SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Truth About Truthers

Why Does the US Government Create Paranoia?

“Truthers expect something from you,” an interviewer told me last week.

Indeed they do. I rarely get through a public appearance or talk-radio interview without being asked about 9/11 by a “Truther”—a person who believes that the attacks were planned and/or carried out by the U.S. government.

The 9/11 Truth movement is diverse. Some adherents think the Twin Towers and especially the Pentagon were struck by remote-controlled missiles or drone planes, not hijacked jets. Others accept the involvement of four commercial airliners in the official account but think the Twin Towers, and especially 7 World Trade Center, an office building across the street from the Twin Towers that collapsed hours later, were brought down in a staged, controlled demolition. Then there’s the “stand down” theory, which posits that the Bushies knew what was coming and ordered the military not to respond.

Theories about the execution of the 9/11 conspiracy vary. Its purpose is broadly believed to have been to cow the public into relinquishing long-cherished freedoms and liberties, opening the door to a post-9/11 police state.

As a critic of U.S. government policy, I get a lot of email from Truthers. They ask me to support their cause.

Truthers are passionate and energetic. They send links to websites, books and DVDs questioning the series of events laid out in the 9/11 Commission Report and mainstream media accounts. They remind me that the Bush and Obama Administrations have gotten caught lying about the post-9/11 war on terror. Why, then, am I not open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job? Am I lazy? Or some government shill? (If so I wish they’d pay me.)

I am open-minded. And I don’t trust our political leaders. So I read everything that people send me. I watched films like “Loose Change” and “In Plane Sight,” a professionally edited documentary that relies on insinuation to argue that nefarious government somebodies fired something other than hijacked jets into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Example: “How can a Boeing 757, which is over 44 feet in height and 124 feet in width, simply disappear without a trace into a hole that is only 16 feet in diameter? Also, why is there no external damage to the Pentagon where the wings and the tail section would have impacted with the outer wall?”

Answer: The plane hit the lawn, not the building. The Pentagon is made of reinforced WPA-era concrete. The plane’s wings were thin, light and full of jet fuel. They disintegrated upon impact.

Everything I’ve read and watched on Truther sites is like that: easily dismissed by anyone with a basic knowledge of physics and architecture. (I spent three years in engineering school.) Therefore, with one exception, I believe the official story.

The exception is United Flight 93, which crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I think there’s a possibility it was shot down by a USAF fighter jet. According to the 9/11 Commission Report a shootdown order was issued to the Air Force, which had at least one jet close enough to intercept the airliner before the crash. In addition, local media reported that the plane’s engine was found miles away from the crash site. Engines don’t bounce that far.

There was almost certainly a revolt aboard the flight. But the 9/11 Commission Report never confirms that the passengers gained access to the cockpit: “The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door…The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down…”

Sounds strange to me. As far as we know, the cockpit door remained locked. The hijackers knew they were going to die. Why would they give up their mission before they were forced to do so?

Of course, I don’t know what happened aboard Flight 93. I’m no expert.

I do know that most 9/11 Truther narratives don’t make sense. For example, how could workers rig up the World Trade Center for a controlled demolition—a months-long project that would require miles of cable, tens of thousands of pounds of explosives, hundreds of workers—without being noticed by the 50,000 people who worked there?

What I really don’t understand is the movement’s motivations. What do Truthers want?

For the sake of argument let’s assume that the four 9/11 planes were found at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, confirming that they never hit their targets. Like in the TV show “Lost.” Are Truthers naïve enough to think there would be a revolution?

“Our government has lied to us about the events of 9/11,” Truther Frank Agamemnon said last year on Russia Today TV. “And if the truth came out about it, maybe the wars would stop.”

I don’t think so. Americans didn’t rise up when Bush stole the 2000 election. They didn’t care when WMDs failed to turn up in Iraq. We did nothing about Abu Ghraib or legalized torture or a president who says he has the right to assassinate each and every one of us, even if we’re innocent of any crime. Even if 9/11 did prove to be an inside job, I predict the national reaction would be:

“Huh.”

Truthers aren’t crazy. Not most of them, anyway. They’ve glommed on to the simple (crazy) fact that there has never been a real investigation of the September 11th attacks—a query led not by a politician like former New Jersey governor Tom Kean but by incorruptible scholars and respected experts independent of the world of politics, including those from other nations. And even Kean reported that the Bush Administration dragged their feet and failed to cooperate.

Since 9/11 the media has ignored Truthers or dismissed them as wild-eyed lunatics. As we saw with the Obama birth certificate issue, however, brushing people off merely raises more questions and prolongs the discussion.

On a number of pressing issues in recent years, the federal government has refused transparency, much less a real investigation that would have enabled people to move past 9/11. After Obama took office, for instance, he announced that there would be no prosecutions or investigations of torture in Iraq or at Guantánamo under Bush.

The evolving accounts of Osama bin Laden’s death seemed ideally tailored to create the suspicion that big secrets were being covered up. First we heard that Osama came out guns blazing, then he merely had a gun, then he was unarmed, finally he was executed after he had been handcuffed. As for disposing of the body at sea, well, a certain amount of skepticism naturally follows the lack of a corpse.

The Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch narratives followed similar trajectories.

Why does the federal government feed the conspiracy theorists? Maybe it’s unintentional, but probably not. I think the U.S. has become like a Third World dictatorship: the more they keep us guessing, the smarter they seem, and the more we’ll fear them.

(Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is tedrall.com.)

COPYRIGHT 2011 TED RALL

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41 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Truth About Truthers

  1. Well, Ted, “Truthers” are taking notice of your article. Perhaps you’ve already been given a heads-up on this article by Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan. In an article entitled “The ‘Critics’ of 9/11 Truth. Do They Have a Case?” (available at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26520), he has this to say about your article:

    “What is the position of the movement’s critics? Ted Rall says: “Everything I’ve read and watched on Truther sites is easily dismissed by anyone with a basic knowledge of physics and architecture. (I spent three years in engineering school.) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29113.htm

    “Wow! What powerful credentials. Has Rall ever designed a high rise steel building? Could Rall engage in a debate with a professor of nano-chemistry? Could he refute Newton’s laws in a debate with university physicists? Does Rall know anything about maneuvering airplanes? Does he have an explanation why 100 firefighters, janitors, and police report hearing and experiencing explosions that they did not hear or experience?

    “Clearly, Ted Rall has no qualifications whatsoever to make any judgment about the judgments of experts whose knowledge exceeds his meager understanding by a large amount.”

    You’ll know you’re making progress when, per Schopenhauer, you move from the ridiculing phase to one of violent opposition.

  2. I don’t think the plane was shot down, if it was I think Bush would have paraded it every day that he stopped one of the attacks; there would have been no gain hiding that. My theory is that maybe the hijackers had a change of heart and decided to crash into a field instead.

  3. >>>Without a doubt, we need a real investigation of 9/11. But yes, it would take an army of people to set up a controlled demo of buildings that size.>>>

    Well, either the buildings had explosives in them, or the buildings were so poorly put together that a simple plane crash could take them down (which is entirely possible).

    As for an “army of people”, I would say that all you need are a few people and a whole lot of patsies.

  4. >>>Without a doubt, we need a real investigation of 9/11. But yes, it would take an army of people to set up a controlled demo of buildings that size.>>>

    Well, either the buildings had explosives in them, or the buildings were so poorly put together that a simple plane crash could take them down.

    As for an “army of people”, I would say that all you need are a few people and a whole lot of patsies.

  5. Ted- You said the following in this blog…….

    “Answer: The plane hit the lawn, not the building. The Pentagon is made of reinforced WPA-era concrete. The plane’s wings were thin, light and full of jet fuel. They disintegrated upon impact.”

    The problem with your answer is that not even the “official” 9/– conspiracy theory makes that claim Ted. I mean even this video which claims to show lawn damage to the Pentagon doesn’t even show any…….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwIUUBjmj90

    A large number of dualy qualified commercial pilots of the Boeing 757 have publicly stated that even they could not have flown the “alleged” flight path of Flight 77, including John Lear and Ralph Kolstad who was a Navy Top Gun Fighter Pilot who ended up flying the 757 commercially after his 20 year career in the Navy. These are just two of many. If you can find a qualified pilot of the 757 who can successfully pull off the “alleged” filght path of Flight 77 in a flight simulator, I will donate $1,000 to the charity of that pilots choice.

    The obvious evil lies of 9/– are leading to more related innocent deaths with every passing day that Justice for the mass murders of 9/– remains unserved. I nearly lost my own life in Iraq after joining the US Army just three months after 9/–. Here is my story in under 7 minutes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahODXzmJjxQ

    I was contacted by Mark Davis froom the AJC after he saw this speech online about him covering it in a 9/– 10th Anniversary Section in this past Sunday’s paper. During our intial telephone interview, I asked if he was sure his editors would ever let this story see the light of day, and he said he was just gathering potential story ideas for now and would get back to me. I heard back from him a couple weeks later and he said they had decided to cover my story and scheduled a time for me to go down to the AJC headquarters for an in person interview. I asked Mark for permission to record the interview to ensure my words were not miscommunicated to their readers, and he agreed. He took several pictures and told me it would be in the Sunday paper on 9/–. Unfortunately, his editors bosses disagreed and replaced my story with one of a soldier who had been shot and says he does not regret joining to fight. I always thought the media’s role was to report all sides to a story so the readers could make their own informed decisions, but this is clearly not the case with the AJC and Cox Media.

    End the censorship and misinformation! 9/– TRUTH NOW!!!

    Sincerely,

    Daniel Edd Bland III

  6. HEY, TED….MY FIRST TIME COMMENTING ON YOUR BLOG……..I am a “truther” of sorts, and a “conspiracy theorist” just for fun. Here’s my take on the 9-11 situation: There were obviously explosive charges planted in the WTC towers before the planes hit. The two prime suspects of implantation are of course Israel and Saudi Arabia. Although Islamic nations prefer the former, I tend to think it’s the latter, with this reasoning in mind: George Bush was a concubine whore of both oil companies AND the Saudi hierarchy. With the Islamic world in anti-tyrannical and regime-ending popular uprising and turmoil, the Saudis have a huge incentive for employing U.S. military and economic might for ridding their society of its “riff raff” (e.g. Islamic fundamentalists and people like Bin Laden). Although Bin Laden may have chastised the Saudis for whoring themselves out to the “infidels” and wanted to see the fall of the house of Saud, on a total non-religious, materialistic basis, there WAS room for collaboration between Al Qaida and the house of Saud for cooperating to pull this one off.

  7. @swghostjet: I bear no hatred, nor any hostility whatsoever, towards those who question the official version of events. As I alluded in my first post, I have questions myself regarding Flight 93 (and for that matter, the NORAD angle). Having questions, in and of itself, is a sign of a healthy mind, and I’m all for that, as opposed to the unquestioning pose that the typical person takes.

    But simply raising questions isn’t enough, nor is engaging in speculation that can’t be proved absent a new, and truly impartial, investigation, one that has access to all documentation pertaining to the events of that day, classified or not. It’s my contention that Truthers get wrapped up in the details of that day at the expense of pursuing the more important question “Cui bono?” A complete investigation would be one that answered said question as fully as possible, thereby giving us greater power to ensure that such an event doesn’t happen again. Under the current paradigm, of course, such an investigation would never happen.

    The U.S. is on its way to a fully-developed, 21st-century version of a fascist state, due in no small part to the propagandist methods to which you refer in your final paragraph. Did the events of 9/11/01 accelerate the country’s advancement towards such a state? Absolutely. Is it possible to seek justice against all culpable parties under the current framework? Likely not. In the vein of Lenin, what is to be done? Either wait for the inevitable collapse, or work towards the implementation of a new system of governance, per the focus of Ted’s recent book.

    In the meantime, people of good faith can disagree, however strongly, on the manner in which the events of the day in question unfolded. Whether they happened, more or less, according to the official version, or whether there are viable *and* verifiable alternate explanations out there, what’s most important, so far as going forward is concerned, is how we respond to the fallout from what has happened, and in particular how we fight against the emergent Orwellian state. So it doesn’t seem that you and I are as far apart as it might initially seem.

  8. “Why does the federal government feed the conspiracy theorists? Maybe it’s unintentional, but probably not. I think the U.S. has become like a Third World dictatorship: the more they keep us guessing, the smarter they seem, and the more we’ll fear them.”

    Ted, you’re so close on this that it’s heartbreaking that you missed it right at the end. Here’s the short version: Say you’re 5′ 10″, 170 lbs., at a bar, and a 6′ 4″ 210 lb. guy picks a fight with you. The correct fighting stance for you to adopt? Hands out in front of you, with an apologetic, nervous look on your face. And as that big boy comes in to clean your clock, you kick him square in the nuts. Then you grab a chair and break it over his head. If he’s unconscious then, you kick him in the mouth as hard as you can with your shod foot and break some of his teeth. If you get a chance, grind your heel onto a couple of his fingers as you leave.

    That’s why the U.S. government buried OBL at sea. The more people spend time slapping cheesy soundtracks on their “9/11 Truth” videos, the more time people spend debunking those videos, the more time people spend forever and a day on a million web sites arguing about one grainy frame of video, the less time people have to realize that the economy is bleeding out, that the schools have turned into proto-prisons, that the planet is heating up, that we should be halfway to the completion of an energy infrastructure that is continually self-sufficient, etc.

    It’s a classic razzle-dazzle misdirection. Anyone who has seen three-card monte should be able to see it.

  9. Btw, when i said ‘seems pretty clear’ I meant to accent the word ‘seems’. My point is whatever actually happened, i find it odd that many feel the need to viciously attack those who still question what happened; even the wildest theories.

    One thing of which there is ample evidence is that much was known about the plot beforehand, and that much information was dismissed (and this fact itself was lied about). And of course trillions were stolen from the american people and diverted to Bush-Cheney cronies. Perhaps all talk about demolition, missles, and whatever else has been pitched, are just distractions from the flagrant inaction of the Bush cabal to prevent what they knew was being planned, and what they apparently planned to do in reacton, by any means and any lie.

    I’ll respectfully read your response if there is one but I’m more interested in the current conspiracy to realize Orwell’s nightmare of perpetual war and cultural enslavement. How does the Right use the term ‘social engineering’ to indict liberals? Aren’t Fox, AM talk radio, 50 hours a week of right-slanted tv crime, religion, sports, and advertising all social engineering at the Phd level?

  10. If so that makes sense Ted.
    But ntm72, the hijackers did not act alone, and fanatical or not, I find it hard to believe that promises of virgins in the next life buy any more slience than promises of wealth (and self-preservation.)

    I don’t really care what the truther’s aim is, my contention is that we don’t know for sure but the truthers sound far more rational than those who take your view. I just read the Debunking passage on Silverstien. I found it a belabored, meandering pile of ‘logic’ mainly focused on redefining the word ‘IT’. Bill would be proud. The conclusion, is that “IT’ meant ‘the firemen’.

    They contradict themselves by starting out with the premise that Pull It meant cables to pull the building, no wait definitely PULL IT meant pull the men out.

    Apparently you don’t need an army and months of preparation, you just need a day and some cables to pancake a building? The photos were interesting though. one side of the building was gashed by part of the wall of one of the towers… wouldn’t that logically cause that building to fall in that direction? Like any building that ever collapsed before the 3 that day?

    I don’t really care to pursue this because it’s pointless; what bothers me is the anti-conspiracy folk who ridicule anyone who questions what seems pretty clear. I took this article to be saying just that – you certainly have to admit that the government, or -the ‘Deciders’, whoever they may be – lied about one thing after another throughout to manipulate the people. They have established clearly they have little regard for human life. Particularly foreign and brown lives. But American soldiers were never given much consideration either, from the lack of equipment to exposure to depleted uranium.

    To me the most interesting thing about these discussion is not the Truthers clinging to an old story for which it is to late to ever have a thorough investigation; it’s the hatred and ridicule so many have for the Truthers. Reminds me of the way Obamabots and Nader haters scorn those who point out that since Carter the democratic presidential race has seemed as staged as the WWF. Reminds me of the Obama administration’s own contempt for progressives whilst they have given the full spa treatment to the Republicans.

    Ok so you disagree, maybe you think they are wasting time, wasting their lives even. But how is it that those who question the consensus reality incite so much hostility?

    • I feel quite sympathetic to the Truthers, actually. This column is an attempt at “tough love.” Quit acting silly, get serious. Stick to demanding a real investigation; lay off the ridiculous, physically impossible scenarios.

      Also, my critique is really of the government. Their behavior, especially excessive secrecy, is what feeds these conspiracy theories.

  11. The reason the American people don’t give a damn is that 1) the water supply almost everywhere is fluoridated. The Germans used fluoride in the concentration camp water supply to “pacify” the inmates. There were no revolts in the camps that I know of. 2) we’ve all been trained by the last 50 years of our history that it doesn’t matter what we do; the man will win in the end.

  12. To clarify, as the above-referenced site states, demolition experts used the term ‘pull’ in regards to Building 6. Silverstein used the word ‘pull’ in reference to getting fire crews out of Building 7.

  13. You are quite correct that airplanes are lightly built, although none have “disintegrated” from a sub-sonic crash before, to near-invisibility. The engines mountings are barely strong enough to handle a hard landing. So, how did these disintegrating wings manage to pull those multi-ton engines sideways and through a small hole? How did the lawn survive unmarked?
    I have pictures, downloaded from and watermarked by the official Pentagon website, showing firefighters defeating the first fire there, with the roof still intact. I’d be happy to forward them if you wish.
    I suspect that your mental block is a form of self-preservation, given your other activities.

  14. @swghostjet:

    First, there’s a huge difference between 19 men, in no small part religiously motivated, keeping their mouths shut as opposed to the hundreds of people on this side of the Atlantic that would have been needed to make conspiracy theorists’ wet dreams come true keeping their traps shut for ten years each.

    Second, ‘pull it’ means pull with cables, namely pulling one building away from another with cables during demolition. The term was used in reference to WTC 6, *not* WTC 7. See http://www.debunking911.com/pull.htm for more info, so that you can get your facts straight.

    Truthers think that if they keep asking “What if?” questions often enough, then the implantation of doubt that may occur in the listeners’ minds is sufficient, that they have somehow proved their point. Nothing could be further from the truth – in this courtroom drama, the Truthers are the prosecution, *not* the defense. You *must* prove your case to the exclusion of any doubt based in reason, not sit around saying “I dunno… looks pretty suspicious to me!” and end up thinking that you’ve somehow won. The Truthers haven’t done that – in fact, as the Debunking 9/11 site proves, they haven’t even come close.

  15. Ever read “The Crisis of Democracy?” (Noam Chomsky recommends it; it explains a lot about the last 40 years.) The “problem” examined is how an “excess of democracy” (like in the ’60s) can interfere with the rightful government by and for the wealthy. This is the bible for restoring rule to the ruling class.

    How?

    “The effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups.”

    Releasing obvious misinformation is one technique to keep people sidelined. It’s hard to take effective action on when all we know is what’s NOT true, but then, effective action is the last thing the ruling class wants.

  16. To michaelwme:

    Where can I read more about “The Bush, Jr. White House had identified several of the hijackers, and had them closely searched, but when they were found to be without any weapons of any kind, they were allowed to board.”

  17. meanwhile, back at the ranch… obama’s services were bought and paid for, before he was ever offered the nomination. (yeah, i voted for him too. Really wasn’t any other choice, Then). peace up!

  18. ted, ted! who profited? who was in bed with our “enemies” Before 9/11, and after?

    really ted, a few goofy details like shape charges and alleged missiles?

    does anyone give a shit?

    are we going to fool ourselves with the ol’, inncocent, “bumbling/incompentent” line?

    no ted, we need to nuremberg their asses. and you, of all people, know this.

    don’t pander the “imcompetent” bs For them.

    see ya in october, maybe.

    peace up

    (oh, btw… good job on most other stuff. i know you pay a price for having some backbone. and you’re damn funny, too!)

  19. I’ll never understand the ‘incompetence’ defense. It reminds me of the way Obamabots and loyal democrats in general have been defending democrats – righteously and arrogantly – for the past 30 years. How dare anyone suggest that the most powerful Dems are corporatists and bankster stooges! The party line is they are smarter, more ethical and caring than the GOP, yet these Ivy League lawyers are all incapable of haggling for a cent less than the right wing market’s proposals. It’s the Koch brothers’ fault. It’s Nader’s fault. Just don’t blame Obama!

    I’m not a truther because I’m not an engineer or even a casual student of physics (is there such a thing?), and i agree that even if mass confessions of wrong doings were revealed no one would want to believe it anyway. So, what’s the point? Though I’m starting to feel that way about any subject, such as a favorite one here, whether to vote dem, write in a progressive, or stay home.

    That said it always pisses me off to see truthers treated as crazies by otherwise legitimate journalists, without ever seeing a reasoned argument against all the circumstantial evidence. Yes that’s not evidence for conviction of anything, but how can anyone dismiss all the suspicious facts or lump together legitimate questions with fringe theories (disinformation or just creative paranoia?)

    I don’t know Ted, does it take an army months to wire a building for destruction? I can’t answer that, and I’m not going to spend my life trying to find out though I would love to hear the opinions of experts on the matter.

    What I have heard cited as fact but ignored by those who dismiss all talk of an inside job as lunacy:

    The three buildings that fell in their own footprint that day are the only ones in history to have done so without a controlled demolition. I find that hard in itself to accept. Particularly since the towers were designed to absorb the impact of planes, as the Empire State building did with little structural damage 60 years earlier.

    The incompetence/cover up of any investigation of the debris.
    The incompetence/cover up of the warnings of FBI and CIA agents.
    The outright denial that anyone could have fathomed such an attack, when it was known on record that one was planned, and that such an attack on the Eiffel tower was thwarted previously.

    Bush’s invisibilty and Cheney’s immediately pinning the attack on Saddam.
    The roll call of hijackers seemed to be immediately available, yet they were undetectable?
    The report in the papers the next day of the van full of Israelis filming and celebrating the destruction of the towers.
    Made me think of a book I read by a former Mossad agent, in which among many things he stated that the Mossad knew about and watched the Beirut barracks bombing that killed over 200 marines, because they knew it would sway american public opinion.

    The lack of response of fighter jets, the trillions made by bush, cheney, haliburton, big oil… incompetently laughing all the way to the bank.

    When i first heard about the New American Century quote about Pearl Harbor, i thought immediately that it was conspiracy talk from the fringe. But when I found it was not, it just seemed impossible to view as yet another coincidence. The neocons must be banned from every casino in the country, such is their unimaginable luck. errr, i mean incompetence, as they surely regret the immense wealth, power and monopoly on mainstream discourse they’ve acquired due to the tragedy of 9-11.

    The fact it was revealed that the CIA planned to hijack planes in the 60s and blame it on Cuba.
    How is it no one squawked? How is it none of the 9-11 hijackers and the many many people involved in helping them, squealed? The high and mighty ‘truther’s are crazy’ crowd often resort to this one detail to dismiss all truther talk:
    ‘it was impossible because someone would have said something’. Then why were the towers hit at all? I guess only americans crack? Can’t have it both ways, I call bullshit on that one. mean spirited holier than though bullshit.

    The Larry Silverstein interview where he said on the record ‘we decided to pull it’. Um, there is your squealer.
    Or do you buy his embarrassed excuse later that he didn’t know what the term meant? If so I have a wall street lackey, war loving, whistleblower hating ‘liberal’ for you.

    Yes it doesn’t matter even if it could be proven, because it’s over. They won, absolutely.
    So what do we do now other than watch the economy, the environment, and our society collapse?

  20. There are lots of parallels between Pearl Harbor and 9/11:

    1) Roosevelt had a detailed copy of the plans to attack Pearl Harbor, with dates and times, sitting in the White House, but did not act upon it. I mentioned this to a Communist acquaintance who said I should not believe the right-wing lies, but this one is true, it’s been admitted by the person who had the document. What is NOT mentioned by the right-wingnuts is that the treacherous Japanese wrote their plans in Japanese, and the Roosevelt White House did not trust anyone who was Japanese or who was such a Nippophile that he had studied Japanese, so, armed with only a Japanese-English dictionary, a true-blue Wasp figured out what he had been trying to decipher only when he heard the radio describing the actual attack. The court martial of Billy Mitchell had ‘proven’ that Pearl was impregnable. The White House put the military on high alert, saying a Japanese attack was imminent within weeks, but military theory said the attack would have to be against the Philippines, that Pearl had to be ready to respond, and that it would be a dangerous waste of precious resources to prepare Pearl against an aerial attack.

    2) The Bush, Jr. White House had also learned of a plot for a major attack, including hijacking planes. Out of all the rumours, it was considered impossible to hijack a plane using materials normally on the plane, like the box cutters the staff use to open the boxes with the meals. The US was on high alert for an attack on Americans in the MENA region (I was there, and was almost shot by a nervous American guard at an embassy). As with Pearl, the best available intelligence indicated that an attack like that of 9/11 was impossible, so the White House did not squander scarce resources preparing for an attack that was impossible, rather the White House prepared as best it could for the attacks perceived as probable.

    It is wrong to claim that Roosevelt really knew all about Pearl and allowed it to take place with more than 2,000 US deaths just to get into WWII. What he wanted was an attack on the Philippines with only Philippine casualties that would still be a causus belli for the US to enter WWII, and he did everything he could to provoke Japan to attack the Philippines by denying Japan desperately needed Philippine resources.

    And I cannot fault the Bush, Jr. White House for planning for a probable attack with precedents, instead of an attack (wrongly) perceived to be impossible. The Bush, Jr. White House had identified several of the hijackers, and had them closely searched, but when they were found to be without any weapons of any kind, they were allowed to board. We once had a policy of innocent until proven guilty, which resulted in 9/11, after which it was replaced with guilty until proven innocent.

    I fault Roosevelt for his racism: the Japanese born in the US were more American than Japanese, and could easily have translated the document and prevented Pearl Harbour.

    And I fault the Bush, Jr. White House for realising they had won the lottery on 9/11, and could pocket trillions for vandalising Afghanistan and Iraq and slaughtering women and children, and be cheered by the American people and easily re-elected for doing such a great job punishing the innocent. ‘An eye for an eye,’ they and their US supporters chant. Of course, the perpetrators’ eyes were too hard to take, so the Bush, Jr. administration took whatever eyes were most easily taken.

    And the Obama administration is continuing along the same path.

  21. My take was the government was probably loaded with so many incompetent Bush cronies who got their positions by donating a chunk of change to Bush, or his daddy back in the day, that important time critical decisions on 9/11 ended up being made by useless people. Somewhere in the system there was a Bush crony sitting on a toilet eating donuts and reading comic books when he should have been working furiously in a command center issuing orders that would saves lives.

    There is a cover up, but it is of their own gross incompetence that day. However, being incompetent, they kind of flubbed making their cover up air tight. The truthers caught onto various loose ends of their stories and spun it into a much bigger tale. The Bushies are then left sitting there thinking, but not saying, “no no no, you have it all wrong, we are not trying to cover up some vast conspiracy, we are just trying to cover up our own horrifically embarrassing crony incompetence.”

  22. Proof that Ted Rall is a Truther:

    He believes that Osama was in a safe house in Pakistan, rather than a cave in Afghanistan.

    He believes that the Bushies received a memo on August of 2001 stating that “Bin Laden wants to kick our ass six ways to Sunday”.

    And now, he believes that Flight 93 was shot down.

    Okay, so Ted isn’t really a Truther, but these suppositions of his do deviate from the official story of 9/11. But then, anyone who deviates from the official story is by definition a Truther, according to strict non-Truthers.

    Here’s my Truther-statement: Since the Bush Administration has lied about everything else, then it is stastically probable that they have lied about 9/11 as well.

  23. It’s difficult to reconcile the painfully inept government response to the 9/11 attacks with the coordination, secrecy and organization necessary to “simulate” these same attacks. The only 9/11 Truthers theories that I’ve heard that make any sort of motivational sense speculate that a non-governmental organization staged the event.

    One need only take a look around you now to see that the Bush Administration certainly succeeded in magnifying the extent of the damage. But they stumbled towards this goal ineptly and publicly.

  24. There are so many reasons to believe “they let it happen”…for starters the constant claims of the bush administration that “they had no idea terrorists would fly planes into buildings”, when the Hart/Rudman report issued in the spring of 2001 was very specific about this…this report was commissioned by both sides of the aisle and was received with great fanfare…however the bush admin shelved it…the PNAC, Project for a New American Century, was very specific about the US taking her rightful place in the world as the last empire, however the writings by the likes of rove, feif, etc were clear there would be no way to bring the American people along with some sort of “Pearl Harbor like incident”…seems like quite a stroke of luck that they would get just that only 8 months into their run…Payne Stewart’s small private jet was flying from Florida to Texas…when it went off course two fighter jets were in the air within 15 minutes to see what was going on, where were they when jumbo jets full of passengers went off course…go on line to find the tapes of the folks working in the east coast NORAD (there is another name for them, can’t think of what it is) and listen to the heartbreaking conversations of the people tasked with protecting us from attacks from the air as they realize they have no idea what’s going on…why were they given no warning at all when bush was informed “osama determined to attack within the US”…it’s possible to go on and on…the main point is we really still have no idea what the truth is…but all signs say it isn’t as simple as “they hate our freedom”…

  25. “Even if 9/11 did prove to be an inside job, I predict the national reaction would be: Huh.”

    Exactly. In fact, if Obama went on national TV and said “I’ve decided to permanently transfer an additional 1 trillion dollars of your tax dollars to my rich banker friends, because it’s in the national interest”, you’d get pretty much the same response. Some hooting and hollering from tea baggers, but that would die down quickly.

    Americans simply DO NOT CARE about ANYTHING, as long as you don’t take away their Nintendo, NFL, NASCAR, beer, American Idol, Facebook, etc …

    Any notion that Americans would ever revolt against anything meaningful is lunacy.

  26. Ted,

    I too am amazed that seemingly intelligent people are willing to believe that thousands of people were involved in some grand conspiracy, but as someone who could see the trade center from the windows of my loft, and who watched the buildings fall, there is one thing I can see people believing (not that I believe it myself). That is the thought that the government let it happen, even though they knew what was going on. The reason this is so believable is that most people, I think, don’t really understand just how incompetent the government, and the military in particular, really is. The first plane hit when I was dropping my son off at preschool, so I didn’t see it, and assumed it was some sort of freak accident. The second plane hit while I was walking my dog, and of course then I knew what was up. I remember standing in the park, and noticing total silence in the air, and thinking “where the hell are the fighter jets?” Clearly they should have been all over the place, there was plenty of time between the first and second plane for them to have been scrambled, really they should have shot the second plane down even with no warning about the first. When the jets finally showed up, I basically thought “wow, this is ridiculous” but I can see how someone would decide that obviously the jets weren’t sent on purpose, and the government was in on it. Not me, I have no problem believing the government is incompetent.

    • There’s no doubt that the government was and remains totally inept. The only thing they may have done right on 9/11 was to shoot down United 93, but they had to keep it quiet lest people be too afraid to fly and affect business.

  27. What prompted me to question the official conspiracy theory was the obvious inconsistency in what it claims is the correct physics. Aircraft damage, fire and gravity could not have produced the result that was witnessed by the entire world: the two towers disintegrating into finely powered dust and a tangle of steel columns in just under the time it would take for a bowling ball to fall from the roof top of one of the buildings. Whether it was the mass of the North Tower’s 13 or so floors above the crash site acting as a pile driver and pushing through the INTACT 97 floors below, or the mass of the 22 floors on the South Tower, the physics just doesn’t make a lick of sense. Even if the columns totally failed and the mass of these blocks of floors were free to fall, which there is no evidence even in the NCSTAR 1 report (see the fire simulations), the resistance they would meet trying to bash their way through the intact structure below would take much, much more time than was witnessed. To disintegrate in just a few seconds more than the time a bowling ball would take to hit the ground at free fall acceleration (~9s, the buildings disintegrated in roughly 10 to 15s) requires something to move the intact floors out of the way. The simplest explanation for that to happen are high energy explosive sources.
    To say that controlled demolition would not be possible because it would take too long for a team to rig the building is a legitimate thing to consider, but is simply not sufficient to PROVE that they did not. Access to the core columns was easily obtained through the private openings in the core’s elevator and utility shafts, out of the public’s eye.
    Thousands of tons of concrete, glass, office materials were pulverized into dust, and did so IMMEDIATELY as the buildings started coming apart. The potential energy to do this simply wasn’t available. Some other high energy source was necessary, and hence MUST be accounted for because that is what was seen.
    For weeks after the event molten metal was seen by hundreds of observers under WTC 1, 2, and 7, not 4, 5, or 6 which remained standing although badly damaged. Organic fuels simply don’t contain the potential energy to generate molten iron or steel in the amounts witnessed. How did these pools of molten metal form? Dismissing this phenomenon by calling me a conspiracy theorist is not an answer. My chemistry training and understanding of thermodynamics lead me to question why this result is not addressed in NIST’s NCSTAR 1 report, the FEMA report, or any official account.
    The Oral History of the NYFD contains 178 mentions of explosions, bombs, secondary devices, synchronized blasts and flashes. Not one of these events were mentioned in the 9/11 Commission report. Why? Firefighters saw, heard, experienced these events 1000 feet below where the aircraft struck. Employees of the WTC saw, heard, experienced explosions before and after the aircraft struck the buildings. Explosions were seen, heard, experienced (not elevator cars falling, or bodies, or electrical utilities, but fireballs, and every other classic signature of ordinance exploding as a former military Path Police officer described) by national news reporters and then reported on national news. These accounts were recorded by people both in the towers and in Building 7 which was not subject to an aircraft strike and jet fuel fires.
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USGS, and the RJ Lee environmental study performed for the Deutsche Bank all found evidence of extreme energy events in the steel or dust they examined. Microspheres of iron laced with sulfur, evaporated steel, glass, lead, microspheres of molybdenum. Steel doesn’t not melt being subjected to organic fuel fires, ie, jet fuel, nylon carpeting, wood, or plastic. Steel certainly does not evaporate from this type of energy exchange.
    It is intellectually dishonest to dismiss these serious inconsistencies as if coming from fevered imaginations. They are all well documented and to this day unexplained.
    The left’s disregard for these scientific anomalies is more reminiscent of the Bush Admin’s war on science than intelligent inquiry into an event that has left the world less safe, more spied upon, more uncertain than anything that has happened to this country since, say, the Civil War. It is shameful really.

  28. Ted since you’re into engineering and all perhaps you might explain two things to me? First how did a plane that didn’t leave nothing but a circular hole in the Pentagon because it was so fragile manage to pass through ten walls leaving just the perfect circle? The only thing capable of doing that is a missile with a nose cone designed to do that. Do explain. Second have you seen building number 7’s collapse? I’m guessing that you haven’t because it was incredibly obvious that it was brought down by explosives. I too have doubts about thew Let’s Roll bullshit as parts of that plane were found miles away from the crash site but the Sheeple will believe anything they’re told, i.e., the bigger the lie etec. Also we were warned long before it happened by the spooks from eleven countries what was about to happen, so at the very least they knew it was going to happen and did nothing and let it happen on purpose. You’ll recall the Smirky took a missile battery to Italy for the G-8 conference because the Italian spooks had busted up a ring who were going to highjack an airliner and fly it into the G-8 building. PNAC got their Pearl Harbor exactly, a Pearl Harbor as we knew the Japs were about to attack us as the British had broken the J -25 Purple Naval code in March of 41 and gave it to us in early May. I can explain why Pearl Harbor was chosen to suck Japan into attacking us and why the carriers were missing but you probably already know this, huh?

    • I know about Pearl Harbor.

      I am willing to entertain the possibility that Bush/Cheney knew the attack was coming and chose not to act. But there has to be proof or at least evidence of that…right now we don’t have that. There is no doubt that they exploited 9/11 for everything it was worth and then some…but that doesn’t mean they made it happen.

  29. Excellent article. I have a scientific background as well, having taught math at higher institutions for over a decade, including at engineering schools. Indeed, I was a teacher at West Point when the 9/11 attack occurred. With my scientific knowledge and time working among military folks as background, I concur that alternate theories as to what happened that day range from the merely untenable to the downright absurd. Further, as you note, there’s no way in hell you could ever pull together the manpower and resources together to pull off a controlled demolition without either someone on the ‘outside’ noticing, or someone on the ‘inside’ squealing.

    Bottom line, it is my opinion that the attack unfolded in the way we understand it to have done so, with the possible exception of Flight 93, again as you point out. The incident served as a most convenient catalyzing agent for the so-called “War on Terror” that followed, a conflict where the big winners were oil companies, private military contractors, and the client state of Israel.

    As one who is also a product of fundamentalist Christianity (and who long ago turned away from it to follow the path of reason), I understand why so many people in the U.S. strongly believe that forethought and malice on the part of certain elements of the U.S. government are necessary prerequisites for such actions to have occurred. It’s a logical extension of their Aquinas-inspired “First Cause” thinking, in which grand events demand equally grand (and easily understood) causes. You addressed possible reasons for the relative success of conspiracy theories in your article, but in such matters, let us not forget that religion plays a key role in the explanation.

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