I was at my regular hair salon near Robins Air Force Base, GA, secured in my protective cape. Complimentary coffee was flowing and plans for my hair design were in negotiation. The scene was set. As my stylist was held hostage by my verbal diarrhea, she worked her magic.
Next, the free coffee beside her booth ensnared another stylist in our conversation. After the regular social greetings were over, I decided to tap both stylists for their observations and opinions of their military patrons’ lifestyles.
I received some routine, safe answers like, “They’re cool,” and, “They’re nice.”
Bored with the answers, I continued prodding. It unexpectedly launched into a diatribe on how the United States government backed the September 11th attacks. My frazzled stylist was rescued by her next waiting client, but the other stylist continued to passionately lay out his case for the titillating idea that the Feds planned those devastating attacks.
Without a doubt, his case’s central foundation was the skein of evidence that he had located on the Internet. Some of his cited examples were: hidden footage of the US missile that hit the Pentagon before the plane did, non-descript faces testifying to seeing that missile fired by US fighter jets, and even more arcane visuals covering the mysterious explosion patterns and ultimate fall of the World Trade Center (WTC). He also implied that the planes that left Boston didn’t really come from Logan Airport—the passenger manifests were fabricated.
Now, I don’t think the US government being involved in unsavory plots is exactly a newsflash; but, I also don’t think the Internet is the best source of infallible information either. The stylist admits to not being completely sold on this conspiracy theory, but he refused to deny all the clandestine digital images.
Being caught off-guard made me feel as if I was grasping at straws to counter his accusation. I offered that Osama Bin Laden was recorded expressing his joy over his successes and that the WTC falling was an added bonus.
Then stylist asked me if I happen to know Arabic and if I truly knew that was what Bin Laden was saying. I told him I didn’t speak Arabic, but I had friends who did. Too, as if not one Arab-American wouldn’t step forward and bust the phony translation splashed all over the networks.
I suggested that the same clever editing tricks used to produce footage of what we are supposed to believe could have also been used to create those Internet documentaries overflowing with covert images. Furthermore, I was living in Boston on September 11, 2001, and that city was mourning the deaths of real people.
To wind down the debate I interjected, “How do you know that I am not a hologram projection beamed in by the government to question your loyalty?!” That silly remark made us both pause and literally stare up into space.
Perhaps being in the government’s fold as a military spouse makes me a little muddy-eyed on believing in such atrocious theories. I’ve seen service members (combatants and non-combatants alike) go to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan, return back to their normal duty stations, and changed from the experience. It’s hard to know whether or not my kind is a troop of puppets being manipulated through this unpleasant experience.
Nevertheless, the stylist stated that he “supports the troops,” but not the former administration. I find that it’s hard to separate the two.