The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers

Jamala RogersColor

Putting 9/11 in Total Perspective


The 20th anniversary of the infamous 9/11 attacks on American soil has come and gone. There were the memorials. The tradition of reading the names of the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the attacks was honored. American flags waved. The focus was mainly on remembering the victims and hating on the attackers. This year, award-winning filmmaker Brian Knappenberger broke that tradition and brought us the naked truth.

On September 11, 2001 four planes were hijacked with the intent to simultaneously hit symbols of U.S. economic, political and military power — the World Trade Buildings, the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. The passengers on United Airlines flight 93 foiled the attempt on the Capitol building but the other two attacks were ghastly successful. The country changed forever on several critical levels, but our understanding of how and why this premeditated assault happened eludes most Americans.

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror does a compelling job of connecting the dots, including dots which looked unrelated on the surface. Knappenberger takes us behind the scenes, then behind that scene. The Netflix mini-series is a comprehensive examination of the events of that day for sure. It goes further by giving the unsanitized historical context which includes the corrupt decisions and policies of the U.S. government. The costs of foreign policies and covert actions had brutal implications. Our lives and our future were forever changed with no discernible positive outcomes.


Billions of dollars have been spent on the so-called war against terrorism. Tens of thousands have been killed including civilians, 37 million people displaced. There is lots of pain, very little gain.

Turning Point weaves the stories of survivors with a backdrop of military decisions and actions that stoked anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world. There are interviews with people who were part of the decisions and with those who studied those decisions.

The attacks of September 11 set off a series of decisions that accelerated a dark trajectory for this country. The government used the incident to restrict civil liberties, to spy on us and to increase the defense budget. Our vulnerability and confusion were callously exploited. There are hard lessons that we must face twenty years later.

The critics of the documentary say it didn’t go far enough, or did not explore the right questions. Myself, I wondered why more persons of color were not interviewed, both victims and influencers. Still, I had never seen such an expose of the US elite all in one place. There’s a lot to ponder and process about what’s being done in the name of US citizens and with our hard-earned tax dollars. We have a responsibility to act now that we know what we know.

We must confront a government which has robbed countries of their natural resources. A government that has carried out covert operations to destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders. A government which has put sanctions on countries that caused more harm to their people than it did to the dictator in power. A government which has a massive surveillance operation on its own citizens. A government which justifies the suppression of our civil liberties under the guise of national security. A government whose military aggression around the world demands an ever increasing defense budget.

Since 9/11 we’ve witnessed the brazen actions of a military-fueled government wreaking havoc on the planet and its people. We can no longer say we are unaware of our government's intentions and strategies. It has become emboldened because of our lack of action.

As citizens, we must determine our role in this so-called war against terrorism. We must hold our government accountable by minimally challenging its military actions and starving its budget. History has told us that we, the People, will be on the front line of any war.