Friday, April 29, 2005

Getting in on the Ground Floor 

Zemblan patriot J.D. recommends that you wrap your TiVo in tinfoil -- or better yet, disconnect your TiVo, since it dutifully reports back to the front office every time you change channels -- before you watch tomorrow's unusually subversive episode of Book TV (C-SPAN2, 10:30 AM EST/7:30 AM PST). The show is devoted to an "inflammatory" lecture given by retired professor of theology David Ray Griffin at the University of Wisconsin on April 18; its title was "9/11 and the American Empire: How Should Religious People Respond?" and in it, Dr. Griffin accused the Bush administration of helping to orchestrate the 9/11 attacks. "I have one little problem with the 9/11 Commission report," Griffin told the Madison Times. "It is a 567-page lie."

From a Capitol Times report on the speech:
His comments Monday night were directed at religious people, who he said need to respond to Sept. 11 - and the American empire that has ensued - based on the moral principles of their religious traditions.

Drawing laughter from the crowd, Griffin said he had in mind principles like: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors' oil" and "Thou shalt not murder thy neighbors in order to steal their oil."

Americans interpret the events of Sept. 11 in one of four ways, Griffin said:

  • A first group accepts the official interpretation that Sept. 11 was a surprise attack by Islamic terrorists. It is easy for these people "to think of America's so-called War on Terror as a just war," Griffin said.

  • A second group accepts the official line but thinks Sept. 11 has been used opportunistically by the Bush administration to extend the American empire. People who hold this view often believe that America's response to Sept. 11, which has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, is far worse than the attacks themselves, he said.

  • A third group believes the Bush administration knew the attacks were coming and let them happen. It shows the government as "deliberate and cold-blooded," advancing its imperial designs while hypocritically portraying itself as promoting a "culture of life," Griffin said.

    Although there has been no national survey, a Zogby poll taken last year indicated that almost half of the residents of New York City share this view, he said.

  • A fourth group believes that the government orchestrated the attacks. While no poll shows how many Americans believe this, polls in Canada and Germany have found as many as 20 percent of those populations do, Griffin said.
We have not seen Dr. Griffin's book, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, but from press coverage of the speech it would appear that most of his claims are neither new nor strikingly original; you'll find many of the same speculations at WhatReallyHappened.com and elsewhere. However, we plan to tune in just the same, because Griffin is obviously ripe for demonization and may well wind up at the center of the next big media controversy. If that happens, we plan to be prepared. We still remember how pitifully out of touch we felt when we first learned that the corrupt values of the American left were personified by Ward Churchill, an obscure academic we'd never even heard of.

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