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What Is Good Political Writing?
Marc Solomon

Has this ever happened to you? You are sitting in a grade school classroom, and something slightly out of the ordinary occurs to you. Perhaps something the teacher said doesn't feel quite right. You dutifully raise your hand, and you ask your question. What follows is a quizzical look on the teachers face, and the giggling of those around you. You feel embarrassed, humiliated. Even worse, is that you don't understand what was so funny or odd about it. After all, why is a question funny, how does it become funny, if all it seeks is the truth, no matter how insignificant or trivial? Maybe you weren't listening, but that usually wasn't it, was it? Coming forward to now, do we feel unease about questions which have answers that are even more important? Perhaps matters of life and death?

Some of us learn to stop asking questions.

The "4th grade giggle", as I call it, is alive and well today. The trouble is, it is being used by people over 30 and "professional journalists" alike. It is occurring in the context of the most serious events that we as a nation have faced in half a century. These are questions concerning the events of 9/11/2001.

Are these answers to these questions so terrifying that they are always met by the giggle as a defense mechanism? It seems to me that certain ideas could be thought of as wacko if they were based on insufficient facts or derived by an incorrect application of logic. To paint a question, however, as "nuts" involves an entirely new social pathology. What ever happened to "the only dumb question is the one not asked"? The only thing I can compare it to is the dark ages: a question of astronomy--think Earth orbiting Sun---that contradicted the Church's teachings, and thus the question itself is considered heresy. It is unfathomable today (I hope)to consider that anything so vital to our common interests as to have any questions about it remain unasked.

Yet ever since that day, there are questions which cannot be asked in polite company or at least in the established media that are not automatically and reflexively assumed the mien of lunatics. So without putting forth any theories, any conclusions, any conspiratorial agenda, I would like to restate some of those questions which seem to me the most reasonable; questions which have remained not only without answers but without the dignity of having being asked in an open forum. A simple Google will tell you that this subject is far from unspoken of on the web. There are both excellent and laughable web sites devoted to evidence, analysis, conclusion and conspiracy. Many people have spent countless hours in painstaking research, yet these efforts are never (check me on this grand statement) spoken of in major network television or print without some derogatory prefix about "9/11 truth" or something like that. Hard to believe "truth" would become a negative. Ah, Orwell.

Ever notice how an entire freeway can get jammed up by a lengthy investigation of a car accident? A fender bender? The thoroughness with which our police inspect traffic incidents always amazes me. As a result of a major crime committed against our nation, one would expect that all aspects of the crime scene (ground zero) would be protected, catalogued, and analyzed to determine the exact events that occurred and the identity and methods used by the criminal. It is hard for me to understand, in comparison to what I see with regard to a simple auto accident, how critical evidence could be allowed to be tampered with, destroyed, or transported off our shores. Yet that appears to what has been done. In the case of New York City, we find that the physical evidence, the materials left from the fallen towers and the victims, were quickly scraped-up and shipped, not to a safe and secure holding area, but to a foreign country to be melted down, never to be seen again. What was the logic here?

In the case of the Pentagon, what were DoD management personnel doing out on the grounds after the incident, near the entrance "hole", picking up and removing pieces of the "object" that struck the building? Where are these pieces? How do we understand flight maneuvers that apparently no seasoned pilot could execute in flying an commercial airplane that low to the ground. What about the same craft hitting a large building and not leaving behind a trail of airplane parts, seats, personal effects or anything else? How did a commercial airliner enter, maneuver in and crash in the most heavily defended military airspace in the world, without even one jet fighter in pursuit?

How are we to understand the mechanisms involved in bringing down the twin towers, after we see molten metal streaming from the building, and remaining at molten temperatures long after the fall? How are we to explain this behavior, when the melting point of the building materials is far higher than any such temperature that could be developed by burning jet fuel? How are we to explain the presence of certain residues found there (of that which was left to examine) that resemble explosives that cause buildings to turn into molten metal?

How are we to explain why the two buildings fell at rates which cannot be predicted by science as we know it? How can we explain exactly the same type of collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by an airplane, but only experienced "fires"? Why has this behavior not terrified every structural engineer and insurance company in the country, when a new type of "fire" can topple a steel skyscraper, a phenomenon which has never been seen in modern times? Why has no credible structural model or simulation been conducted to demonstrate to the satisfaction of all--scientists, engineers, and layman alike--that the behavior that was observed could actually occur based upon jetliners, jet fuel and fires alone? How do we explain the paradox of these buildings falling at the same rate as a ball dropped from their top floors (known as "free fall")?

What is the significance of hundreds (500+) of WTC witnesses describing hearing explosions at or below ground level?

I truly do not have the answers, and this is maddening. What is even more maddening is that much of the evidence has been destroyed. For that alone, I want justice. The damage to this nation continues, and that is a true crime.

I imagine that by merely repeating these questions I might come under attack as well. I ask again, "what is wrong with asking questions?" What possible harm could come of them? Who exactly suffers and why? Without putting forth any theory, explanation, or conspiracy, I would probably draw criticism. Just who are we offending with these pesky questions? Would grieving family members want to know more? Would we be safer understanding any and all elements of the attack, and how it might be prevented in the future? Would we stand better together, understanding the capability of the enemy facing us?

If in such wounded countries such as South Africa, having survived countless terrible years of injustice, are able to ask hard questions, find answers and settle debts, why can't we?

If every one in the 9/11 the truth movement were wrong (about the conspiracies, that is), what would be the harm in providing the information, resources, and research to quell these concerns? The trouble with the "you're a wacko" response is that there is no contradictory evidence or failure of logic in these claims, because the evidence has been removed. What we have, instead, is a visual record that for many is not conclusive. What we have is a report by the 9/11 the commission, that by design and intention (read it), did not discuss other pertinent details, like the Building 7 collapse, for instance. The conspiracy theories could all be wrong, but the official story — such that it is — must face the same standard of proof.

In the absence of an atmosphere of openness, the human mind will fill in the gaps, often incorrectly. But to quote a recent South Park episode, "Terrorists have attacked our imaginations and our imaginations are running wild."

Lastly, if these questions make you giggle, angry, or think of me as a wacko for merely asking them, ask yourself: What do the answers ask of you that is truly disturbing?