"The plane that hit the World Trade Center had no windows"
"The plane that hit the World Trade Center had a pod attached to it."
"A missile struck the Pentagon."
"The Twin towers were destroyed by explosives, not airplanes."
First, these conspiracy theories are not only idiotic but they are also completely impractical to ever be a real conspiracy, especially taking into account the facts of the day. Perhaps none of these people have ever had to run a business or do not have a science education. Now there are some scientists who claim that they can prove scientifically that the 9/11 attacks were done with missiles and explosives, not hijacked airplanes. However, there is more than enough proof to disprove their claims. In addition, nobody in this group has bothered to really think through how a conspiracy like this would have been carried out. Take the following:
Why would a conspiracy go through all the trouble to somehow gain access to dozens of offices in the Twin Towers when they could have simply hidden the explosives on the planes as mislabeled cargo.
Their theory requires a large number of highly trained specialists who are knowingly preparing to bring down buildings, killing thousands. At the same time, the conspiracy is exposed to the constant risk of discovery of the planted explosives. Use fewer people and it takes longer to plant the explosives, increasing the possibility that the explosives will be discovered. Use more people to plant the explosives in less time and you increase the possibility of someone talking sometime.
Shipping the explosives as air cargo requires only the smallest amount of people to complete the task. Then there is the issue of where do you get all that explosives and where do you get all the money to pay off the demolition experts? Do you really think that these people are going to carry out this conspiracy on Government pay? Estimating a $10 million payoff each with 100 people involved and that will cost you $1 billion. Could the payoff have been less? Sure, but that then leaves open the risk of a conspirator selling the story to the media. How much do you think the press will pay for proof that the attacks were a conspiracy? They could name their price. There is also the issue of why would the Government need to plant explosives in the buildings when ‘the plan’ called for hitting the buildings with large passenger aircraft loaded with fuel?
Why would they switch airplanes and hide airplanes and passengers to hit the Twin Towers with another plane (the one with no windows) and the Pentagon with a missile when they could simply have installed a very small remote control device to take control of the plane while at the same time cutting off the pilot's communication?
Their theory here has a really high set of obstacles, namely, just where do you hide the planes that the Government 'claims' were hijacked? Then there is the issue of the passengers. Some of the theories claim that the passengers were in on the conspiracy. Once again, just how much do you expect each of these people will need to be paid off? Even so, how do you keep these people from eventually contacting their relatives or the press? If you are planning to kill off these people, why not just fly them into the buildings in the first place? If that is the case, why bother with a missile? This theory is simply very expensive, requires the loyalty and cooperation of many people, and has a logistical issue of hiding at least one and up to four airplanes with passengers and crew. To even suggest this as a serious conspiracy is idiotic.
Instead, why not just rig the planes for remote control with a cutoff switch for plane to ground communications? This is a very cheap alternative (it's not like your paying for the planes) requires a very small number of people to carry out the task and does not even waste an expensive missile.
One reason the missile striking the Pentagon theory has persisted is because of the ‘lack’ of visible plane wreckage at the Pentagon. One of the conspiracy sites has pictures of plane crashes as examples of all the wreckage strewn all over. What they do not show you is a picture of the Valuejet crash in Florida. There was not much other than a hole. Do you see much wreckage in this picture of the Value Jet crash site?
As we all know, these clueless conspiracy theories are not limited to 9/11. There are many more including the theory that electronic voting machines were rigged to vote for Bush.
For a group that is paranoid, there are some real possible conspiracies that they seem to not be aware of. Take the "War on Drugs." The Republicans talk tough about fighting drugs, but somehow we are just not able to eradicate illegal drugs from the country. Perhaps they don't want to stop Americans from using drugs. Why? The simple explanation is that drug users are probably more likely to vote Democrat (partly due to their soft stance on drugs and willingness to support/forgive their use) but drug users are much less likely to actually go out and vote. So why rig voting machines and expose yourself to getting caught. Instead, just let the people who are planning to vote against you to get stoned, and fail to show up to vote. The end result is the same, and it is hard to prove a conspiracy then the conspiracy involves inaction as opposed to thousands of tampered machines laying around with rigged computer code.
Ever wonder why more cars do not use the ‘EasyPass’ electronic toll system in the Northeast? Well there is a theory that the Government uses the system to track your movements, so instead they pay tolls with cash to conceal their movements. This is a wasted activity as the cameras at the toll lanes can read your license plate. So it does not matter if you use the EasyPass or not, your car movements are being logged regardless.
The left is outraged that the NSA has a record of phone calls made and many believe that the Government is listening in on their conversations. I can’t even think what they could possibly be talking about to even care, not to mention the fact that so many people talk so loud on the phone that everyone in sight can listen in on their conversations, let alone even think how it would be possible for the Government to even attempt to listen in on everyone’s phone conversations. But what about tracking their location? Mobile phone networks are setup to be able to know the location of every phone connected to the network. So each day you are voluntarily carrying with you a Government tracking device. Are they actually tracking you? Probably not, but if a demonstration gets violent outside the White House, they might check to see whose phones were in the area in an attempt to match names with photos of protestors that they have.
Then there is the issue of no WMD in Iraq.
If the Bush Administration was willing to carry out all these conspiracies, why did they not bother to whip up some fake WMD in Iraq? (Really, what more needs to be said here?)
There is the theory that you need to wear a tinfoil hat to protect yourself from the mind control waves that the Administration is sending out. What I don't understand is what makes these people think that the aluminum foil that they are using to protect themselves has not been compromised by Big Business? After all, who is making this material? Who owns the companies that make this material? What makes you think that the CIA hasn’t arranged for tin foil to be manufactured in a way to actually amplify the signals that you are trying to avoid?
I can go on and on as the list of conspiracies is huge; Katrina response was slow on purpose, US vaccinations intentionally spread Aids or make recipients sterile. (Why not just give away condoms like the rest of the world wants us to?) But what’s the point since these conspiracy theories will somehow manage to live on and otherwise intelligent people will continue to believe in them. It makes me wonder if they are all just plain stupid.
After all, these conspiracies would require a cast of thousands!
Update: 7 July 2006
Thanks to Little Green Footballs, we have yet another example of moonbattery; a contributor to Democratic Underground did a 'scientific experiment' to 'prove' that the World Trade Center was not brought down by fire. Doing the experiment was idiotic enough, blogging about it is even worse. Then again, during that time he was too busy to be protesting somewhere. (Here is my favorite comment in the comment thread.)
Evidence That A Boeing 757 Really Did Impact the Pentagon on 9/11 – AboveTopSecret
9/11: Debunking The Myths – Popular Mechanics
September 11 Pentagon Attack Simulations - Purdue