I’ll preface this by saying I haven’t seen the video, and have no interest in doing so.
I just don’t buy any of the conspiratorial garbage about 9/11.
None of the arguments that follow this statement are good arguments. I’ll address these in the order that I think they appear. I’ll also try to sum them up and number them.
(By the way, I have seen the video. Some of it is very persuasive, but much of it is not, I admit.)
1. There is no reason for a cover-up
These guys have all the money in the world, buy printing ink by the gallon, and are entirely motivated to find and punish whoever is responsible for killing their loved ones.
A lot of other very, very powerful people and groups—like elements in the energy industry and the military industrial complex and certain religious conservatives—have an interest in the exact opposite direction (i.e. an interest in fomenting and propagating war, especially divisive religious and cultural wars). Remember the saying—and you’ll here it a lot, to justify just about anything—that “EVERYTHING changed after 9/11.” The financial analysts and brokerage firms etc. are no match against these other powerful and violent forces. For a list of WTC tenants see here: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/tenants1.html
2. With freedom of speech, a free press, etc. it is not possible to pull off a cover-up anymore. (Again, I’m paraphrasing here.)
And that is not to mention the New Yorker, New York Times, the Post, the Daily News, and a number of other smaller periodicals of all political stripes that are published here. Any one of them would print—in an instant—any credible story of a coverup over 9/11. As it is they publish daily all sorts of stuff over Iraq, Afghanistan and even the 9/11 cleanup.
All that shows is that so far a cover-up—if there has been one—has been a successful cover-up.
3. Appeal to proximity and emotion.
Also, I was in NYC during the event. A friend of mine was in one of the towers, but got out. My wife came very close to getting a job in one of the towers.
Why should you’re proximity to these events give you a special clarity on them? Many other people even closer than you—notably some 9/11 widows—are not angered by these theories, and in fact they helped to force an investigation. See here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4696092/ And, note that you are throwing your hat in with Ann Coulter on this one. Although she is more poetic (witness the headline: “Conservative writer Ann Coulter’s new book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” accuses four World Trade Center widows of enjoying their husbands’ deaths.”) Get the full story here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/07/entertainment/main1690954.shtml
Usually I laugh at conspiracy theories. These ones make me angry.
Why should continued investigation and inquiry provoke ire?
By the way, I usually laugh at conspiracy theories too.
4. Memory is fallible.
Another thing to keep in mind: memory is notoriously fallible, and more fallible as time goes on. Thus, conspiracy theories tend to gather steam after a few years, when immediate memory has given way to long-term memory. And there are always nuts out to make a buck or 15 minutes of fame on them.
If “memory” was all we had to go on, I would agree. But there is so much documentation and evidence that the fallibility of memory is mostly just irrelevant here. And, most of the eye-witness interviews that are appealed to were conducted shortly after the events; they are recorded on tape.
5. Hard to believe.
Another feature of human thinking is that the cause has to be commensurate to the effect. People find it hard to believe that one man, unaided, could kill Lincoln, because the man was such a nothing, and yet Lincoln such a great man. Yet such is life.
... I should add that one look at Bush in the clip of him reading to the schoolkids on 9/11 should make plain that he had no idea what was going on. Classic “deer in the headlights” when he’s told about the second plane. His behavior for the rest of the next couple of days is about as far from scripted and competent as a president could possibly be.
I’m having trouble squaring these two statements. Are Booth and Bush being compared or contrasted? At any rate, it has been documented that Bush wanted to go after Iraq(!?!) the days after 9/11; and he constantly appeals to the slogan “we live in a post-9/11 world”, not to mention his brother was in charge of security for the towers. As for his “behavior,” it is always a little bit weird. Anyway, I don’t think the most charitable interpretation of the conspiracy theory would place W. Bush as the “mastermind” behind it all. But to say there are no ruthless, conniving, devious, malicious plotters in his immediate circle (Rove and Cheney come to mind) is to close one’s eyes.
6. No media outlet of “repute” would dabble in such a theory.
So, while I will not be spending an hour and a half on this piece of work, I am plenty familiar with the genre, and with 9/11 conspiracies in general. In the final analysis, if there’s anything to them, it will come out in reputable publications rather than in the exclusively sensationalist or self-published vanity press.
The “reputable” (main-stream) press fears nothing more than falling into disrepute. They cower at being branded unpatriotic or anti-American. Witness the hard-headed, fact-finding, high-level investigative journalism that scoured the “evidence” the Bush administration trotted-out prior to the invasion of Iraq. It would have been easy for journalists to cast doubt on much of their claims and supposed “evidence”; instead the media played lap-dog and then reaped the cash benefits of covering a war.
These are bad arguments, one and all. I’m somewhat surprised by this, since I normally find your posts to be eminently reasonable and often to contain pearls of wisdom. Not so here.
Now, I’m not saying that the weakness of your arguments proves anything—that, itself, would be a fallacy; I’m just saying that you can’t just dismiss all of the many coincidences out of hand. Like this:
This stuff is absolute nonsense, on a par with the people who claim that we never landed on the moon, or that the government is covering up alien autopsy films.
Of course, I admit, if there was a cover up, it would be the greatest cover up in history. You’re probably right that such conspiracy theories are bunk. But, there are a lot of strange coincidences and your arguments do nothing to dispel them.
Do you believe the one-bullet theory of the Kennedy assassination? Sometimes believing that there is no conspiracy is more irrational (or at least harder to believe) than believing that there is one.
For my own part, the one thing that really bothers me is WTC # 7.
This is from a Wiki-article about building 7:
There are a growing number of conspiracy theorists who believe that this building was brought down intentionally by one or more US citizens for their own personal gain. The building housed many government offices including those investigating corporate improprieties, and many important government documents were destroyed in this building’s eventual collapse. The fact that several adjacent buildings were closer to the attacked twin towers but did not collapse and 7 World Trade Center did gives fuel to this theory.
The owner of the building says, explicitly, that he gave the order to “pull” building 7. That is a fact.
Watch it here:
You can’t pull off a controlled demolition on short notice. It takes weeks or more to plan and carry out.
Explain that one.