On a web forum I frequent far too often, once every six months or so a poster who never joins in any other discussions pops up starting new threads on 9/11 and the theory that it was an inside job. Every single time he does so, the “evidence” he posts is expertly disputed, the “arguments” he puts forth easily countered and dismissed. Yet every six months, back he comes with the same “arguments” and “evidence” presented by slightly different credulous nutters on You Tube.
So why do we fight back every time, when we know we won’t convince him and we ourselves don’t need convincing? I can’t speak for the other posters, but my reasons break down into these two overarching themes:
1. It is actually harmful to the cause of investigating and dealing with the aftermath of the attacks, and how they were used and abused by the US and UK Governments to overreach on internal security and extend a Middle East war into Iraq.
I don’t believe 9/11 was an inside job. I’ve watch one edit of Loose Change (I believe it’s now had more edits than Blade Runner) and it was Swiss-Cheese-Like in its holes and so easily debunked I frankly felt short-changed. If this is the great bastion of truth, should it not be a little less stupid? When the poster first started a thread on this many years ago, I followed several of the links, but there was no sense to be found, just an awful lot of “what if”. It was depressing that people were spending so much of their time and political energy on it, but I can at least say that I read what was offered to me in decent faith.
But I can’t say I didn’t go in sceptical. Because I have spent the best part of the last decade working in and around British politics and Government (though before anyone gets too excited and starts calling me a stooge, I have never worked FOR Government), so I had two good reasons to be. Firstly, no politicians (Nick Griffin possibly excepted) are actually evil. They just have different visions of how to implement a good society and different visions of what that society is. Secondly, no one in politics is remotely capable of keeping a secret, never mind one that big.
So I don’t believe that 9/11 is an inside job. I know some people do and the reason I don’t simply ignore them is the same reason I don’t carry a Socialist Worker placard on demonstrations: Because I don’t want to get lumped in with these extremists allowing my reasonable criticisms of government policy to be side-lined. That’s the political danger of these people. Not that they might be right, but that in being wrong, they taint a whole movement of questioning the terrible response to the Al Qaeda attacks.
There are really important questions to be asked about the response to what happened on the 11th of September 2001 (by the way, what happened is that a bunch of nutters hijacked 4 planes and flew two of them into the World Trade Centre and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overpower the hijackers). The way the US government in particular, though other governments are guilty of stark overreaction, acted since these events, and have used these events to pursue the “war on Terror” has been a disgrace, and questionable at every level.
Those of us who want to not only keep questioning these actions, but also act on the answers are continually hampered by the tin hat brigade who simply question any and everything for the sake of their own sense of importance in the world “No Ma! I’m the only one who knows the REAL truth”. It sickens me because it allows the lazy right wing to lump together all criticism of the “war on Terror” into the same tin hat category, and actively hinders any in depth questioning of the real issues.
What motivates me is the separation of my position from theirs. I don’t want my rational questioning of the response to 9/11 to be associated with this brand of mania.
2. It risks lives.
If we were to believe that 9/11 and 7/7 were inside jobs, then Al Qaeda would clearly not have carried out these atrocities. We should therefore spend a lot less effort and resources on vigilance against future attacks. This is – of course – exactly what truthers believe. They believe the bombings were constructed by the respective governments to justify beefing up the security forces just because the Government want more security forces.
I truly believe and have often written that we in the UK have gone far too far with the security measures we have taken post-9/11. 90 Days detention, extraordinary rendition, ID cards etc. As well as the war in Iraq were all wrong.
However, I do believe that the UK, USA and Indonesia were attacked by AL Qaeda in attacks which killed and maimed innocent civilians, and that the governments of these respective countries have a duty to protect their citizens to the best of their abilities against future attacks whilst also protecting their freedoms. It’s an incredibly difficult balance to get right, and no one really agrees on how you do that. I understand the temptation to opt out of doing that difficult thinking, where if the Government is to blame for the threat, they cannot be infringing freedoms for anything other than selfish atavistic reasons. But it’s lazy thinking that endangers lives and as long as I am engaged in politics, I won’t stop challenging it.
So that is why I continue to argue against the “truthers”. Not because I am being paid by my shadowy overlords to try to hide the truth. Not because I am too blind to see what’s really in front of me, but because It’s so deeply counterproductive.
Tags: 9/11, conspiracy theories, morons