Whatever one thinks of "alternative" theories of who the perpetrators were that day, the results are an eye-opening indication of how profoundly the world's confidence in the United States government has eroded during the Bush era...Holland cites the lies around the Gulf War and the Iraq War as good reason not to believe more recent US government lies.
Interestingly, Americans are also dubious, with more than a third of those polled by Scripps Howard News Service in 2006 saying it was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that "federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them" because they "wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East." ...
In one sense, these findings should come as no surprise. America, like other countries, has been known to conduct "false-flag" operations before. And it has used falsehoods to justify going to war. In the now-infamous "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" -- the incident that would be used to justify America's involvement in that conflict -- a minor skirmish occurred between U.S. naval ships and two North Vietnamese coastal vessels. Two days later, the Johnson administration reported that there had been a second attack, which it claimed was evidence of "communist aggression" on the part of the North Vietnamese. But, as a National Security Agency report revealed in 2005 (PDF), the second incident -- the one that created a "pattern" of aggression -- was invented out of whole cloth. "It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night," reads the report.
In 1990, on the eve of the first Gulf War, Pentagon officials cited top-secret satellite images and said definitively that Saddam Hussein had amassed a huge army -- with 250,000 men and 1,500 tanks -- along the Saudi border in preparation for an invasion of that country. Jean Heller, a reporter with the St. Petersburg Times, purchased some Russian satellite images of the same piece of desert and found that in fact there was nothing there but sand. After the U.S.-led attack, a "senior (U.S. military) commander" told New York Newsday, "There was a great disinformation campaign surrounding this war."
Those incidents are in no way analogous to the attacks of 9/11. But in 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara that the CIA might launch a series of terror attacks within the United States, blame Cuba, and use the ensuing panic to justify military action against the defiant island-nation. (The plan, called "Operation Northwoods," which became public in 1997, was reportedly killed off by John F. Kennedy himself -- it got that far up the food chain.)
The credibility gap that's developed around the world's pre-eminent power is more than a matter of academic interest. Around the world, many of those who embraced us immediately after 9/11 and offered almost unconditional support for our policies now don't believe a word coming out of our officials' mouths, and that affects U.S. foreign policy, and the stability of the whole international system, in ways both obvious and subtle.Holland concludes by voicing a great irony which I have often contemplated:
A good, obvious example is Pakistan... With almost half of the population saying the U.S. is the greatest threat to their own personal safety, any Pakistani government will be left between a rock and a hard place.
The neoconservative movement, which was so obsessed with the preservation of American power and the suppression of its rivals -- from its birth in the Nixon Administration, through Reagan's "Dirty Wars" in Latin America and culminating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq -- ultimately oversaw the crash and burn of the World's Only Superpower's ability to influence world events.