Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America
By Peter Dale Scott
University of California Press
I have always been fascinated with trying to see the more
subliminal/hidden aspects of our world, so long as they are either based in
hard-nosed verified fact; or understood as speculative vision (which may
possess a metaphoric validity of its own). With The Road
to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, University of California Berkeley professor emeritus Peter Dale
Scott delivers the preceding.
Tightly non-speculative, meticulous and insightful, Dr.
Scott shines the know-glow on a rather extensive and sordid history of U.S.
governmental shadow activities; predominantly partial or total cover-ups.
Fortunately, in this his magnum opus, he also holds out the promise of an
American redemption, so long as the festering boil of turpitude is lanced and
drained in the light.
Writing with a touch of the charm of the poet that he is,
Dr. Scott has been walking us through this political-historical shadow land for
some time now. The Road to 9/11,
which as the title indicates, provides historic origins of the terrorist
strikes of September 11, 2001, builds on and extends his prior research into
secret intelligence activities as presented in his two past UC Press books; Cocaine
Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (1993) and Deep
Politics and the Death of JFK (1996) (among others) by speaking both about
current concerns with the Bush-Cheney administration in relations to the events
on 9/11/01 and by going further backwards -- scrutinizing secret American
governmental activities just after the end of World War II. It vividly
concentrates on Richard Nixon�s failed regime and Tricky Dick�s early forays
into threatening constitutional democracy as revealed during the Watergate
hearings. He then depicts and examines the activities of Nixon�s successor
Gerald Ford, concentrating on his (what would later become neocon) team of
Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.
Scott pays close attention to the Rumsfeld-Cheney
collaboration under Ronald Reagan�s regime on what is known as the Continuity
of Government (COG) strategy: a parallel planning structure in lieu of nuclear
war which includes plans for warrantless surveillance, suspension of habeas
corpus, and the arrangements for mass detention; proposals which can also be
described as plans for a potential military-civilian coup. By now the narrative
of shadow government -- what Scott calls �deep politics� (p. 121) -- has taken
hold and the book begins to read like an airport page-turner; scorching the
eyes with tale after tale of intrigue and deception. But the characters are
real (Kissinger, Casey, Brzezinski, Carter, Reagan, the Rockefellers, bin
Laden, Clinton, et al) and the events -- which rotate around big oil,
terrorism, drug trade, arms deals, covert financing and secret security
configurations are heavily documented in the copious footnotes (which I equally
read with jaw-dropping fascination).
Highlighted are the adventures of multiple intelligence
agencies and their involvement with terrorist organizations that they once
backed and helped create, including al Qaeda. At this point Scott�s deep political
analysis has a kind of Rimbaudian poetics to it, astutely avoiding moral
condemnation. He is just letting the deviant facts speak for themselves.
Already there is material here for numerous Hollywood
blockbuster films, but three-quarters of the way through the book, this dark
narrative takes off. Enter the reckless American empire of George W. Bush and
his neocon administration. With the intelligence of a scholar and the
sensitivity of a poet, Scott's description puts forward here evidence that the
9/11 attacks were the zenith of long-standing, but secret, trends that menace
the existence of American democracy as an open society. Additionally, he
questions why the U.S. trillion dollar defense system failed to protect on
9/11. He also shows through extensive research that there has been a
substantial cover-up of the events on 9/11. Here Scott specifically zooms in on
suspicious statements and actions made by Vice President Cheney and Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld; before, during and after September 11, 2001. He focuses our
attention specifically on the Continuity of Government plan that was called
into action that day, outlining Cheney�s secret communications with Rumsfeld
and President Bush around 10 a.m.
He further critically examines Philip Zelikow�s 9/11
Commission Report, showing specific examples of the report�s systematic and
concerted cover-up; partly by its omissions, but also by it�s cherry picking of
evidence to create impressions that are authoritatively disputed (such as the
contested time of Cheney�s arrival in the crises bunker). Scott points out a
consistent pattern to the cherry picking, which is to minimize Dick Cheney�s
responsibility for what happened that day. He carefully dissects Cheney�s
orders with respect to a plane approaching Washington, as testified to by then
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. (pp. 199-200) As a result, Scott asks
whether Cheney on 9/11 was occupied in exploiting the attacks as a means to
implement an agenda of constitutional revision which he already had in place.
Peter Dale Scott�s major contribution in this book is not
merely to our larger, if darker, understanding of world and U.S. history. It is
his knowledge of the contemporary importance of the Rumsfeld-Cheney Continuity
of Government plans and their relevance to today�s world. Scott maintains that
this understanding may be the answer to various questions concerning Dick
Cheney�s hazy actions that morning. The hair-raising questions explored here, I
hope I need not say, are imperative, as many see an obvious drift of the
American nation towards constitutional crisis (see Naomi Wolf�s recent book The
End of America, for example).
By examining only the verifiable aspects of the suspicions
surrounding the catastrophe of 9/11, Peter Dale Scott shows how America's
military expansion in the world, under the banner of 9/11, has been the result
of crucial but surreptitious arrangements made by small cliques reactive to the
agendas of privileged affluence; agendas resulting in the disbursement of the
communal democratic state. Irrefutably, this is an imposing and scrupulous
examination of how secrecy and terror is used as political weapons when
shifting public authority to an unaccountable prosperity class. As such, I
could not put it down and highly recommend it.Joseph Nechvatal is a post-conceptual
digital artist and art theoretician who creates computer-assisted paintings and
computer animations, often using custom-created computer viruses.