By Michael S. Rozeff
October 24, 2014

Adnan Zuberi has produced and directed a filmed documentary titled “9/11 in the Academic Community” (2013), and it is a winner at the University of Toronto Film Festival. The 73-minute picture features interviews with prominent Canadian professors about the very tepid response of university academics to a pivotal event of this century, one that has heavily influenced American foreign and domestic policies since its occurrence on September 11, 2001. Why have scholars been dormant on questions surrounding 9/11 and on the defects of the 9/11 Commission’s Report?

This documentary remains timely because nothing has altered the course taken by the U.S. government after 9/11. Although the official conspiracy theory of the government in the 9/11 report meets with increasing skepticism because of its anomalies, unanswered questions, contradictions and political origins, it remains the official account. Zuberi’s work reminds us that the university remains one of the few places where research is a way of life and, even if influenced by streams of government funding, a way of life that might nurture far more intensive inquiries into 9/11 than have heretofore been seen.

As for 9/11 being a pivotal event, were it not for 9/11 and in the absence of any similar provocative event that would have served a like function in producing a narrative that could be used by the U.S. government to create support for the U.S. war on terror with all its ramifications, we would not have seen the U.S. violate international laws by launching aggressions against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya as well as such warring activities as we have seen in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. We would not have seen the U.S. adopt kidnappings and torture. We would not have seen the U.S. virtually discard the fourth amendment to its Constitution. We would not have seen the president assume the powers to make wars virtually unimpeded and to order forces including special forces into action on his own say-so. We would not have seen a president institute the aggressive policy of preemptive war. We would not have seen intrusive search procedures at airports, the burgeoning of the national security state with its blanket spying, or even the militarization of local police forces. We would not have seen the chilling of journalistic freedoms and the suppression of whistleblowers.

We need to recognize that even before 9/11, there were groups in Washington that were promoting the U.S. as a sole superpower and calling for its amplification and extension. There were groups calling for hegemony of the U.S. worldwide. There were those who called for not allowing any regional powers to arise anywhere in the world. There were those who articulated expansive views of U.S. interests and national security. There were those who were taking aim at a list of states in the Middle East that included Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, Somalia and Iran. There were those who stood to gain personally from an expansion of the national security state and from a condition of permanent warfare or its equivalent.

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