Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Conspiracy theories that let the real guilty parties off the hook

The fifth anniversary of 9/11 not only provided an occasion for solemn commemoration (most people) or justifying the war in Iraq (George Bush). It also gave conspiracy theorists a chance to look back and revel in how right they were. Thanks to Ellis Sharp for bringing to my attention the Alexander Cockburn post, "The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts: How They Let the Guilty Parties of 9/11 Slip Off the Hook."

Cockburn "rubbishes," in Sharp's words, the conspiracy theories based on circular reasoning, torturing the evidence and ignoring the lessons of history and human nature.
Did the British and French forces in 1940 break and flee a Wehrmacht capable of only one lunge, because of rotten leadership, terrible planning, epic cowardice, or … CONSPIRACY? Did the April 24, 1980 effort to rescue the hostages in the US embassy in Teheran fail because a sandstorm disabled three of the eight helicopters, because the helicopters were poorly made, because of a lousy plan or because of agents of William Casey and the Republican National Committee poured sugar into their gas tanks in yet another CONSPIRACY?

Have the US military’s varying attempts to explain why F-15s didn’t intercept and shoot down the hijacked planes stemmed from absolutely predictable attempts to cover up the usual screw-ups, or because of CONSPIRACY? Is Mr Cohen in his little store at the end of the block hiking his prices because he wants to make a buck, or because his rent just went up or because the Jews want to take over the world? August Bebel said anti-Semitism is the socialism of the fools. These days the 9/11 conspiracy fever threatens to become the “socialism” of the left, and the passe-partout of many libertarians.
While dismissing the exotic conspiracy theories, Cockburn favors a different kind of conspiracy -- the everyday conspiracy of corruption, cronyism and business as usual -- which proved to have such disastrous results on 9/11. These are the "guilty parties" Cockburn thinks the exotic conspiracy theorists let off the hook.
Of course the buildings didn’t suddenly fall at a speed inexplicable in terms of physics unless caused by carefully pre-placed explosives, detonated by the ruthless Bush-Cheney operatives. High grade steel can bend disastrously under extreme heat. People inside who survived the collapse didn’t hear a series of explosions. As discussed in Wayne Barrett and Dan Collin’s excellent book Grand Illusion, about Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, helicopter pilots radioed warnings nine minutes before the final collapse that the South Tower might well go down and, repeatedly, as much as 25 minutes before the North Tower’s fall.

What Barrett and Collins brilliantly show are the actual corrupt conspiracies on Giuliani’s watch: the favoritism to Motorola which saddled the firemen with radios that didn’t work; the ability of the Port Authority to skimp on fire protection, the mayor’s catastrophic failure in the years before 9/11/2001 to organize an effective unified emergency command that would have meant that cops and firemen could have communicated; that many firemen wouldn’t have unnecessarily entered the Towers; that people in the Towers wouldn’t have been told by 911 emergency operators to stay in place; and that firemen could have heard the helicopter warnings and the final Mayday messages that prompted most of the NYPD men to flee the Towers.

That’s the real political world, in which Giuliani and others have never been held accountable. The nuts disdain the real world because, like much of the left and liberal sectors, they have promoted Bush, Cheney and the Neo-Cons to an elevated status as the Arch Demons of American history, instead of being just one more team running the American empire, a team of more than usual stupidity and incompetence (characteristics I personally favor in imperial leaders.)
Are there real conspiracies? Sure. But the ones that actually work are usually not all that complicated and certainly don't involve a cast of thousands. As Cockburn suggests, dwelling on complex conspiracies supposedly orchestrated by all-powerful villains is just a distraction that gets in the way of assigning real-world culpability to actual people.

5 comments:

Drago said...

To bring up history is a fatal flaw to the Bush supporter. Read the history of the rising of Hitler. Read how he and his right hand man Joseph G. orchestrated the burning of the Reichstag. Only afterwards to blame it on their political enemies. Then they manufactured a patsy and had him publicaly beheaded to promote the false fear that fueled the emotions of the German war machine. Threats of terrorism and voluntary forfeiting of civil liberties was the scenario. It was manufactured "for the protection of the homeland". Study the links of the Bush Family with Hitler and Fritz Theissen. Study Prescott Bush and the source of the Bush family wealth. Study the connection of the Skull and Bones which W, H.W. and Grandfather Bush were memebers. Skull and Bones was Started by a man named Russell who was the main player in the opium trade. He founded it in 1832. Interesting. What country is the chief producer of opium?(Afghanistan!)History, ......please! This info does not even scratch the surface. And before you sart reciting your programmed ad hominem,I believe the Bible, Old and New Testament. I am a fundamentalist that attends a Bible preaching Baptist church. I believe abortion is murder, and I believe in small government. The left is also a corrupt group of people whose leaders are just as dangerous. Just for the record.

Mr. Forward said...

Congratulations, Madison Guy, you have just been promoted to Bush Supporter. See how it works? You question the conspiracy, therefore you are part of the conspiracy.

Same thing happened to this guy.
"In every single case, we found that the very facts used by conspiracy theorists to support their fantasies are mistaken, misunderstood or deliberately falsified."

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/conspiracy_cranks_opedcolumnists_james_b__meigs.htm

Madison Guy said...

Thanks, Mr. Forward. I feel flattered. The editor of Popular Mechanics doesn't seem like such bad company. And thanks for the link -- good story and nice explanation of the origins of the "cruise missile with wings" quote that has fueled conspiracy theories about what it was that hit the Pentagon.

Phil said...

Thanks for that blog posting. I felt the same way as I read Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country." Moore's shifting of blame from terrorists to Saudi military forced me to put it down.

Bubs said...

Brilliant post Madison Guy.

A few years ago me and my bride and her family were sitting around talking about conspiracies and coverups. MizBubs made what I thought was a great point then, and I see it somewhat reflected in your last paragraph:

A "conspiracy" doesn't have to work by hiding or burying the truth, or covering up. A conspiracy can work by introducing enough craziness into the record, confusing the issue to the point where even intelligent people have a hard time separating truth from fantasy. A good conspiracy works the same way a squid makes his escape: by clouding the waters.