I just finished reading Matt Taibbi’s excellent book The Great Derangement, which chronicles his undercover experience at Pastor Hagee’s church of nonsense, as well as his confrontation with the 9/11 conspiracy fringe. Only Taibbi could manage to seamlessly intertwine the hopeless naivete of fundamentalist christians and the illogical passion of the fundamentalist “truthers”.
The Great Derangement reminded me that I once cared enough to challenge these conspiracy theorists in public forums. I watched Loose Change, the 9/11 conspiracy “documentary” slapped together by Dylan Avery, a teenager with Michael Moore envy. Though the entirely inaccurate webdoc had zero proof that our government masterminded the terrorist attack on 9/11, I found it compelling and persuasive. The difference between me and the average “truther” is that I took the time to google “debunk 9/11 conspiracy” where I found logical and scientific arguments against the conspiracy and videos that crushed the pitiful lies in Loose Change.
There are some common fallacious arguments that I want to address here because I see them come up again and again when “truthers” argue their points. I kind of hate that I’m reduced to pointing out logical fallacies since that seems to be a dickish move. I don’t care. As arrogant as using debate rhetoric might be, my patience with this conspiracy is paper thin. So, forgive me as I delve into the world of “truth” and look at some of the arguments that I’ve come across.
- How can 12 arabs with boxcutters plan such an attack from their caves in Afghanistan? I find this argument to be racist and a simplistic underestimation of the abilities of the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
- How can two skyscrapers collapse so perfectly from a jet crash? I would argue that the collapse of the second trade center tower was the control that verified that, yes, a plane colliding at such a high velocity with a tall building could in fact bring it down. If not for the second tower, the event would have been unprecedented. Your inability to grasp the dynamics of the unique event of planes being used as missiles on skyscrapers, doesn’t mean it was faked.
- Evidence of past false flag operations proves that the U.S. is capable of starting a war under false pretenses. Actually, no that is not a fair statement. First, the accused false flag of Pearl Harbor doesn’t make sense (why allow our entire naval fleet to be wiped out to start a naval war?). Second, you can’t just randomly connect the events (possible mistakes) of our previous elected governments with the current elected government. They are two seperate entities, and should be treated as such.
- A plan, Operation Northwoods, was proposed to stage a terrorist hijacking that we would blame on Cuba in 1962, so it must follow that our government planned and executed the events of 9/11. First, this plan was rejected. Second, the existence of this rejected plan does not prove that our government would massacre it’s own citizens and needlessly attack it’s own defense headquarters.
- The CIA helped the muhajideen fight the Russians. Osama Bin Laden was a muhajideen. Therefore, the CIA planned 9/11. Of course this line of reasoning is fallacious, but it is often used as a carrot to lure people into the “truther” line of thinking.
- President Bush and VP Cheney are friendly with Saudi royals. Osama Bin Laden is an heir to a wealthy Saudi family. Therefore, Bush and Cheny planned 9/11. Nobody is going to argue that Bush and Cheney have been neutral to the the Saudis and the oil industry. But, this connection does not prove anything.
- The scientists and experts at the History Channel, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Popular Mechanics can’t have valid arguments against my conspiracy theory because they are part of the conspiracy. OK, if you won’t listen to their arguments, then you are clearly not going to ever change your mind. Understandably so, because you’ve painted yourself into such a corner that if you were to acknowledge your mistake, you would have to admit that you crapped all over the memories of innocent airline passengers, firemen, office workers, pentagon employees, and all their families.
- Loose Change was wrong about laser guided missiles under the fuselage of the crashing planes, and it was wrong about the skyscrapers being professionally demolished, but the third incarnation of the webdoc is correct because it will focus on WTC7. I would think that if they were sloppy enough with their errors and assumptions in the first two versions of Loose Change, then it would follow that they are probably starting with a premise and searching for facts to prove that premise. Not a good way to establish credibility, in my opinion.
There are a few questions that you can ask any “Truther” that they can’t answer in an honest or rational way. These are simple questions that will expose their assumptions, their arrogance, and their ignorance. I’m assuming that they are monitoring any mention of 9/11 conspiracy through google alerts, so let them answer here in the comments without tripping into the common above logical fallacies that they so often abuse.
What actual concrete proof do you have of any of your claims? Do you have the thermate bomb that was planted, a witness who saw it, evidence that it would even be used to demolish a skyscraper? Do you have any witnesses who actually saw a cruise missile hit the pentagon? Do you have any whistle blowers from the ever-widening conspiracy who have come forward to testify?
If the actual planes did not fly into the World Trade Towers, then where are the planes and the passengers? This is a very simple question that you can’t answer. Fundamentalist “truthers” should spend the rest of their years apologizing to those families of the 9/11 passenger victims. To make such a hideous accusation against our own government, it is only common decency that you prove how four planes full of passengers can disappear, and it might be nice to prove how their desperate phone calls could be faked.
How do you explain the secrecy of such a horrible conspiracy wide enough to possibly include: Bush, Cheney, CIA, FAA, the media, Larry Silverstein, the firemen who “pulled” the building, Marvin Bush, Securacom employees, people who faked plane wreckage, people who faked cell phone calls, people who killed innocent airline passengers and covered up the missing planes, fake terrorists who worked for the CIA, NORAD, 9/11 Commission, etc… It’s times like this that Ockham’s Razor starts to make sense. The old razor argument isn’t a universal law, but it is the common sense idea that the simplest answer is more logical than the needlessly complex answer.
Why would we attack our own defense headquarters when even just one World Trade Center collapse would have been enough to spark a war? Not to mention, WHY WOULD WE ATTACK OUR OWN DEFENSE HEADQUARTERS? There is no logical answer to this question.
Why is it so hard to believe that Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization who hates America, sent operatives to the U.S., had them train at flight schools, bought them tickets for four different planes departing on the same day, had them hijack the planes, and fly them into their targets? It’s not like they hadn’t done this sort of thing before. They even bombed the World Trade Tower in the 90s. We even have evidence of them continuing their attacks in England and Spain, among other places. WE FOUGHT A WAR WITH THEM. What does it take to prove that a terrorist organization is far more likely to attack us than we are to attack ourselves?
How can the most documented terrorist attack in history be ridiculed as a fraud perpetrated by our government? Holographic planes? Actors staging reactions? Cruise missiles? Planted thermate bombs? Faked wreckage? Some of these arguments border on insanity.
Confronting 9/11 conspiracies isn’t fun anymore. There never were any good arguments, just misleading anomalies, half-baked speculations, and a whole bunch of lousy circumstantial cherry picking. The “truther” arguments are like that mysterious bloated animal corpse that floated to the shores at Montauk. Sure, it seems like a fascinating bio-engineered monster, part of some elaborate genetic testing cover-up, but then you just realize that the thing isn’t anything special, just the over-hyped waterlogged carcass of a raccoon. Maybe I’m reaching for an analogy, but you get my point… right?