Review: “Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored,” by Ray McGinnis
It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of this book. It is a tour de force that blows away twenty years of U.S. government lies and obfuscations about the mass murders of September 11, 2001, the foundational event of recent times that claimed thousands of victims whose relatives still cry out for truth and justice.
Reading Unanswered Questions will roil you to the depths of your soul and illuminate your mind as Ray McGinnis presents fact after fact backed up by almost one thousand endnotes and twelve years of meticulous research. There is nothing speculative about this book. It is not a “conspiracy theory.”
McGinnis ingeniously and brilliantly documents those murders through the eyes of victims’ relatives and their decades-long, agonizing efforts to seek honest answers from the U.S. government. To have their simple and obvious questions answered. To know the truth about why their loved ones died and who killed them.
Their struggles have been met with cruel indifference from four presidents (Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden), three New York City mayors (Giuliani, Bloomberg, and de Blasio), the 9/11 Commission, and so many others in positions of authority who have turned deaf ears to their cris de coeur. The corporate mass media have rubbed salt in their wounds as they have stage-managed the lies and coverups. And controlled opposition operatives have played slick games to direct attention away from the heart of the matter.
The families’ search for answers to their questions have been either ignored or answered with lies and dissimulation piled upon dissimulation to protect the guilty. McGinnis is their champion. He insists on answers.
He powerfully unfurls layer upon layer of facts and the government’s fictions in a timeline that brings us to the twentieth anniversary of these atrocities. While reading it, one cannot help but think of the thousands of innocent victims of that terrible day and their suffering families, and the millions of innocent victims throughout the world who have been murdered by the U.S. government in the name of 9/11. The “war on terror” has been waged by a government that continues to refuse to tell the truth about who the “terrorists” were on September 11, 2001.
By refusing to answer the families’ questions and thereby hypothetically claiming the Fifth Amendment for fear of incriminating themselves, government officials have ironically incriminated themselves.
For McGinnis is like a prosecuting attorney who works not for the state but for the people. He forces the issue by asking the questions his clients want answered. Like them, he is persistent and requests answers to a litany of interrogations that are met with silence. The government’s stonewalling is deafening, and readers – who are the jury – are left to decide the case partially based on those non-answers, often justified under the sham of “national security” or just plain arrogance. When answers are forthcoming, they are incomplete and disingenuous.
Seventy per cent of the questions the Family Steering Committee asked the 9/11 Commission were left unanswered in The 9/11 Commission Report. Those that were answered raised more questions than they answered.
But the reason that this book is so powerful is because McGinnis answers the questions that the government does not. And so his title – Unanswered Questions – is ironically false while also being true.
This should in no way put off those who still cling to the official story. For McGinnis is exceedingly fair in assessing and presenting the facts and readily admits when there are disagreements.
While focusing on a core group of bereaved families called The Family Steering Committee who are insistent on answers, a group that includes four New Jersey widows known as “The Jersey Girls” whose husbands died in the Twin Towers, he includes many others and does not shy away from saying when they are at odds. The only way a fair-minded person can assess the book is to read it. And if you don’t read it and you have bought the government’s official fabrications or are still sitting on the fence, you are in flight from truth. This book demands attention.
As far as I know, while there have been many excellent books critiquing the government’s account of 9/11, led by about a dozen extraordinary works by David Ray Griffin, and many books supporting the government’s explanation led by The 9/11 Commission Report, Unanswered Questions is the first to approach the subject from the perspective of the questions asked by the relatives of the victims.
For many people, the murders of that day are abstract, although they naturally stir the human emotions of pity, fear, and terror. But from a distance, for they are now fading into history and are not personal. For some, there may have been a catharsis with The 9/11 Commission Report which they no doubt never read although it was said to be a “best-seller.” That would be fake catharsis, for such fiction fails to tell the truth since it was written by people blind in mind and ears as well as in their eyes. But then again, who reads Sophocles or Aeschylus any longer? Better to read The New York Times, Slate magazine, Time, The New Republic, The Nation, etc., all of which effusively praised the 9/11 Commission Report when it was released. As McGinnis reports, “The New York Times called the Report ‘an uncommonly lucid, even riveting narrative’ and an ‘improbable literary triumph.’” This is simply propaganda.
But let us take a look inside Unanswered Questions, a genuine non-fiction book motivated by a deep compassion for the victims and a scholar’s dedication to the truth. It is divided into four parts, each containing multiple chapters.
“Part One: From Grief to Advocacy” is the briefest and introduces the reader to firefighters, first responders, and family members who lost loved ones in the calamity. We learn how their grief turned to advocacy when they formed many groups to channel their energies. We learn how President Bush and his minions (or was Bush the minion and others like Cheney in charge?) opposed establishing a special commission to probe into the events of September Eleventh and how when his opposition was overcome he had the audacity to try to name Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 Commission and how this was stopped. Finally, McGinnis tells us how the families’ questions were greatly expanded after discovering Paul Thompson’s extraordinary Internet timeline with its vast numbers of links to news reports that was later published as The Terror Timeline.
“Part Two: Family Steering Committee Statements to the 9/11 Commission” examin
Article from LewRockwell