30 January, 2008

9/11 Truth? An inside job?

These are my opinions, based on what I have seen, read, observed and extrapolated.

September 11, 2001 was a conspiracy, and an insidious one. Call it luck, or coincidence, or divine will, but, the conspiracy succeeded (at least, 75% success) in its aims.

Here are some of the common claims of "9/11 Truthers", and my personal thoughts about those claims:
  • Steel melts at a higher temperature than Jet-A fuel burns.

    True. But drywall, paper, plastics, human beings, furniture, paint, and other materials present in those buildings burn at higher temperatures. Furthermore, the Jet-A fuel would have quickly burnt off, but it would have ignited other substances that burn at higher temperatures.

    Furthermore, steel weakens when exposed to heat. Anyone who has even sharpened a knife, or shot slugs into a traffic sign, or even bent a spoon with a Bic lighter knows this.

    Therefore, it was not necessary to actually melt the steel to weaken it, and even if that was not enough to bring down the buildings, there were certainly fires hot enough to melt portions of the load bearing columns (located near the outside of the structure, best exposed to oxygen to fuel the ongoing fires).

  • The buildings came down in manner of a controlled demolition.

    False. Conspiracy theorists claim that the planes alone could not have brought towers 1 and 2 down, much less building 7, the crux of the argument. For buildings 1 and 2 to say that the planes themselves did not bring the buildings down is technically true, see above: ignition of other sources contributed to the softening of the steel super-structure, weakened by the impact of the jets.

    The argument that someone or someone(s) were able to wire up miles of fuses and wires and tons of explosives in all three buildings without being noticed is much less likely than the evidence in front of us. A similar theory was put forward regarding the devastating destruction of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma, but several independent tests verified that the destruction caused by the truck bomb was not only plausible but likely.

  • No planes actually flew into the Trade Center towers 1 and 2.

    False. I watched it on live TV. I have friends in New York who saw it. Millions of eye witnesses, tens of thousands of direct eye witnesses. This claim makes me truly angry.

  • The administration had advance knowledge of the attacks.

    True. "Bin Laden Determined to Attack." The obstructionism of the Bush administration was a cover-up, for sure, in resisting the investigative efforts of the 9/11 Commission. However, this was not to hide some intentional complicity, but rather to cover-up and therefore avoid liability for their willful ignorance, to wit, unintentional complicity in the attacks.

  • It is improbable that 19 young hijackers, funded by Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, could circumvent the world's best financed defense department, complete with Jet Fighter interceptors, RADAR, and untold military technology.

    False. Believe it or not, not all of the $500 billion dollars we spend per year on defense goes toward a standing at-the-ready fighter jet strike force capable of tracking and intercepting hijacked planes at a moment's notice.

    The Bill Moyers' PBS documentary about this goes into greater detail than I care to at this time, but I would note that the fighter jet interception force was, in 2001, still geared towards fighting the cold war. We were, as they say in the military, "blind on our 6". No one was watching civilian RADAR, and sorting out which planes were in fact hijacked and where they were was, tragically, not accomplished until after half of the jets had already reached their targets.

    Also, as a final note, the laws of physics simply do not allow for jets, scrambled from various stations in the mid-Atlantic, to reach hijacked planes or target zones in the time alloted. It takes over 15 minutes to even get those jets into the air.

    When you consider the apparent fact that the President himself didn't even know there was an attack under way until the second Jet hit the WTC, how can one assume that our defense apparatus would have had any chance at all to intercept and disable those planes.

    I will allow some doubt as to whether Flight 93 was shot down or taken down by terrorist pilots, but having heard the flight deck recordings, I tend to believe the latter.

    That is the only uncertain detail I am willing to entertain.

    Finally. After almost 7 years there is no "smoking gun" indicting our government, nor Mossad, or anyone other than al-Qaeda in this attack. Surely, after all that has happened, given the amount of organization and manpower that would have been required by our government or some other actor to perpetrate this attack, some evidence would have surfaced that could cast real doubt on the reality of a more nefarious conspiracy than the one that was, in my opinion, executed by radical Islamic terrorists. Surely someone would have come forward. Same with Oklahoma City, same with TWA Flight 800.

    I await the flaming and the bullying in comments, and I do not censor comments.