Since it happened several days ago, it’s probably well on its way to vanishing from the public memory. But regarding Donald Trump’s recent claim that he saw thousands and thousands of Muslims cheering in New Jersey as the World Trade Center pancaked to the ground, some thoughts come to mind. The main one being that nobody knew at the time of the attack who was responsible for it.
Al Qaeda did not claim responsibility until months later. People would have suspected Islamist terrorists, since they had bombed the WTC in 1993. But the fact remains nobody knew, especially not at the very moment the towers were falling. And that was the moment Donald J. Trump claims he witnessed “thousands upon thousands” of Muslims cheering in New Jersey. We are not talking about the television scenes of Arabs in the Middle East cheering the attacks, which might have led to false memories about American Muslims cheering. No, Trump claims he witnessed it in person.
Somehow, Trump also knew that all of those thousands of people he saw cheering were Muslims. (Maybe he had a database on them.) And, in all that noisy chaos, he knew that they were cheering, not just yelling or crying out – but cheering. Celebrating. (Maybe they were all going “hip hip hooray!”) There is ZERO archival video showing any of this. News archives are public property and historical record. They are not hidden away, contrary to the abysmally pitiful claims of some right-wingers that the evil mainstream media is concealing the video to make Trump look bad.
One final point on this dismal footnote of 2016 campaign history. Wouldn’t a Muslim, or anyone else, take their life into their own hands by publicly cheering at that sight? In New Jersey???
It is all reminiscent of the stories of returning Vietnam soldiers being “spit on” by hippies. Throughout the decade of the 1970s you would hear this. It seemed hardly a vet could set foot on the tarmac of an American airport without a bead-and-flower-wearing hippie dashing up to spew saliva at him. I was always so skeptical of these accounts, for the simple reason that it seems like it would have required an awfully suicidal hippie to do such a thing.
Well, years later, some journalist finally tried to track down some case histories on these inflammatory tales, and guess what? Not so much as a will-o-the-wisp of evidence to support them anywhere.
As Vietnam became a massively unpopular war, returning vets caught the blame that belonged on the policy-makers. There was plenty of unfair treatment of the returning Vietnam vets, and no doubt the spitting myth grew out of that. We can be sure it was a myth, as you would need your life insurance paid and prayers in order before spitting on a combat soldier!
The same people who are fastidious skeptics about evolution and climate change will swallow stories of spitting hippies, and thousands of terrorist cheerleaders, in one big gulp.