As with all events in history, there will be at least one, sometimes several, naysayers in the crowd and the events of September 11th 2001 are no exception. The United States Government presented the facts to the world but some just couldn’t grasp it. The incident raised questions in everyone’s mind, specifically how could this happen? President Bush was quick to state that Osama bin Laden and his ultra radical Islamist followers overpowered the crew on four airliners, then used them as missiles, crashing them into the Pentagon, World Trade Center and Pennsylvania farm land.
But some believe the U.S. Government played a part in 9/11, to the where they may have even orchestrated it from its beginnings. The general goal of a conspiracy theorist is to show the world not to take everything said in the media or by the government at face value. Though a little skepticism is good, there’s a point in which it’s beyond healthy. In the case of 9/11, these theorists are simply those who enjoy getting television and radio airtime, no matter the cause, expense or implausible conjecture.
Conspiracy theorists have been around for ages: “The holocaust never happened”, “Aliens made crop circles”, “JFK was killed by the CIA”, “Aliens kidnapped Elvis”, etc. In my research, I first went to Google in attempt to see how “big” the 9/11 conspiracy theory was and the results were astounding. A search of “9/11 conspiracy theory” resulted in almost 250,000 returns. In seeing such a massive return, many like me might wonder why the obvious has to be proven. For example, even though hundreds of firsthand statements were given of people seeing a plane crash into the Pentagon, conspiracy theorists still state that a missile made the hole. This same plane was hauled away, again seen by citizens. And what about the bodies that were removed from the wreckage site, later identified as those were on the plane? The plane and bodies must have been planted by the U.S. Government and the missile evidence all destroyed – why of course!
The conspiracy theorists for September 11th believe in a very diverse sequence of events, both pre, during, and post 9/11. The theories range from the U.S. Government knowing in advance of such an attack to the same government planning, organizing and participating in the assault. One, with at least a bit of common sense, might wonder how the U.S. Government could carryout such a massive event, and yet couldn’t falsify WMD’s when searching Iraq; even planting just one illegal missile behind a gas station may have been enough.
For the U.S. Government to play such a role in 9/11, thousands of citizens would have been aware and yet not one of them has spoken up. As J. Scott Christianson states in an article about this topic, some of those who believe 9/11 was caused by the U.S. Government mean well, in that they want the citizens of the country to know the horrible event was an in-side job. Unfortunately in doing so, they are doing an injustice to those who perished that day and to those who were able to walk away and tell their incredible story.
One might also wonder why the same scary U.S. Government would allow a movie titled Loose Change, created by three 9/11 conspiracy theorists, to be produced. The movie, and its two sequels, is based on raising questions and pointing out “holes” in what the U.S. Government stated occurred on 9/11. If President Bush was behind the killing of over 3000 people, why wouldn’t he quietly do away with Mr. Dylan Avery, the movies creator? Why would he allow all of these secrets to reach the public? It should also be mentioned that this movie, Loose Change, has had two sequels, or revisions. The third, recently released in 2007, has deleted out some of lies it so proudly stated in its earlier film.
For example, the first edition stated that there was a “pod” (perhaps a missile) located under one of the planes that hit the WTC. It also said that a missile hit the Pentagon, and not a plane. The third version of Loose Change points out that there was no pod on the plane that hit the WTC and that perhaps a plane did not the Pentagon. Slowly, even the theorists are finding flaws in their own logic. The unfortunate part was that this video was seen by over one million people on youtube.com alone, some of which were surely gullible enough to believe what they saw. If there was any evidence whatsoever to the conspiracy theorists ideas, they would be on the front-page of the Washington Post, not in the World Wide Web’s underground.
Popular Mechanics, a popular and well-regarded magazine concerning engineering and science, created an article titled “Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report”, in March 2005. There is no need to simply copy and paste their hard work, but to relay that they looked at 16 of the most common claims stated by the conspiracy theorists. In each, they expose the crack in each speculation and prove how far off the theories really are. One example refers to the theorist’s speculation that the fire in the WTC, caused by the plane crashing into it, had temperatures of no higher then 1500°F, which is to low to melt the steal frames.
Therefore, they say, the buildings wouldn’t have collapsed with the crash alone, but instead were detonated. Research done by Popular Mechanics shows that though 1500°F may be the highest temperature reached in the building, at 1100°F, steel loses 50% of its strength; it keeps only 10% of its power at 1800°F. In large building fires, it’s rare, if ever, that steel actually melts. It simply reaches a temperature where it can no longer maintain the weight of the building and collapses.
In the world of paranoid conspiracy theories, there are no such things at coincidences. Theodore Gatchel sums the conspiracy loons up nicely, when he says “One would think that such theories could be settled by the preponderance of evidence… In their view, any evidence that refutes their claims was planted by the government. When evidence to support them is missing, it was surreptitiously removed.” As mentioned, there are plenty of quality photographs, videos and personal statements that explain what occurred on this horrific day. But because there a few blurry photo’s and accounts that differ from other, the theorists latch on quickly and their ideas begin to spiral out of control. In conclusion, I am not one who runs to the government for all the answers, but at some point you just have to understand we got had. Let’s hope lessons were learned so that this never happens so us again.
Christianson, J. Scott. “9/11 Conspiracy Theories Twist Logic.” Columbia
Daily Tribune 30 Oct 2007, Proquest. Northern Virginia Community College Lib, Alexandria, VA. 04 Jan 2008 .
Editors. “Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report.” Popular Mechanics Mar 2005, 25 Jan 2008, .
Gatchel, Theodore L. “9/11 Conspiracy Theories – So Who moved Ockham’s Razor?” The Providence Journal 7 Oct. 2007, Proquest. Northern Virginia Community College Lib, Alexandria, VA. 04 Jan 2008 .