America was founded on healthy skepticism of government. It is not only normal, but important that a people question the actions of its government. As John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton was famously quoted, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Open investigation of government activities is necessary for a freely functioning democracy.
Of course, total transparency is often unfeasible in matters of national security; and there are very real safety benefits to a certainly level of opaqueness when these matters are concerned. That being said, I would like to see my government functioning at about 99% transparency. I doubt that this will ever happen.
As a healthy skeptic, there are many questions about the events of September 11th, 2001 that I would like answered that have either been left unanswered or have been answered somewhat inadequately.
While there are hundreds of questions out there, I will raise a few of the less absurd, more popular ones: Where are the missing plane parts (engines, etc) from the Pentagon site? Why were some phone calls covered up? Did the government have intelligence about the attacks prior to their occurring? Was special treatment given to Osama Bin Laden and/or his family at any time immediately before, during, or immediately after the attacks? I have not read nor will I read the 9/11 commission report because I lack the time and the desire to do so.
I am unsure which questions have been sufficiently answered and which have not. As I stated above, I would like to see more transparency relating to the attacks that day, but I don’t believe for a second that the U.S. government had any role in the attacks.
I am not an expert on this matter, but I do consider myself a reasonably intelligent human being. The biggest reason that I have discounted the 9/11 conspiracy theories is rarely cited: implausibility.
In the words of South Park’s 9/11 “thruther” spoof episode, “It was only the world’s most intricate and flawlessly-executed plan ever, ever.” Rational thought is a person’s most valuable tool. Let’s try it here. If you believe that the United States government perpetrated the attacks on September 11th, 2001, you probably believe the following: Anywhere from tens to hundreds of people inside the U.S. government conspired to take down the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and another target in the Northeast.
These tens to hundreds of people never told anyone of their plans, and remain silent to this day. These tens to hundreds of people, in acquiring more conspiring members (demolitionists, pilots, etc.), never happened upon anyone who wasn’t willing to go along with their plan who would alert the public, or killed or otherwise dispatched of anyone unwilling to go along. These tens to hundreds of historically inept government employees then arranged for three WTC building to be wired with explosives.
This meticulous process went unnoticed by a single person that would alert the public in these 24 hour a day inhabited buildings. These tens to hundreds of people who were able to hijack three planes, were unable to hijack a fourth, or for some other reason decided to fire a missile at the Pentagon and pretend that it was a plane.
These tens to hundreds of people were all motivated to kill thousands of innocent U.S. citizens by money, oil, war, or other popular motivators briefly brought up by some conspiracy advocates, but never fully explained. This would be only the start of what you, the conspiracy theorist, would have to believe in order to believe that the U.S. government perpetrated or was otherwise “in on” the 9/11 attacks.
Charlie Sheen’s narration of “Twenty Minutes with the President” has become a popular source for conspiracy theorists to quote. I have neither the time nor the inclination to re-watch the YouTube based conspiracy film “911 Loose Change”, but if I recall correctly this was a much more convincing piece. Perhaps I was more gullible back then.
In any event, Charlie Sheen’s narration is an assault on intelligence. He takes similes and allusions out of context, from the heroes and victims present at the time of the attack that probably never questioned our government’s involvement, and distorts them to appear as if these people are describing actual controlled demolitions.
He continues with his “evidence” by presenting inaccurate reporting as hard conspiracy. We, the audience, are led to believe that simply because a reporter mistakenly claims that a fire ridden building “has either collapsed or is collapsing”, and that building actually collapses an hour later, that he is either a conspirator in the event or has been fed information by some conspirator.
When watching these videos, it is important to keep your mind functioning, as it is easy to become entranced by bogus evidence and get caught up in wild theories. I find this strikingly similar to the theory that the United States faked the Lunar Landing in 1969.
Any person ignorant to the workings of space travel (99.99% of the population) could find themselves believing after an hour long TV special that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the Moon. If I wasn’t one of those people, I was at the very least intrigued by the bombardment of apparent contradictions in the Lunar Landing described by the special.
Thankfully, my high school physics teacher, with the help of some scientific web sites dedicated to the topic, explained the flaws in the TV special, and tore apart the absurd theories using the powerful forces of science and common sense. The 9/11 conspiracy videos are put together in much the same way.
There are a few valid questions posed, scattered in a sea of nonsense rhetoric that is designed to convince the audience, not to present real information. It is imperative to understand that just because there may be a few holes in the 9/11 story, that doesn’t mean that the government must have been behind it; in the same way that just because there may be a few holes in evolutionary theory, that doesn’t mean God necessarily created Adam and Eve a mere 6,000 years ago. Perhaps the story could be filled in a bit, but a slight inaccuracy in one does not necessarily prove the other.
The problem with these videos is that they rarely offer healthy skepticism, but instead rely on misinformation to accuse the federal government of being behind these attacks. This is an extremely serious accusation – a lot more serious than I think conspiracy theorists understand.
In order to make such accusations, you had better have done your research and come up with some hard facts. Instead, many theorists haven’t even bothered to look at other YouTube videos by scientists and engineers refuting 99% of the claims in the conspiracy videos, let alone do any private research of their own.
These videos are not hard to find, and usually offer the insight of intelligent, informed individuals rather than the wild imaginations and emotions common to conspiracy videos. Also, web sites like debunking911.com (and many others I’m sure, this is just the first I found) offer real truth hunters real information about the questions posed by conspiracy videos.
For the truly interested, there is a piece by Mark Roberts entitled “World Trade Center Building 7 and the Lies of the 9/11 “Truth Movement”. It is a word document nearing 100 pages that I will probably never read, but is required reading before anyone can go around spouting that the U.S. government attacked its own people.
The real enemy here is ignorance. It is a disease more widespread than the common cold, and more devastating than any biological disease I’ve witnessed. People seemingly cannot help but to preach on subjects which they have little or no knowledge of.
Much like the attackers whose inability to question their absurd belief system that convinced them that 72 virgins would be waiting for them upon their death caused the death of 3,000 innocent Americans, the “truthers” who would rather not question the absurdities they spew inflict pain and heartache on the victims’ families and desecrate the memory of September 11th for millions more Americans.
As I mentioned above, free speech and skepticism of government is not only a fundamental right for U.S. citizens but necessary to our freely functioning democracy. But the people who make these videos, and those that follow them blindly to the World Trade Center every year to assault this national site of mourning in front of millions who lost loved ones or were there that fateful day, are doing their country no service.
They are abominations who should be shunned by society, not embraced as truth seekers. If Charlie Sheen would like to be the face of this movement, then so be it. Not only does his participation in this video make him irresponsible, it makes him a douche bag. That should fit in perfectly on his list of attributes, right under “lack of comedic talent”.