Once again: 9-11 was not a government conspiracy!

I am cross-posting an e-mail I wrote to a friend who I discovered actually believe in the so-called “9-11 Truth” conspiracy:

I just wanted to make my case for why the 9-11 attacks were most certainly not a government conspiracy. There are lots of crimes that the Bush goons are responsible for, but a massive domestic terrorist attack isn’t one of them.

The arguments for a 9-11 conspiracy usually hang on two big logical fallacies (1) red herrings that prove nothing (dozens of Saudis including bin Laden relatives left the country after 9-11 without being questioned, so the Bushes must be behind it!); and (2) Offering up massive amounts of dubious evidence that proves nothing but is too voluminous to realistically respond to (to illustrate this, just look at the pro-conspiracy Loose Change documentary and then the lengthy sites like this one set up just to debunk stuff like that!).

There is a lot of good, concise writing on this that should set your fears of a government cover-up at ease.

The best I have read so far is this, showing how difficult such a plot would be to keep secret. There are so many interested parties, from fire fighters to the relatives of foreign businesspeople who became victims, who want to know what happened to their loved ones, from a number of different countries, and very few of whom have any reason to accept an alternate version of events. Not only that, if Bush’s political enemies had any credible evidence showing he is really such a despicable monster they’d be using it.

Of course you should also read through the 9-11 Commission Report (PDF). It is on the long side but is actually a very engaging read.

If you are going to take a class on government and politics, it is important to not be distracted by an inaccurate version of events. Conspiracy theories can be very compelling, but much like the stories of alien abduction and alternative therapies they shouldn’t really be taken seriously.

More generally, I would recommend taking a look at the site skeptoid.com, especially his pieces on critical thinking and logical fallacies (parts 1 and 2). I think you’ll find that seeing where conspiracy theorists go wrong is much more rewarding than subscribing to those theories yourself.


16 thoughts on “Once again: 9-11 was not a government conspiracy!”

  1. Really, the single best proof it was not a government conspiracy is that if it had been the hijackers would all have been Iraqis rather than mostly Arabians.

    Reminds me a bit of the moon hoax ideas, where some of the best proof that they were real was that the Russians didn’t denounce it as fake.

    What’s up with the Akismet filter? It seems to have vanished. Not that I mind – it was always a bit of a hassle trying to add two numbers if their sum was greater than 10….

  2. Oh look the spam thing IS gone… wonder what happened.

    Yes it’s a bunch of hooey, but surprisingly high numbers of people believe that junk.

  3. Hello! I’ve been enjoying this blog for a few months. Thanks!

    Normally I find the commentary insightful, particularly on matters of Japan, but the views presented here about 911 appear to me rather reflexive and superficial. I would encourage you to do some more in-depth reading and keep an open mind. The evidence that the “official” story is untrue is vast. It is beneath you to lump together all sceptics of the official story as you do. It goes without saying that there is a lot of noise amid the signal, including perhaps disinformation. The point should not be to discredit alternative explanations but rather to assess, critically and without prior assumptions, whether the presented facts stand up to the evidence and to reason. On this score many, many intelligent people the world over have decided in the negative.And BTW, note that some people are greatly disillusioned and even suspicious by Chomsky’s dismissing the truth about 911 (and similarly the Kennedy assassination before it) as unimportant.

    I believe that 911 was just the latest in a long line of false-flag terror operations masterminded by secretive government cabals, even if its boldness, complexity, and scale are shocking. Anyone who is familiar with post-war Italian politics, and the so-called “strategia della tensione,” for example, should not have much difficulty appreciating the kind of machinations in the shadows of the state that can bring about such pitiless horror.

    Possibly interesting reading:



    In peace!

  4. The Southpark 911 conspiracy conspiracy episode is brilliant. It basically suggests that the 911 conspiracy idea is a Bush govt. conspiracy designed to make them look super smart and powerful.

  5. Gulab:

    I see what you are saying, but I agree with Chomsky about 9/11 not being particularly important. This conspiracy theory business is just a smoke screen to distract us from the truth about the Reptilian humanoids.

  6. You have a knack of writing posts that attract a wide range of readers, it seems.

    But this thing about reptiles is nonsense. Anyone who has read Graham Hancock knows that our masters are actually Atlanteans from Antarctica who arrived here from the Orion belt (not sure exactly which star, as they are very widely separated). This was proven by the film “10,000 BC,” after all.

  7. These comments are hilarious… normally I hate comments!

    I briefly had a conspiracy theory obsessed coworker who was convinced that the government was out to control our daily lives in any way possible. For me, 9-11 confirmed my believe that the government really doesn’t have that much control over… well, over chaos. For the conspiracy theory coworker, something as huge as 9-11 seemed to clash with his idea of an all-powerful government, so he believed that it was a conspiracy.

    Most Americans really can’t fathom another country just attacking us out of the blue, so maybe 9-11 clashes so much with their view of reality they choose to believe even more outrageous things.

    Thanks for posting that email!

  8. Roy, there was a reason for that. I was writing to a believer and so wanted to be delicate. I was worried that telling someone:

    “conspiracy theorists are actually choosing order over chaos: a world in which they can sleep at night, because the knife in the shadow never misses its intended target.”

    would sound insulting.

  9. Love skeptoid!

    The problem with conspiracy theories like this is that they dull the cry of protest against the much more banal, boring secret maneuverings bringing this country down.

  10. Hmmmmm. In that case, perhaps conspiracy theories are a smokescreen created by the government to distract attention from the real issues. Would this be a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories?

  11. I had a blast with this blog put together after a fuel truck crashed and took out part of a freeway in Oakland CA:


    Anyway, no, of course 9/11 wasn’t a government conspiracy. The government is far too buffoonish to handle a job like this. It was actually the Raelians and Soka Gakkai.

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