Friday, March 22, 2024

9/11: Neither Conspiracy nor Failure


9/11: Neither Conspiracy nor Failure

Peter Schultz


                  The attacks on 9/11 were the product of neither a conspiracy nor failures, in the sense that some government officials failed to do their jobs. Those officials didn’t fail as they all did their jobs and, yet, ironically perhaps, the attacks succeeded. Why?


                  First, the CIA did its job, in predicting the possibility of attacks. In fact, it did that job quite well, as its assessment was the bin Laden was determined to attack inside the United States.


                  So then, did the politicians, Bush, Cheney, et. al. fail? No, at least no more than gamblers “fail” when they don’t roll a seven, don’t draw to an inside straight, or pick the wrong horse to win. Outcomes can only be guessed at. While the present can be seen, the future cannot be because the present, however well assessed, remains mysterious.


                  But politicians neither see themselves as gamblers nor do they see politics as gambling. Politicians view themselves as “rulers,” as “governors,” as “the powerful.” They are in control, able to determine even the future. Ironically though, they are gamblers and, so, they get lucky every so often. And this points us to the question of “fortune,” and its place in human affairs. 9/11 reminds us or should remind us that fortune, not power, controls human affairs.


                  In fact, having great power blinds humans to fortune and its role in human affairs, and this blindness leads the powerful, even the most powerful, to losses, even catastrophic losses. Even or especially great power is a gamble, always and everywhere. Politics is a gamble, always and everywhere. And the powerful are more likely to lose and lose big insofar as they think they have conquered fortune. So, ironically, it was America’s great power, her “greatness” as some would say, that contributed to the success of the 9/11 attacks. Making America more powerful, as was done in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, will not, cannot correct the problem.

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