Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracies, Already

By Matthew Rothschild



At almost every progressive gathering where there’s a question and answer period, someone or other vehemently raises 9/11 and espouses a grand conspiracy theory.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of enduring these rants, please let me share.

Here’s what the conspiracists believe:

9/11 was an inside job.

Members of the Bush Administration ordered it, not Osama bin Laden.

Arab hijackers may not have done the deed.

On top of that, the Twin Towers fell not because of the impact of the airplanes and the ensuing fires but because the Bush Administration got agents to plant explosives at the base of those buildings.

Building 7, another high-rise at the World Trade Center that fell on 9/11, also came down by planted explosives.

The Pentagon was not hit by American Airlines Flight 77 but by a smaller plane or a missile.

And the Pennsylvania plane did not crash as a result of the revolt by the passengers but was brought down by the military.










“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

?Carl Sagan



I’m amazed at how many people give credence to these theories. Everyone’s an engineer. People who never even took one college science course can now hold forth at great length on how the buildings at the World Trade Center could not possibly have collapsed in the way they did and why the Pentagon could not have been struck by that American Airlines jet.

Problem is, some of the best engineers in the country have studied these questions and come up with perfectly logical, scientific explanations for what happened.

The American Society of Civil Engineers and FEMA conducted an in-depth investigation of the World Trade Center. The team members included the director of the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the senior fire investigator for the National Fire Protection Association, professors of fire safety, and leaders of some of the top building design and engineering firms, including Skidmore Owings & Merrill in Chicago, Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire in Seattle, and Greenhorne & O’Mara in Maryland.

It concluded that massive structural damage caused by the crashing of the aircrafts into the buildings, combined with the subsequent fires, “were sufficient to induce the collapse of both structures.”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology did its own forty-three volume study of the Twin Towers. “Some 200 technical experts . . . reviewed tens of thousands of documents, interviewed more than 1,000 people, reviewed 7,000 segments of video footage and 7,000 photographs, analyzed 236 pieces of steel from the wreckage, [and] performed laboratory tests and sophisticated computer simulations,” the institute says.

It also concluded that a combination of the crash and the subsequent fires brought the towers down: “In each tower, a different combination of impact damage and heat-weakened structural components contributed to the abrupt structural collapse.”













Popular Mechanics, first in its March 2005 cover story and now in its expanded book, Debunking 9/11 Myths, after interviewing scores of other experts in the engineering field, takes apart the most popular contentions of the conspiracists. “In every case we examined, the key claims made by conspiracy theorists turned out to be mistaken, misinterpreted, or deliberately falsified,” the book says.

I made a few calls myself, including to Gene Corley, who conducted the American Society of Civil Engineers/FEMA study, and to Mete Sozen, structural engineering professor at Purdue, who was one of the principal authors of “The Pentagon Building Performance Report” of January 2003, which was done under the auspices of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute. I also contacted engineering professors at MIT and other leading universities in the country, and none of them puts any stock in the 9/11 conspiracy theories. In fact, they view them as a huge waste of time. They are busy trying to figure out how to prevent buildings from falling in the future.

Of course, any conspiracy theorist worth his or her salt will claim that all these people are in on the plot.

And that I am in on it, too.

Get over it.

The guru of the 9/11 conspiracy movement is David Ray Griffin, an emeritus professor not of engineering but of philosophy and theology at the Claremont School of Theology. First in The New Pearl Harbor and then in The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions and now in Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11, Griffin has peddled his conspiracy theory.













“Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”




He’s not alone, of course. A myriad of websites devote themselves to this subject, and several films are circulating on it, including Loose Change. There’s even a group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth, which insists “the World Trade Center was almost certainly brought down by controlled demolitions.” Most prominent among these is Steven E. Jones, professor of physics and astronomy at Brigham Young University, whose primary field is not engineering but cold fusion, according to Debunking 9/11 Myths.

The conspiracy theories are particularly popular on the left for a couple of understandable reasons. It’s undeniable that Bush has ceaselessly seized on 9/11 to justify his warmaking abroad and his repressive policies at home. And then there’s the notorious phrase in a document of the Project for the New American Century, the fount of neoconservativism, whose members included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and a host of other hawks who flew into the Bush Administration. That line, from the September 2000 study “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” argues for transforming the U.S. military posture into a much more aggressive one, and for expanding the Pentagon’s budget to reach $500 billion a year. The authors recognized that this transformation would be difficult to achieve quickly “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event?like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Griffin and other leftwing conspiracy theorists put the two together, and voila. The attacks “were orchestrated in order to pave the way for launching unprovoked wars on two countries that provided no threat, whether imminent or long-term, to the people of the United States,” he writes in Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11. “The Administration and its Pentagon even planned to use 9/11 as a pretext . . . to attack still more countries. The U.S. government was planning, therefore, to use the deaths of some 3,000 people (whom itself had killed) to justify wars that would most likely kill and maim many hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions.”

Before taking some of the major conspiracy claims one by one, let’s examine how outlandish the conspiracy theory is on its face.

First, Osama bin Laden has already claimed responsibility for the attack several times and boasted of the prowess of the suicide bombers who hijacked those planes. Why not take him at his word? And if bin Laden were working in cahoots with the Bush Administration, why was the President warned on August 6, 2001, in a Presidential daily briefing that Osama bin Laden was about to attack the United States? Wouldn’t that risk exposing the conspiracy?




















Second, if the Bush Administration plotters carried out 9/11 to justify attacking Iraq, why didn’t they have Iraqi hijackers do the deed? In actuality, there was not a single Iraqi hijacker, and Bush propagandists had to do all sorts of gymnastics to link Iraq to the actual attackers.

Third, for this conspiracy to have succeeded, it would have had to have been amazingly vast: not only the high level members of the Bush Administration (including the head of the Secret Service, Griffin says in Christian Faith) and the explosives teams, but also many others.

Griffin, in Pearl Harbor, for instance, alleges that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani may have been involved. Griffin quotes Giuliani telling ABC News, “We were operating out of there [Building 7] when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse.” Griffin says Giuliani had no obvious way of knowing that, and concludes: “Giuliani’s statement provides, therefore, evidence someone, perhaps he himself, knew something that the firemen in the buildings did not know?which was perhaps that explosives had been placed in the buildings and were about to be set off.” Is that really evidence? Isn’t it much more likely that the firefighters told the mayor to leave because the fire itself was jeopardizing the building?

Griffin also alleges that Larry Silverstein, who leased the World Trade Center complex, was in on the deal so he could collect the insurance. (This claim?which he might as well have called “The Jew Cashed In”?dovetails with the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory popular in the Middle East that the Mossad blew up the towers and warned the thousands of Jews who would have been working there to stay home.)

In Pearl Harbor, Griffin quotes Silverstein in a 2002 PBS documentary recalling a conversation from the fire department commander on September 11 “telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, ‘We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.’ And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse.” Griffin, who writes that Silverstein “made almost $500 million in profit from the collapse of Building 7,” says by “pull it” Silverstein was recommending that the building be demolished by explosives. Silverstein has flat-out denied that. By “pulling it,” he has said that he meant giving up on the firefighters’ efforts to save the building.

Two books later, Griffin removes any ambiguity Silverstein’s “assertion that Building 7 was brought down by explosives, whatever the motive behind it, explains why and how it collapsed,” Griffin writes in Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11. But Silverstein never made such an assertion, and for Griffin to claim he did is, to say the least, a distortion.







「従って、建物の消防士が知らなかったジュリアーニのステートメントは、証拠誰かが、たぶん彼自身と何かを知っていたと規定し、?whichは、たぶん、爆発物が建物に置かれて、爆発することに対してまわりにあったことでした。」が、本当に 証拠 それですか?