Sunday, December 23, 2007

9/11 Truthers Always Lose

My response to This Diarist @ the Daily Kos:

Mr. Hirschhorn,

I just completed your diary at Daily Kos and I had some quick observations for your consideration.

First, you state that, "Simply put, controlled demolition brought down three buildings, not fires from the impact of planes on two of them," without providing any sort of citation for this incredible claim, sans Frankly, I find this opening statement laughable from a former full professor of engineering. I'm not an engineer, but I know enough about demolition to realize that bringing down two structures the size of the Twin Towers would require thousands of man hours of preparation along with thousands of pounds of powerful explosives. This just isn't something a hundred odd black ops fellas could pull off in a weekend or two, and even if they could, evidence of the preparation would be more than apparent to anyone showing up to work in those buildings on 9/11/01.

But let's say the CIA (or some other shadowy agency) had the time and manpower to set up such a controlled demolition and then re-drywall the internal structure (after having torn through a good deal of the place to plant the explosives and wire all of the charges for remote detonation) to the degree that it would seem all was just business as usual to people who'd worked there for years. Even under this almost certainly implausible (and solely for the sake of argument, I assure you) scenario, once the hijacked aircraft slammed into the buildings and set them aflame (even without the planes (not sure how deep your personal degree of conspiracy belief goes, there), I think we can agree the buildings were on fire for a bit before the collapse), the wiring for demolition charges would be melted through, making remote demolition impossible. Which is to say, provided the demolition was planned, once the building bursts into flames (for whatever reason), I think the idea of "control" goes right out the window.

As far as the third building (WTC7) is concerned, I've always been confused by the rationale for that (from the conspirators' point of view, I mean). Simply put, how does that help the cause of the operation? We've already got the Pentagon hit (with several hundred casualties), the Twin Towers destroyed (about 3000 dead), and the country as a whole is pretty much ready for some serious payback, no matter who gets hurt in the process. We're talking verifiable signs of national bloodlust, here. "Nuke 'Em" barely has the sentiment covered, seriously. What on earth would be the point of deliberately destroying an empty financial building in a controlled demolition hours later? Why risk it? Please, if you can explain this to me, I would be very appreciative (also, again on the feasibility of maintaining the wiring to all the charges necessary for a controlled demolition within a burning building).

But leaving the engineering feasibility of the three controlled demolitions aside, my second issue concerns your strategery for reconciling your concerns. After repeatedly claiming that the powerful elites, both Democrat and Republican, in the highest levels of government are all co-conspirators in this massive abuse of power over the American public, you then propose drafting "The 9/11 Truth Act of 2008" and submitting this proposal to the House and Senate of the U.S. Congress! Seriously!?! I literally laughed out loud when I read this. For a full minute, from the gut, and I'm not even kidding. Do you really think, after a government that can't do anything right (and I mean almost ever) pulls off a conspiracy of this magnitude, for this long, and with this level of success, that they're just gonna decide, out of the freakin' blue, to let you wreck it with some amateur citizen drafted legislation? Oh, and then the President is going to sign it into law, or else all of the 9/11 Truthers aren't going to vote for him (for the record, I don't think he's throwing his hat into the ring this time out (and technically, as far as I know, Congressional investigations don't need to be signed into law by the President, or did Bill Clinton sign off on the whole Whitewater thing?)). This whole idea is logically contradicted by the first half of your diary's claims of massive government corruption and by the nature of the conspiracy itself. Good luck with that.

And finally, my third issue stems from your statement regarding the reasons for the conspiracy, "The 'why' is obvious: To justify an unjust war to serve corporate interests and greed." Assuming this is true, if the whole point of this "conspiracy" was to get the authority to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, wouldn't the conspirators have the good sense to at least frame some terrorists from Iraq and Afghanistan? Of the nineteen (alleged) hijackers, here's the breakdown: one from Egypt, one from Lebanon, two from the UAE, fifteen from Saudi Arabia. Why haven't we invaded any of these countries yet? Just curious.

Again, I'm not an engineer or an expert in geopolitical affairs, but in my humble (albeit amateur) opinion, if the 9/11 truth movement does in fact get to display its beliefs on the national stage in front of the House or the Senate for the purposes of this new investigation, you need to have some plausible answers to these obvious questions at the ready.

Looking forward to your prompt reply,


"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy; its inherent value is the equal sharing of misery." ~Winston Churchill

Always fun to have fun with the Truthers

Update His Reply (and my retort):

What I find terribly sad about your lengthy email is that ALL of your issues/concerns have been fully addressed by extremely competent, professional people that have devoted much of their lives to examining what really went on. There simply is no substitute for someone like you spending maybe 50-100 hours honestly reading a tremendous amount of material available on the Internet; a terrific starting point is the site I provided, because it is truly focused on science and engineering; the other site I provided provides information on the remarkable array of the most reputable people one could imagine supporting the truth movement. Drop your ego and preconceived beliefs and open your mind and I am 99% certain that if you spend sufficient time studying materials you would join our cause; most of us went through that process; I spent incredible hours studying materials before I joined the movement. On a scale of 1-10 your level of information is no more than 1. And stop trying to find excuses to believe the official story.....

To which I replied:

Mr. Hirschhorn,

Thank you for your timely response. While I appreciate your promptness, I must point out that you seem to have missed the ultimate point of my correspondence. Surely you don't expect to tell Senators and Congressmen that if they have basic questions regarding "The 9/11 Truth Act of 2008" that they'll need to do 50-100 hours worth of reading on the internet beginning with your favorite 9/11 Truth websites. These are our elected representatives. They don't even bother to read multi-billion dollar budgets before voting on them. Some of them probably don't even understand how to access the internet (I'm not kidding). Perhaps you should assign some of the "extremely competent, professional people" to address the elected folks, as your response indicates that you're not the guy to talk to w/r/t specifics. Which, on your scale of 1-10 would put you (best case scenario) at about a 6. My reasoning here is that, if what you say about this conspiracy is true, the top of the pyramid (i.e. the architect of the conspiracy) would rate a 10 on the scale. His immediate underlings and the bureaucratic infrastructure would come in at around 9ish, while the (alleged) terrorists and their victims are at 8. Since you've allotted the next available slot to "extremely competent, professional people," your best case finish is a 6 (unless, of course, you are in fact a contributing conspirator (or, I guess, a victim, which seems unlikely given your ability to type and respond to queries)). As I've achieved level 1, my 50-100 hours of study should (presumably) advance me through 2-5 (I wouldn't presume to achieve your level, sir). As far as the middle bit's concerned, if one eliminates the ego and spends sufficient time in any area of study, the odds are good that one would make a valuable asset to the studied area's defense. That doesn't make a lick of difference regarding the truth off the matter, however. To use your analogy about telling children about their mass murdering parents (arrogance being the centerpiece of persuasive debate, as you well know), try having O.J.'s kids spend 50-100 hours researching their father's case on the internet and see whether they come away as a part of the movement to have him put away for life. You might have some luck with his older daughter. At least that's the word on the street. But I digress.

Talk to you again in 50-100 hours.

Merry Christmas,


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Be Reasonably Afraid. Be Very Reasonably Afraid...

From Ron Silver's blog on Pajamas Media:

In February of 2004, NYU held a conference about fear. The conference was called “Fear: Its Uses and Abuses.” In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, posters with crude caricatures of Japanese and Nazis appeared with “Warning! Our homes are in danger now!” Exclamation points at the beginning and close of the warning, in case the message escaped us. It was called propaganda. As reported in the New York Times, in an article by Edward Rothstein, (propaganda’s) “accepted function was to galvanize, urge, justify, remind and yes, frighten.” (italics mine)

After the Second World War, with Truman’s approval rating in national polls falling more than 50 points, the president and his secretary of state, Dean Acheson, called in Senator Arthur Vandenberg, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and explained to him how the Communists were establishing a beachhead in Greece that would threaten all of Western Europe. According to Tim Weiner, author of Legacy of Ashes: “The U.S. was going to have to find a way to save the free world-and Congress would have to pay the bill.” Senator Vandenberg replied ”Mr. President, the only way you are going to get this is to make a speech and scare the hell out of the country.” On March 12, 1947 the president made that speech to a joint session of Congress. He argued that money needed to be sent to Greece, because they “were threatened by the terrorist activities of thousands of armed men.” Thus the president’s decision with Congressional approval led to one of the early battles against Soviet domination. These cold and not so cold wars would last for more than 50 years, culminating in the Soviet Empire’s defeat. Fear was the lubricant. At times there was domestic overreaction as the rise of politicians like McCarthy and Nixon took advantage of the fear. And grievous mistakes were made that scarred many of my generation and I daresay our nation. But our nation survived the excesses and survived the Soviet threat.

After September 11, with the emerging threat of Islamic terrorism becoming more manifest in the public mind (many of us took this threat more seriously than others prior to this atrocity), what sticks out most immediately is how, again according to Edward Rothstein, there were “[s]o few examples of graphic American propaganda and none using ethnic or racial caricatures. Yet beginning with Al Gore, who delivered the keynote address at the Conference, the former vice president asserted again and again that the American government is preoccupied with instilling fear.” The conference was essentially about fear being encouraged by our government and exacerbated by the media. It was compared with the irrational fear of Communism and the perversions of McCarthyism.

Read the whole thing.