Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused the United States of fabricating the facts regarding the attacks of Sept. 11, according to a March 6 report by The Associated Press. He claimed the U.S. government's official version is merely a "big lie" upon which the invasion of Afghanistan and the so-called war on terror was based.
"September 11 was a big lie and a pretext for the war on terror and a prelude to invading Afghanistan," Ahmadinejad said. He suggested the tragic events that unfolded at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania and New York were the result of a "complicated intelligence scenario and act."
The question itself could be construed as a slap in the face of every patriotic American who fervently believes the innumerable lies constantly told with a straight face by our government leaders. And there's little doubt that some of those truth-loving citizens are assembling as I write this, armed with torches and pitchforks, to march en masse to my front door and question my citizenship for daring to consider Ahmadinejad's protest legitimate.
This is America, after all. And some voices simply ought not be heard, according to those voices that are routinely heard, loud and shrill.
Of course, there are some other obvious questions.
Why should the American people believe a "hard-line" leader (according to U.S. media) of a terrorist nation who lies about his nation's intent to possess nuclear weapons (according to U.S. government)?
Why should we put stock in anything Ahmadinejad says when he proposes that Israel be added to the long list of nations wiped off the map (like Kurdistan and Yugoslavia)?
Fear of Paradigm Shift?
I'm typically skeptical of those who shout down anyone whose perspective questions our own conventional wisdom. If truth is on our side, then it will withstand any and all inquiry and ought not shrink from the light of public scrutiny.
The truth is that without Ahmadinejad raising the question regarding the veracity of the U.S. government's officially evolving Sept. 11 story, there are no national media willing to conduct a thorough investigation and answer the questions being asked by millions of U.S. citizens. No media seem as interested as the general public in assembling relevant data over time, which is key to discovering inaccuracies when revisiting history. The subject of Sept. 11 cannot even be brought up without the inquirer being branded a kook or part of a lunatic fringe by media. The Iranian president doesn't have to worry about media tarnishing his already tattered reputation.
The Associated Press report chose to angle the story as a disgruntled untrustworthy enemy of America seeking to distract the citizenry from focusing on the increasing tension between Washington and Tehran over the issue of nuclear proliferation.
Who is Lying?
But what about the "big lie" that the White House, Pentagon and the Congress sold to the American people regarding Sept. 11, according to Iran's president (and millions of Americans who also question the government)?
Did a commercial passenger plane really ram into the Pentagon, leaving its facade intact, and then completely disintegrate into pocket-sized shards?
Did a plane really go down in a field in Pennsylvania and leave reporters and coroners on the scene mystified over the lack of bodies and plane parts?
I'm sure no government leader, of the 535 in Congress or the two at the top of the food chain in the White House, will "dignify those questions with answers."
Do Americans Deserve Answers?
Let's remove the Iranian president from the equation for the moment. Are there any AMERICANS asking legitimate questions of our government regarding Sept. 11?
If we listen to American media, this issue was long ago resolved and accepted. And that brings into question the trustworthiness of American media. The "fair and balanced" media have presumably covered the landscape and found no legitimate opposition to the apparent reliable tale told by government officials. And journalists seem to have zero curiosity of their own.
Are there really no credible organizations, reliable professionals and experts in their fields who question the government's official version of the events of Sept. 11?
In less than two minutes I can produce a list that will keep every mainstream journalist busy for a week. Yet, these growing lists of legitimate voices with legitimate concerns cannot be heard in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Iran's Struggle for American Truth
But at least media are being fair and balanced in their one-sided support of America against presumed terrorist leaders. Media supported George Bush when Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to him asking a number of questions that were ridiculed by journalists. The letter Ahmadinejad wrote directly to the American people apparently failed to gain much traction in media as well.
When his letters failed to open the door of discussion, the Iranian leader challenged former President George W. Bush in August of 2006 to an open uncensored televised debate at the United Nations. Bush cowered and resorted to the standard dismissive language typically used to slam the door shut to opposing voices. Ahmadinejad challenged him again. And again the door of discussion was shut.
To put this effort by Ahmadinejad into perspective, can you think of any other time when any leader of any nation has tried as hard to openly discuss the issues of life and death without media distortion and government censorship?
Insult to Injury
Ahmadinejad finally showed up in person on Sept. 24, 2007, when letters and challenges to debate failed to convey his message or create a conversation. His attempts at discourse resulted only in controversy, the points he made never reaching the eyes and ears of most Americans. He was even lambasted by the president of Columbia University who invited him to speak.
Yet, if we can move past the conditioned knee-jerk reaction so many of us display when we hear something we don't understand, we find that Ahmadinejad asks some very poignant and legitimate questions that deserve real consideration and answers.
What Happened on Sept. 11?
Today, Ahmadinejad raises the issue of Sept. 11 to President Obama. And, as if the health care debate and collapsed economy weren't enough weight on our president's shoulders, he now has to decide if he will respond to Ahmadinejad's derision of America's government leaders.
Ironically, the Iranian president is merely voicing the sentiment of the American people on a platform loud enough for someone in Washington to actually hear it. Any obfuscation or dismissal of Ahmadinejad's question ultimately results in a dismissal of the voices of the American people who also seek answers to lingering questions about Sept. 11.
Mr. President, you may be able to ignore questions about Sept. 11 from Iran; but we, the American people, also demand to know the truth. After all, the many years of destruction of lives and environment across continents is based upon the premise that George W. Bush was telling us the truth. Throughout those years he was ducking and dodging the same man who now raises the same question for your administration to address.
I'll be watching to see if the position you held as a Senator, regarding talking to so-called enemies, holds true or if you will run from the table of public discourse and hide with the Bushes.