Last weekend, in Toronto, tucked away somewhere between the Hollywood highjinks of TIFF and the chest clinching antics of the TSX, a dedicated group of malcontents held The International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001. Despite its grand title and conference space at Ryerson University, the international hearing was anything but. Basically, it was a crew of 9/11 conspiracy theorists demonstrating their bad manners — just because they could. After all, of the 365 days available this year for their Truther Convention, I don’t think they chose the 10th anniversary of the attack because the caterer was available. When asked by the Globe and Mail: “Don’t you get accused of being insensitive to the victims?” the organizer, Graeme MacQueen responded with “Yes we get criticized. But we reject that completely. It was a horrific crime. That’s why we want to solve it. We also have the support of some 9/11 families.” This is conspiracy-theory speak for “Everything we say or do is perfectly acceptable because we say it is.” This is the essence of any discussion with conspiracy theorists. It’s like arguing with your toaster. No matter what you say, the toast comes out the same. Since we all know that arguing with small appliances is futile, I’m not going to waste bandwidth disputing the Grand Canyon gaps in logic propelled by the 9/11 Sceptics. However, there are a few items that the Truthers need to explain before I quit thinking they’re merely the visible part of the Stupid Iceberg. So to all those 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists out there, I have this to say:
First of all, rhetorical questions are not a logical argument. 9/11 Sceptics spend more than half their time spouting questions like: “So why didn’t President Bush run screaming from the classroom when he heard the news?” Or “Why was Dick Cheney conveniently not on the 27th floor of Twin Tower #2 that morning?” Logical arguments follow a distinct A-B-C-D pattern; they don’t jump all over the map. I have yet to hear any Truther lay out a logical explanation that follows the documented chain of events. Even the weirdo version they claim is the truth.
Next, overwhelming scientific evidence does not come from two construction engineers, a guy from Memphis with a PhD and your FaceBook friend who saw the Dunes Hotel implode on YouTube. There are literally hundreds of thousands of experts all over this planet who accept the events of 9/11 as they happened. It is impossible that they’re all dumber than you are or that they’ve been bought off by George and Laura Bush – even if they got a loan from Cheney. In any reasonable discussion, the expertise of the majority of the world’s scientific community takes precedence over some guy and his girlfriend who disagree. Oh yeah, and just because you say it’s a scientific fact, that doesn’t mean it is. Without serious documentation it isn’t even a fact.
Also, I find it difficult to believe that a secret organization, with huge resources, capable of perpetrating a vast worldwide conspiracy involving thousands of people over several months (if not years) would then leave incredibly simple clues to their nefarious purpose – clues so glaring that a 12-year-old with a Pause button can figure them out in an hour. I doubt very much if all the 9/11 conspirators passed Evil Masterminding, Chicanery and Skullduggery in Conspiracy School and then flunked Trickery 101. Or were they all sitting around the secret headquarters on September 10th, trying to figure it out and sometime around midnight just decided “Aw, the hell with it! Nobody’s going to notice.”
Likewise, of the army of people needed to pull off the crime of the 21st century — from the original planners to the guy who made the sandwiches — not one person has ever had a crisis of conscience and confessed. The laws of anti-chance alone dictate somebody got drunk one night and told his lover – or his mom. And if not that, bragging rights alone would be reason enough for some of those achtung military types to spill the beans. Remember, these are the same geniuses who took pictures of themselves beating up the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Yet, in ten years, not one person has come forward, not even a deathbed confession or one of those weird, blacked-out muggy-voiced silhouette things from A & E. This seems highly unlikely.
There are tons more questions I could ask but the one major piece of the conspiracy puzzle that’s never answered by even the most rabid 9/11 Sceptic is why. What was everybody’s motivation? All the Truther evidence suggests that the US government is the most likely suspect in the great conspiracy, which points directly at George Bush and Dick Cheney. Yet, to hear them tell it, these are the guys who rigged the 2000 presidential election, convinced half the world that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, went to war to find them, didn’t and weren’t even embarrassed about it. They’re the same guys who sold the US military to Haliburton, left hundreds of thousands of people to rot in New Orleans and nearly bankrupted the USA so their friends could make a fortune out of oil. Plus, they’re the same people whose incompetence led to the subprime monetary crisis of 2008 that nearly ruined the world economy (and whose war-torn policies set up the current debt crisis that might yet do it.) Still, for all this, we are expected to believe that they (or someone close to them) felt it necessary to engineer a gigantic and incredibly complicated plot to fool the American people because they were afraid of public opinion. Give me a break!
Honestly, if the Bush Administration cared about public opinion (which all the evidence says it didn’t) all they would have had to do was send three guys with a heavy suitcase to Minot, North Dakota and nuke it. Problem solved. At that point, the American people would have been so enraged Bin Laden wouldn’t have made it to the Men’s Room — I don’t care how deep his cave was. The marines would have been picking their teeth with Saddam Hussein’s bones within the week, civil liberties would be a distant memory and oil would be 25 bucks a barrel or 15 dollars a gallon — depending on which side of the conspiracy fence you’re sitting on. There is absolutely no motive for a world-class JFK assassination style conspiracy when Ukrainian nuclear weapons are on sale for less than the cost of a slightly used Boeing 767.
Explain the motivation, Truthers, and then you might have a case. But until you do that, you all just look like a casting call for Dumb and Dumber 3.