You trip over one fundamental idiocy of the 9/11 conspiracy nuts'the ones who say Bush and Cheney masterminded the attacks'in the first paragraph of The New Pearl Harbor, the book by one of their high priests, David Ray Griffin.
'In light of standard procedures for dealing with hijacked airplanes,' writes Griffin, 'not one of these planes should have reached its target, let alone all three of them.'
The nuts have a devout, albeit preposterous belief in American efficiency. They believe military systems work the way Pentagon press flacks and aerospace salesmen say they should. They believe that when American Airlines Flight 11 switched off its radio and transponder at 8:14 a.m., an FAA flight controller should have called the National Military Command center and NORAD, which would have intercepted the flight 'by 8:24, and certainly no later than 8:30.'
They appear to have read no military history. If they had, they would know that minutely planned operations ' let alone responses to an unprecedented emergency ' are screwed up with monotonous regularity, by reason of stupidity, cowardice, venality and other whims of Providence.
According to detailed plans of the Strategic Air Command, an impending Soviet attack would prompt the missile silos in North Dakota to open and the ICBMs to arc toward Moscow and kindred targets. The tiny number of test launches all failed, whereupon SAC gave up testing. Was it badly designed equipment, human incompetence, defense contractor venality or...CONSPIRACY?
Did the April 24, 1980, effort to rescue U.S. hostages in Tehran fail because a sandstorm disabled three of the eight helicopters, or because agents of William Casey poured sugar into their gas tanks in yet another CONSPIRACY?
August Bebel said anti-Semitism is the socialism of the fools. These days, 9/11 conspiracy fever is fast becoming the 'socialism' of the left.
My in-box overflows each day with fresh 'proofs' of how the towers were demolished. I meet people who start quietly, asking me what I think about 9/11. What they are actually trying to find out is whether I'm part of the coven. I imagine it is like being a;Stoic in the second century A.D., going for a stroll in the Forum and meeting some fellow asking, with seeming casualness, whether it's possible to feed 5,000 people on five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
When I was growing up, the vicar at my school used to urge us to read Frank Morison's book, Who Moved the Stone? It demonstrated, with exhaustive citation from the Gospels, that since no human had moved the stone from in front of Joseph of Arimathea's tomb, it must have been an angel who rolled it aside, so Jesus could exit, astonish the mourners and then Ascend. Of course, Morison didn't allow the possibility that angels never existed or the Gospel writers were making it up.
It's the same pattern with the 9/11 nuts. There are photos of the impact of the 'object' that hit the Pentagon that seem to show the sort of hole a missile might make. Ergo, it was a missile and not a Boeing 757 that hit the Pentagon. As regards the hole, my brother Andrew ' writing a book about Rumsfeld ' has seen photos taken within 30 minutes of impact clearly showing the outline of an entire plane, including wings. This was visible as soon as the smoke blew away.
And if it was a missile, what happened to the 757? Did the conspirators shoot it down somewhere else, or force it down and then kill the passengers? Why plan to demolish the towers with pre-placed explosives if your conspiracy includes control of the two planes that hit them? Why bother with the planes at all? Why blame Osama if your fall guy is Saddam Hussein?
The demolition scenario is classic who-moved-the-stonery. The towers didn't fall because they were badly built or because they were struck by huge planes loaded with jet fuel. No, they collapsed because Dick Cheney's agents methodically planted demolition charges in the preceding days. It was a conspiracy of thousands, all of whom ' party to mass murder ' have held their tongues ever since.
Of course the official explanation does not tell the whole story. As discussed in Grand Illusion, Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins' marvelous new book 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 similar warnings, 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 scrimping on fire protection by the Port Authority; the mayor's catastrophic failure in the years before 9/11 to organize an effective emergency command. Were it not for these things, many lives could have been saved. Cops and firemen could have communicated, and firemen could have heard the helicopter warnings and the Mayday messages that saved most of the police.
That's the real world, in which Giuliani and others have never been held accountable. Instead, the conspiracy nuts have combined to produce a ludicrous distraction.