Wednesday, March 7, 2007
And here's the part where I take down 9/11 conspiracy theories
Let me just come right out and tell you where I stand on one of the most controversial issues in this modern world: I'm a PC guy. It's not because I think it's better, it's just that I regard the choice in the same way that I regard questions of Auto Transmission vs. Manual Transmission. The only difference is that the Manual Transmission-makers (Apple) use a marketing technique aimed at convincing you that giving money to their international corporation is progressive, counter-culture, maybe even Bright.
Rather than arouse controversy though, I'd like to simply provide a simple (and devastating, I think) critique of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. I'm not "sympathetic" to 9/11 conspiracy theories because that would imply that they are convincing, which they are not. However, I am sympathetic to some of the people involved because I happen to know a few smart people with their hearts in the right place who are swayed by this stuff. I think the fact that some people find such an argument convincing is not a result of intellectual failings so much as a desire to to see the world in "Lord of the Rings" terms, in which the people you oppose (the Bush administration, in this case) are just irredeemably evil Sauron-types wantonly killing their own in order to take over the world (moo haha!) Of course I should mention that people who have that point of view on the right wing are called... well... right wingers.
Okay, so what's my big argument? The common thread I detect in most, if not all, conspiracy theories is this kind of cui bono/"look how good 9/11 was for Bush" implications. I agree, incidentally that 9/11 was "good" for Bush as seems obvious in the political sense. However, 9/11 was especially good for Bin Laden and Al Qaeda who saw their cause elevated to global status and saw their wildest dreams of a great cultural war come leaps and bounds closer to reality. So let's grant the (in all honesty unbelievable) point that the foreseeable benefit of 9/11 was roughly the same for the Bush admin. and Al Qaeda, and then ask ourselves, what would we have expected to see? Bin Laden's well-known interests were served by having Saudis on the plane, as he'd love to see a rift between Saudi Arabia and the US. But Bush? No way he lets the Saudi image take such a massive hit with unpredictable consequences. Furthermore, since we all agree that a planned invasion of Iraq was the biggest immediate prize, then why the fuck wouldn't they have had Iraqis on the 9/11 flights? This sticks out at me as the simplest reason to abandon such theories- in the rare cases of actual historical conspiracy the proponents always made damn sure to frame the right people. If the 9/11 conspiracy theories were true then Iraqis should have been on the plane.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to confringe on our comments section, and we will defend the position tirelessly.
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Posted by Luke Rhinehart at 9:40 AM