This Is Not A Drill
Accepted into Western Carolina University's Student Art Exhibition.
Photo Credit: Mason Adams.
9/11 is an extremely touchy subject for a lot of people, and for a lot of reasons. Over the years, I've done quite a bit of research on the matter, and have come to a few conclusions that are entirely fact and not based on conjecture. I've also come to accept that people will go back and forth on the logistics of this incident until the end of time. The debate rages on, as they say. I'm not here to get into all of that, but what I do know inspired this piece.
The man with the bag full of money is Larry Silverstein, who was the lease holder of the World Trade Center. A few months before 9/11, he took out an insurance policy for the buildings, on "Acts of Terrorism." Coincidentally, the towers fell in September of that year, and he made 7 billion dollars off of the damage. He would have only received 3.5 billion, but since the destruction (2 planes) technically constituted 2 "separate acts", he got double the money. What a Return on Investment that turned out to be!
The guy sitting Indian style to his right is of course our former president, George W. Bush. He is depicted here holding two drills. Before we get into why, you'll need a bit of backstory.
In the two years prior, and on September 11th, 2001, the government was conducting various military operations. The most notable of these was called "Vigilant Guardian", an exercise (or drill) that simulated hi-jacked planes flying into the World Trade Center. Because of all the different exercises, air traffic control that morning thought that the hi-jacking was a simulation. They were then informed that it was not a drill.
George W. Bush also stated that neither his government nor the prior government could have ever envisioned airplanes flying into buildings, yet that's the exact scenario that they had been rehearsing for over 2 years leading up to the day it happened.
Further, Dick Cheney issued an order to take over NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense), just 3 months before 9/11. It was the first time in recorded U.S. history that a president or vice president took over the agency. Because of this, he had the power to either: A) have the plane shot down that was headed right towards the Pentagon or B) "stand down", and let it go. He chose the latter, even when the plane was around 10 miles out. Was this a coincidence? You decide. The sheer fact that NORAD stood down for over an hour and a half says a lot. Why? Because in the most controlled air space in the world, if you're riding in a plane and it veers off course, you can bet your life there will be F-16's in your immediate vicinity within 5 minutes.
If all that wasn't enough, it goes further. "Able Danger" was a classified military planning effort led by the SOCOM and the Defense Intelligence agency. According to a slew of reports, news articles, videos, interviews, etc. the government had intelligence that not only were the hijackers identified, but their every move was being tracked by the CIA in the months and years prior to 9/11.
The truth about Al-Qaeda is that it's not actually a terrorist organization, but rather a CIA database that identifies and tracks known terrorists. Could 9/11 have been prevented? According to Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, who used an overseas asset (undisclosed human being) to help identify 2 of the 3 main cells involved in the attacks, yes. The problem was that he was continually thwarted by the CIA in his efforts to divulge this information, as well as ignored. He was also not permitted to testify by the Bush administration.
There is plenty more that we could discuss about what went on, but it would take all day, and the painting in question only deals with a couple of key points that I wanted to make about the incident. This is perhaps my most serious piece, and I believe it inspires a reaction. Whether that be a nod of agreement or head shake of disgust is entirely dependent on the viewer, and their own understanding of what happened.
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