely obscene. Our leaders have desecrated this site and the lives of the victims far beyond anyone's ability to ever redeem. A sensible nation would have come to its senses long ago and closed this carnival they euphemistically call a memorial. Knowing of the mess Amerika has made of the world in the name of 9/11 it would have been a far more fitting tribute to have left just a gaping hole in the New York City ground.

    Until a true inquiry of the kind Jill Stein is calling for is mounted, I will, along with a significant number of my fellow countrymen, continue to assert that we were lied to about 9/11. Until we are given sufficient satisfaction that Bush and his Saudi money buddies had nothing to do with this tragedy, I will continue to demean this absurd, abused memorial and deny the claims that the fatally flawed official 9/11 report would have us so uncritically accept.

    1. Good on you, Bob. I hope you get a satisfactory reply from Mr. Winship.

  8. Not likely. Anyone who questions the official story of 9/11, even in the slightest way, quickly finds he is beneath contempt and has no place in our rational society.

    1. Wow, is it really that bad? I don't imagine that people are influenced by any official external cover-up pressures. But I can see that people's own interior sense of looming terror could work on them to prevent them from inclining to belief - maybe like the mechanism that keeps them from doubting God's in his heaven and all's right with the world?

  9. Yes.
    Even our own paragons of reason and truth on the Progressive Left, people like Amy Goodman, Matt Tiabbi, Glenn Greenwald, Sam Harris, Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, etc. regard anyone who even mildly questions the official 9/11 report as as insane, deluded, stupid, and malicious.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm in a bad remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

  10. Bob (in MO) or Roger (in AR): have you heard of any evidence adduced by 9/11 false-flag conspiracy theorists that the conspirators are still at work - perhaps planting some of the bombs we read about, such as the pressure-cooker bomb(s) in the Chelsea district of Manhattan: "Powerful Blast Injures at Least 29 in Manhattan; Second Device Found -"?

  11. Of course many believe they are still at work and are behind every tragic event that hits the headlines. In my innocent, pre 9/11 days, a false flag conspiracy would have been absolutely the last consideration in examination and analysis of a terror event like the recent one in New York. While I rarely come to a final conclusion that any specific mass shooting or planted bomb is indeed a false flag, that consideration is one of the first things I try to confirm or disprove. This false flag, conspiracy “industry” is such a can of worms that I usually stay out of the discussions unless I have something interesting to contribute. That even applies to 9/11, although I do occasionally get drawn into discussions about details of controlled demolition, improbable airplane maneuvers and failed iron-clad security procedures. I prefer to stick with my mantra ”We were lied to about 9/11” and leave it at that. I firmly believe the Official 9/11 Report is so full of admitted omissions, deletions, unexamined evidence, ignored leads, and downright lies that only a new,unbiased investigation will ever come close to redeeming the devastated reputation our present government and all its citizens labor under every day. Sadly I have any number of FB friends and others who automatically assume every event like the one in the Chelsea dist. are staged events designed and executed by everyone from alien reptiles (David Icke) to agents of the Federal Reserve and the CIA (Alex Jones) To my mind these proclamations are just as absurd as assuming that the government in incapable of designing, staging, and executing events as monstrous as 9/11, the Iraqi WMD hoax, The MLK assassination, and the Gulf of Ton-kin. (The last three of these have been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt to be wholly or partially US government operations BTW)

    1. Until very recently I paid little (nearly no) attention to this issue. Of course, I realized that "Saddam has WMDs" was fabricated, and I knew about Tonkin, if not MLK Jr, but I tended to pay 9/11 conspiracy theorists little mind. No longer.
          Without having engaged in any discussions (I have little or nothing to contribute), my view now parallels yours, and I appreciate your inputs on this. When Roger in AR approached me about controlled explosions (thermite, etc.) years ago, I just shrugged and passed on. But I'm more respectful and open-minded now, if not actively subscribing to the view. But I am wary, skeptical, challenging of the official view. And Roger may very well be right.

    2. As Bob has pointed out, there are so many anomalies surrounding the official 9/11 narrative, that any thinking person, who has conducted just minimal research, would have serious doubts about it. And even Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission and John Farmer, Senior Council to the Commission, have all three written books calling into question the validity of the official account. They of course, would never suggest an "inside job," or a "controlled demolition." But, there again, anyone with any common sense at all, who has taken the time to consider the evidence suggestive of demolition, would certainly not rule it out.

      Jet fuel (kerosene) and office furnishings, can't burn hot enough to melt steel. And yet molten metal was found in the basements of all three buildings. Why? And even if it could weaken the steel to the point of collapse, how do you explain how all the undamaged structure below, the huge 47 steel core columns in the Twin Towers,and tons of concrete, just seemed to move out of the way? All one has to do is watch the videos of the collapses to see that the structure below is offering very little resistance. And in the case of WTC7, there was absolutely no resistance for the first 100 feet (8 floors) of collapse. In other words, for 2.25 seconds, total free fall occurred. NIST has even admitted this. This all defies the laws of physics, as has been clearly pointed out by a host of credible people ( I really know nothing about physics. No matter, because all I have to do is watch the Twin Towers turn to dust in mid air to know that gravity alone did not bring them down. And Building 7 could not have came down in the exact manner of a controlled demolition from scattered office fires.

      Osama bin Laden could not have rigged these high-rises with explosives, so who did?