Another Note About September 12

Little after the fact now, but I just remembered something else about 9/11.

First, I’m not a TV watcher. In my house, to me it was nothing but a living room knickknack that gathered tons of dust. Today, I don’t even have a television. No loss.

But–in the days following 9/11, my then-husband and I were glued to the screen. On September 12, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, (racist bastard that he was) was interviewed about the next move the U.S. would make in the aftermath of the attack. The interviewer asked if the U.S. was going to send troops to Afghanistan.

Helms gave her an astonished look. “Afghanistan? We’re going to Iraq!”

Screen goes black. Interview over.

My then-husband and I stared at each other, slack-jawed in disbelief.

After that, the esteemed Senator was mysteriously silent on everything, whether or not it had to do with foreign relations. He wasn’t removed as committee chair, but he no longer appeared on television, was no longer interviewed or quoted in the news–nothing. When the congressional session ended, he retired without fanfare. Slunk away might be a better way to put it.

And the U.S. sent troops to hunt for those invisible weapons of mass destruction, to hunt down Hussein, and to make sure they left lots and lots of rubble in their wake.

I’m sure that interview tape was immediately erased.


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