Who doesn’t wish 9/11 hadn’t happened? Well, obviously al Qaeda and its sympathizers. But we can safely say that very few Americans fall into that camp. That awful day illustrated that for all its might, America was still vulnerable, that history hadn’t ended, and that our generation would have its own struggle—albeit, one less all ...
Who doesn't wish 9/11 hadn't happened? Well, obviously al Qaeda and its sympathizers. But we can safely say that very few Americans fall into that camp. That awful day illustrated that for all its might, America was still vulnerable, that history hadn't ended, and that our generation would have its own struggle—albeit, one less all encompassing than those faced by our grandparents and parents, respectively.
To many, wishing 9/11 hadn’t happened extends to a desire to ignore it, dismiss terrorism as a mere nuisance, and argue that the real danger comes from American overreaction rather than from the terrorists themselves. With others, it takes a far more sinister turn: A desire to pretend that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not attacked in the way that we think they were.
A quite astonishing poll, flagged by the New York Times on Saturday and this week’s Time, reveals that 36 percent of Americans think it is likely that the federal government either knew of or was involved in the attacks. (To put that in perspective, that is only 4 percent less than think federal officials were responsible for the Kennedy assasination.) Sixteen percent think it is likely that explosives played a role in bringing down the towers and 12 percent believe that the Pentagon was hit by a missile fired by the U.S. military.
What I find most astonishing about how high these numbers are is that these theories aren’t being pushed by politicians, the media, or popular culture. This is ground-up idiocy.
More from Foreign Policy
Can Russia Get Used to Being China’s Little Brother?
The power dynamic between Beijing and Moscow has switched dramatically.
Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World
It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.
It’s a New Great Game. Again.
Across Central Asia, Russia’s brand is tainted by Ukraine, China’s got challenges, and Washington senses another opening.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing
The region once seemed a bright spot in the disorder unleashed by U.S. regime change. Today, things look bleak.