Wednesday, May 16, 2007

9-11 Conspiracy Theories--A Haven for the Rabid and the Incompetent

Rosie O'Donnell is not the only nitwit to espouse 9-11 conspiracy theories publicly. In fact, there are apparently more than 800,000 web pages devoted to the deluded imaginings and wishful thinking of the lunatic left mainstream.
Increasingly, such beliefs are migrating from the fringes and into the mainstream. French author Thierry Meyssan’s The Big Lie, which argues that the U.S. military used one of its own guided missiles to attack the Pentagon, was a bestseller in France, and his claims have been widely repeated in European and Middle Eastern media. When Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to President George W. Bush in May 2006, his rambling missive included broad hints that the American government was involved in organizing the attacks. Allegations of American complicity in 9/11 have become standard fare on talk radio, and among both radical left- and radical right-wing groups. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a Democrat from Georgia, has held a Capitol Hill hearing on the topic. Celebrities have gotten into the act as well. “Why did Bush knock down the towers?” rapper Jadakiss asked in his 2004 hit “Why?” And, in an interview with conspiracy-oriented talk-show host Alex Jones, actor Charlie Sheen embraced a variety of popular conspiracy theories.

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion,” Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York was fond of saying. “He is not entitled to his own facts.” Sooner or later, even the wildest 9/11 theories rely on factual claims. And facts can be checked.

Popular Mechanics became involved in investigating 9/11 conspiracy theories in the fall of 2004, after an advertisement ran in the New York Times for the book Painful Questions by Eric Hufschmid, demanding that the 9/11 investigation be reopened. Hufschmid’s book includes a number of tangible claims regarding 9/11. It states, for example, that because jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel, the fires in the World Trade Center towers could not have caused their collapse. And it claims ample evidence exists to show that demolition-style explosives were prepositioned in the buildings.

As editors of a magazine devoted to science and technology, we saw these claims as significant. Was there hard evidence to support them? And, if so, what would be the implications for our understanding of 9/11? At the very least, we thought, someone should look into these allegations. If there were even a hint of truth to these or similar claims, then the conspiracy theorists had a point: There should be a deeper investigation.

....The magazine assembled a team of reporters and researchers and methodically began to analyze the most common factual claims made by conspiracy theorists--assertions that are at the root of the majority of 9/11 alternative scenarios. We interviewed scores of engineers, aviation experts, military officials, eyewitnesses, and members of the investigative teams--more than 300 sources in all. We pored over photography, maps, blueprints, aviation logs, and transcripts. The results of our research appeared in the March 2005 issue of Popular Mechanics. That cover story, “9/11: Debunking the Myths,” provoked a strong reaction on the internet and in the mainstream media. The online version of the article remains the most frequently read story on and has been printed out more than 850,000 times.

As someone with limited time to waste, I have not spent very much time looking at theories that were clearly dreamed up by people several cards short of a full deck. Nevertheless, since the leftist mainstream is composed largely of academically lobotomised, psychological neotenates with pathological narcissism, such theories find a ready audience there.

When a person's personal and political ideology is comprised largely of hate and anger, he becomes an easy target for such poorly reasoned treatises which try to deny a worldwide problem of surplus jihad-aged muslim males trained to kill for religion, and lay all the world's problems at the feet of the hated US government.

No wonder Al Gore is doing so well with his little propaganda film. It all fits, if you focus your hatred clearly enough on the chosen scapegoat.

No comments: