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Al Qaeda Objects to 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists:
So do you think it might give pause to 9/11 conspiracy theorists that Al Qaeda has now criticized Iran for spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories in an alleged effort to deny Al Qaeda the credit it believes it is due for the 9/11 attacks? Hmm, no, I guess not.
Russ (mail):
Obviously Israel and the US Government made Zawahiri say that. They have a mind control ray that they are using to cover up the obvious conspiracy that the mainstream media can't uncover, but a bunch of folks who have no real knowledge of events did.
4.22.2008 11:55pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Al Qaeda and the US Government are in cahoots! They have to claim credit if they want their $$$ from the Feds... etc. There is always an alibi when you're shooting from the hip.

Check any Chomsky blogs?
4.23.2008 12:01am
Christopher M (mail):
I don't believe in the 9/11 conspiracy theories, but I don't understand what Al-Qaeda's objections have to do with it. Even if the September 11 attacks were planned by the U.S. government, doesn't it make sense that Al-Qaeda would want to take credit for them? (Indeed, isn't it clear that they have considered it to their advantage to take credit for the attacks?)
4.23.2008 12:03am
NickM (mail) (www):
There is a group of 9/11 Truthinessers who think that al Qaeda is a CIA creation, and that Osama bin Laden is actually an American actor.

This is just further proof as far as they are concerned.

Nick
4.23.2008 12:05am
liberty (mail) (www):
"Indeed, isn't it clear that they have considered it to their advantage to take credit for the attacks?"

I don't know: give a coherent explanation of Al-Qaeda that doesn't include wanting to attack the US but does include wanting to take credit... or are you just suggesting that conspiracy theorists admit that Al-Qaeda would have liked to attack the US but simultaneously the US decided to attack itself?

They were just not powerful enough to fly airplanes? Seems kind of weak.
4.23.2008 12:07am
Germanicus:
I don't subscribe to any of the theories put forward by the folks at www.911truth.com, but I also don't give a tremendous amount of weight to the claims of terrorist organizations. There are plenty of examples of terrorist attacks which several organizations claimed responsibility for. Having successfully blown something up is a way of getting legitimacy, so there's always an incentive for these groups to lie. Even if Al Qaeda wasn't involved in 9/11, they've gotten great recruiting out of the perception that they were involved. Why wouldn't they try to defend that street cred?
4.23.2008 12:10am
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
So if al Qaeda attacks Iran, what does the US do?
4.23.2008 12:12am
Christopher M (mail):
liberty: I think it's pretty clear that Al-Qaeda as an institution has benefited from both (1) the general perception that they carried out the attacks, and (2) the U.S.'s reaction to that perception. Even if you disagree, surely it's plausible that they themselves thought it would be to their benefit (and indeed, the proof is in the pudding, as they've claimed responsibility loudly &clearly.
4.23.2008 12:12am
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Food Fight!

Seems to me, that if anyone can take out al Qaeda and bin Laden, it's Iran. Of course, in doing so, they will probably ignite a regional Shia-Sunni war, but that's not our doing....
4.23.2008 12:14am
Alix Cavanaugh (mail) (www):
Once again, America's finest news source had the story first. Take that, AP!
4.23.2008 12:16am
Fub:
Hey! It's not easy running an international terrorist organization these days. It's just one thing after another. First it's those American idiots giving credit to the Jews, then those Persians horn in and want all the credit. And what do real Jihadis get? Page 3 stories and bupkis for recruits, that's what.

It's enough to make a guy want to get out of the business. Yeah, that'll show 'em.
4.23.2008 12:32am
Orielbean (mail):
The Onion link on this is hilarious.
4.23.2008 12:44am
Asher (mail):

I don't know: give a coherent explanation of Al-Qaeda that doesn't include wanting to attack the US but does include wanting to take credit... or are you just suggesting that conspiracy theorists admit that Al-Qaeda would have liked to attack the US but simultaneously the US decided to attack itself?


That made no sense. Of course they did it, but their saying so just isn't very strong evidence of it. I remember back in 1993 when the WTC was bombed, about ten different groups tried to take credit. Doesn't mean they didn't want to attack us, they just weren't responsible for that particular attack.
4.23.2008 12:44am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
I think it's pretty clear that Al-Qaeda as an institution has benefited from both (1) the general perception that they carried out the attacks, and (2) the U.S.'s reaction to that perception.


Yeah, nothing like being forced to retreat to the caves, losing your sovereign ally (the Taliban), having your top leaders killed or captured and shipped to Gitmo, and tens of thousands of your foot soldiers slaughtered. Al Qaeda sure has benefited from the U.S.'s reaction to the perception that it committed 9/11. That's real clear, all right.
4.23.2008 12:47am
neurodoc:
So if al Qaeda attacks Iran, what does the US do?
Ain't going to happen, but if it were to, wouldn't that be great. And I would only hope that we wouldn't interfere as we did in the mid-80's, when Iraq and Iran were going at it. Fearing Iran would come out on top in that one, we put our thumb on the scale with satellite intelligence and other assistance to the Iraqis. Perhaps we couldn't take a chance on an Iranian victory and dominance of the Gulf, but I was sorely disappointed that they did not continue it until neither one could stand up any longer. And of course, Saddam repaid us soon enough for our help in getting out of that mess.
4.23.2008 12:49am
John Thacker (mail):
And I would only hope that we wouldn't interfere as we did in the mid-80's, when Iraq and Iran were going at it. Fearing Iran would come out on top in that one, we put our thumb on the scale with satellite intelligence and other assistance to the Iraqis.

Iran was winning until the US gave satellite intelligence, which returned it to a stalemate. The US policy was, roughly, to keep the war a stalemate as long as possible; in other words, your preferred policy.
4.23.2008 1:26am
neurodoc:
John Thacker, I could be wrong, but I thought we were more afraid that Iran would prevail and thus didn't encourage stalemate, but rather did what we could to tip it in favor of Iraq, or at least enough so that Iraq was spared the defeat they invited by starting the whole business. Also, didn't Iraq's progress in missilery help them get Khomeni to the bargaining table, when he said he would rather have taken poison then called it quits before defeating Iraq?

I suppose it isn't very nice to celebrate the deaths of great numbers of people, no matter who they are and what cause they are fight on behalf of. There were certainly great numbers of young men on both sides who had the simple misfortune to come of military age during that time and dies as senselessly as so many did in the trenches during WWI. But damn, if ever there was a war to cheer for, with Evil going against Evil, it was that one between Khomeini's regime and Saddam's regime.
4.23.2008 1:35am
Viceroy:
Giving any credence to statements by Al Queda is silly. On any level. Whether it has to do with their support for or opposition to US politicians or otherwise.
4.23.2008 1:50am
Harry Eagar (mail):
As I recall, Iraq attacked one of our ships with Exocets and we retaliated against Iran.

It was as coherent as any other part of Reagan's -- for want of a better word -- foreign policy.
4.23.2008 2:02am
CrazyTrain (mail):
Yeah, nothing like being forced to retreat to the caves, losing your sovereign ally (the Taliban), having your top leaders killed or captured and shipped to Gitmo, and tens of thousands of your foot soldiers slaughtered.

Well, let's see here. Retreat to caves? They were already there. Losing your sovereign ally (the Taliban)? The Taliban has made a huge resurgence and is controlling large parts of Afghanistan. Look it up. Having your top leaders killed or captured and shipped to Gitmo? Yeah if "top leaders" does not include Bin Laden and Zawahiri, but a bunch of guys no one heard of, sure. Also, considering that a bunch of people in Gitmo have/had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. . . . Tens of thousands of foot soldiers slaughtered. Muslim extremists don't really care about that, do they? When you consider their net gain in recruiting, I think they made out alright. Did al Qaeda carry out the 9/11 attacks? Yes. Did they benefit from our "reaction" to them? Yes.
4.23.2008 2:11am
Syd Henderson (mail):
I think if Al Qaeda attacks Iran we should strike back on Iran's behalf and confuse the hell out of the mullahs.
4.23.2008 2:12am
A. Zarkov (mail):
I know some very smart people who believe the WTC was brought down by demolitions. While I'm skeptical, I give them a fair hearing. Their chief exhibit is Building 7 which did not suffer a airplane collision, yet it collapsed into its footprint just as the WTC buildings 1 and 2 did. They say WTC 7 suffered only minor fires that would not collapse the building and that debris from the Twin Towers would not have caused a collapse that looks like a demolition.

The problem with their argument as I see it is the assumption that all other collapse types must look different from a demolition caused by properly placed explosives. But we have no data. Almost every observed building collapse comes from demolition charges. Some come from earth quakes where the building falls over becasue of soil liquefaction. Until someone comes up with a simulation we can't positively disprove the conspiracy theory explanation for WTC 7.

All that being said I have yet to meet an American 9/11 conspiracy theorist that blames Israel. They blame Bush.
4.23.2008 2:15am
JB:
Think of Al Qaeda as one big cruise missile. It doesn't matter if it gets destroyed, as long as it takes out its objective. Al Qaeda is an organization with strategic interests and a penchant for martyrdom. They would gladly give their sovereign ally, physical freedom, the lives of their followers, etc to destroy our freedoms and prosperity.

They have. They're winning.
4.23.2008 2:18am
OrinKerr:
JB,

I think they are winning if their true goal is to trigger melodramatic blog comments.
4.23.2008 2:27am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
I guess the next development will be CAIR and the likes of Juan Cole denouncing Al Qaeda for associating Islam with terrorism?
4.23.2008 2:43am
LM (mail):
Ayman al-Zawahri and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad debating 9-11 reminds me of the story about Charlie Manson asking one of the guards, "Is it hot in here, or am I crazy?"
4.23.2008 3:19am
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Harry Eagar: One Iraqi plane fired a salvo of Exocets at a U.S. warship - at night, from a range of about 100 km, in an area where Iranian ships were known to operate. Iraq immediately apologized and paid compensation.

A. Zarkov: A troll using the name "Israel Did 9/11" infests a number of USENET groups, and for some weeks was crossposting Holocaust denial garbage to soc.history.what-if.
4.23.2008 3:41am
Russ (mail):
a bunch of guys no one heard of, sure.

That's right!

Except for Khalid Sheik Muhammed, the guy who actually thought up 9/11.

Or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the guy who was running AQI.

Or Mohammed Atef, AQ's #3 dude.

Damn...this is harder than I thought...
4.23.2008 3:51am
LM (mail):
liberty,

Check any Chomsky blogs?


A. Zarkov,

All that being said I have yet to meet an American 9/11 conspiracy theorist that blames Israel. They blame Bush.


You guys need to get out more. First, even Chomsky considers the 9-11 Truth stuff nonsense. And the culprits I see most often on comment threads are the CIA and Mossad, partnered. But anything goes, really. I bought myself a couple of days of stalking on Huffington Post by a Ron Paul-9/11 Truther for telling him what I thought about his theory that it was the Mossad working at the behest of Larry Silverstein.

As for the WTC #7 claims, there are several versions (the goal posts are in perpetual motion), but the main ones have been debunked by Popular Mechanics and others.
4.23.2008 4:00am
JB:
Orin,
Our freedoms are nowhere near completely eroded, yes, but the lat 7 years have seen substantial backsliding that I would predict is not rolled back by the next President.

Similarly, our economy is still moving, but in all politeness you aren't looking for a job, and I am, so I would trust my perception of how lousy things are over yours.
4.23.2008 4:16am
Hoosier:
Zarkov--That's just not true. Monitor some of the Conspiretard video pages on Youtube for one day. Bush IS Israel; Israeli IS the CFR; the CFR IS German intelligence . . .
4.23.2008 4:16am
A. Zarkov (mail):
I know one can find Internet posters that blame Israel for 9/11, that's obvious. One can find anything on the Internet. I was speaking strictly form personal experience with people who are active conspiracy buffs.
4.23.2008 4:43am
A. Zarkov (mail):
LM:

The Popular Mechanics article is pretty qualified on WTC 7
"NIST investigators believe a combination of intense fire and severe structural damage contributed to the collapse, though assigning the exact proportion requires more research. But NIST's analysis suggests the fall of WTC 7 was an example of "progressive collapse,..."
This is a suggestion unbacked by an analysis. Modern skyscrapers don't collapse from internal fire alone. But fire and debris damage is another matter.
4.23.2008 4:55am
a knight (mail) (www):
Rich Rostrom: next time you're on USENET, look-up a poster named "Topaz". I do not remember him being an overt 911 conspiracy theorist, but he's intelligent, well-read, and capable of mixing it up; tossing Goebbels in with some King James citations, in the midst of economic analysis, then jerking it over to a musing about the purity of Aryan farm women. He's also vehemently anti-communist in a manner not often expressed in the Post-Soviet reality. I've never been a fan either, but they really aren't that big of a threat presently. He certainly doesn't enjoy having anyone note the power of Expressionist Jazz and Rock-n-Roll as effective weapons in the Cultural Cold War, but Topaz can take the straight on hard shot as a response without flinching, and then counter effectively in reply without spewing anger. Don't worry about the trolls; it's the intelligent and articulate true-believers that are capable of doing the real damage.

Conspiracy theories almost always fail at their very foundation, in that they posit a level of competence and ability from the product of group thought that is so high, it's probability of existing in reality can be statistically expressed properly as insignificantly larger than nil. What some believe to be a momentary break in the fog offering a quick glimpse of the unseen manipulative hands from an ominous force is usually gaps in the poorly dispersed wafting mendacity thrown up as a screen by individuals looking to dodge personal responsibilities.

A case in point:

Popular Mechanics published a very good Special Report: Debunking the 9/11 Myths. They offered very credible replies to most, if not all of the 911 conspiracy evidence.

When they got around to WTC7 though, they played politics; wimping out on a full and thorough journalistic reporting of the facts. They offered very good contributory causes for the tower's collapse, but when reporting the lesser known cause did not name names:

...a fifth-floor fire burned for up to 7 hours. "There was no firefighting in WTC 7," Sunder says. Investigators believe the fire was fed by tanks of diesel fuel that many tenants used to run emergency generators. Most tanks throughout the building were fairly small, but a generator on the fifth floor was connected to a large tank in the basement via a pressurized line. Says Sunder: "Our current working hypothesis is that this pressurized line was supplying fuel [to the fire] for a long period of time."


An out of control fire fueled by pressurized diesel fuel, burning for 7 hours on the fifth floor would not melt steel, but it damn well would have been hot enough to play hell with the steel's load capacity, and would have been hot enough to distort an already weakened structure with localized expansion of load-bearing beams. Yet Popular Mechanics failed to mention how it happened to be that a massive emergency back-up power system, including a voluminous quantity of diesel supplied via a hardened fuel line under pressure had managed to get through NYC Fire Code inspectors and get installed in WTC 7. Popular Mechanics did a disservice to the truth in this, and helped to perpetuate the myth because of it. It was Rudy G's emergency command center which he had rammed through over the dissent of NYC's fire marshals. Rudy sure wasn't about to step up to the plate and take that pitch though.
4.23.2008 5:05am
A. Zarkov (mail):
LM:


Here is 911Review's answer to Popular Mechanics.

No amount of "physical damage to the south face of building 7" can account for these three collapse features:

* WTC 7 fell vertically with great precision.
* WTC 7 fell at nearly the rate of free-fall.
* WTC 7's rubble pile was amazingly tidy, confined almost entirely to the city block on which the building stood.

These characteristics are precisely what the art and science of controlled demolition seeks to accomplish through the precise placement and timing of the detonations of large number of explosive charges.

The construction of Building 7 was that of a typical modern skyscraper, except that it had even thicker beams near its base because it straddled an electrical substation. The idea of a "chain-reaction collapse", dressed up with the scientific sounding term progressive collapse, is ludicrous -- there are no examples of progressive total collapse of steel-framed buildings outside the alleged cases of the WTC Twin Towers and Building 7.
I'm still not convinced, but I concede that they raise some reasonable objections that need an answer. Especially the free fall part.
4.23.2008 5:06am
LM (mail):
A. Zarkov,

They didn't prove how it happened. They provided a plausible explanation consistent with the AQ narrative and not contradicted by confirmed evidence. In other words, they debunked the Truther claim that it couldn't have happened the way the government claimed.
4.23.2008 5:19am
LM (mail):
A. Zarkov,

Progressive collapse doesn't strike me as ludicrous, but I'm no expert. On the other hand, there are some pretty compelling arguments for why controlled demolition is ludicrous.

Nothing personal, but I resolved a while back to stop engaging the details of any of the myriad hypotheses for why it couldn't have been OBL. For one thing, it's as endless as answering arguments that claim to disprove evolution. As soon as you dispose of one, another takes its place. Besides, others have already done this better than I can, and they're easy to find.

I won't tell you that any of the de-bunkers will convince someone who starts off with a visceral resistance to the notion that two large airplanes flying into skyscrapers might cause a problem. I don't claim Occam's razor answers all questions, and I think many of the questions about 9/11 were worth asking. Some may still be, especially regarding the response, NORAD, etc. But I suspect that whether or not someone thinks Occam's razor might be a legitimate consideration in how they look at 9/11 may be a good litmus test for whether they'll ever be satisfied there aren't more questions that need answering about what caused the buildings to collapse. (And no, I'm not saying all the questions have been answered. I'm just saying I'm satisfied that enough have.)
4.23.2008 6:57am
PersonFromPorlock:
Harry Eagar:

It was as coherent as any other part of Reagan's -- for want of a better word -- foreign policy.

Reagan's 'foreign policy' vis-a-vis the Soviet Union is thought, in some circles, to have been both coherent and to have worked fairly well. Of course, we all know that Reagan's apparent success was really due to Gorbachev's flexibility in pursuit of World peace.
4.23.2008 8:50am
neurodoc:
As I recall, Iraq attacked one of our ships with Exocets and we retaliated against Iran.
The attack on the USS Liberty has preoccupied many for more than 40 years, but the attack on the USS Stark, in which a slightly greater number of sailors were killed, was quickly enough forgotten about. I have always thought that said something.

The official explanation after the attack on the Stark was that it had been an accident, but there were doubts. Can the matter be considered settled? With the fall of Saddam's regime, shouldn't we now know with greater certainty? If a "theorist" wanted to put one together to explain the Stark, what motive would they impute to the Iraqis, who at the time weren't looking for a fight with us?
4.23.2008 9:09am
DG:
There are numerous buildings in the NYC area with large amounts of diesel fuel in tanks, mostly on the roof or basement, but with lines going everywhere. 60 Hudson is a great example. I have no idea if it violates NYC building code, but its necessary for modern telecom infrastructure.

The problem with the troofers, is that they have no knowledge of basic materials science. Every engineer takes a class in school called "mechanics of materials" or "behavior of materials". Here's a good word for troofers to look up: Annealing. It explains most of the "inexplicable" behavior on 9/11. Steel doesn't need to melt in order to have a reduced load bearing capacity.
4.23.2008 9:47am
Eli Rabett (www):
Do you have to have a dog in every fight??
4.23.2008 9:51am
Gaius Marius:
Actually, the pilot episode of the Fox TV series, "The Lone Gunmen," was possibly a documentary since its plotline was some rogue government agency attempting to slam a domestic airliner into the WTC by remote control overriding the cockpit controls in order to start a war against terrorists. Coincidentally, the episode aired a few months before 9-11.
4.23.2008 10:01am
george (mail):
re 7 WTC:

If it helps you any, you should remember that a large hole was punched into the building; it was on the other side of all those pictures you see. See eyewitness account here.

And for people who say that the buildings fell in a "tidy" heap, in what other ways do you imagine buildings fall after fire weakened its structure and its weight proved too much?
4.23.2008 10:05am
Adeez (mail):
"I'm still not convinced, but I concede that they raise some reasonable objections that need an answer."

Wow! I said stuff like this on this site months ago, and most commenters wanted to eat my children. For all they knew, I'm a saint who's dedicated my entire life to helping the needy. But that doesn't matter. Question the government's version and you're evil. Real sophisticated stuff from such a well-educated audience. Don't you know it's un-American to not take as gospel everything the govt. says happened? Government officials don't lie! The neocons had nothing to gain from 9/11! You're not allowed to ask questions! Think about the victims' families. I mean, would THEY want you to question the official version?

[sarcasm off] You can call me a "conspiracy theorist" when I can call you a "coincidence theorist."

The truth will eventually come out. Oh, and calling those with who seek the truth and ask valid questions "conspiratards" or whatever insult-du-jour you can think of doesn't actually help answer those questions. Actually, it only bolsters the view that those doing the name-calling are the myopic, closed-minded ones.
4.23.2008 10:52am
Jiminy (mail):
I think a great truther litmus test would be to make them read the 9-11 report, then look up all the footnotes, and THEN say "no way man, that's crap". I just finished reading the commission report and I thought it was an excellent read. Not too academic or over-my-head, and yet the evidence was portrayed in a clean manner.

Even when the report is going over Clinton &Bush Admin interviews with the principals, the report makes it very clear if one person was maybe not being fully truthful by referring to the other principals' recollection of a conversation, without directly calling someone a "liar".

Really worth picking up and reading it. I think it explains 9-11 without much need for a conspiracy theory. All the pieces were there - the "wall", the excess of command with inefficient communication infrastructure during the firefighting, the dangerous instability of Pakistan, the inability to support a land invasion into Afghanistan, and the unreliable intelligence allies from the natives in-country.

Seriously, one of the best pieces of non-fiction that I've read in a while. No group escapes scrutiny, and constructive criticism is used instead of a blanket blame party.
4.23.2008 11:04am
Anderson (mail):
I think they are winning if their true goal is to trigger melodramatic blog comments.

You can agree or disagree w/ Prof. Kerr, but how can you not love the guy?
4.23.2008 11:08am
Anderson (mail):
Btw, you gotta hand it to al-Qaeda - credit where it's due.

Do you see any neo-Nazis condemning Iran for denying the Holocaust ever happened?

"A criminal is frequently not equal to his deed: he makes it smaller and slanders it." (Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 109.)

(And since this is a law blog, let's toss in sec. 110: "The lawyers defending a criminal are rarely artists enough to turn the beautiful terribleness of his deed to his advantage.")
4.23.2008 11:13am
KenB (mail):
Christopher M says:
I think it's pretty clear that Al-Qaeda as an institution has benefited from . . . the U.S.'s reaction to [the] perception [that al Qaeda is responsible for the attacks].
While it is true that al Qaeda still exists and has recently redoubled its efforts in Iraq, it's hard for me to see how it has benefitted. It has lost countless "martyrs" and has alienated the general Sunni population with its attacks on fellow Muslims. How can losing large numbers of personnel while simultaneously reducing your pool a new recruits be a benefit?
4.23.2008 11:24am
A. Zarkov (mail):
George:

"And for people who say that the buildings fell in a "tidy" heap, in what other ways do you imagine buildings fall after fire weakened its structure and its weight proved too much?"


I agree. I don't see what force acts to impart any horizontal momentum in which case the building would fall into a tidy heap. The free fall is another matter, and for that we need some kind of model of the collapse dynamics, and we don't have that.

I'm not saying I believe the 911Truth arguments. I just think we need to admit what we really know and what we don't.
4.23.2008 11:34am
Anderson (mail):
Don't want to get into the engineering netherworld of the 9/11 "Truth" bit -- remember, it's been "proved" that cigarettes aren't bad for you, and that the Nazis couldn't possibly have gassed those Jews at Auschwitz ...

... but I do have to ask, exactly how many other examples of jetliners crashing into skyscrapers do we have, against which we could compare 9/11 and say "oooh, something's fishy here"?

Nor does it seem shocking that a relatively small building nearby would collapse in an unusual way when two of the tallest buildings in the world collapse next door.
4.23.2008 11:47am
wfjag:

The truth will eventually come out. Oh, and calling those with who seek the truth and ask valid questions "conspiratards" or whatever insult-du-jour you can think of doesn't actually help answer those questions. Actually, it only bolsters the view that those doing the name-calling are the myopic, closed-minded ones.


Adeez -- PLEEESE! -- the US government can't even keep secret a BJ in the Oval Office when only 2 people were present. Do you really think that no one in the conspiracy you believe in wouldn't have sold his story by now? Or, suffered pangs of conscience due to the deaths or because of disagreement with the current administration? Or, do you believe that somehow the NYT has been co-opted into the conspiracy and wouldn't happily print such a story?
4.23.2008 12:02pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
You'd have us take the word of an admitted mass murderer on this?

Who are you REALLY working for?
4.23.2008 12:12pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
John Thacker &Neurodoc: The official (though unstated) policy of the US was that Iraq and Iran should grind themselves into as minuscule particles as possible. A protracted conflict would keep both focused on their war, not creating their various forms of regional mischief. The US goal was that both sides should lose, which is what essentially happened.

Harry Eagan: You recall incorrectly. The US Navy started escorting reflagged Kuwaiti tankers, to protect them against Iran's predation, in July, 1986. The USS Stark incident to which you refer happened in May, 1987.
4.23.2008 12:37pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Yeah, right. Someone in the administration, no matter how low, writes a 50 page memo, and one sentence in it says that "Iraq is not going exactly as we thought" and it winds up on the front page of the NY Times within a day. Yet, a conspiracy on the scale of 9/11 can be covered up by our government. Please.
4.23.2008 12:54pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
One thing about the guy above suggesting that the WTC was brought down by a controlled demolition. Have you ever seen or particpated in a controlled-demolition? A controlled demolition starts at the bottom of the building. The WTC started at the top. You and everyone else can explain how it possibly happened, but you can't avoid this fact.

If anyone actually believes that 9/11 "truth" crap, I feel sorry for them. I really do.
4.23.2008 1:00pm
kid mercury (mail) (www):
FBI chief of investigative publicity rex tomb has publicly stated there is no hard evidence connecting bin laden to 9/11. FBI agent sibel edmonds has said she has all the evidence of a coverup. governor jesse ventura says he believes there is a coverup going on regarding 9/11. ray mcgovern, 27 year veteran of the CIA, has called the 9/11 report a joke.

the list goes on and on. visit patriotsquestion911.com.

9/11 truth is like finding out the earth goes around the sun, not the other way around. you don't want to be the last one to find out, otherwise you will look very stupid. i suggest you wake up. preferably sooner rather than later, as 9/11 is just the tip of the iceberg.
4.23.2008 1:42pm
Richard Nieporent (mail):
I was speaking strictly form personal experience with people who are active conspiracy buffs.

AZ, I suggest you find different friends. You know, ones that are sane. I absolutely marvel at how seemingly rational people are willing to suspend belief in order to have reality conform to their own warped views of the world. First of all, what is the purpose of doing a controlled demolition when you already have planes flying into the building? Think of Occam’s Razor. If you want to believe in conspiracy theories, wouldn’t it be simpler to believe that the people who flew the planes were the CIA/Mossad/NSA/Girl Scouts? Since the planes hit the buildings (or was that just a David Copperfield illusion) why do you need a second simultaneous attack of the building? Isn’t that a waste of effort? Why is it better to have buildings destroyed by an undetected controlled demolition that the attack on the building that was seen by millions of people?

Also, if anyone has ever seen what it takes to do a controlled demolition of a building they would know how impossible it would be to do it surreptitiously. It takes miles and miles of wires along with the use of acetylene torches to cut through the main building support beams to make sure that the building implodes properly. The whole process takes large numbers of people weeks to do. Do you think that just maybe somebody would see the work going on, or one of the many workers who did it would come forth and spill the beans? Clearly to be a true believer means that you must totally suspend you ability to think rationally.
4.23.2008 1:50pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
PersonfromPorlock, yeah, I know a lot of people give Reagan credit for destroying Soviet communism, but they're wrong. It destroyed itself by failing to solve its agricultural crisis.

Took a while, though, and it would have happened sooner if Nixon had not rescued them.

It isn't really all about us. Sometimes it's about them.

John Burgess, yes, I know the sequence of events. Escorting the tankers was not 'retaliation.' Retaliation is, well, retaliation. An attack.

neurodoc has a good idea. I always had a hard time believing that a pilot working for Saddam would be so careless as to make a 'mistake' with two hard-to-get Exocets. I wonder what did happen to him.

I understood the overt policy of the United States under Reagan to be working for an end to the conflict between Iran and Iraq. God knows what we were really doing.
4.23.2008 1:53pm
eddiehaskel (mail):
The more interesting point here is that our current administration conflates Iran with Al Qaeda, even in the face of this.

You seem to only worry about fringe characters (i.e. conspiracy theorists re 9/11); but the bigger lie is being perpetrated by our government. And that's not any conspiracy theory.
4.23.2008 2:56pm
Anderson (mail):
All this conspiracy stuff goes to the wish that there be some satisfactory degree of Order in the Cosmos.

It appalls to think that the history of the United States can be bent at a 90-degree angle in a few moments on November 22, 1963 because of some lone nut.

Likewise, it's appalling to think that 9/11 happened because of 19 kooky guys carrying out a lamebrained conspiracy that, due to remarkable innocence and incompetence on the U.S. end, actually worked.

But history is like that. It's a scary, random place sometimes.

People feel more comfortable with Mr. Evil and SPECTRE pulling the strings than with essentially random nutjobs.
4.23.2008 4:02pm
Juan (mail):
Carter boicoted arm sales to the Sha government toppling it
Komeini fred the hostages.
US sold Israel provided arms to Iran.
Israel bombed the IRAQs nuclear facilities, the arab and american Awacs crew saw them going.
The Us backed Un mission forced Iraq out of Kuwait and made Iraq unable to atack Iran.
The USA got rid of the Taliban , an enemy of Iran, yes they are shhiis but enemies between them.
The Usa finished the job, at last, ang got rid of Saddam.
So the Usa have been freeing Iran of its enmies.
Are the USA and Iran real enemies?
or the roar of the mice worked?
4.23.2008 4:06pm
Colin (mail):
i suggest you wake up. preferably sooner rather than later, as 9/11 is just the tip of the iceberg.

And underneath that iceberg is a race of reptile people, who use the Illuminati to fluoridate our water supply. Wake up people!!!!
4.23.2008 4:13pm
Adeez (mail):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten, whose recently released novel, The SHELL GAME has served as a rallying cry for tens of thousands of 9/11 truth activists, has issued a public challenge to conservative talk show hosts Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and anyone else who still believes the official story of September 11th, 2001.
'I am not a liberal democrat, nor am I an activist or conspiracy theorist,' says Alten, 'I am a proud American who loves his country. I was the last person ever to believe our own government was involved in September 11th. Now that I have looked at the evidence...I'd have to be a 'pinhead' to believe such outlandish lies!?'
4.23.2008 4:43pm
pete (mail) (www):

And underneath that iceberg is a race of reptile people, who use the Illuminati to fluoridate our water supply. Wake up people!!!!


That is just what the free masons and their alien coconspirators want you to think. The truth is out there.
4.23.2008 4:53pm
zippypinhead:
Wow... What blog is this again? My browser seems to have silently redirected me some really scary neighborhood on the Internet where nice libertarians shouldn't go after dark. Must be a whole 'nother sort of conspiracy at work here...

Before this thread gets totally out of control, I think we'd all better step back, take a deep breath, and readjust our tin foil helmets to keep out the mind control waves being transmitted by the silent black helicoptors...
4.23.2008 4:54pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Harry Eagar:

PersonfromPorlock, yeah, I know a lot of people give Reagan credit for destroying Soviet communism, but they're wrong. It destroyed itself by failing to solve its agricultural crisis.

I always thought we didn't give enough credit to communism for the one thing it did that no other system of government could do: influence the weather. All those adverse growing seasons!
4.23.2008 5:44pm
wfjag:

That is just what the free masons and their alien coconspirators want you to think.


That's right Pete! And don't forget about Albert Pike and his book!
4.23.2008 6:19pm
Russ (mail):
wfjag,

You stole my point about the BJ in the Oval Office. Yeah, it amazes me that people think we could somehow keep the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who would have had to have been involved quiet.

The basic difference between loony truthers and the other 99% of us - they believe that the government is run by people who are basically evil and among the most competent on the planet. We believe that the government is run by people who are basically incompetent but mean well.

Or at least that's what our Alien Overlords want us to think...
4.23.2008 6:36pm
LM (mail):
What I appreciate about 9/11-type conspiracy theories is that they're located where the extreme left and extreme right meet. And that place completes a circular ideological continuum I find more useful in many ways than the traditional left-right one. The conspiracy theorists are at the top of that circle, the political partisans are at the left and right extremes, and the pragmatic centrists are at the bottom.

To illustrate, I'm a liberal pragmatist, and I usually find it easier to communicate with a pragmatic conservative near me at the bottom of the circle than with a partisan well up the left side. The more partisan liberal may share my views on taxes and health care, and s/he may vote for the same candidate I do, but s/he's also more likely than a pragmatic conservative to interpret events through a deterministic filter that defies empirical scrutiny. Of course that's from my perspective. The partisans, and more so the conspiracists, tend to see my neighbors and me as wishy-washy, gullible and unprincipled.

These differences in disposition and process are also often better predictors of one's personal sympathies than ideological differences are. For example, the circular model does a better job than the left-right one of explaining graphically the apparent anomaly of liberals who are more hostile to Joe Lieberman than to, say, Orrin Hatch, and conservatives more sympathetic to, say, Russ Feingold than to John McCain.
4.23.2008 6:53pm
k. mccabe:
Yes, the Onion piece was fantastic. No, I am not a 9-11 truther. Yes, I believe planes brought down the twin towers. No, I dont think planes brought down WTC-7. And no, despite other modern skyscrapers burning longer, they did not collapse like WTC-7. They did leave a big hulking shell of burned-out building though. Of course, debris from the other towers could have weakened building 7 so its perfectly plausible to think a combination of factors caused it to collapse.

However, there is video of larry silverstein stating on video tape to a reporter that they, "decided to pull it" referring to WTC-7. You can take that for what its worth. Slip of the tongue, or freudian slip?

Additionally, there is the contributory negligence of bush et al for initially refusing to do an independent inquiry, refusing to testify under oath, conflicts of interest between members of the 9-11 commission itself (Mr Zekilow) and members of the administration (condi rice), etc..etc... outright omission of certain evidence from the report (Able Danger) etc..etc...

In other words, I cant blame the truthers for asking the questions they ask and seeking the answers everyone is entitled to which under any reasonable standard of evidence we have not yet received. And the government has (if only inadvertently) contributed to the conspiracy theories in numerous ways.

Also, I second the commenter above with regard to erosion of liberty here at home in response to 9-11 and global war on terror. If liberty is meant as a restraint on government vis a vis the individual citizen, I dont think anyone can deny the government now has more means available (with more on the way) to legally invade our liberty (sneak and peek warrants), track our movements (RFID implanted real id), spy on our phone and internet conversations (TSP), etc... None of that means 9-11 was an inside job to allow those things to happen. But it is happening and it should be fought and exposed and repressed by every member of the bar and anybody who cares about liberty.

And every conspiracy theorist worth his salt knows it wasn't the Isrealis; it was the Mexicans who wanted to speed up construction of the NAFTA superhighway and initiation of the North American Union and Amero currency. Thats the CFR's real agenda, the Iraq side show is just for the little remaining oil (peak oil already happened remember) pumped via the Caspian sea and Afghanistan to the Mexican truckers on there way to Canada. Thats also why there is a subprime crisis (to put newly homeless and highly disgruntled people into KBR constructed detention facilities somewhere in the desert) and debasing of the petro- dollar. It all fits together and ends in total enslavement of the human race :) Reptiles are purely optional.
4.23.2008 7:47pm
Brian G (mail) (www):

PersonfromPorlock, yeah, I know a lot of people give Reagan credit for destroying Soviet communism, but they're wrong. It destroyed itself by failing to solve its agricultural crisis.


Wow! And all this time I thought Gorbachev ended the Cold War and reformed the Soviet Union with Glasnost or Perestroika or some crap like that.

I wish the Reagan-haters would get their story straight.
4.23.2008 8:08pm
Toby:
Someone, somewhere, left out the role of the jet trails crossing the country spreading their though control nanoparticles from ervery commercial jet liner.

I'd suggest that the 9/11 pilots probably had breathed some of the nano particles that got out on an early prun, as jet trails were never seen before 9/11....

Sorry, I can never keep my conspiracies straight. As a state employee, I learned long ago never to attribute to mailce what can more easily be laid at the feet of simple incompetence.


they believe that the government is run by people who are basically evil and among the most competent on the planet. We believe that the government is run by people who are basically incompetent but mean well.

Russ wins.
4.23.2008 8:10pm
LM (mail):
What happened to the good old days when the Global Conspiracy was headed by people like the Queen of England and Bertrand Russell, and their aim was to enrich themselves selling drugs, not blow people up? It was all very Alec Guiness. Now it's so sinister.
4.23.2008 8:15pm
neurodoc:
LM: What happened to the good old days when the Global Conspiracy was headed by people like the Queen of England and Bertrand Russell, and their aim was to enrich themselves selling drugs, not blow people up?
Are you alluding to Lyndon LaRouche's version of things going back 25 years or more, with the Queen of England head of an international cabal that included the likes of Henry Kissinger, Roy Cohen, the Mossad, and others, with homosexuals being the foot soldiers, and the enterprise concentrating on drug dealing and other nefarious doings? I used to marvel at the component parts to that one and the fact that LaRouche had the loyal followers that he did.
4.23.2008 9:36pm
LM (mail):
neurodoc,

He's still around. I was leafletted a few months ago by a nervous kid with unusually bad skin for southern California. I was tempted to encourage him to defect to Ron Paul to give himself a better chance of hooking up, but I didn't get the feeling it would be taken in the spirit intended.
4.23.2008 9:53pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
LM, Eric Hofer wrote a whole book about how politics is circular and extremists often meet each other coming from the opposite direction -- or individually, spend time as extreme leftists and extreme rightists without ever passing through the middle.
4.23.2008 10:29pm
LM (mail):
Harry Eagar,

LM, Eric Hofer wrote a whole book about how politics is circular and extremists often meet each other coming from the opposite direction -- or individually, spend time as extreme leftists and extreme rightists without ever passing through the middle.

Thanks. Confirms my suspicion that all the good ideas are already taken, so why bother? (Yes, I'm sure someone's thought of that before too.)
4.23.2008 11:27pm
Hoosier:
Yes, the Onion piece was fantastic. No, I am not a 9-11 truther. Yes, I believe planes brought down the twin towers. No, I dont think planes brought down WTC-7. And no, despite other modern skyscrapers burning longer, they did not collapse like WTC-7. They did leave a big hulking shell of burned-out building though. Of course, debris from the other towers could have weakened building 7 so its perfectly plausible to think a combination of factors caused it to collapse.

However, there is video of larry silverstein stating on video tape to a reporter that they, "decided to pull it" referring to WTC-7. You can take that for what its worth. Slip of the tongue, or freudian slip?


NO NO NO NO NO! Silverstein did NOT say "pull" the building. He said "pull" the rescuers, since the building was looking like it would collapse. The Conspiretards have abused his ONE WORD in an act of complete intellectual dishonesty. They convict themselves with this one, since they imply that the NYFD was in on the "conspiracy."

As to WTC-7: A plane did not destroy it. Not DIRECTLY. But, again, are you callin' the NYFD liars? The firemen up top in the Verizon building saw precisely why WTC-7 fell: And massive piece of one of the Towers had impacted its base, ripping away a building-size corner.
4.24.2008 12:41am
Uhh:

has issued a public challenge to conservative talk show hosts Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and anyone else who still believes the official story of September 11th, 2001.


And that challenge is: Can you sell more copies of my book AND give me my 15 minutes?? Because, you know, if you bring your huge audience my way, I'll gain all sorts of publicity, which will most likely end up selling books and making me money. Plus, all the exposure I'll get from various places who will put me on the air just because you're taking aim at me.

I'm generally disappointed with most of the conspiracy theories lately. In the 90s we had all those little gray alien guys. They were using the US Government as a puppet and running the world, and eating all the strawberry ice cream. And now I don't hear too much about them. I kinda miss them. And hey, at least they had some interesting fake videos and documents. All these 9/11 people have is bad math and ignorance of science (usually from the same people who sit around throwing stones at creationists no less.. don't get me wrong, I don't buy into creationism either, but I certainly wouldn't mock it if my theory of evolution was based on some uninformed rants of some far-out people :))

In conclusion, please bring back the gray aliens. They were kind of cool, and I can believe that they could be capable of all sorts of nasty things (hello, aliens!!). And even if their intentions really are good and not evil, I can buy that too! :)
4.24.2008 1:16am
Stash:
What always confused me about the conspiracy theories is that if the aim was to justify an invasion of Iraq, why didn't "they" manufacture some better evidence linking the whole thing to Saddam. Instead of identifying the hijackers as mostly Saudi Arabians, why not identify throw in some Iraqi intellegence officers? Or lay a money trail from an Iraqi source? I mean, if you are making up an excuse to invade some place, you might as well do a good, iron-clad job of it. Whoever was in charge of that part of the conspiracy should be fired. (I bet that is the real reason "Brownie" had to resign. He was told to be nonchalant about Katrina, so his resignation could not be linked in any way to 9/11.)

And, finally, since the whole thing worked so well, why did "they" leave at that? Wouldn't it have made sense to really terrorize the populace to the point where martial law could be imposed outright?

A few more terrorist acts, none nearly as elaborate as 9/11, but carefully linked to Iraq, and the recruiting offices would have been full of volunteers as the country clamored for total war. What idiots not to follow through.

So, the conspirators are not only incredibly competent, but totally incompetent at the same time. Go figure.
4.24.2008 1:46am
neurodoc:
LM, yes LaRouche continues on doing his imitation of the Eveready bunny from the DC suburb of Leesburg, VA. Quickly scanning his bio on that website, I see no mention of the time he spent in the federal pen for fraud, IIRC. He must have forgotten to include it. In some election cycles, Lyndon has managed to get federal funds for his campaigns.
4.24.2008 3:24am
Harry Eagar (mail):
I couldn't recall Hofer's book earlier. It is 'The True Believer.'

Hofer was 'the longshoreman philosopher' and popular with undergraduates in the '60s. He seems to have faded over the decades.
4.24.2008 4:00am
LM (mail):

[...] popular with undergraduates in the '60s. He seems to have faded over the decades.

My doppelganger.
4.24.2008 4:34am
wfjag:
Full disclosure Russ (and all others). I can't take full credit for being the first person to remind 9/11 Truthers of the inability of the government to keep anything a secret, including a BJ in the Oval Office. Dr. Steven Novella, M.D., made that response to a 9/11 Truther in a pod cast. Dr. Novella also has an excellent blog at www.theness.com/neurologicablog. Although his response was an off-the-cuff quip, I'm not sure my phrasing was even as good.

Still, it summarizes with complete clarity the utter nonsense of the 9/11 Truthers' core belief -- that the US Government is capable of keeping any item of information or any significance to anyone a secret for any period of years.
4.24.2008 12:18pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Stash wrote:

So, the conspirators are not only incredibly competent, but totally incompetent at the same time. Go figure.

It's damned hard to find good conspiracy help, these days.

Oh yeah...Paul really is dead.
4.24.2008 2:03pm
LM (mail):

Oh yeah...Paul really is dead.

Anyone who survived Heather Mills will never die.
4.24.2008 4:47pm
NickM (mail) (www):
4.24.2008 5:19pm
k. mccabe:
Hoosier: You may be entirely correct. I saw a little snippet of like 5 seconds of that interview, and did find it quite curious why the video was edited in such a way that they didn't put the whole interview in context (what was said right before the famous quote, what right after, etc...)

As far as calling a firefighter a liar - no I am not and never did. I said in the post you linked that its entirely plausible that a combination of factors (including the collapse of the other buildings) could have combined to cause building 7's collapse. I will say though that a firefighter qua firefighter is not some unimpeachable source on a buildings collapse. Dozens of other firefighters on the scene also reported hearing secondary explosions which led to news reports of bombs going off before collapse. They were obviously mistaken - unless you believe the "there was evidence of thermite in the wreckage" crowd. Which i don't. Point being, an eye witness to a collapse who happens to be a firefighter (unless he was also a structural engineer and or demolitions expert) really doesn't seal the deal for me and without more, shouldn't for you either.
4.24.2008 5:58pm
k. mccabe:
Hoosier, the following is apparently from the Popular Mechanics piece that de-bunked the 9-11 theories: " ...a fifth-floor fire burned for up to 7 hours. "There was no firefighting in WTC 7," Sunder says. Investigators believe the fire was fed by tanks of diesel fuel that many tenants used to run emergency generators."

I thought that Silverstien, according to you, said, "we decided to pull {them = firefighters)" cause the building was going to collapse. So I guess now we dont even know whether or not there were firefighters in the building fighting the fire - as the de-bunkers at Popular Mechanics seem to have de-bunked your Silverstein video analysis.

This is also an example why the conspiracies don't go away. Contradictions abound.
4.24.2008 6:12pm
wfjag:

New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten, whose recently released novel, The SHELL GAME has served as a rallying cry for tens of thousands of 9/11 truth activists,


Adeez -- just to make sure I'm not making a mistake about the facts and the authority you rely on -- you are referring to "Steve Alten" the NY Times Best-Selling Science FICTION author, aren't you?
4.24.2008 6:48pm
neurodoc:
wfjag: Adeez -- just to make sure I'm not making a mistake about the facts and the authority you rely on -- you are referring to "Steve Alten" the NY Times Best-Selling Science FICTION author, aren't you?
Have you never heard it said, perhaps said it yourself, that Truth can be stranger than Fiction? And hasn't it happened that what was imagined in a work of Fiction subsequently came to pass and thus sort of morphed to Truth? And finally, is everything that makes it as a NYT Non-Fiction (Truth) work always the whole truth and nothing but the truth, superior to every work that makes it on to the NYT Fiction bestseller list? (Besides, Adeez already noted the guy writes novels, so no lack of candor there.) Afterall, Truman Capote was aclaimed for In Cold Blood, an interweaving of fact and fiction, with no sharp distinction drawn as to which was which.

OK, those are the best arguments I can make to get Mr. Alten's "testimony" admitted. I fear a Daubert motion, though.
4.24.2008 8:49pm
Alex-C (mail):
Here, in very short form, is are two of the biggest _basic_ holes in the USA-insiders-did-911 theory (I call it "Theory-B" when I'm being polite) – and why I’d reject it regardless of any details about building 7, melting point of steel, NORAD alleged stand-downs, etc:

Let's assume, for sake of discussion the theory-b folks were correct about one thing: That somewhere in the seats of US government power there were individuals willing to gruesomely publicly murder 3000 (and it COULD have been 20,000) USA citizens and put a serious dent in the US economy to further their geopolitical plans (the main one of which, per the Theory-B propagators, is to invade Iraq.)

Let's imagine the high level planning session you and I (being participants in the plot) are in.
I come in and say,
"I've got it all arranged: I have all the ducks in place to blow up the WTC and blame it on the Iraqis. I can get explosives in there without being detected. Just give me the word when you're all set up to do the drumbeat for the Iraq invasion."

You say: "Great!"

I add "— and to cover our tracks I have it all set up to look like the building was brought down not by explosives but by airliners flown by Saudi extremists who took them over with razorblades as hijack weapons."

At _that_ point you'd probably say something like "What the fuck have you been smoking?" "First of all that's totally unnecessary: The American public already believes Muslims terrorists tried to blow up the building in 1993 and will have no trouble at all accepting they finally succeeded; if you have ANY worry about that just fake some "discovered" building security camera footage of some known raghead scurrying through the hall with a suspicious packages and some invoices of explosives purchases.
Second, as a cover story it sucks. It involves getting complicity or undermining airport security. It taxes the public's credibility that ragheads with razorblades take over our planes, would make us look like assholes for having such lax airport security. And it would make NORAD look like a joke too. And finally, why the fuck would be put Saudi hijackers in there when we want to invade Iraq and maybe Afghanistan? If didn't think that whole airline thing sucks completely, I'd want us to fake Iraqi's at the controls."

In short, the very foundation near the start of the alleged conspiracy of the "Theory-B" breaks down right there with the idea that the planes are "just a cover story." There's no logic to the NEED of a cover story, and it stretches credulity to the breaking point that supposedly competant plotters would kludge together such a convoluted complex cover story that would raise all the questions that the 911-truthers are raising. Without the planes being part of a cover-up the 911-truthers have — err — massive amounts of loose-change floating around in the form of 4 missing jumbojets and hundreds of missing passangers to "explain away."

Finally, I'm not sure 911-conspiracy theorists are all paranoid. And realize many are intelligent and sincere. I think their hanging onto this bizzare idea comes from something more like a combination of a deep (and perhaps understandable) emotional hatred of the current administration — not wanting to believe there's ANY truth to the administrations claims — not wanting to even grant them the truth that "yes, as you say, we do have some enemies outside that want to hurt us, and it might be a good idea to try to do something about them" AND a basic misunderstanding of standards of proof and the difference between speculation and proof and the difference between circumstantial evidence and real evidence. There is I suspect, a further place these theories can gain a foothold in certain peoples' minds is this: If they have not been involved in large institutions they have no idea how common institutional incompetence and unimaginable things are — so when they see something like "how could a plane get so close to the pentagon without being deferred" they assume that MUST mean it was deliberate. They don't know, to take one of many examples, that in the 80's a private pilot in a small plane without any logistics behind him penetrated the entire Soviet air defense and landed at the Kremlin.(The event resulted in the head of the soviet airforce being fired.) And this was a truly paranoid trigger-happy regime that had previously shot down an unarmed Korean airliner full of civilian passengers.

To quote Napoléon Bonaparte: “Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence. ”

There's a similar quote from the German philosopher/author Goethe:
"Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence."

So they see all the holes that had to exist for the 911 hijackers to succeed and conclude that it requires too much belief in large scale institutional stupidity to accept so there must be an evil plot to explain it... not understanding how common such failures are.

My two cents.
5.2.2008 11:27pm