Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

April 19, 2008

Debunking 9/11 Myths and McCain’s History Problem

Filed under: books, history, media, politics — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 10:33 am

I recently got done reading “Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts” edited by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan. To my dismay, there is a foreword by Senator John McCain. The contents of the book, aside from the foreword, are good. I got it more for the second part of the title, the Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts as a case study on how to deconstruct denialism, more than the refuting of particular 9/11 myths.

The book is flawed in certain ways. One is that they tend to cherry-pick claims to refute. I understand the difficulty of proving that certain claims are representative of the community. However, there seems to be no clear criteria that they use for which claims they choose to refute besides finding them on one of many 9/11 conspiracy websites. To make matters worse, they often bring in irrelevant information to the claims. For example, certain conspiracy sites talk about a “New World Order.” While I understand the intention may have been to give an indication of the type of far out beliefs the sites hold, it is also prejudicial. The specific claims about events are either supported by the evidence or not. Whether or not one believes there is a plan for a “New World Order” is irrelevant. On the plus side, the book does a good job of destroying the conspiracy theorists claims. From the media I’ve encountered from the 9/11 truth movement, the claims Popular Mechanics debunks are reasonably representative. The only real question is if they ignored some popular 9/11 myths, which is why I wish they were clearer on their methodology for deciding which claims to refute.

This brings us to the worst part of the book: the foreword. For a book whose purpose is to debunk 9/11 myths, the editors of Popular Mechanics let by far the largest, most pervasive 9/11 myth through. It is the big lie that has been more damaging, destructive and offensive than all the other conspiracy theories combined. The one that isn’t aimed at the U.S. government, but rather those who perpetrated the attack.

But as 19 men showed the world their worst, we Americans displayed what makes our country great: courage and heroism, compassion and generosity, unity and resolve. We were united, first in sorrow and anger, then in recognition that we were attacked not for a wrong we had done, but for who we are – a people united in a kinship of ideals, committed to the notion that the people are sovereign, and that people everywhere, no matter what their race or country or religion, possess certain universal and inalienable rights. (pg. xi)

No, we were not attacked because of who we are, we were attacked for what the government has done at the behest of elite interests. As the book explores, the attackers targeted very specific targets: the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and presumably the Capitol building. If they hated us for our freedoms, they would have hit the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, etc. Instead, they struck at centers of the United States hegemony, the nexus of funding, planning and implementation of U.S. foreign control and domination.

Yes, Osama Bin Laden believes in a theocratic Islamic state. However, you don’t see him going out of his way to attack Sweden or Norway. It wasn’t freedom any more than our health-care system. In fact, it wasn’t even because of the first Gulf War against Saddam. It was our continued military presence in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. He saw us as setting up shop and brutally reacted against it. 15 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were from that one country.

Iraq to the U.S. is exactly what Afghanistan was to the Soviet Union. In fact, we happen to be in a little bit worse shape because on top of Iraq, the U.S. is also fighting in Afghanistan. Bin Laden planned on beating the United States the same way he defeated the Soviets, draw them into a quagmire. As the Power of Nightmares explores, the Islamic extremists believed they were the cause of the Soviet collapse as much as some conservative segments of the United States believed they were the cause. In truth, Mikhail Gorbachev’s assessment is likely the most accurate, it was corrupt internal forces that caused the collapse of the Soviet system. Gorbachev tried to reform too much, too quickly and the system collapsed.

This is why McCain should not be let anywhere near the presidency of the United States. He doesn’t understand the Middle East as this gaffe shows.

His policy in Iraq is that we keep fighting until there are no more U.S. causalities, then we stay.

He has talked about more wars, and joked about bombing Iran. Starting a war with Iran is clearly on the forefront of his mind.

Acknowledging the reason we were attacked is not the same as endorsing those reasons.  And for those who would defend McCain by saying that he never actually said we were attacked for our freedoms, he said that we were united because we recognized we were attacked for our freedoms.  If it were the case, as it is, that we were not attacked for our freedoms, it is the duty of a public official to set the record straight.  Instead, McCain peddles in myths.  He is a member of the party that helped propagate those myths, and benefits directly from them.

In the final analysis, “Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts” is flawed not from the myths they examine, but rather those they leave unexamined and tacitly endorse.  Furthermore, McCain proves he is one of the last persons, we, the American people should trust to be president.

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5 Comments »

  1. Very good! Especially the frases “If they hated us for our freedoms, they would have hit the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, etc” and also “He is a member of the party that helped propagate those myths, and benefits directly from them”.

    I’m very happy to see that some people in US are very conscious about White House agressive foreign policies. There is hope.

    Have you seen “Why We Fight” documentary? Very good too.

    Congratulations, Man.

    Comment by Raphael (Brazil) — April 19, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

  2. Have I seen “Why We Fight?” Yes, I have. I agree, it is pretty good. Although, I find it relatively ironic that it starts out with Einshower’s farewell address given that it was under his watch and with his approval that the CIA overthrew the government of Iran. As Chalmers Johnson explains in the film, the 9/11 attacks are a type of blowback from that original sin.

    There has always been a segment of people in America who have been very aware of American foreign policy and have disapproved. Noam Chomsky is one prominent example.

    As sad as it is to say, American government policy is not reflective of the views of the vast majority of Americans. Elections are not decided on policy decisions, but rather cult-of-personalities surrounding the candidates. I really think it is coming to a head this election because Republican policies are so unpopular, whereas the press is completely enamored with John McCain.

    I am hopeful also. However, I am not deluding myself that hope is enough. We need to put someone in the White House who will change direction. John McCain is not that man. The election needs to be based on policy not personality myths. The only way to do this is to insist the corporate lobbyist backed, estate tax repealing, adulterous, endless war candidate, John McCain, is held to the same standard as the Democratic candidate. With the American press, it isn’t easy, but people are trying.

    Comment by codesmithy — April 20, 2008 @ 8:29 am

  3. Codes, I know Chomsky. Unfortunatly, a lot of people try to diminish his comments, saying that he is a kind of sad envious university teacher. On newspapers here in Brazil, for example, I see comments of brazilians that live in US and they usually consider him as a kind of comunist, what I personally think that is ridiculous.
    I agree with you about the blowback, but in this case of 9/11 It seems to me that it’s related to the role of western countries in the First Gulf War. As I read in a book of a brazilian journalist about Islam, Osama Bin Laden got furious because, as he thinks, the arabs should put Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
    I really hope the things change. You said the press is on McCain’s side, but we’ve been hearing a lot about Obama. It seems to me that the press have some simpathy for him, I don’t know – maybe it’s a naive view.
    As I usually say, if US people put him in the White House, they will be delivering a strong message to the World. Can you imagine a black man with a muslim name being elected President in United States? If it’s not a good CHANGE, I don’t know what it is. I think people from all over the world hope that.
    Greetings,

    Comment by Raphael — April 23, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  4. Codes, I know Chomsky. Unfortunatly, a lot of people try to diminish his comments, saying that he is a kind of sad envious university teacher. On newspapers here in Brazil, for example, I see comments of brazilians that live in US and they usually consider him as a kind of comunist, what I personally think that is ridiculous.

    Chomsky is considered a communist because he had the gall to compare the news coverage of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia to Suharto in Indonesia/East Timor along with other numerous offenses such as insisting on applying the standards we hold to other countries to ourselves, abide by international law, or respect treaties we have ratified. The response has not been to address his arguments but rather marginalize his views.

    I really hope the things change. You said the press is on McCain’s side, but we’ve been hearing a lot about Obama. It seems to me that the press have some simpathy for him, I don’t know – maybe it’s a naive view.

    If Obama were judged on international press coverage, he would win by a landslide. Either Democratic candidate would. However, in the United States, the dynamic is significantly different. McCain is canonized, war hero, salt-of-the-earth everyman cowboy. Obama is the vaguely suspicious secret black supremacist, secret Muslim, inexperienced, anti-American, elitist, soft-hearted liberal. Both of these archetypes vastly diverge from the real person. At the end of the day, what will happen is that very little will be discussed about actual policy. Voters go into the booth on election day with the personality myths propagated by the media. For McCain, they will have heard something that they like about him as a person. For Obama, they will have heard about some flaw in his person. I’m not saying this is how it will turn out. I’m just saying this is how I see it currently going. You would think that given the record high disapproval ratings by the current president that the next Republican nominee wouldn’t have a chance. However, most of the polls I have seen have shown a dead heat, or McCain leading either possible Democratic nominee.

    As I usually say, if US people put him in the White House, they will be delivering a strong message to the World. Can you imagine a black man with a muslim name being elected President in United States? If it’s not a good CHANGE, I don’t know what it is. I think people from all over the world hope that.

    Lawrence Lessig gave a talk in which he asked that question. It was a good presentation. I would like Obama to be the Democratic nominee. I would like him to be elected president. However, the purpose of the primary season is to pick the candidate who has the best chance to win in November. With how this primary is playing out, the process is hurting the goal. If this gets drawn out until the convention, neither Democratic candidate will be able to win because there will be more wounds, less time for reconciliation, and, in particular, less time to make the case against John McCain in the general election. McCain is an absolutely frightening personality. Probably fine as a Senator, but if he becomes President: look out. I, for one, am not voting for my hopes when the general election comes around, but rather against my fears. It would be nice if I could do both at the same time, but not a requirement.

    Sorry, probably more about American politics than you wanted to know. I’m sort of curious though, if you don’t mind, what are your thoughts on Lugo winning Paraguay? Historic? Part of a larger leftist shift in Latin America? A sign that U.S. influence is waning in the region?

    Comment by codesmithy — April 24, 2008 @ 7:32 am

  5. No problem, Codes, I really enjoy this experience.

    Well, my friend, as you probably know South America countries were exploited in the past by Spain and Portugal. After those, it was strong in the region the presence of UK and, in the last century, of the United States. As you probably know too, during the Cold War the dictatorship regimes in the region were supported by United States in its fight against URSS.

    You asked about the leftist shift and I tell you that, in my opinion, I believe that it’s happening because people is tired of the experiences with dictatorships and right wing governments. We have an increasing poverty and lack of education so I think it helps populist governments. Despite the fact that, during the last seven years, US government has moved it’s attention to Middle East, I think this governments would be elected anyway.

    Well, my friend, I confess that I haven’t payed very much attention to the elections in Paraguay. The only thing I’ve read was about the intent Lugo has to remake the aggreement on electricity provided by Itaipu. I hope the things can be negotiated in order to find a good solution to this issue. Our government is waving some kind of effort to find a good solution for both parts, but the fact is that it’s going to bring a lot of stress to the government, you must be sure. We are talking about energy and this is a topic that is directly linked to the economy not only in my country but everywhere.

    Greetings.

    Comment by Raphael — April 26, 2008 @ 5:29 pm


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