It’s Time to Drop The 9/11 Conspiracies

I have never been a 9/11 “Truther”. Yes, I know this will disappoint some, but I have never seen any convincing reason to believe that the events of that day were anything other than what they seemed. The only alternative theory I’ve ever heard that I find even remotely plausible is that of Peter Lance, who essentially claims only that the FBI dropped the ball even worse than they admitted, and may have had a greater chance of preemptively stopping the attack than we all might believe. I’m not saying I necessarily believe it, but at least it stays on logical ground that I’m comfortable with – the idea that one generally shouldn’t blame on shadowy conspiracies what can be explained by simple incompetence and shortsightedness.

But let me ask a question to the 9/11 “Truthers” out there – and I mean it sincerely. What is the point – now, a dozen years on – of continuing with your movement? What I mean is: let’s say that somehow tomorrow you stumbled onto some evidence with which you could undeniably, irrefutably prove that your conspiracy theories are correct, and that it was all one big government inside job. So… then what? I guess you could throw George W. Bush in jail, but he’s been out of office for years now, so what would that really change? Obama would simply blame everything on his predecessor, fire or jail a few career people at the CIA, FBI, and Pentagon, and then keep on trucking with what he’s been doing – NDAA, drone strikes, NSA surveillance, and all. The war in Iraq is over. Bin Laden’s met his fate. Afghanistan is lost no matter what, and anyhow has wide bipartisan support (in Congress – though not among the people, whose opinions on the subject don’t matter) to keep grinding on until we run out of cash. The military is popular with the people, could (and would) blame everything on the politicians and a few rogue bad apples in its ranks, and besides has new threats to scare the public and justify its existence with, so there’s not much chance of seriously taking down the Military-Industrial complex. Unless you could prove that Israel was actually behind the attacks (highly unlikely, even if you did prove your theories about the events of the day correct), the government won’t stop slavishly supporting Israel – not as long as the technically-legal bribes from The Lobby keep flowing. And you wouldn’t be very likely to deeply and permanently change the political culture of Washington, either – Richard Nixon got thrown out of the White House on his ass after an earthshaking, epoch-defining set of scandals in which he got caught lying and covering up, but that did virtually nothing to stop future Presidents from lying or covering things up. It’s not terribly likely that a validated 9/11 conspiracy theory would permanently affect Washington greatly more than the devastating twin punches of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate did, especially when, unlike the Nixon Administration, the people who were in power at the time of the event at the heart of the scandal would be long gone from Washington when the story broke.

So what exactly do you expect will happen if you ever actually manage to prove all this? Other than throwing a few has-been ex-politicians and long-retired Generals in jail? And if that’s all that would happen, isn’t it time to let it drop and devote your energies to other matters?


Triangulated Into Silence

Were I of a more conspiratorial mindset – which I am not – I would almost swear that the Edward Snowden/NSA surveillance revelations were intentional on the part of the powers that be. Allow me to explain.

One of the cardinal political sins in this era of Jon Stewart-style, soundbite-based “gotcha” politics and political reporting is that of hypocrisy; especially of the “Well, you supported it when it was your guy doing it” sort. This is instantly, fatally discrediting to any person or group who gets “nailed” with it, and irrevocably taints not just them, but their arguments as well.

Now consider the relentless forward march of the surveillance/police state over the years since 2001. Under the Republican President Bush the Lesser, Democrats and other leftist types relentlessly denounced and opposed it, while Republicans and conservatives (with the limited exceptions of the small nascent Ron Paul movement and a few Old Right Pat Buchanan types) supported and defended it. What the NSA revelations have done is to reverse this – now it is those same Democrats and leftists (with a few limited exceptions of the Glenn Greenwald and Ted Rall variety) who support and defend the surveillance/police state; usually in language virtually identical to that with which the Bush-era Republicans defended it (or the Nixon-era Republicans defended what he did, as well).

The point here is not to illustrate that leftists are liars and hypocrites who are given to highly tribal “team” politics and weird personality cults – that much is obvious. It is to point out that, with the limited exceptions given above (which are small enough to be safely ignored by both the left-establishment and the right-establishment), now going forward, nobody will have the credibility or moral authority to vocally oppose the surveillance/police state. And what’s more, the sophisticated among the establishment political/media class know it, so in order to avoid embarrassment they won’t even try. Thus, virtually all opposition (and certainly all of it that cannot be easily labeled as “fringe” and ignored) to what is happening has now been effectively neutralized.

This may not be a conspiracy to “triangulate” opposition to the police/surveillance state into silence – and I am loath to ascribe to shadowy gatherings of men in weird robes what can be more simply explained by ordinary malfeasance, corruption, power-lust, greed, and incompetence – but once again we have a situation in which it couldn’t have worked out any better for the establishment if they actually had planned it.