The ouster of White House green czar Van Jones, exposed as a 9/11 "Truther," raises a larger national-security question as we mark the 8th anniversary of the worst foreign attack on U.S. soil. What does the commander-in-chief really think about 9/11?
We now know what his erstwhile special adviser thinks, and of course it's deeply unsettling. Jones, an Ivy League lawyer-turned-community organizer, signed a petition circulated by leftist conspiracy nuts suggesting a government role in the 2001 terror attacks.
But it's worse than that.
Before he thought 9/11 was an inside job, he sympathized with Islamic terrorists blackening our collective eye. The day after the attacks, in fact, he led a candlelight vigil in Oakland expressing solidarity with Arabs and Muslims and other "victims of U.S. imperialism around the world."
Jones is no fringe player. He was heavily recruited by the White House, photographed with the president, and was baptized into the same militantly Afrocentric and anti-American faith that the president was baptized into -- Black Liberation Theology. He shares the same Marxism-steeped ideology preached by President Obama's longtime minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
"When I got to college, I stumbled upon Black Liberation Theology," Jones told The Witness, a black magazine, three months after the terror attacks, "and that really struck a chord with me in terms of where I was politically at the time -- being really concerned about racism and the African-American experience here."
It's worth revisiting what Obama's preacher thinks about 9/11, as his thinking echoes Jones' thinking. And as we'll see further on, it appears to have influenced that of Wright's top acolyte, who is now in the White House running a war on terror he refuses to even call "war," against an enemy he refuses to even call "terrorists," let alone the more accurate "Islamic extremists" or "jihadists."
(Interestingly, Jones in the same black magazine interview condemned the War on Terror as a "racist war" against "people of color." He compared it to the War on Drugs -- a "secret war against a secret enemy with brown skin, an enemy that's both within the country and outside of the country.")
In short, the good reverend thinks that "racist" America had it coming; that we deserved to be attacked. Here's the relevant portion of the sermon he gave at Obama's church in Chicago on the Sunday following the attacks, as rescue workers were still pulling charred bodies from the smoldering wreckage at Ground Zero:
"America's chickens are coming home to roost! ... We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism! ... We bombed [Libyan leader Muammar] Qadhafi's home and killed his child ... [W]e nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye! ... We have supported terrorism against the Palestinians ... and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back into or own front yards! America's chickens are coming home to roost!"
Excerpts of this sermon have been widely reported. What hasn't been reported is that, just days before he gave it, Wright personally witnessed the second plane hit the World Trade Center from a hotel window near Newark, N.J., where he happened to be staying that fateful day.
He was an eyewitness to the carnage. Yet five days later, he tried to coldly justify it to his flock by calling it an act of "revenge" by an oppressed "people of faith" who "moved from the hatred for armed enemies to the hatred of unarmed innocents."
He even tamped down sympathy among his African-American congregation for the 9/11 victims (many of whom were people of color) by comparing what the bloodthirsty al-Qaida Muslims did to unarmed innocents to the vengeful bloodlust that built up inside slaves.
"I had to show them how the people who were carried into slavery were very angry, very bitter, moved in their anger from wanting revenge against the armies that had carried them away to slavery, to [wanting revenge against innocent civilians]," he explained in an interview with PBS' Bill Moyers.
Audaciously, he invoked Scripture to make his point.
"The Psalm  ends up saying, 'Let's kill the baby -- let's bash their heads against the stone,'" Wright said, referring to David's vengeful curse against the Babylonians for their atrocities.
Continuing to rationalize mass murder by 19 Muslim hijackers, he added, "So now you move from revolt and revulsion as to what has happened to you, to you want revenge.
"You move from anger with the military to taking it out on the innocents," Wright continued. "You want to kill babies.
"And that's exactly where we are," he went on. "We want revenge. They wanted revenge."
You understand, 9/11 survivors, don't you?
There will be a special place in Hell for this self-serving race demagogue and conspiracy monger. Such warped blame-America thinking only pains the families of 9/11 victims anew.
"I and others who lost family members on 9/11 are acutely aware of this stuff," Debra Burlingame, sister of the pilot killed in the American Airlines Flight 77 hijacking, told me. "It hits us particularly hard."
A former Nation of Islam follower, Wright takes sick joy in the murder of thousands of fellow Americans as a much-deserved punishment for America not only supporting Israel in an anti-Palestinian "apartheid," as he calls it, but for enslaving Africans.
"White America got a wake-up call after 9/11," Wright elaborated in a 2005 edition of Obama's church magazine. "White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just disappeared as the great white West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns."
Jones said much the same thing in a press statement released on 9/11 by his Marxist group STORM, or Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement:
"Ordinary people in the United States can best deter future attacks by insisting that the U.S. government abandon its oppressive role of keeping down workers and dominating poor nations around the world. Increasingly, safety at home will require justice abroad ... All people and especially African-Americans [and other minorities] must stand in solidarity with our Arab and Muslim brothers."
Obama said something eerily similar in a 2007 speech to Americans in Iowa: "If we are less respected in the world, then you will be less safe." And in his most recent memoir, he seemed to embrace Jones' call for solidarity with Arabs and Muslims. "In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans have a more urgent quality," Obama wrote. "I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."
Both Jones and Wright, adherents of Black Liberation Theology, view 9/11 not as a heinous terrorist attack but as poetic justice against a racist world oppressor -- that being America, the country that made them both rich peddling such garbage and exploiting their own race for personal gain.
What does their brother in faith, Obama, believe?
The White House says Obama does not subscribe to Jones' 9/11 conspiracy views.
But in a little-noticed statement added to the post-9/11 reprint of his 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father," the president appears to apologize for the attacks by foreign Islamic terrorists.
"[O]n September 11, 2001, the world fractured," Obama wrote on page x of the new Preface to his book. "What I do know is that
history returned that day with a vengeance; that, in fact, as Faulkner reminds us, the past is never dead and buried -- it isn't even past. This collective history, this past, directly touches my own."
In other words, America paid for past wrongs that day.
He goes on to say he identifies with "the underlying struggle – between worlds of plenty and worlds of want" and the "desperation and disorder of the powerless," and how they can "easily slip into violence and despair."
Then Obama suggests terrorism is simply a spasm of violence which erupts among the poor and powerless in response to the "steady, unthinking application of force" by U.S. and Western "military" to control the "disorder" of the poor and powerless.
Separately, Obama has referred to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as "the tragedy of 9/11," a term more appropriate for a bus accident, as columnist Charles Krauthammer so aptly put it.
There's something else.
Obama has tapped another 9/11 apologist as a senior policy adviser. His National Security Council aide Samantha Power is part of the blame-America crowd. She thinks America was attacked because we back "abusive regimes" in the Middle East. She also thinks 9/11 was a dose of good medicine, since the mass slaughter helped "Americans empathize with the victims of genocide" in Africa and other Third World regions. (Power's radical husband Cass Sunstein also landed a White House job. He's now Obama's regulations czar.)
* * *
During the presidential campaign, I held out hope that the radical Rev. Wright was merely a useful idiot for the ambitious Barack Obama. Someone the rising star could point to in order to shore up his bona fides among the radical base of his race and party. A stepping stone to higher political office.
But even after Obama was safely ensconced in the Oval Office, he chose to appoint as a close adviser a fellow Black Liberation Theology adherent, and one who happens to embrace the same 9/11 apologia and anti-American swill preached by Obama's longtime spiritual adviser.
Coincidence? I'm not so sure.
Obama quit his church and threw Wright under the bus. He's now done the same with Jones -- in both cases only after the conservative press turned the klieg lights on these radical cronies.
But nobody in the White House impressed corps has asked him if he has quit his faith. Does Obama still believe in radical Black Liberation Theology?
Does he still think 9/11 was a day of "vengeance" -- payback for America's past "history" of sins? Is there a part of him that thinks, like Wright and Jones, that we deserved it? Does he reserve, as they do, some sympathy for the enemy? Does he view 9/11 through the same warped prism?
If so, what does this say about Obama's homeland security policies? His Middle East policy? Does he have the requisite passion to effectively prosecute this war against Islamic terrorists and extremists?
These are important questions that ought to be plied and answered in the wake of the Jones controversy, and as we enter the ninth year of a war that still has not decapitated the al-Qaida leadership overseas or dismantled the terror-support network at home.
And such questions must start with Obama's radical faith, which is clearly more political and ideological than spiritual, and therefore fair game for much closer inspection and further investigation.