9/11 saved my life

Israel/Palestine
on 116 Comments

Later I learned that one of the planes had gone right over me. I wonder if I noticed it at the time. I was working outside that day in the Hudson Valley. I was already disaffected enough from mainstream journalism that I worked now and then as a laborer for a friend. We were putting sheathing on a house. When the announcer on FUV said a second plane had hit and started playing weird music we went inside and turned on the TV. “I’ll go fight them,” I said to Dave.

The journalism I remember most from those days were the shocking bits, Arundhati Roy’s stunning piece in the Guardian about America as a terrorist power and Susan Sontag’s piece in the New Yorker about the terrorists being courageous. I remember them because Roy was right, somewhat anyway, and Sontag was blacklisted. It was the first sign that things were going to get ugly journalistically too. Not only the Patriot Act and Guantanamo but—the New Yorker and New York Times and Washington Post were turning into war ponies.

My own journalism before that seems trivial to me. I have boxes of it in the basement, the pages moldy and fused and from someone else’s life. I had looked for deep meaning in my work and not found it. A friend and I had once written to Harrison Salisbury at the New York Times and said, what do we have to do to get a story like the Pentagon Papers. He wrote back and said Patience.

9/11 changed everything for me. It empowered the neoconservatives and brought the Iraq war, and the Iraq war forced me to reexamine my decision as a young person to avoid Jewish subjects and indeed to skirt Marty Peretz’s whole agenda, Israel, at the institutions he and I were engaged with. I went to Israel and Palestine at last, a month before I turned 50. I threw myself into Jewish history with the knowledge that American history and Jewish history were now deeply intertwined, and that many of the things I had personally witnessed, success culture in New York and journalistic culture, were about the Jewish rise in American life. 9/11 built this website and brought me in touch with great people, many Jewish, whose values I could admire. The arrogance that making over $100,000 a year for glossy publications printing lies that Charlize Theron has told you can produce in someone began to ebb. And now people with names like Seham, or Ahmed, or Anand or Antony or Idrees or Ali, were no longer strange to me.

I would like to think that the positive changes I experienced in the last ten years will be ones America will experience too. That our arrogance will end, that we will be forced to respect other cultural norms, that the neoliberal belief that history ended with the creation of Tom Friedman’s mustache has been shattered. We are in history. It has been a terrible ten years to make such a lesson, and the destruction of countless lives. Look at Afghanistan (a war I supported, wrongly), rendition, Islamophobia, Iraq, Dick Cheney, look at the people dropping from the upper floors– why it never ends. But maybe it will end.

A few weeks back at the 92d Street Y, the Dutch-Moroccan writer Abdelkader Benali said that the Arab spring was only possible because of 9/11. That Islamophobia in the west after 9/11 sent educated progressive Muslims in western cities back home, and they wanted to reclaim home. So they decided to change it, and lacked the fear that people who lived there had of the leaders. I believe these convulsions have softened nationalism, and that by coming home I am helping to change Jewish life in much the same way, working against exceptionalism. We are all part of an international movement aimed at changing this country. That September was a long time ago, and we will have our American spring.

116 Responses

  1. CigarGod
    September 9, 2011, 9:21 am

    Very nice post, Phil.
    For some reason, I thought you were a younger man…but at the same time wondered how you got your awareness so early.

    I love how you touch on the difference between the evolution of an individuals awareness vs that of society as a whole…and that depressed me.
    But then you wrapped it up with these aware individuals each hearing a song or tone they must follow…like Richard Dryfuss in the Third Kind movie…and that gave me back a bit of hope.

  2. dalybean
    September 9, 2011, 9:22 am

    I feel that I was on the same questioning path that you were and have been reading this site almost since it started. You really gave voice to my questions and you have done so very much to provide the answers. Thank you. You’re an excellent journalist and a very brave man, Philip Weiss.

  3. Madrid
    September 9, 2011, 9:35 am

    You are one of a kind, Phil. Keep up the good work.

    (By the way, is a paragraph missing at the beginning of this post? It seems to begin mid-narrative, but perhaps that is for effect?)

  4. Richard Witty
    September 9, 2011, 9:38 am

    To date the “springs” have only instituted emotional and superficial actual changes. There is conflict in many places, but not yet turning to national assertion and changes in fundamental institutions.

    And, certainly NONE of the sites of “springs” have instituted the change in thinking that would lead them to change how they relate to others, for the better.

    The “springs” so far have been national, of which J14 is a consistent approach.

    I do want to share an impression from somewhat close outside of your pre-9/11 life. That was of some vanity. You were an important journalist, well-known, provocative intellectually, well-paid. And, you seemed to think of yourself as successful, an elite.

    I hope you also get humbled enough to consider Yitchak’s, and Jacov’s, and Shmuel’s as also familiar and peers (independent of political ideology).

    It is important that you regard Ishael’s and Muhahmmed’s as peers, certainly.

    But, it is a bigger world than political. It is a human world.

    Rome took a thousand years to decline, because the functions that it served as an empire remained needed, even after contreversy and abuse.

    When you have a better mousetrap, and an actual strategy to implement it, let us know. That the old one kills gruesomely is already known.

    There is a “have a heart mousetrap” based on mutual humanization, hearts and minds, definitively NOT political in origination, but progressively political in application.

    For reference, I opposed the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War, but do support a liberal flavor of Zionism. I was involved in Israel/Palestine discussion actively for at least 8 years before 911, and the effect was NOT to turn my thinking to anything resembling a description of Israeli conspiracy to corrupt the US.

    • James North
      September 9, 2011, 9:59 am

      Richard Witty said, ‘Look at this!!

      To date the “springs” have only instituted emotional and superficial actual changes.

      ‘My sweeping statement is based on my vast experience in the Arab world, including recent, post-spring visits. Also, I pay extremely close attention to the first-hand reports I can read on Mondoweiss.
      ‘My statements are not based at all on any jealousy of Phil, of the esteem that many commenters have for yet another of his fine essays.
      ‘Because I also have a way with words. Look at this!

      There is a “have a heart mousetrap”

      ‘I bet none of you have ever read that particular combination of words anywhere before!’

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2011, 10:03 am

        I appreciate Phil’s coming to his authenticity.

        It differs from mine. I hope that he will inform me of the humanity of Ishmael’s and Muhammed’s (even beyond my own efforts). I hope that he will appreciate the Avram’s, Yitzchak’s, Jacov’s, Moshe’s deeply as well.

        You can choose to love the blessing in it, or only relate reactively to the opposition and irritation, your choice.

      • James North
        September 9, 2011, 10:15 am

        Richard Witty said, ‘My effrontery is without limit!!

        I hope that he will appreciate the Avram’s, Yitzchak’s, Jacov’s, Moshe’s deeply as well.

        ‘Here I’m accusing Phil Weiss of not appreciating that Israelis are human!! Never mind that Phil visits Israel (unlike me), has Israeli friends, encourages Israelis of all political persuations to post and comment here at Mondoweiss.
        ‘I can’t try and debate the facts. You will see me talking vaguely of what I call “Jewish self-governing,” but you will never see me trying to justify the Law of Return. You will see me talk of “humanizing the other,” but I continue to endorse the illegal Israeli settlements/colonies in Palestine.
        ‘So instead, I insinuate that Phil Weiss does not regard Israelis as human. This is a new low, even for me.’

      • eljay
        September 9, 2011, 10:21 am

        >> There is a “have a heart mousetrap” based on mutual humanization, hearts and minds …

        Looks like someone’s got a defective unit:
        >> RW: The nakba that occurred in 1948 was accompanied by the independence, the liberation, of the Jewish community. So, I primarily celebrate …
        >> RW: If I was an adult in 1948, I probably would have supported whatever it took to create the state of Israel, and held my nose at actions that I could not possibly do myself.
        >> RW: I cannot consistently say that “ethnic cleansing is never necessary”.
        >> RW: My goal is peace, not “justice”.
        >> RW: I personally don’t see a conflict with intentionally adjusting boundaries if the demographics change considerably to create a smaller Israel that is Jewish majority.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2011, 11:21 am

        None of those posts are racist, a statement of advocacy of ethnic cleansing, anything other than appreciating that Jews desired and desire to self-govern.

        Again,
        “You can choose to love the blessing in it, or only relate reactively to the opposition and irritation, your choice.”

      • LeaNder
        September 9, 2011, 11:22 am

        This is the most important part, James, I think. Remember his absurd demand that Haytham admitted that he Witty is human?

        Now look at this:
        I hope that he will inform me of the humanity of Ishmael’s and Muhammed’s

        Haytham has to convince him first as an Arab (born Arab-Israeli, but now US citizen) that he considers him human, since then and only then can he agree to see at least some Arabs as humans too.

        He desperately needs help in this context. Haytham misunderstood his cry for help.

        Besides:
        I hope that he will appreciate the Avram’s, Yitzchak’s, Jacov’s, Moshe’s deeply as well.

        RW is not convinced either that Phil, really considers other Jews and Israelis as human, that he understands the deep sense of sacrifice in Judaism, that the group comes first always, instead Phil is bending over backward to avoid his duties to first stand with the Jews.

        Sacrifice:

        His philosophy is simple: Violence pays. Look at Egypt, he said. That’s how you get things done. “The intifada. Self-sacrifice is how they got land. So I am proud of my kids getting arrested. If they do things for God, I’m proud.”

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 11:24 am

        Got to admit, there are three words which pretty perfectly describe Witty. One is “pa” the other is “the” and the last is “tic”.

        What’s he gonna do next, sue Phil for spousal support?

      • James North
        September 9, 2011, 11:28 am

        Richard Witty said, ‘Notice how I once again refuse to say that I endorse the Law of Return — which is part of what “Jewish self-governing” means in practice. My evasive linguistic formulation makes it sound like I simply say that Jews in my congregation here in western Massachusetts have the right to pick our own rabbi and cantor. Who could object to that?
        ‘But what I mean is something far more debatable. I’m saying that I, Richard Witty, American, have the right to fly to Israel tomorrow and become a citizen while Palestinians who were born there (some of whom visit Mondoweiss) cannot even visit.
        ‘I won’t try and justify this obvious injustice because I can’t. Instead, I’ll prattle on about “Jews self-governing.”‘

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 11:31 am

        “that Jews desired and desire to self-govern.”

        And Zionism and it’s result is the expression of that? Wow, Witty, I never suspected your hatred of Judaism went that deep.

      • LeaNder
        September 9, 2011, 11:41 am

        slightly cryptic Mooser, I’ll ponder about it: pa (Palestinian National Authority?) – the – tic.

        Pleased, you’re still around occasionally.

      • LeaNder
        September 9, 2011, 11:45 am

        Yes, James, the layers underneath rarely surface, they have to remain hidden, beneath the polished humanitarian image. I know I am partly unfair, given the powers he has to fight almost on his own, our poor Don Quixote.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 12:09 pm

        LeaNder, I’m pleased you are pleased. I may not comment (the cat got my tongue, and won’t give it back, and there will still be a lot of surgery if he does) but I always read Mondoweiss.
        After all, there’s a great love story being played out here.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2011, 1:06 pm

        James,
        One of the goals of peace and acceptance, is that those from any part of the world that desire to visit (or in the future to live), can.

        The question is how to get there.

        I’ve shifted in my long-term thinking to support a binational federal state, perhaps with even stronger state emphasis than India in the balance. (India’s state governments are much much more prominent in the governance of citizens than US states).

        I don’t see that ever happening directly. I don’t believe that a quick flip to a single state or a federal state is possible.

        The only path that I see is through the two-state approach, in a confidently peaceful relationship, morphing into a relaxed boundaries and trade, morphing into an EU style confederation, and maybe further to a single federal nation comprised of two states (or more).

        It is long-term, and with many obstacles.

        If you also desire that long-term, then I recommend that you discipline all of your communications, towards the conditions that would make that possible.

        If you’ve ever studied chemistry, that is what you can control, the conditions. You can’t wish an outcome.

        If there is agitation to achieve Palestinian sovereignty, it should be confidently non-violent (more than just a tactic, or rationalization).

        The Gandhi model of “we will have to live with them” after, applies to Palestinian/Israeli relations.

      • Donald
        September 9, 2011, 1:58 pm

        Richard, your long-term goals sound fine to me and the path to it that you outline (two state solution gradually morphing into something closer to a binational state) also sounds plausible, though nowadays maybe it’s exaggerating to say that any solution sounds plausible. But you were taking this position a few years ago. So it’s not that new, at least to those of us at MW.

        Unfortunately, it’s when you get into the details of who has done what to whom that the ugly side of your ideology surfaces. The double standards, the easy acceptance of the fact that Palestinians commit atrocities contrasted with the foot dragging, the hemming and hawing, the endless expressions of uncertainty, the apologetics, whenever the Israelis kill, expel or otherwise mistreat Palestinians. And when you do admit some Israeli wrongdoing it is carefully blamed on the right, never your own group, the liberal Zionists. That attitude is not going to build trust–quite the opposite.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2011, 4:46 pm

        Donald,
        I think you are addicted to distrust, and seek it out by the measure of who one condemns.

      • Donald
        September 9, 2011, 6:02 pm

        “I think you are addicted to distrust, and seek it out by the measure of who one condemns.”

        So, Richard, if Fayyad defended suicide bombing as legitimate acts of resistance against the Israeli oppressors would you feel as much respect for him as you seem to now? Or would such a stand make you wonder if he really saw Israeli Jews as human beings?

        You want your Palestinian partners for peace to renounce Palestinian crimes, but it’s more than you are willing to grant–it’s groveling, in your words from some months back–to grant them the same courtesy by renouncing Israeli crimes. Your arrogance and condescension is rather plain, and it also means Palestinians would not be able to trust you, since it’s clear you have double standards on violence.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        September 9, 2011, 9:06 pm

        Witty,

        You’ve lost Donald.

        You’re done. -N49.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 6:45 am

        Donald,
        I think the measure of “who did what to whom” is childish.

        It is the blame game. Not an effort to stop the harms, just an effort to blame for the harms.

        I propose that we WORK to stop the harms.

        Consider the relative importance of the two.

        Also, please don’t speak for Palestinians. They have their own individual and collective determinations.

        They will be ill-served to distrust those that respect them as persons, but solely won’t gamble on who to blame.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2011, 9:30 am

        >> It is the blame game. Not an effort to stop the harms, just an effort to blame for the harms.

        Something to keep in mind the next time RW hypocritically blames “dissent” or Hamas.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 9:52 am

        Its decisions that one is responsible for.

        In the case of Israel, it is policies. In the case of Hamas it is policies.

        I do criticize Israeli policies, if you bother to notice.

        I don’t demonize Israel, nor do I demonize Palestine. I like your proposals, Eljay.

        But, if you give the litmus test of blame the weight of your emphasis, then you will never get to accomplishing your goals, as they will get no attention (even in your choice of how to use your time).

        Its easy to name-call. EVERY person here has hypocrisy exposed, if anyone would wish to probe for it. Its not worth anyone’s time to name-call about a characteristic that everyone does.

        The discussion of goal and means is MUCH MUCH more important, and effective.

      • Donald
        September 10, 2011, 9:55 am

        “Also, please don’t speak for Palestinians.”
        “They will be ill-served to distrust those that respect them as persons”

        So you don’t speak for them–you just tell them you respect them as persons and they’d better accept your word for this or else.

        “It is the blame game. Not an effort to stop the harms, just an effort to blame for the harms.

        I propose that we WORK to stop the harms.”

        So you wouldn’t mind if Fayyad said that the suicide bombing campaign during the Second Intifada was justified. A person who defends suicide bombing against Israelis could also say that they respect Israelis as human beings and be justified in saying this, in your view. No harm done. No obstacle to peace and reconciliation in thinking like this. That is your view, right?

      • LeaNder
        September 10, 2011, 10:59 am

        eljay:

        RW: Also, please don’t speak for Palestinians. They have their own individual and collective determinations.

        They will be ill-served to distrust those that respect them as persons, but solely won’t gamble on who to blame.

        LeaNder: speak for = support. If you do, you are an antisemite or self-hating Jew.

        The correct blame game as “shorter Witty, C James North” by Mooser:

        RW: “The agitation here is consistently to demonize Israel, by authors, by commenters.”

        Quel horrors! People talking bad about Israel! There oughta be a law!
        Yes, Richard, I know, if the bad vibes we are propagating ever reach the Holy Land, the Israelis will have no choice but to kill more Palestinians, imprison more, and steal more land, and it’ll be all our fault! If only we had listened to you when you told us how sensitive they are.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 4:00 pm

        If Fayyad had said “I support the terror activities of the second intifada”, I would have nothing to do with him.

        You are trying to attribute some advocacy for the scope of Cast Lead to me, but it just indicates that you read my words simplistically.

        And, in being distracted to only the question of “who do you blame”, you accomplish NOTHING.

    • Citizen
      September 9, 2011, 12:31 pm

      I wish Phil had said he was also helping to change Gentile life. Or even better, American life. Instead he chose to say he was helping to change Jewish life. There’s a question begging here for an answer, yes? Isn’t he concerned also about helping his own wife to change, for most immediate example to him, and as to her familial relations? Sorry, I really don’t get this Jewish thing in the context of universal values. I did the opposite of Phil, I married a Jewish American woman (And we had a kid). I work for change too, but I don’t think of it as working for Aryan betterment, or white Irish-Germanic-Christian betterment. I think of my efforts as working for the betterment of all mankind. My identity is humanist, and secondarily, as an American, American. I don’t think my choice of comfort foods, e.g., pork chops, chili, potatoes, gravy, corn-on-cob, etc have anything to do with my being an American per se, and certainly nothing to do with being a humanist. I translate being a humanist as being one who respects all humans simply because they are human like me; this does not mean I have to love all humans. I left the Catholic faith I got by birthright at age 13 or 14, but that does not mean I don’t see the quality &wisdom in the Sermon On The Mount.

      Like Witty, I also opposed the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. I also opposed the Vietnam war–as a soldier who had volunteered at age 18. I really don’t see how Zionism can be separated from anti-semitism. What is one without the other?

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2011, 12:59 pm

        BTW, Phil, I sent you a check on June 29th for a subscription to MW and never got a star, & I sent you a check on July 2nd for two t-shirts, and to date I have received nothing. It’s now Sept 9. No biggie, but you may remember I also devoted countless hours to ridding your web site of vulgar rascist commenters back in the days before you had your new set up. Just wondering why I’ve not been given any attention at all on your end. I’ve been with MW since the early days….

      • alec
        September 11, 2011, 8:41 am

        Hi Citizen!

        Your star is there now. Thank you for your longstanding support to Mondoweiss!

        As soon as we get the word from Adam confirming your contribution, we’ll send out your shirts right away.

        Thank you again for your support.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 1:47 pm

        “I also opposed the Vietnam war–as a soldier who had volunteered at age 18.”

        Wow, you really showed them, huh. You opposed it so much you volunteered to fight it? Sure, okay, whatever you say, Citizen. I live in a very military area, and I’m used to thinking like that. Anyway, I know better than to try and discuss it. But if you put a little salt on it and bake it, I bet it would be good while drinking beer.
        I supported the War on Viet Nam, so much so that I lived in terror of being drafted for it, and vowed to do whatever it took to avoid service. Yes, hard to credit, but that’s how much I loved my country. And I can go through life proud of the fact that my service never hampered American military efforts!

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 2:03 pm

        Remember, I live in a town where the Turner Joy (yes, that Turner Joy) is proudly displayed, restored and floats ready (at about $12 a head) for guided tours.

      • Antidote
        September 9, 2011, 5:37 pm

        Mooser September 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm
        “I also opposed the Vietnam war–as a soldier who had volunteered at age 18.”

        Wow, you really showed them, huh. You opposed it so much you volunteered to fight it? Sure, okay, whatever you say, Citizen.
        ____

        now, now Mooser

        what citizen meant was that he volunteered for Vietnam at 18 and subsequently opposed the war, or so his use of past tense and past perfect would indicate.

        Mooser August 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm
        “in my experience most people enlist in the military out of idealism, while the policy makers are pathological.”

        And of course, a broke 18 year old with a pregnant girlfriend is experienced enough to know this?
        ______

        ok, there’s more materialism than idealism in this particular example but you said in the same post you don’t blame the kids for joining the army. So I think citizen deserves a bit more respect for his post, and many of his other posts, as well as a star and his t-shirts for his material support of MW, don’t you?

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 8:02 pm

        Thanks for explaing, Antidote. I must have misread, and thought that Citizen had joined the Army to protest the war.

        By the way, I don’t think the quote there is from me, in fact, it is from another commenter, and I quoted it in one of my comments. Hell will freeze over before I would accuse anybody of joining the military out of “idealism” but I do agree, joining the Army is one way to get away from a pregnant girlfriend if you’re broke. Of course, it is possible that your patenity troubles will follow you right into the service. I ask you, is that any way to treat the idealistic young men who join our military?
        And I still maintain that most people join the service as a result of completely inadequate enlistment counseling. Which is, if I remember aright, what I maintained in that exchange.

        But here’s a happy coincidence: Phil isn’t the only one with fond memories of 9-11

      • Citizen
        September 10, 2011, 5:42 am

        When I enlisted I was concerned about the military draft–I didn’t want to be drafted when I imagined I’d be more settled down at, say, age 25, and at the time Vietnam was not in the news ken of the average American home. During my military service US troop involvement in Vietnam grew and the war became much more public. It was a great personal struggle for me merely to reach the end of my enlistment with an honorable discharge. I’ve never encouraged anyone to join the US military. I think every potential recruit should have an independent lawyer review with him or her Uncle Sam’s proffered contract before signing. In the combat units I served in, most of the troopers were in their teens; the average age during Vietnam War was 19. I view our current military as more like Hessians than anything else.

      • Citizen
        September 10, 2011, 5:53 am

        Mooser, so you’d be happy if nobody served in the US military? You know, Kant’s catagorical imperative? Let’s do away with cops too. Since our congress is full of chicken hawks and neither political party is bent on reducing imperial military expenditures much, I think we need to ban military funding–or, maybe Obama has the right idea with his penchant for using drones instead of boots on the ground? We could get some advice from those IDF girls that use video game weapons to protect our borders and foreign military installations?

      • Antidote
        September 10, 2011, 9:13 am

        “By the way, I don’t think the quote there is from me, in fact, it is from another commenter, and I quoted it in one of my comments.”

        yes, I understood that (” …”) ;)

        “Hell will freeze over before I would accuse anybody of joining the military out of ‘idealism'”

        I’ m with you on that one. And thanks for the link to Frizelle. Made my day

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2011, 11:07 am

        My pleasure, Antidote.

        Ah, Citizen, all I have to do is twit you slightly and the wingnut comes out screaming. But please, don’t suggest things like “let’s do away with cops”. My goodness, what on earth would we do with all the tattle-tales and snitches? How would they earn a living? And now that torturers have a meaningful place in the economy, too? Just think of all the kids who wouldn’t get child support if that happened! Are you against the American family?
        And tell me again why we have “foreign” military installations.

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2011, 11:13 am

        ” I’ve never encouraged anyone to join the US military.”

        That’s too bad. Joining the US military was, without a doubt, the most effective anti-war strategy for me. My family has a proud history of hampering or even eliminating the combat efficiency of any military we have been associated with.

      • CigarGod
        September 10, 2011, 11:31 am

        Citizen,
        It seems we have a similar background, except that I was drafted and no amount of reasoning by adults, trips to U of Mexico and U of Edmonton…nor the seductive powers of beautiful girls…could shake me awake. It wasn’t until I began to witness and experience and make my own mistakes in judgement and behavior…that I began to slowly…slowly like an evolutionary crawl…began to awake.

        I agree with your Hessians comment.

      • CigarGod
        September 10, 2011, 11:37 am

        Mooser,
        I eagerly await the release of your book…but I’ll have to stop eating while I read it…or choke to death.

      • johnshoemaker
        September 14, 2011, 4:20 am

        “……..age 18. I really don’t see how Zionism can be separated from anti-semitism. What is one without the other?”

        I trust you can see the difference now. Einstein said immigrants to Palestine must get along with Palestinians

      • MHughes976
        September 14, 2011, 7:20 am

        There are forms of anti-Semitism which support Zionism. ‘The Jews are aliens everywhere and because of their alien nature are dangerous to every society except for a society of their own. If they had a sovereign state of their own and mostly lived there the problem would be eliminated. Therefore this society should be created, and if created maintained, for the general benefit of humanity, Jews themselves and others, even at some cost to other inhabitants, who should be bought out’.
        I have an idea, which I have not checked, that Kaiser Bill thought something along these lines.

      • johnshoemaker
        September 16, 2011, 8:13 pm

        ‘The Jews are aliens everywhere ”

        You appear to disagree with Einstein that Jews are positive influence in all peoples anmd that immigrants to Palestine must get along with Palestinians.

      • CigarGod
        September 20, 2011, 9:02 am

        I think Einstein would have expanded (oh my, I’m speaking for einstein) on that theme and said that all peoples/groups are a positive and negative influence.

      • johnshoemaker
        September 21, 2011, 4:31 pm

        ” I think Einstein would have expanded (oh my, I’m speaking for einstein) on that theme and said that all peoples/groups are a positive and negative influence”

        Before ’48 he was specific, he felt Jews were especially a positive addition to any people.
        After creation of nation placing faith in arms he was ignored by media. He supported League of Nations and formation of international police force to ensure All nukes destroyed. His criticism of nation of Israel and faith in nukes was ignored by the empire.
        One of us will investigate fact that his later writings are still ignored by media. Nation of Israel is one source of this ignoring, ignorance.

  5. Chespirito
    September 9, 2011, 9:39 am

    This is not just a great post, it’s a great ESSAY. Yo Phil and Adam you’re awesome, don’t you two ever stop now.

  6. eGuard
    September 9, 2011, 9:53 am

    So Abdelkader Benali said: That Islamophobia in the west after 9/11 sent educated progressive Muslims in western cities back home, and they wanted to reclaim home, at 92Y New York. Did you really add this as a serious statement, Phil?

    Yeah, see what good our Islamophobia has brought them. We should add some more! To me it is just an arrogant, paternalistic, show-stealing, afterward claim (And, by the way, it is not true).

  7. Mndwss
    September 9, 2011, 9:56 am

    The criminals that attacked the “innocent empire” died in their attempt to wake up the sleeping pachyderm.

    Who can be punished when the criminals are already dead?

    Pachyderms attacked by ants do not care how many anthills they destroy in their revenge…

    The world needs more people like Weiss.

  8. Taxi
    September 9, 2011, 10:07 am

    I started blogging on the 12th September, 2001. In the Guardian-UK talkbacks.

    9/11 made the bloggersphere a valid movement in journalism. Remember how it took the msm several years after 9/11 to acknowledge the pertinence of the bloggersphere movement – they started having segments on it and even bloggers as guests/analysts. Let’s face it, the reason for the immense interest and popularity of the bloggersphere is due to the utter failure of the mainstreammedia to deliver the TRUTH to it’s readers for a long, long, long time.

    Finally, decades of silent frustration could be expressed sans editor or advertiser’s petty interference.

  9. Chu
    September 9, 2011, 10:50 am

    9/11 changed all of our lives after watching the government plan for the Iraqi invasion (hatched during the 1st inaugural meeting), the Patriot Act, the rise of the Neocons, coupled with the media’s failure to address PNAC. All of these factors created a stench that the system was corrupted.

    The past five years brought us Wall Street heist, housing bubble, credit default swaps, quantitative easing.

    Who wants to ask what the next five years will bring?

  10. Sin Nombre
    September 9, 2011, 10:51 am

    Makes me laugh: After Watergate especially journalism just pumped itself up so full of righteousness it seemed to burst. It was just soooo virtuous. Journalists, we were told, were just sooo in love with the freedom to say what nobody else could, and point out what nobody else would.

    And yet how few we see today, like Phil, who in reality really care about that feeling of freedom and honesty to just simply write what they truly feel and state what is bloody obvious.

    Take heart and be proud Phil: In the eternal three o’clock of the morning where their pride now resides they know. They know. And they grimace.

  11. annie
    September 9, 2011, 10:55 am

    beautiful. you are an exceptional journalist phil weiss, an exceptional person.

  12. LeaNder
    September 9, 2011, 11:29 am

    I am absolutely with Phil and Abdelkader Benali in this context. 911 changed “my world” immensely. As I had exactly the same impression as Abdelkader not long ago. Watching recent documentaries over here.

    • Mooser
      September 9, 2011, 1:57 pm

      “911 changed “my world” immensely.”

      Mine, too. I never watched the news again.

  13. MRW
    September 9, 2011, 11:42 am

    Anyone see Morning Joe this morning?

    There was a clip of news on September 10, 2001 because MSNBC is besotted with the decade’s effects of 9/11, not its causes and motivation.

    They played a piece from Donald Rumsfeld saying in a speech that day “Today we declare war on bureaucracy not people” but it flipped, was edited, to why we need more money for the military.

    The next thing that Rumsfeld really said was ‘That the adversary was closer to home. In fact, it was a matter of life and death’ and he said the Pentagon couldn’t track $2.3 trillion worth of transactions.

    It jarred me this AM. Why, why can’t these gatekeepers tell the unvarnished truth. We are dying as a society from the lack of it .

    Rumsfeld.
    link to youtube.com

    The morning joe clip. At 7:11 min.
    link to msnbc.msn.com

    • Mooser
      September 9, 2011, 8:26 pm

      ““Today we declare war on bureaucracy not people””

      That’s not fair! The war to completely cut out anyone in the intelligence or administrative who tried to warn them about the imminence of a terrorist attack was one that had been won before Rumsfeld declared it. That’s one way to insure victory, but I hardly call it playing fair.

  14. Mooser
    September 9, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I am convinced that the coverage of 9-11 will prove as informative as the contemporaneous coverage of the explosion on the battleship Maine was. And I vowed to leave no turn unstoned until I got the truth!

    • MarkF
      September 9, 2011, 12:26 pm

      I’m right there with you my unstoned friend! Let’s do this thang….

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 1:18 pm

        ” …my unstoned friend! “

        Why are you using my comment to reply to other people?

  15. Richard Witty
    September 9, 2011, 1:17 pm

    “I believe these convulsions have softened nationalism, and that by coming home I am helping to change Jewish life in much the same way, working against exceptionalism. We are all part of an international movement aimed at changing this country.”

    One of my points in my first post was that I really don’t believe that the “spring”‘s have softened nationalism, as the movements themselves now have morphed to distinctly nationalist, not internationalist movements.

    Maybe the Muslim Brotherhood is an international movement, but then it is an international theocratic movement.

    Tunisia I don’t know much about. Egypt is a nationalist movement. And, certainly the aspects of it that Phil and Adam and others applaud are distinctly confrontational to Israel. An international movement would seek closer relations to Israel, trade, cultural. The ranting demonstrations at the Israeli embassy and the removal of the Israeli flag, are nationalist, and somewhat reactionary nationalist in flavor.

    A parallel reference would be the J14 Israeli spring, a demonstration of all Israelis (not only Jews), but distinctly of Israelis, not international. (And, not focused really at all on the occupation, as much as Joseph Dana and Max Blumenthal want it to be.)

    • Mooser
      September 9, 2011, 1:28 pm

      I must admit, Witty it’s extremely gracious of you to say nothing about the Palestinian Occupation of Israel’s land, and the unprovoked cruelty of the Palestinian Defense Force, and the violent actions of Palestinians settlers.
      Why, if Gandhi met you, I bet he could do nothing except dig his big toe in the sand and look non-plussed. He knows when he’s met his match.

      • Cliff
        September 9, 2011, 2:22 pm

        Haha. You rock Mooser.

    • Donald
      September 9, 2011, 2:07 pm

      ” An international movement would seek closer relations to Israel, trade, cultural.”

      No it wouldn’t, not yet. It would see the Israeli government as yet another set of oppressors. It might seek closer relations with whatever subset of the J14 movement is devoted to human rights for everyone, including Palestinians.

      • Richard Witty
        September 9, 2011, 4:48 pm

        The nationalist facebook Tahrir was linked to Israel. The nationalist subsequent Tahrir is old story anti-Israel.

        The agitation here is consistently to demonize Israel, by authors, by commenters.

        Its the old, not the new.

      • Donald
        September 9, 2011, 7:27 pm

        Calling things “old” and “new” isn’t an argument, Richard. It’s sloganeering, but then you’ve never been good at arguments.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2011, 8:18 pm

        “The agitation here is consistently to demonize Israel, by authors, by commenters.”

        Quel horrors! People talking bad about Israel! There oughta be a law!
        Yes, Richard, I know, if the bad vibes we are propagating ever reach the Holy Land, the Israelis will have no choice but to kill more Palestinians, imprison more, and steal more land, and it’ll be all our fault! If only we had listened to you when you told us how sensitive they are.

      • eljay
        September 9, 2011, 8:29 pm

        >> The agitation here is consistently to demonize Israel, by authors, by commenters.

        Mr. “Heart Mousetrap” hasn’t noticed that there’s an awful lot of agitation against, and demonization of, Palestinians on this site. He hasn’t yet realized that when Zionists…
        – approve of the past ethnic cleansing of Palestinians;
        – refer to the Nakba as “necessary” and a “required” evil;
        – “primarily celebrate” the Nakba;
        – talk about a supremacist “Jewish state”;
        – propose future bureaucratic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians; and
        – are unable to rule out any form of future ethnic cleansing
        …they are failing to undertake their part of “mutual humanization, hearts and minds”.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 6:51 am

        Donald,
        You didn’t understand what I was saying?

        A Google exec speaking at Tahrir four months ago, is a DIFFERENT beast than the storming of the Israeli embassy yesterday.

        They are two DIFFERENT revolutions in process. And Phil is just out and out wrong to declare them something new in the world, at least yet.

        Eljay,
        The present is what is important, no? You want to improve things for Palestinians, or just get them their vindication.

      • Donald
        September 10, 2011, 10:06 am

        “And Phil is just out and out wrong to declare them something new in the world, at least yet.”

        It’s not new, because there have been Arabs in favor of secular democracy for generations. They’ve had to contend with dictators and fanatics of various stripes and they still haven’t won. Within Israel/Palestine, they’ve also had to contend with Zionism (but I guess I said that when I said fanatics). So yes, it’s an old story.

        What this has to do with being nice to Israel is what you forgot to explain.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 4:13 pm

        Storming an embassy is not an advocacy of secular democracy.

        You must live on another planet from me.

        The facebook Tahrir Square embraces the international, ignores boundaries, ethnicities, nationalities. And, in its color-blind international approach links with Israeli companies, Israeli individuals, Israeli citizens.

        The reactionary new Tahrir square regards international commerce as part of the enemy, and Israel as THE enemy.

        It is a horrid development, not worthy of praise in the slightest. It is the revolution turning trivial, turning reactionary.

      • MRW
        September 10, 2011, 8:13 pm

        Storming an embassy is not an advocacy of secular democracy. […] It is a horrid development, not worthy of praise in the slightest. It is the revolution turning trivial, turning reactionary.

        Gee, you shoulda’ been around to warn the Berliners when they got that idea in 1989, Arnold Toynbee.

    • Antidote
      September 10, 2011, 9:03 am

      “Egypt is a nationalist movement. And, certainly the aspects of it that Phil and Adam and others applaud are distinctly confrontational to Israel. An international movement would seek closer relations to Israel, trade, cultural. The ranting demonstrations at the Israeli embassy and the removal of the Israeli flag, are nationalist, and somewhat reactionary nationalist in flavor.”

      Zionism is a nationalist movement. And, certainly the aspects of it that RW and others applaud are distinctly confrontational to Egypt (not to mention Iran, Lebanon, Turkey etc etc and not to mention the Palestinians). An international movement would seek closer relations to Egypt etc, trade, cultural and NOT rely on alliances with the West to dominate the region and instal and uphold dictators who are good for Israel but bad for the people ruled by them . “The ranting demonstrations at the Israeli embassy and the removal of the Israeli flag, are nationalist and confrontational.” You forever excuse the crimes of Zionism, which were and continue to be much worse than storming an embassy and tearing down a flag, on the grounds of Jewish suffering. Only a fool or bigot would then turn around and call Egyptians storming the Israeli embassy ‘reactionary’. They are a natural reaction, and have little or nothing to do with your bogeyman, the Muslim Brotherhood.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 9:56 am

        The Zionist movement varies. The labor and some iterations of likud Zionist movement had close ties with Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. (Never Iran, not since the shah.)

        Israel has done very very little harm Egypt since peace was declared. You do know that Antidote.

        The militant storming of the Israeli embassy is reminiscent of the Iranian theocratic storming of the US embassy.

        Its a very bad precedent. It is a revolution prospectively turning reactionary, similar to the Iranian revolution, that did execute hundreds of Marxist and democratic critics of both the shah and of the theocracy.

      • Citizen
        September 10, 2011, 10:44 am

        As usual, Richard Witty turns reality on its head. The storming of the Israeli embassy is just the latest step in Iran’s progressive revolution; still too much Muburak in the current military governing Egypt at the expense of the average Egyptian, and to benefit that selfish military staff and Israel, the whole point of US aid to Egypt. Also, Witty points to the Iranian storming of the US embassy, but not in context (again), which was the fact that the secular Egyptians needed the support of the Mullahs to get rid of the US puppet tyrant Shah, installed by US CIA with Israeli help to kill the Iranian elected government back in the day.

        If we are expected to know about the Shoah as part of the context for Israel, we should also know the historical context of Iran and Egypt–of course that assumes one desires to understand political-military activity, rather than simply paint it to make our own country or dual countries look good.

      • Antidote
        September 10, 2011, 10:58 am

        “Israel has done very very little harm Egypt since peace was declared. You do know that Antidote.”

        You mean Israel supporting Mubarak longer than just about anyone else on the planet, including Obama? But, much more recently and directly related to the attack on the Israeli embassy:

        By Amena Bakr and Maha El Dahan
        CAIRO | Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:17pm IST

        (Reuters) – Mustafa Yahya’s mother wailed and tore her robe in the Cairo hospital where her son’s body lay in the morgue, accusing her own country’s troops of killing him as they defended Israel’s embassy from protesters overnight.

        “To hell with Israel. Why is the army protecting Israel and killing my children?” she screamed, voicing the popular anger that has been well and truly unleashed since five Egyptian border guards were killed last month in an Israeli operation against a cross-border militant raid.

        The morgue where the body of Yahya’s 24-year-old son was taken is close to the scene of the violence, where spent bullet casings littered the street and the whiff of teargas filled the air. Israel’s ambassador was flown out after protesters stormed the building housing its mission.

        The violence, the second time such fierce scenes have flared outside the mission, might have been avoided, analysts say.

        “What happened was not a surprise, it reveals political mismanagement of the crisis,” said military analyst Safwat al-Zayaat.

        But the fact it was not averted reflects the dilemma facing the army as it grapples with governing Egypt after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, for whom a 1979 peace treaty with Israel was a pillar of the foreign policy that secured him regional muscle.

        “It is a difficult situation that needs some wisdom and perseverance to deal with it,” said Adel Soliman, director of the International Centre for Future and Strategic Studies.

        “Israel will try to make use of the situation to make the incident seem very serious so that it can cover for the real issue that fuelled popular anger,” he said.

        Egypt’s ruling generals must balance calls for a tough response from an increasingly assertive population angry at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians against the benefits of the treaty that guarantees billions of dollars of U.S. military aid.

        For some ordinary Egyptians, the solution is simple.

        “We don’t want the Americans’ money,” aid Mohi Alaa, 24, speaking after a long night of protests outside the embassy.

        When the border crisis erupted, Egypt briefly threatened to withdraw its ambassador. But it never followed through. That jars with many Egyptians, who have watched Turkey expel Israel’s envoy in another feud while their own country, which they see as a regional leader, has not.

        ‘EGYPT ABOVE ALL’

        “When the five Egyptians were killed at the border, Egypt could have at least called its ambassador back from there for consultations or taken any measure to reassure the public who are now comparing what their government did and what Turkey did,” military analyst Zayaat said.

        The public mood was clear after Egypt put up a wall outside the embassy, which is housed in the upper floors of a high-rise block.

        No sooner was the barrier erected than it was defaced with graffiti, such as “Egypt above all”. On Friday, a group of about 20 protesters used metal poles to batter it and gathered support from hundreds more as they clambered over it with ropes to knock it over. “Tear it down,” they chanted.

        They had marched from a protest on the other side of the Nile in Tahrir Square, the centre of the pro-democracy demonstrations that drove out Mubarak on Feb. 11 and helped ignite the region.

        Politicians and activists support the anti-Israel drive, but some criticised the violence.

        Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy called for the army to take a “serious stance matching the public anger” towards Israel, but said violence sullied the image of Egypt’s uprising.

        The Health Ministry said 1,049 were injured and three people killed, including one in Agouza where Mustafa Yahya’s body was. The statement on the state news agency did not name Yahya.

        As well as wounded protesters, several police and troops near the embassy nursed injuries. One soldier had a bandage round his head. A policeman had a ripped shirt and his eye covered.

        “We all have demands but this is not the way to get them,” said police officer Ibrahaim Mohamed, 25, with a bandaged arm.

        Some Egyptians questioned whether the embassy building should have been stormed at all.

        “This is a normal reaction, but it should have limits. They shouldn’t storm the embassy, this gives a negative picture of Egypt to the entire world,” said a baker who did give his name.

        And there were also those who sympathised with the challenge facing Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling army council and the armed forces Chief of Staff Sami Enan.

        “They have been doing things for this country that nobody appreciates … but I have faith that the army will solve everything,” said 48-year-old café owner Mahmoud Abbas Mahmoud.

        (Additional reporting by Seham Eloraby; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

        Of course you will say that killing 5 Egyptian soldiers is, however unfortunate, necessary and justified in the interest of Israel’s security. If, however, 5 Israeli soldiers were killed by the Egyptian army defending the Sinai, one wouldn’t hear the end of it and NOTHING could ever justify such a foul, hateful, anti-semitic deed

      • Chaos4700
        September 10, 2011, 11:15 am

        So basically what you’re saying, is different rules apply to Jewish ideology?

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 4:15 pm

        So, you are agreeing with me, and disagreeing with Phil’s romanticism, that the current Tahrir is a nationalist revolution, and not an internationalist secular democratic one.

      • Citizen
        September 10, 2011, 6:22 pm

        Israel still cries every day and works to free one IDF soldier in the context of 7,000 imprisoned natives. Egypt should blare daily about those 5 Egyptian soldiers and mirror Turkey’s stance to get respect and consolation for the Turks (and one American Obama has ignored) murdered in cold blood on the Gaza flotilla. Why should Arab countries have a short memory when Israel’s is long and extends to tracking down 95 yr old men who served with the Germans when they were teens? Witty keeps saying that was then, this is now, when it comes to what Israel did to the natives, but he loves the idea that the Western world and Israel are still in hot pursuit of old men who once found themselves young and joining Hitler’s regime merely to survive.

      • Antidote
        September 10, 2011, 6:41 pm

        “So, you are agreeing with me, and disagreeing with Phil’s romanticism, that the current Tahrir is a nationalist revolution, and not an internationalist secular democratic one.”

        I suppose you meant me. Do I agree with you or Phil? Neither/nor, both/and. I’m a mystic, just like you.

      • Cliff
        September 10, 2011, 7:08 pm

        Richard Witty supports Jewish nationalism, which is colonalist and racist, within the occupied territories and AGAINST the rights of non-Jews across all of ‘the land of Israel’.

        But he does not support Egyptian nationalism within Egypt.

      • CigarGod
        September 10, 2011, 7:21 pm

        Cliff,
        And he and his buddies wonder why they have a scary little fear monster living in their heads.
        Zionism theme song:

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2011, 7:33 pm

        I support Jewish nationalism that is assertive in its desire for self-determination, but kind in all its relations.

        I am commenting on Phil’s post. Phil described the Tahrir Sq effort as new. I differ. Right now it looks old.

        Phil’s words referring to the Arab Spring, Tahrir.

        “So they decided to change it, and lacked the fear that people who lived there had of the leaders. I believe these convulsions have softened nationalism, and that by coming home I am helping to change Jewish life in much the same way, working against exceptionalism.”

        I don’t think nationalism that storms an embassy is particularly “softened”, you?

      • Bumblebye
        September 10, 2011, 7:41 pm

        CG
        Very good, likey lots. But, the meaning of the vacuum cleaner??

      • CigarGod
        September 10, 2011, 7:52 pm

        Bb,
        I’m not sure…but maybe they sleep with it and it sucks their brains out every night.

      • CigarGod
        September 10, 2011, 7:53 pm

        oops!
        I just realized it may have a double meaning.
        I hope the mods let it through anyway;-)

      • CigarGod
        September 10, 2011, 7:57 pm

        Maybe if I offer some Billie Holiday flowers, I’ll be forgiven:

      • Antidote
        September 11, 2011, 1:50 pm

        “I don’t think nationalism that storms an embassy is particularly “softened”, you?”

        I see no evidence of Jewish nationalism having been or being “kind in all its relations”, and that’s why I don’t support it any more than other nationalisms acting along the same lines, or worse. I am definitely on Phil’s side opposing exceptionalism, be it American, Jewish or otherwise.

        I think you are blowing the storming of the embassy out of proportion, misrepresenting it as 1) an unprovoked act of aggression and mob violence and 2) an operation during which Israelis were the only and prime victims. That’s due to your national bias, and also your paranoid mindset, not to the facts. You’re prone to associate ‘Reichskristallnacht’ (which was provoked by the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a Jewish student who had legitimate grievances but no right to kill in retaliation, and neither had the German mob) but that’s off the mark. I associate the storming of the Stasi headquarters, even the storming of the Bastille.

        You “support Jewish nationalism that is assertive in its desire for self-determination, but kind in all its relations.” That sounds fine in theory but where is the practice of it? I insist on granting the same rights to all people, so I expect you to support ‘Egyptian nationalism that is assertive in its desire for self-determination’ as well, or else I would call you a bigot. If you excuse the not so soft aspects of Jewish nationalism, you must grant the same excuses to others.

        It was Israel chasing militants from Gaza (who had killed Israelis) in Sinai that led to the death of 6 Egyptians which in turn led to the storming of the embassy which killed three more Egyptians (by Egyptian police) and injured many more. The best thing to prevent further such incidences would be to reduce tensions in Gaza by lifting the blockade and putting ‘kindness in relations to others’ into practice.

        “In January 2009, hundreds of angry Yemenis stormed the Egyptian consulate in Aden in protest to Egypt’s “reluctance” to react to Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip at the time. They destroyed some of the furniture inside the building, but did not attack any of the diplomats. Then they burnt the Egyptian and Israeli flags and raised the Palestinian flag on the consulate’s roof.

        Yemeni officials slammed the attack and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry condemned it because “buildings that enjoy immunity cannot be attacked by the mob” as the ministry’s former spokesman Hossam Zaki put it. ”

        link to english.alarabiya.net

  16. Mooser
    September 9, 2011, 1:21 pm

    “Look at Afghanistan (a war I supported, wrongly),”

    ROTFLMSKJAO!!! Yeah, you were this close to volunteering, huh?
    And it was extremely patriotic of you to give permission to have your taxes used for the war, instead of refunded to you. Such self-sacrifice you don’t often see in these degraded days.

  17. Susan Johnson
    September 9, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Post is exceptional Phil. By sharing your transition from a journalist, a very good journalist, into a man with a cause, a passion and a terrific blogger. Your blog, like you, is exceptional; a place to learn, express positions, enjoy humor and cry when the truth brings pain. You openly share your mistakes, changes in thinking, your questioning, sharing information, actually you share yourself with readers. Thanks!

    And you’ve attracted quite a group of readers. We’ re fortunate to have Mondoweiss as a daily read. The readers provide a wealth of information, humor and attempts to keep Wittty under control. ,which is no easy job. Again, what a group!

    Your voice for Palestine is loud, clear and effective; one we should all hear. The I/P situation from the Jewish perspective. Not being Jewish, I’ve gained a perspective I lacked. You bring the reader so much to consider. I’ve read other blogs “from the Jewish perspective;” they lack what Mondoweiss offers.

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself! You are an exceptional person.!

    • john h
      September 9, 2011, 5:01 pm

      Thanks for that, Susan, fully agree. Hope your Mw glitches are now sorted out and you’ll be a regular here on this fantastic blog.

  18. Bumblebye
    September 9, 2011, 5:02 pm

    Exploring the legacy of 8/11, the Guardian has this video from Zygmunt Bauman, “No one is in control. That is the major source of contemporary fear.” It is part of a series available after the anniversay, from a website called “histories of violence.com”. And his eyebrows reminded me of my late Uncle Tim, who had a cartoon of himself by one of Fleet St’s finest back in the 60’s, with yard long brows!
    link to guardian.co.uk

  19. Matthew Taylor
    September 9, 2011, 6:38 pm

    Phil,

    Very nice post! Well said. I especially loved:
    “My own journalism before that seems trivial to me. I have boxes of it in the basement, the pages moldy and fused and from someone else’s life. I had looked for deep meaning in my work and not found it.”
    Precisely true of me. I built a publishing empire (video game strategy guide books), but about a year before 9/11 — at the outbreak of the second Intifada, actually — I knew what I was doing was meaningless in the grand scheme.
    I wish I could share your optimism of an American spring. I’m hoping more for an American retreat – let’s get the hell off the world imperial stage and let others chart the course.

    Matthew

  20. LanceThruster
    September 9, 2011, 8:05 pm

    I’ll keep it short (I’ve learned that brevity is my friend) Thank you for pulling my caustic posts in another thread on 9/11 controversies that were needlessly hurtful to someone who did nothing to deserve that. This seems like a good place to submit this.

    Looking up material that expressed my views in the whole “dueling experts” aspect of the debate, I came across a site I’d never seen before.

    This man, Josef Princiotta, Forensic Communicator speaks for me –

    link to csi911.info

    All that I am asking is …
    “Please help us,
    do the math.”

    • Mooser
      September 10, 2011, 11:17 am

      Lance, only a great leader and strategist like Napolean Blownapart could solve the mysteries of 9-11.

      Remember the Maine!

      • LanceThruster
        September 11, 2011, 4:47 pm

        Mooser – exactly, and I’m on it.

        9/11 may turn out to save the Republic itself. There’s a possibility that a new respect for empiricism may emerge. I thought of it after making contact with Mr. Princiotta. A famous gentleman who shall remain nameless wrote a brilliant piece on propaganda. He noted it should be aimed at the masses (the Joe 6-pack of his day) because there’s not a high enough % of braniacs to focus on (he called them intellectuals and academics). Morons and blockheads are responsible for the mess we’re in, and it’s going to be us dum-dums that help get us back on track. You want to beat a bunch of unscrupulous idiots, you got to think like an unscrupulous idiot…but maintain your scruples.

        There’s a saying – “Faith means not wanting to know.” I have no faith in my government or their track record of truthfulness on issues that matter. (Ground Zero air safe to breath, we don’t torture, we do not use wiretaps for domestic spying, regulatory agencies are structured sufficiently to avoid widespread harm to our nation, citizens, environment, economy, etc., from those entities on whom the SCOTUS bestowed personhood – the list of lies and bogus claims grows daily)

        Dueling experts confuse most people, and their agendas, stated or not, add to the murkiness. Start with facts. Ask for facts. Demands facts. Call for legislation that requires an established model for independent investigation participation (I was going to say unbiased but I’d settle for a few extra sets of eyes – and not just the right/left paradigm but a few indys that know the left and right are more alike than not when it comes to promoting an official narrative).

        A dum-dum can see that those people in charge of the various entities tasked to respond when the unpredictable happens should not be the ones taking the lead to investigate such a collosal failure at every level, let alone one resulting in this much controversy and anomolies, as it is self-evident that the temptation to CYA could take priority over following facts and the truth wherever it leads (and if you remember, the early explanations whenever the c-word was even hinted at was rather “incompetence, negligence, and an abundance of unfortunate coincidences” – and that’s the story they’re sticking to). And that’s supposed to reassure us, as is somehow the fact that those same acts claimed were virtually without consequences – i.e. it’s everyone’s fault so it’s no ones fault, or some such thing. (Oh yeah. “It’s time to move forward, not lay blame.” Seems as if that’s the standard MO these days, the likelihood increases in conjunction with the scale of the F-up).

        The proper response to give for many of their decisions, claims and assurances is the same one, each and every time –

        “What are you, an idiot?”

        We destroyed the air traffic controller recordings.

        “What are you, an idiot?”

        The FBI confiscated ALL area security camera tapes and eventually released a few grainy frames from a parking lot cam but also says there’s nothing else to see and no, this is not about the plane/no plane debate. The gas station owner should get his tape back intact, and sell copies of it if he wants. I bet he’d be willing to let them make a copy of it, or if they want the original as crime scene evidence, view it and copy it in his presence. There’s no credible reason that tapes that don’t show anything can’t be shown.

        There was no credible reason for Guliani to prohibit cameras in the vicinity. Hallowed ground doesn’t cut it unless cameras are prohibited at Gettysburg or Arlington too. It is just too basic a right and freedom to just wave it away. They wanted to enlist us all in the DHS and let them know if we saw any suspicious activity, and call on us to forever remember 9/11 in whatever offical observance they feel pays it due respect, but we couldn’t be allowed to do what we always do with cameras in regards to those things that have importance to us in ways that holds meaning for us. Some artsy-fartsy type might have used infrared film to shoot the rubble, or a powerful lense for extreme close-ups of the pile. Sadly, in other areas, these mundane acts are welcomed, such as when someone sends in tsunami footage to the media as well as the immediate aftermath with wreckage and floating bodies.

        And you know what? They learned some things with that footage – various aspects of the debris flow metrics and the ability to see reactions rather than reverse calculate from the wreckage and high water marks.

        Speaking of of crime scene evidence…a team of civil engineers toured the site in what they described as a “walk through”, but were not allowed to examine or test any wreckage, and took the unprecedented step of tracking every bit of it as they rushed to destroy it.

        They tell us to report suspicious activity. Activities that are “suspicious” are because of the context. Suspicion about the dancing Israelis isn’t because dancing is an inherently suspicious activity.

        Suspicion that someone might have a motive can be allayed or increased depending on their actions. Destruction of crime scene evidence in and of itself generates understandable suspicion, more so when considering what the specific relevance that which is destroyed could have in the investigation. Criminals try to disable or erase recording devices at the scene that might help identify them and establish what transpired. . They set fires in attempts to obliterate or cover their tracks. Disposing of bodies, if successful enough, can prevent a crime from even being established in some cases.

        They must think we’re idiots, if we’re expected to put up with this again and again in circumstances where *knowing* what happened (or at the very least, gathering as much facts and evidence as possible and having some sort of consensus on the validity and integrity of evidence gathered, is crucial to the decision making to follow.

        It’s as if the more critical getting the right answer is, and the more that looking too deeply might expose facts implicating those whose priority is a cover-up of those same facts, for whatever reason, the more certain one can be that enough “mistakes” happen to provide plausible deniability.

        We’re doomed if we listen to each and every moron and not treat as brain damaged who says, “America would never…” and then whatever they were incredulous about that America would never do turns out to be exactly what happened…secret war in Laos and Cambodia, Iran/Contra, illegal wiretaps, we don’t torture, domestic spying, kill 3000 innocent Americans [qualifier of “on purpose” implied because dying in illegal or unjustified wars might be considered wrong, or crazy or criminally negligent…but isn’t thought of as on purpose].

        That last one is rarely stated as “America would never kill 3000 innocent people on purpose” because the death toll of those other than Americans seems less an item of concern, and you can turn a callous disregard for their lives into the cost of waging war by the designation “collateral damage”. What I’m saying is that I am not sure I can calculate the upper limit on innocents America is willing to kill, whether or not who they are is factored in. I think the civilian death toll for Iraq was calculated in a manner that made it as if 1 in 4 people in Los Angeles County died or something. I’ll do the math slacker style (3000 innocent 9/11 attack deaths in a city of X million people, or a nation of X million as it compares to the number of innocent Iraqi deaths (thousands, tens of thousands…more???) and their population.

        That we have supposed reasons (justified, safety, their fault, it will be worth it in the long run, we didn’t mean to) is its own issue, and if we bring the same flawed logic to bear in dealing with those other issues, we can expect equally deficient results.

        If exclaiming, “What are you, an idiot?” is not your style, too abrasive, I have an alternate that could be equally as effective.

        To those crafting an argument for anything that seems lacking in common sense by cloaking it in complexity meant to obfuscate rather than illuminate, say “Explain it to me like I’m an idiot”

        9/11 for idiots is this – “We were so outraged by the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans dying horribly and tragically (and I would hope to add senselessly) in front of our very eyes, as well as the ongoing trauma and anguish of their loved ones, that in response we killed thousands of innocent people elsewhere, dying horribly and tragically in front of their very eyes (though we made it a point to try *not* to have too much of their tragedy in front of our own eyes – go figure) causing ongoing trauma and anguish for their loved ones – and a good many of them didn’t have a whole lot to begin with, even when not in comparison to us (but maybe tell ourselves not *quite* as senselessly).

        Those are the facts of what we did.

        Our dueling experts debate details with varying degrees of importance assigned to the dead Iraqis.

        The only “remembrance” I’m willing to do at the moment about 9/11, is a rededication to the truth, in simple, basic and accurate terms. Like I said, it’s not about 9/11 truth, whatever happened. But if the model for fact-finding is based on any sort of idiotic contention that some facts, if they should by their very existence lead to imagining the unthinkable, puts them in a special category, and that we ignore pursuing anything in the unthinkable category to begin with though motive can be something as simple as seeing a greater potential benefit than the risks involved in the crime, then we are doomed, because lies that are gotten away with just might be the growth medium for bigger lies, and then who’s to say what outrage becomes unthinkable.

        The forever remembered battle cry of 9/11 FOR ALL OF US, should be the same, for everyone, everywhere, at all times, with all things.

        And it has a connection to another senseless death in the same city known to most of the world —

        Just give me some truth. All I want is the truth.

        Because ask yourself, and I hope your answer would be the same in all cases, in situations where accurate information is the basis for rational decisions (cheating spouse, financial investment, integrity of assocciate, friend or political leader, etc.) —

        Would you rather have the facts, no matter how painful, no matter how great the potential shift of what you perceived as reality, or are there areas where soothing falsehoods could be argued as preferable?

        I’d love to see a debate of dueling experts arguing whose soothing falsehoods are justifiable because I’d cut that thing short and ask,

        “What are you, an idiot?” because I’m just some guy and not an expert and even I can see that.

      • LanceThruster
        September 11, 2011, 7:26 pm

        Mooser – I hope this tacked on addition isn’t too far down the chain and gets missed because your comment reminded me of a quote that expresses the difficulty of pondering the great questions.

        It was the Simpson episode where Nelson Muntz dated Lisa.
        He was observing that not all questions have answers —

        It’s like asking what is the square root of a million. Nobody will ever know.

        If only there was someone to help us do the math.

      • LanceThruster
        September 11, 2011, 7:55 pm

        Another afterthought that I felt made my point is by referencing Richard Witty. His comments give me a far greater understanding. But mostly because James North and others are quite adept at deconstructing them with “the shorter.”

        That Richard does not offer up his views in “the shorter” format (kind of like how professional journals have that thing at the beginning…can’t remember the word but it’s a concise summation of the issue being addressed and the focus of the paper) is either because he is incapable of reducing his views to statements simple enough for a child to understand, or that he has an agenda that benefits from obscuring the issue based mostly on the need not to say what you mean, and hide your agenda pretending you have none (hidden or otherwise).

        But then I’m just some guy and not an expert, nor could I produce any such expert with enough of whatever attribute Mr. Witty felt was required for him to even consider a revision of any of his views.

        It’s like asking what is the square root of a million. Nobody will ever know.

      • wondering jew
        September 11, 2011, 8:37 pm

        The square root of a million is one thousand, whatever do you mean?

      • LanceThruster
        September 11, 2011, 9:05 pm

        It has to do with obtuse angles.

      • tree
        September 11, 2011, 10:22 pm

        The square root of a million is one thousand, whatever do you mean?

        Maybe you have to understand the comedy in the “The Simpsons” to get it.

        link to snpp.com

      • LanceThruster
        September 12, 2011, 6:28 pm

        I’ll spell it out. Nelson’s a bully with some redeeming qualities. He’s also had a hard childhood, broken home etc (and he LOVES Andy Williams and “Moon River”). He was waxing philosophical and offered that some questions are unanswerable and wanted to support his contention with an example. And he used a bad one, and thinks because a million is such a large number for a kid, that to find its square root is too ambitious a task to consider. It caused me to learn what it is (so I could understand the joke). I used a calculator. I use it in 9/11 truth examples because the only thing some people want to use the tools of science as is a club.

        For an adult, I think a proper example is the value of Pi, it’s not the number but how many decimal places your calculation will be.

        PS – the “obtuse angle” comment was a hint or a mild dig. It means you’re not getting the joke.

      • LanceThruster
        September 23, 2011, 9:52 pm

        (kind of like how professional journals have that thing at the beginning…can’t remember the word but it’s a concise summation of the issue being addressed and the focus of the paper)

        “abstract” is the word.

        2ab·stract
        noun \ˈab-ˌstrakt, in sense 2 also ab-ˈ\

        1

        : a summary of points (as of a writing) usually presented in skeletal form; also: something that summarizes or concentrates the essentials of a larger thing or several things

    • MRW
      September 10, 2011, 8:20 pm

      Good link, LanceThruster.

      This film by the architects and engineers that want a thorough standard scientific investigation premiered this last Thursday night nationwide. You can watch online for five bucks. It’s 2.5 hours long.
      link to 911expertsspeakout.org

      The speakers have a combined 25,000 years experience in structural engineering and architecture. (What I like about it is that they also examined the original architectural and engineering blueprints, so they addressed how it was actually built and didn’t bloviate about kerosene fire myths that a ten-year-old could refute after watching Daddy barbecue on the weekend.)

      • LanceThruster
        September 11, 2011, 9:04 pm

        That’s great and I most likely will seek that out at some point. The csi site I linked was I think the first one where I understood what you have once all the rest is stripped away.

        I love how he gathered consensus data regarded as accurate and set it as baseline for working out the calculations. The scary part of that is that others who are professionals quite possibly have chosen not to look, and figure that since concern over the validity of investigator findings has the potential for negative professional consequences, whereas having no concern over the findings has no prefessional consequences, the default position follows the law of conservation of energy. No concern, even for professionals who could do the math in the blink of an eye (for or against, since that is all Joe P’s site requests), is the default position.

        If you remember the Challenger hearings, the item of most relevance in the findings wasn’t that the O-ring and other near misses with components that had the potential for single-point failures that were “complete” was mostly a technological failure, but rather spoke of the NASA corporate culture and the decision making. There were people most familiar with that booster component that begged TPTB to delay the launch because it was too cold. Feynman ‘s still brilliant and he peiced it together after the fact. These other engineers had an idea of just how precise the safety margin is with that beast in the first place, and that a launch following the ship exposed to temputures of that degree and duration was adding too great a risk for catastrophic failure. If you also remember, the corporate culture would dismiss and override the worry-warts with “we launched in cold before and it wasn’t a problem” so scratch that one off the list (even though I think it was colder and longer). Regardless “no problem” meant no catastrophic failure as there was always something that was a little suspect and areas of concern (such as, there were boosters recovered with solid fuel scorches past where the O-rings were supposed to prevent but it was basically deemed that they hold out long enough so we have the safety factor we need).

        What makes me so sympathetic to the worry-warts is that, if I have the story straight, one of the Morton Thiokol engineers, had a nervous breakdown (result quit, I think…suicide? Not sure) because he blamed himself that he could not make a convincing enough case to others to heed his cautions. I’m sure, whether spelled out or not, the brass ring for management was the State of the Union message and the PR Saint Ronnie (not everyone knew he was a saint back then) was gonna get from teacher in space. Instead, he had to settle for the lesser PR glory of being sad for no teacher in space.

        I teared up the first time I saw the video footage of people in the viewing stands there to witness a routinely glorious occasion, grasping what they actually were seeing (as I also did on my one and only trip to the cape and saw the launch pads and all from a distance and the same emotions came flooding back).

        Somebody voting against launch probably was regarded as a spendthrift.

        “What are you, an idiot?” That thing costs big bucks for every day we can’t get that bird off the pad. Sending that bird up on time and on budget is the only sensible thing to do if you can’t assure me that what you think might happen won’t unless we scrub the launch (I’m leaving that statement as is even without calculating the double negative factors as in context it makes perfect sense to my point).

  21. Kathleen
    September 9, 2011, 10:40 pm

    “I would like to think that the positive changes I experienced in the last ten years will be ones America will experience too. That our arrogance will end, that we will be forced to respect other cultural norms, that the neoliberal belief that history ended with the creation of Tom Friedman’s mustache has been shattered.”

    We can dream and keep pushing for justice

    • LanceThruster
      September 11, 2011, 9:50 pm

      [joke snark mode on]

      Listen Kathleen (if that’s even really your name – can we ever really *know* anything?), I know I talked about the wisdom of following the facts wherever they lead, no matter how unsettling the consequences, but I both deeply resent and reject your scurilous and baseless accusations implying that the Moustache of Truth is not scientifically on par with the only other constants in the universe; change, death, taxes, and that sweet, sweet stache of truth.

      You’ve sparked such a rage in me, that if I had the power to outlaw you even trying to trying to question truth-stache validity (or revise or deny) I would in heartbeat, because everyone knows except truth-stache haters, that denying the stache of truth is the worst and most horrible crime in all of history, and those that do so do it out of their deep seated hatred of the stache, and not some ludicrous claim of a love of the truth. Unbelievably, there are actually people with lip facial hair themselves that also hate the stache of truth and have their irrational hatred glorified by extremist stache of truth haters – They are known as anti-hirsutics which though a somewhat imprecise term, is the easiest way to identify someone completely devoid of any redeeming qualities whatsoever.

      If I can’t have you arrested for having such a view and promoting your hate speech publically as it is inexplicably not yet actually a crime, I at least expect an apology immediately and for all your friends, family, employers and associates to shun and denounce you, as it is self-evident that is the only just response.

      It is always possible that the Moustache of Truth might also possess infinite mercy, and decide to forgive you. But I never can.

      May the stache of truth be with you (PBUH).
      [/joke snark off]

      I hope I made myself clear.

      • LanceThruster
        September 12, 2011, 6:32 pm

        The satire might be less confusing if I had noticed Kathleen was quoting the Friedman stache observation rather than it being hers. The joke doesn’t go well with the other very nice things she’s posted here.

  22. Kathleen
    September 9, 2011, 10:47 pm

    What I come back to when I think about that disastrous day are two friends Bev and John Titus who lost their dear daughter Alicia Titus link to swe­etalicia.o­rg that day. She was a United airline stewardess on the United flight rammed into one of the twin towers. While not excusing using destructive violence in anyway, they quickly turned their unbearable suffering into a deep examinatio­n of the core reasons about “why they hate us” They knew as many of us did by paying attention to alternativ­e news that the Bush administra­tions mostly successful efforts to convince the American public that somehow Iraq was linked to 9/11 was a total “pack of lies”

    They as well as other members of 9/11 families against the invasion led the march in New York city in early Feb of 2003. I get chills thinking about it.
    They marched against the invasion as hundreds of thousands of us did the fall of 2002 and winter of 2003 with WWII, Korean, Vietnam (their very close Vietnam Vet friend Ray Huffman marched with them). I had the great honor of pushing a 93 WWII Vet that day in his wheelchair for several hours. Hundreds of thousands of us marched against the opportunistic and destructive agenda that the Bush administration was embarking upon. But the MSM did not show Americans sitting at home who was marching in the US and around the world against that war. They did not show the teachers, plumbers, lawyers, Vets, students, families pushing their children in strollers, seniors in wheelchairs who were so angry that the Bush administration was using one horrific disaster to create another based on manipulated intelligence.

    Bev and Johh have continued to transform their deep and irreparable sadness into a deep understanding of WHY. They refused to allow their pain to turn into attacking others based on manipulated lies. They turned their deep sadness and pain into understanding, compassion and forgiveness while still demanding accountability for the ones who perpetrated this horrific crime as well as demanding accountability for those in the Bush administration who used 9/11 to start an unnecessary and immoral war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of dead, injured, and millions of displaced Iraqi people. As well as the deaths of over 6000 American soldiers and 60,ooo injured.

    My prayers for all of those who suffered on that day.

    May the phoenix fly from the 9/11 ashes?

    John Titus’s tribute to his sweet daughter Alicia
    link to brokenhearttrading.com

  23. Kathleen
    September 9, 2011, 10:55 pm

    This is what Bev and John Titus have focused on since losing their daughter on Sept 11 th. Promoting Peace, understanding and healing

    Sweet Alicia Titus
    link to sweetalicia.org

    link to sweetalicia.org
    In Alicia’s honor and in an attempt to honor all those who have died from political violence, the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund Committee has chosen the 5th anniversary of the tragedy to explore responses to violence that go beyond retribution and to learn about ways of understanding and resolving conflict that could break the cycle of violence.

  24. yourstruly
    September 9, 2011, 11:40 pm

    Phil,

    your humanitarianism is inspiring

    i’m with you in the quest for an american spring

    the missing element in what’s hopefully the beginning of a worldwide awakening

    hopefully, because if it doesn’t happen, there’s that damn abyss in waiting

  25. Justice Please
    September 11, 2011, 5:33 pm

    One second I think “I will tell my kids about how this Weiss guy affected me and my political thinking”.

    Then I read about Tom Friedman’s mustache and I laugh harder than I ever laughed this day. Bravo!

    • LanceThruster
      September 11, 2011, 10:00 pm

      Read what I wrote to Kathleen. I’ve got my eye on you too mister. You’ve been warned. (think Paul Lazzaro of Vonnegut’s “Slaughter-House Five)

      No one questions the stache of truth (we even considered forbidding any sort of physical depiction of him such as sculpture or portrature but decided against it as we didn’t want to come off like fanatics).

      [PS – does winky smiley face still need to be placed at the end of such a screed for people who feel they’ve been threatened to know I’m serious?]

      Thank you.

      ;-)

      • Justice Please
        September 12, 2011, 5:37 am

        Let’s say the smilies and sarcasm brackets are certainly helpful, since crazy worship for absurd things knows no bounds, and people believe in the oddest things. At least followers of the Friedmanstache should be easily identified, I presume they all sport one in reverence to their beloved leader? :-)

      • LanceThruster
        September 12, 2011, 6:10 pm

        That’s a good way to put it. The cliches “lost innocence” or the “end of irony” can have some localized validity, but I completely agree that there is no upper limit on the absurdities that can actually be serious description of what a person really believes (and that would be true even if Scientology – can I use their word trademark free? – didn’t exist).

        When you use the words “always” and “never” in an argument, you’re almost always wrong. The exceptions are important.

        As in, until 9/11, there has NEVER been a steel frame structure that collapsed from the effects of fire exclusively. I mean, thats a pretty amazing statement. And you could qualify it now with “or claimed to.” And I think it is still true (the 1st part). Because I think we’ll learn it took more than just fire.

  26. abubakrs
    September 13, 2011, 2:49 am

    philip and yourstruly,

    what is your vision of an american spring?

    we already have the right to choose, from a group of candidates, which ones will be our masters. and i cannot see americans sacrificing their lives for the sake of campaign finance reform.

    within an electoral democracy, what changes are needed in order to achieve representation of the people? is it possible with the inherently aristocratic process of elections?

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