And no, Virginia, a controlled demolition did not bring down the World Trade Center, not even WTC VII. Nor, for that matter, did our aircraft shoot down United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania.
I know that well-meaning people believe all of this, and I am reluctant to challenge their beliefs. But, alas, such beliefs have repercussion. The active bruiting about of such speculations has inspired a media version of Gresham’s Law: bad conspiracies driving out the good. Two months before the 10th anniversary of the TWA Flight 800′s demise, this bastardized new law threatens to trivialize the most consequential real conspiracy of our time.
In writing “Ron Brown’s Body” and “First Strike” (with James Sanders) and in producing “Mega Fix,” I learned something about apparent conspiracies: When investigating any incident, the first question one must ask and answer is “why”?
I have on occasion been accused of being “too political” in my analyses, but no analysis makes sense without a firm understanding of the “why,” the motive. To understand the case of both Ron Brown and TWA Flight 800, one begins with the Clintons’ desperate drive to retain the White House after the debacle of November 1994. The years 1995-1996, the subject of “Mega Fix,” were anomalous, the most troubled two political years in American history. Almost anything the Clintons were accused of doing during those two years they might actually have done, but even they would not have dreamt of staging a 9-11.
Nor did George W. Bush. This was not an “inside job.” Bush did not “know.” There is absolutely nothing in his character or in the public record to suggest that he would allow some 3,000 Americans to be killed and the American economy to be wrecked for any reason, let alone as a pretext to a war that needed no greater provocation than, say, a sunken ship or a bombed embassy. After all, an incident as marginal as an attack on an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin legitimized the much more costly war in Vietnam.
As to why the government had to launch a missile into the Pentagon a half hour after destroying the World Trade Center, there can be no sane answer. In his absurdly influential book “The Big Lie,” French author Thierry Meyssan argues that a satellite-guided missile struck the Pentagon, not American Flight 77 as all real evidence suggests. “This attack,” he writes, “could only be committed by United States military personnel against other U.S. military personnel.” Sure, OK Thierry, whatever.
To be fair, a military shoot down of United 93 over Pennsylvania does pass the “why” test. On Sept. 11, the collective psyche of America did not need any more shock, even if the military had every reason to intercept that plane. The shoot down scenario even passes the “how” test, a test that the other two legs of this scenario fail spectacularly. One can easily imagine a fighter jet firing on a commercial airline under such extreme circumstances.
This 93 scenario, however, fails the “what” test. For an incident to have happened as imagined, all evidence has to support it – just as all the evidence in the case of TWA Flight 800 supports a missile attack. The analyst cannot simply ignore contrary evidence. And in the United 93 case, there is more than enough contrary evidence to persuade the dispassionate observer (don’t try to convince me. I’ve seen it all). The missile in the Pentagon and especially the controlled demolition of the WTC scenarios do not begin to pass a “what” test. The arguments thrown together willy-nilly in the popular “Loose Change” video are embarrassingly stupid. Stay away from it.
As to why Bush orchestrated the 9-11 attack, the Michael Moore left, likely the majority of active Democrats, argues that he did so to justify not so much the war on terror as the war in Iraq. On the reason Bush wanted war, there is no consensus. One can choose from any of the following: oil, re-election, Halliburton, or – Joseph Wilson’s favorite – acquiescence to Sharon in his desire to oppress Palestine.
None of these bears any serious scrutiny, especially given the price of oil, the president’s approval ratings, and Hamas ruling in Palestine. To advance the Halliburton argument, one has to believe that we launched a trillion-dollar war so a company Dick Cheney left years earlier could secure a highly dangerous, cost-plus-2 percent service contract. If a local law professor had not interrupted my lawn mowing the other day to argue this, I would have thought such arguments an unjust caricature of the left. But no, the left actually seems to have convinced itself that this is so.
To understand what did happen on Sept. 11, please do check out the flawlessly executed new movie, “United 93.” This real time presentation shows how even smart people and sophisticated systems can misinterpret an event that is unprecedented.
For those who want specific visual answers to the various 9-11 conspiracies, take a look at the March 2005 edition of Popular Mechanics. For a deeper understanding still of the misconceptions surrounding the war on terror, pick up a copy of Richard Miniter’s excellent book, “Disinformation.”
For those, however, who have no greater goal than to nurse their cynicism or preserve their biases, be aware that “Loose Change” has a second edition.
About Mega Fix: In this stunning, surprisingly entertaining, 90-minute DVD video documentary, Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Jack Cashill traces the roots of Sept. 11 to the perfect storm of disinformation that surrounded the Clintons’ desperate drive for the White House in the years 1995-1996.
Cashill leads the viewer from Oklahoma City to Dubrovnik, where Ron Brown’s plane crashed, to the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia to the destruction of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island to the Olympic Park bombing.